Save energy by washing clothes at lower temperature, says Asda

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest supplier of budget clothing is recommending customers wash its clothes at a lower temperature to save energy.

Asda will introduce labels across its George range from March, changing the recommended wash from 40C to 30C. If the advice is followed, it would bring about considerable savings in fuel bills for the store chain's 13 million customers as well as lower emissions from power stations.

With a 17 per cent share, Asda is the biggest player in the £7.8bn-a-year market for cheap clothing with 237 million garments sold a year. Until now, the supermarket had recommended washing clothes at 40C to ensure all dirt has been removed. But yesterday it said a "hot wash" was no longer needed because of improvements in the quality of detergents and washing machines.

Its advice corresponds with a recent report by Cambridge University's Institute for Manufacturing that found most of the energy associated with clothing was expended during laundering.

Paul Wright, George's technical director, said: "A massive 60 per cent of the total energy to make and launder a garment is used by the customer once they get the item of clothing home.

"By simply following our revised washing instructions not only will customers be saving themselves money, they can do their bit for the environment at the same time." He urged customers to save more energy by switching off the tumble-drier and hanging clothes to dry, allowing nature to take its course.

Tamara Mauro-Trujillo, of the Energy Saving Trust, which campaigns for lower energy use to prevent climate change, said that if all Asda's garments were washed at 30C, customers would save £200,000 on fuel bills a year.

By turning down a washing machine to 30C, switching to low energy light-bulbs or insulating loft or cavity walls, a household could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by two tonnes each year, she added.