Laundry trends

18th Oct 2012

Economical and sustainable laundry trends

Individuals and organizations across the world are cutting back on unnecessary expenses, but many people are not aware that they can save money by changing their laundry habits.

A new study carried out among 2,500 consumers in six countries finds that washing temperatures are higher than necessary, and that just 30 percent of consumers wash at 30°C or lower, despite the fact that most laundry can be done at lower temperatures. The study also reveals great differences from country to country. In Brazil (64 percent), Japan (54 percent), and China (32 percent), the percentage of people using only low-temperature washes is significantly higher than in the US (21 percent), Spain (19 percent), and Germany (10 percent).

“There's money to be saved by lowering the temperature, because a large part of total laundry costs is related to heating the water,” says Cynthia Bryant, household care director at Novozymes. “By lowering the temperature from 60°C to 30°C, you save 60 percent of the energy cost.”

According to the International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products—or AISE—the average washing temperature in Europe has dropped only 1°C over the past three years, from 42°C to 41°C.

Use the right amount of detergent. Another significant way to cut wasteful spending is to use less detergent.

Many people do not read the label on their detergent and therefore do not pay attention to the recommended amount.

“Modern detergents are compact and highly efficient,” says Bryant. “Estimates from the detergent industry indicate that more than half of us use more detergent than is necessary to get the clothes clean. Using the right amount of detergent is not only good for your wallet, but also for your washing machine and for the environment.”

United effort for sustainable laundry
These and other insights were on the agenda December 1-2, 2011, during the second annual Copenhagen Household Care Sustainability Summit. More than 100 delegates from 50 different companies participated in the summit to discuss how to encourage more sustainable consumer choices in laundry.

“The household care industry has been driving a move toward sustainability over the past five to 10 years and has introduced excellent cold-water detergents and compacted products,” says Bryant. “Getting more people to wash sustainably takes a united effort from the entire industry, including detergent manufacturers, producers of washing machines, and technology providers. We believe everyone holds a piece of the puzzle.”

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