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Ethical washing machines

The Best Eco Washing Machines

See our Ethical Washing Machines Ratings Table to compare brands

Why it is important to buy an eco washing machine?

Doing the laundry may be dull, but it is an essential part of the weekly routine for most households. In fact, 98% of UK households owned a washing machine in 2018. With more consumers than ever concerned about water and energy usage, the eco washing machine sector is big business. But which model is the most ethical? Find out in our quick guide.

It is important to purchase an eco washing machine, due to the environmental impact of washing machines. According to In The Wash, washing machines heat and use roughly 50 litres of water per hour. It is therefore important to ensure you are doing your laundry efficiently and sustainably, so you do not waste water or money. We discuss tips and tricks for more efficient ways to do your laundry later in this article. 

Additionally, washing machines use a significant amount of energy. Washing machines can also cost up to 80p of electricity per hour. If you choose an inefficient model, you may be wasting lots of electricity, not only increasing your carbon footprint but also racking up the cost of your energy bill. You can reduce your energy consumption by choosing an eco washing machine with an A-rating for energy efficiency. Washing machines are resource-guzzlers! 

How to find a good second hand washing machine

Ethical consumers should only ‘buy new’ as a last resort. A significant percentage of a washing machine’s carbon footprint is generated during manufacturing and delivery. Therefore, always repair before replacing or buy second hand. When buying a second hand washing machine, look for sellers who are moving house, having a new kitchen put in or is someone who you know and trust. Good quality, second hand washing machines can be hard to come by.

Sometimes though, our household appliances really do give up the ghost. Fortunately, our Ethical Washing Machines Ratings Table shows you the most ethical washing machine brands to choose from for the very best eco washing machine

Our research findings: The ethical issues with many washing machine brands

The Good Shopping Guide’s latest research into washing machines has revealed some persistent and disturbing issues. Numerous washing machine brands are involved in human rights abuses.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute criticised several leading washing machine brands for profiting from the exploitation of Uyghurs in China. The Uyghur people are an ethnic group native to the Xinjiang region of China. Their treatment at the hands of the Chinese government has been called a genocide. Uyghurs are sometimes subjected to forced labour in factories and work for dozens of global brands. 

Dirty Laundry: The human rights abuse associated with washing machines

Companies found to be using Uyghur forced labour include popular washing machine brands owned by Haier, Robert Bosch, Hisense, and Electrolux. As a result, brands owned by these companies have been marked down under the Human Rights category in our research. If you want to avoid giving your money to these companies, avoid washing machine brands owned by them by checking a brand’s parent company in our Ethical Washing Machines Ratings Table.

Moreover, we were concerned to see the number of washing machine brands that do not have a robust Supplier Code of Conduct. A Supplier Code of Conduct helps set standards for the fair treatment of workers within the supply chain. Out of a total of 24 brands assessed, only half received a top rating for their Code of Conduct. Choose from one of the brands who have a detailed Code of Conduct. This Code demonstrates a company’s commitment to workers’ rights.

Ethical washing machines, the use of forced labour from China's Uyghur people, Uyghur flag

Our advice: How to find an eco washing machine?

By following these simple tips, you can reduce energy and water consumption, which not only helps the planet but also saves you money off your next utility bill. (And as the cost of living rises, these are tips that we could all do with!)

Once you have identified the most ethical washing machine brands in our ethical comparison ratings table, you can find the best eco washing machine for energy efficiency amongst these brands. Luckily, UK and EU regulations demand that all washing machine brands display an energy label on their products. Energy labels display a grade from A-G, with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient. To find an eco washing machine, look out for products with an A rating.

Our advice: How to do laundry more sustainably?

But after you’ve chosen an eco washing machine, what else can you do to help the planet and your pocket? Wash your laundry at a lower temperature, as this reduces the amount of energy required to run your machine. Make sure your machine is fully loaded before use. A barely loaded washing machine will use the same amount of water and CO2 but won’t wash as many items. 

Check which clothes need regular washing and which do not. Underwear and socks should be washed after each wear. Pyjamas can be washed at least once a week. But outer clothes such as jumpers, jeans and skirts will only need to be washed if they are stained, dirty or sweaty. Rather than wash your jacket, could you spot clean it by hand instead? Denim aficionados even advise not to wash your jeans more than every two months, as this can damage the material and make them wear through faster. And hey, it’s a good excuse to skip the laundry, right?

How to maintain my washing machine

Finally, it is important to maintain your washing machine so it lasts as long as possible. You can do this by regularly cleaning it and making sure that no loose items, such as coins or headphones (eek!) end up in the washing machine, as this may damage the machine. Lastly, try to avoid tumble dryers and instead opt for electricity-free alternatives, such as using a clothesline or an indoor drying rack. As our electricity bills rise, using electricity-free options are key for budgeting. You can find an amazing range of space-saving drying racks that can hang from ceilings or fold up onto your wall.

Not only does purchasing eco washing machines benefit the environment, it also benefits you and your finances in the current economic climate. 

See our Ethical Washing Machines Ratings Table to compare brands

The Good Shopping Guide has investigated thousands of brands, and ranked and rated these for their consideration and action for the Environment, Animals and People. The Good Shopping Guide has written articles on every single brand that appears on our Ethical Ratings Tables. We have assessed and analysed the business ethics, sustainability certifications and claims from thousands of brands. Click on any brand name to read more.

Miele, Amica, CDA, Logik, Smeg, Swan, AEG, Belling, Electrolux, Prima, Stoves, Zanussi, Beko, Hisense, Hotpoint, Indesit, Whirlpool, Bosch, Gaggenau, Neff, Siemens, Baumatic, Candy, Hoover, LG and Samsung.