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How much does it cost to run a washing machine for a year?

woman holding up white laundry from washing machine - how much does it cost to run a washing machine

Reducing your washing machine’s running costs is easier than you think. Here’s how

For those of you who’ve come here looking for a very rough estimate, we’ll start by saying that domestic washing machines in the UK have annual running costs in the range of £31 to £112.

That’s quite a big variation, between the least energy-intensive washers and the most energy-hungry ones. However, most households will have washing machine running costs near the middle of that range – around the £75 mark.

There are several factors that influence how much it costs to run a washing machine, including:

  • How energy efficient your appliance is (especially on your most frequently used wash programmes)
  • How much capacity the washing machine has
  • How many wash cycles you use per week/month/year
  • How much you pay for electricity

Any change in those four factors will affect your washing machine’s running costs, for better or for worse.

These estimates will give you a good idea of how much it would cost to run our top five best-rated washing machines, if you were using an “Eco 40-60” wash mode.

To arrive at our estimates, we used Ofgem’s current base rate for household electricity, which is about £0.29/kWh. You can find out the exact rate you pay by checking your latest energy bill.

We also factored in the rated energy consumption of each washing machine, to find a cost estimate per wash. If you want a weekly running cost estimate, simply multiply our cost per wash estimate by your average number of wash cycles per week.

Do bear in mind that how you use your washing machine will affect its running costs. Using energy-intensive programmes will result in higher costs, while the most eco-friendly settings (e.g. a 30℃ eco wash) may bring energy use lower than a machine’s rated energy consumption would suggest.

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How your choice of washing machine affects running costs

There are some things about the cost of running a washing machine that you can’t do much about. For instance, there’s the rate you pay for electricity.

Based on the Government’s current energy price caps, household electricity costs about 29p per kWh. While that figure will vary slightly by region and energy provider, it’s pretty accurate for most households. (Luckily, after the energy price cap was revised on 1 April 2024, prices are set to fall.)

One thing you do have some control over is which washing machine you buy. If you choose an energy efficient appliance, with an effective Eco Mode that you’re happy to use frequently, then there’s potential to save on energy use and cost.

For a basic lead on energy efficiency, you can compare the energy ratings of the washing machines you’re interested in. Under the energy label system, every washing machine is given a rating from A to G on a descending scale. A-rated appliances tend to be more energy-efficient than B-rated appliances – at least when they’re used in the specific ways that are measured to calculate energy ratings.

On average, higher-capacity washing machines use more energy per cycle than a similar machine with a lower capacity. However, they contribute to cheaper and more efficient washing overall.

Richard Howarth, senior product manager for washers and washer-dryers at Haier UK & Ireland, explains:

A bigger drum with a larger capacity would mean the consumer would use the machine less frequently as they are able to put more clothes in each cycle, therefore reducing the amount of washes done per week.”

Howarth also suggests looking out for a machine with energy-saving smart features.

“The consumer can use smart/AI washes which choose the most efficient wash mode based on the soiling of the clothes,” he says.

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Ways to reduce the cost of running a washing machine

If you already have your washing machine and you’d like to bring down its running costs, there are a few options to explore.

Gwilym Snook, a category buyer with heated laundry appliance expertise at, highlights Auto Weight, KG Mode and TimeSave as key energy-saving features to use.

Auto Weight instinctively adjusts the settings for each load of washing, whereas KG Mode uses sensors to adapt the wash and keep energy costs low. Similarly, TimeSave uses a quicker wash cycle to cut energy usage by up to 50% with each wash,” he says.

Snook also points out that a washing machine can be made more efficient by running it cooler:

“Most machines these days include an eco-mode that uses lower temperatures, resulting in a more energy-efficient wash,” he says.

hand choosing settings on washing machine - how much does it cost to run a washing machine

“In fact, data shows that washing on a cooler setting could reduce running costs by as much as 57% when compared to washing at 40 degrees.

“For clothes that aren’t overly stained, a 30-degree wash is sufficient and will help you save money.”

Elliott Gee, a laundry product manager at Haier Europe, is also a strong advocate of eco cycles.

“Eco cycles use lower temperatures than most settings, and as most of the energy in any cycle is used for heating the water, this results in lower energy consumption,” says Gee.

“With the lower washing and rinsing temperatures and the generally more gentler wash, clothes should last longer as they aren’t being washed as intensely,” he adds.

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Other washing machine costs – and how to reduce them

Energy isn’t the only expense associated with your washing machine. In fact, there are some other types of cost where the potential to save money is arguably greater.

Detergent is a big recurring expense, costing slightly more than the energy cost of operating the washing machine for many households.

Ways to save:

Repairs to a washing machine can add a significant cost burden over the appliance’s lifetime. Director of UK Whitegoods Ltd, Kenneth Watt names repairability as the most important factor customers can look at, in terms of cost reduction and environmental benefit.

“The longer you can make the machine last, the better, so what I’d like is for customers to be given more guidance on repairability and longevity,” says Kenneth.

“Avoid washing machines with steel assemblies, as you can’t get inside those to replace the bearings, for example.”

Ways to save:

  • Investigate the repairability of a washing machine, before you buy it.
  • Check the price and availability of spare parts, before you buy.

How well you care for your washing machine will also have a long-term financial impact.

repairman looking into washing machine with tools - how much does it cost to run a washing machine

“Regular maintenance, like cleaning filters or ensuring proper loading of the machine, can sustain efficiency over time,” says Vivien Fodor, laundry category manager at Hotpoint.

“And on the other hand, neglecting maintenance can lead to decreased efficiency regardless of the energy rating.”

Ways to save:

  • Read your washing machine’s instruction manual, and care for the appliance as instructed.
  • Avoid overloading the drum.

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