Baby clothes on a washing line

Our Guide to a Sustainable Laundry Routine

What's the best time to wash clothes to save energy and money? Click to find out and follow our other sustainable laundry advice and go green at home.

Every small action we take to protect the environment adds up, especially when it comes to the things we do on a daily or weekly basis. Having an environmentally sustainable laundry routine can make a real difference in reducing your carbon footprint. So to get started, here are some eco-friendly laundry tips you can incorporate into your routine.


  • Update your washing machine. If you’ve got an ancient, rattling washing machine with an abysmal energy rating, you might want to address that before you start looking at other eco-friendly cleaning products. UK washing machines are almost all rated A or better nowadays, if you’ve picked up your washing machine within the last few years, it's likely to be a more sustainable washing machine — but if you’ve been using the same machine since the 20th century, it might be time to think about upgrading. New machines may be expensive, but a more energy-efficient washing machine will be kinder on your electricity bill as well as on the planet.

  • Do fewer loads. Want to know how to wash clothes sustainably? Well, try not to do laundry more often than you really need to. The washing machine uses water and energy every time you run it, so one of the simplest ways to develop a more sustainable laundry routine is to find ways to run it less often. For example, if you constantly find yourself doing half-loads because you’ve run out of pants, buy more pants. It’ll be worth it in the long run - now that you can wait until you have a full load of laundry, you’ll be reducing your environmental impact and saving on your electricity bill. You can also cut down on your washing by wearing your clothes more between washes. Of course, you shouldn’t really wear the same socks or underwear for days on end but you don’t need to wash your jeans every day, or even every week.

  • Try cooler washes. If you’re currently washing at high temperatures, try turning your washing machine down to 30°C and see if you notice a difference. You’ll probably find your clothes still come out clean, with a substantially smaller energy expense. If you find the results of a cool wash unsatisfying, though, try switching detergents. Biological detergents tend to have strong results at low temperatures, though you should opt for specialist detergent when washing delicate fabrics like silk or wool.

  • And shorter washes. Want to know how to save water while washing clothes? If your machine has a quick wash setting, then give it a try. Again, you’re likely to find it still gets your clothes clean, while saving water and energy. Persil Colour Protect is efficient against stains even in a quick wash, so it's a great help for when you're taking steps to be eco when washing clothes.

  • Choose your detergent wisely. Looking for eco-friendly laundry products or other types of environmentally-friendly laundry detergent can be a daunting task. How eco-friendly a laundry detergent is depends on a several factors: what it's made from, if the packaging is recyclable, and how much you need to use. Of course, there’s one simple quality that eco-friendly cleaning products need to share: they should be effective (even in cooler, shorter cycles) because you’re wasting time and energy if you don’t actually end up with clean clothes! Take a look at what Persil is doing to see how we're handling this challenge.

  • Skip the tumble drying. This one might depend on your circumstances. If you don’t have anywhere to hang clothes, for example, you might have to rely on your tumble dryer. But most homes have space for a clothes horse somewhere, even if you don’t have a garden for a washing line. Hanging your clothes up will get them just as dry without using up energy; it’ll just take a little longer.


Wondering "what time should I do laundry to save energy and money?" Your first port of call should be to check which hours of the day your energy is the cheapest as many energy providers offer cheaper energy rates at night. If your home is on this kind of deal then the night hours could be useful, energy-saving times to do laundry.

However, while running the washing machine at night could result in a cheaper energy bill, it won't actually reduce the amount of energy your washing machine uses. Plus, if you use the tumble dryer at night instead of hanging your clothes up to dry during the day, this will actually result in more energy usage.

Because of this, the best time to wash clothes from a sustainable laundry standpoint is usually in the morning of a sunny day, when you hang up your wet clothes to dry naturally over the course of the day.

If you do decide to use the dryer after washing your clothes, drying multiple loads one after the other can be a way of saving energy: the heat from the first round helps make the next load dry more efficiently.

And there you have it - a few eco-tips to help you learn how to save water doing laundry and get to the bottom of tricky questions like does doing laundry at night save money? By making just a few simple changes, you can create a more environmentally-friendly laundry rout.