What percentage of a washing machine's energy is used purely to heat hot water?

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  • MeteredOut
    MeteredOut Posts: 1,292 Forumite
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    chrisw said:
    I've never thought about the health aspects but I have found that after continuous washing at low temperatures, bedding and towels develop a musty or sour smell. A good hot wash seems to restore them back to smelling fresh for a while. I always presumed this was due to a build up of oils, yeasts and bacteria over time.
    Or confirmation bias.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
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    edited 5 January at 11:42AM
    Strangely enough, washing towels is bing discussed on Radio 4 Women's Hour right now:
    Their expert says you should be washing them every week at 60C, or at 40C with a bleach-based detergent.
    Will be available on catch-up here:
    It's a roughly 10-minute slot from 1030-1040.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • MeteredOut
    MeteredOut Posts: 1,292 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    QrizB said:
    Strangely enough, washing towels is bing discussed on Radio 4 Women's Hour right now:
    Their expert says you should be washing them every week at 60C, or at 40C with a bleach-based detergent.
    Will be available on catch-up here:
    It's a roughly 10-minute slot from 1030-1040.
    Is there a recognised qualification required before one can be called a towel washing expert? :smile:
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    QrizB said:
    Strangely enough, washing towels is bing discussed on Radio 4 Women's Hour right now:
    Their expert says you should be washing them every week at 60C, or at 40C with a bleach-based detergent.
    Will be available on catch-up here:
    It's a roughly 10-minute slot from 1030-1040.
    Is there a recognised qualification required before one can be called a towel washing expert? :smile:
    I tuned in just too late to hear them being introduced, but they were addressed as "professor" by the presenter and sounded like a biologist or medic.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Posts: 2,928 Forumite
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    edited 5 January at 12:52PM
    QrizB said:
    Strangely enough, washing towels is bing discussed on Radio 4 Women's Hour right now:
    Their expert says you should be washing them every week at 60C, or at 40C with a bleach-based detergent.
    Will be available on catch-up here:
    It's a roughly 10-minute slot from 1030-1040.
    Is there a recognised qualification required before one can be called a towel washing expert? :smile:
    Probably more qualified that relying on forum responses 😜😂

    Professor
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,275 Forumite
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    How often and by what method do people deal with their shower scrub/wash cloth (that has definitely been in those previously mentioned crevices) Do these get a daily hot wash?

    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Posts: 2,928 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Alnat1 said:
    How often and by what method do people deal with their shower scrub/wash cloth (that has definitely been in those previously mentioned crevices) Do these get a daily hot wash?

    Indeed wash cloths twice weekly for us along with towels and bedding twice weekly.

    Again we are probably on the fortunate side to have the time to do these things and most won't which is why when they do give it the proper temperature imho.

  • MeteredOut
    MeteredOut Posts: 1,292 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Alnat1 said:
    How often and by what method do people deal with their shower scrub/wash cloth (that has definitely been in those previously mentioned crevices) Do these get a daily hot wash?

    Indeed wash cloths twice weekly for us along with towels and bedding twice weekly.

    Again we are probably on the fortunate side to have the time to do these things and most won't which is why when they do give it the proper temperature imho.

    My better half insists on towels and cloths being washed after a each use.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    QrizB said:
    Strangely enough, washing towels is bing discussed on Radio 4 Women's Hour right now:
    Their expert says you should be washing them every week at 60C, or at 40C with a bleach-based detergent.
    Will be available on catch-up here:
    It's a roughly 10-minute slot from 1030-1040.
    Is there a recognised qualification required before one can be called a towel washing expert? :smile:
    Probably more qualified that relying on forum responses 😜😂
    Mrs QrizB has just confirmed that it was Professor Sally Bloomfield:
    "Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health; Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK."
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • JSHarris
    JSHarris Posts: 374 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    Some here have very short memories.  Think back to the infection control education that was widely broadcast during the recent plague.  Anyone remember any of it?  How about Boris and the hand washing thing?

    Key point is that soaps and detergents are EXTREMELY good at disinfecting surfaces, hands, clothes, bedding etc.  Temperature isn't the major factor in killing the vast majority of harmful everyday bugs, it's the fantastic ability that detergents and soaps have to break up lipids, so very quickly destroying viruses (which are very fragile anyway) and disrupting the cell membranes of bacteria.  If anyone has even a cheap microscope it's very impressive seeing just how rapidly disruptive even a very dilute soap/detergent solution is to cells.   They literally break apart in seconds, as their cell walls fall apart. 

    The exceptions to this are the few pathogens that are extremely robust, such as spore-forming bacterial diseases like anthrax, plus the microscopic parasites we share our live with, whose eggs are seriously robust and tough to destroy.  The harmful variants of these are rare, though, and none of us is likely to encounter them on our clothes or bedding.  May very well be exposed to them by a pet, though.  A fairly significant proportion to cat owners will have benign toxoplasmosis, for example.  Some research seems to show that the neurological changes from this makes humans better suited to looking after cats, an odd sort of symbiosis.

    Three or four minutes exposure to soap or detergent at low temperature will pretty much kill any commonly encountered viral or bacterial pathogen, especially as we generally don't have serious pathogens inside our bodies anyway (if we did we'd probably be ill).  I remember being taught to wash wounds with urine, years ago, rather than any local water that might be available, as urine was pretty much guaranteed to be sterile.  No idea why some believe it's somehow "dirty".

    The problem with things like towels is that they stay damp for hours and are exposed to airborne organisms that very quickly start to multiply on/in them (hence the reason that damp towels start to smell musty after a few hours).  The risk is from the many billions of billions of bacteria and fungal spores that are in the air we breathe and live in.  These are just looking for a suitable place to breed, and damp clothing or towels, just like ponds or shower/bath/basin waste pipes, are ideal.  Making sure towels dry quickly reduces this risk a great deal.  Exposing them to sunlight for ten minutes or so pretty much completely removes it.  If anyone is going to adopt an energy-saving low temperature wash regime then it's important to understand that drying everything quickly is key to managing the risk of bacterial or fungal growth.  Not hard to do with a bit of thought.  I have a Victorian style winch-up airer, with an extraction vents above it.  Things dry extremely quickly on that.  Just needs a bit of careful management to ensure all damp towels, tea towels, wash cloths etc, are put on there to dry immediately after use.

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