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Ethical Home – Washing Machines

Washing machines consume a large amount of water and electricity. Fortunately, a wide range of energy-efficient machines are now on the market. Look for the right label, and choose a machine which uses less electricity and will have a reduced impact on the environment. Select the economical modes, wash at lower temperatures and, finally, think carefully about the best way to dispose of the machine when you’ve finished with it.

Energy labels

The European Energy Label is required by law to be displayed on many domestic appliances, including all new washing machines. Each product receives an energy efficiency rating, from A (the top rating) down to G (the lowest rating). Also rated on an A to G scale are ‘washing performance’ (with A giving the cleanest wash) and ‘spin drying performance’ (with A producing the driest clothes). A figure is also given for energy consumption per cycle (kWh) and water consumption (litres). The main rating here is the one for efficiency. Many ‘AA’ rated machines are now available, demonstrating that good performance and eco-efficiency can go together.

Sample water consumption for 62 different washing machines ranged from 35 to 78 litres, but averaged at around 53.5. The washing machines in the table all consume less than 50 litres of water and have A-class energy efficiency. More information about the European Energy label is available at, or call the Energy Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

Internet information

It’s worth checking the details of machines before going shopping for one. The main internet retailers provide the label ranges of their different models. Currys provides particularly detailed information on the technical specifications of each model, including energy and water consumption.


A reliable machine not only saves money on repairs, but is also a better environmental choice. The Consumers’ Association measured the reliability of each brand and gave good marks to Miele, Candy, Bosch, AEG, Siemens and Zanussi but make sure you check our Ethical Company Index scores before choosing.


Every year, nearly one million tonnes of used electrical and electronic goods are discarded in Britain. This includes about eight million large pieces of equipment such as washing machines, cookers and fridges. EU legislation requires local authorities to put in place ‘convenient facilities’ for the free take-back of waste goods by final owners, including public collection points where private households should be able to return waste ‘at least free of charge’. All equipment designated for collection under this scheme should be marked by a crossed-out wheeled bin symbol.

Key Research

Below you will find links to the key sections of our ethical research in Home & Office:

We have created ethical comparison rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): AEG, Electrolux, Zanussi, Baumatic, Candy, Hoover, Servis, Miele, Prima, Belling, Stoves, Bosch, Gaggenau, Neff, Siemens, Beko, Hotpoint, Indesit, Maytag, Whirlpool, GE, LG and Samsung.

Disclosure:  Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning we earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. Placement and use of these links has no bearing in terms of the ethical scores that we give to a brand.  All commission earned by The Good Shopping Guide is re-invested into the research carried out by The Ethical Company Organisation.

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