Looking after your bedding is good for the planet, your finances and wellbeing. After all, who wants to sleep on bobbly sheets? So, buy well, make it last and sleep more soundly with these money-saving eco-friendly laundry tips.
Buy well, buy less
We all know the mantra 'less is more'. Yet a recent poll found the average wardrobe contains 26 unworn items - and that's before you add in all the excess bedlinen under beds, in closets and drawers.
Continually buying more than we need not only leads to chaos in the home but to overspending. In our article Create a clutter-free sleep environment, de-cluttering expert, Arianna Steigman, recommends you "keep just three sets of bed linen: one for the bed, one in the wash and one in reserve". The linen quality also affects how well it washes and wears, so look for sheets made from long-staple cotton for smoother, softer, longer-lasting bedding. Likewise, a high quality, responsibly-made pillow will deliver plenty of shut-eye - in many cases around 1,000 sleeps!
Pick your thread
Cotton bedding can cost the earth in both sense of the phrase. But the price you pay doesn't always equate to low or high-quality goods - as you'll discover in Anyone Can Spin a Yarn. In fact, a 300 or 400 thread count linen woven from good quality (long staple) cotton will be beautiful, durable and easier to launder in a domestic washing machine than a higher thread count which, unless you're going for that laid back 'crumpled' look, will need an energy consuming de-wrinkle with a steam iron.
Use more, wash less often
Everyday clothes and towels don't need a punishing washing regime. Unless we're talking undies or linen that's sweaty or stained, most items can be reworn rather than flung in the drum. It's a view shared by The Cleaning Institute who recommended washing towels (used for personal use only) after three uses which, if you shower daily, reduces towel cleaning to twice a week. In-between bathing, air towels well as a damp towel is a nice breeding ground for bacteria and mould. If you do need to use the tumble dryer afterwards, you can improve its efficiency by keeping the filter clean.
Wash well and less often with our guide on How Often Should You Wash Your Towels.
Go for a cooler wash
A lower washing temperature can save energy, reduce bills and still zap germs like bacteria and mould. While a Which? report suggests a 60°C programme delivers slightly better cleaning than a 40°C programme when it comes to greasy stains, bedding and clothes, the running costs increase by more than a half. What's more, washing at 60°C needs to be combined with a good detergent, treating stains and washing at 40°C or on the machine's 'eco' setting for a money-saving, planet-friendly clean.
Hang it out to dry
Ideally, we'd air dry all our linen outside. It costs nothing, is kinder to fabric and leaves linen smelling fresh. The ultraviolet light from the sun also kills bacteria, making it an all-round win-win. However, pollution, exhaust fumes, inclement weather, even the neighbour's cooking can rob you of that clean line-dried feeling - assuming you have an outdoor space. Luckily, there are stylish foldaway indoor airers and dryers to fit every space - ceiling airers and over the door airers to classic A-frame airers that will stand proudly in any room. An energy-efficient portable heated drying pod is also a good investment for those days when you need dry clothes or bedlinen super quick.
Max out the load
A washing machine consumers the same energy however big the load, so it makes sense to fill it up. An easy way to know if your machine is under or over full is to check there's a hands-width gap at the top of the drum before pressing 'start'. This will help ensure greater energy efficiency and perfectly washed laundry every time.