04.In the laundry
Front loaders typically use a lot less water than top loaders. They can be more expensive, but you may be entitled to water retailer rebates. See our washing machines reviews for information on water efficiency of all models.
Some washing machines rate well for water efficiency at the expense of rinsing well. If you chose a washing machine for its water efficiency according to the WELS label, you might be disappointed when you used it.
Luckily CHOICE comes to your rescue by testing the machines for rinse performance too. The models in the What to buy lists score well for both water efficiency and rinse performance.
Reusing washing machine water
We commissioned a chemical analysis of laundry detergents to determine their suitability for use on the lawn or garden in greywater from your washing machine.
The ones that got clothes cleanest were generally too high in sodium, salinity and pH (alkalinity) to be much good for your garden, especially over the long term. And unfortunately most of those safest for the garden didn’t wash clothes very clean.
So don’t use the wash water on your garden, just the rinse water, as the worst of it will have gone down the drain. And spread the water over a wide area, keeping it off your herbs and vegies, and your garden should be fine. See our report on Laundry detergents for more information.
Combined washer/dryers may seem a great idea, especially if you’re pushed for space, but they use a lot of water for drying, thanks to their condenser technology. Instead of turning the water in the clothes into hot, damp air, they condense the steam back to water and send the lot down the drain — using a lot of water to do so.
The LG Combined Steam Washer and Dryer review, published in August 2007, used 107L to wash 9kg, and 74L to dry 5 kg (it can’t dry a full wash load in one hit).
A front loader with a normal dryer on top is just as space-saving, almost certainly more water-efficient and probably cheaper, but you need to be able to vent the hot, damp air from the dryer out of your laundry.