Washing at 30 degrees 5 things you need to know

Do you mostly wash at 30 degrees? Are you thinking of starting in order to save money? Here are 5 things you need to know.

30 degree washes have limitations

If you are washing laundry that is stained, you can’t just throw it into the laundry basket and wash it on wash day. You need to wash it as soon as possible. If you let the stain dry out it may not be removed with only a 30 degree wash.

30 degrees is no good for heavy stains

If laundry is heavily stained you will need to wash it at the normal temperature. Especially laundry with dried-on, strongly-coloured food, thick grease, heavy mud and grass stains. Otherwise you could waste energy by having to wash them again.

If anyone in the house has been ill you should also wash their laundry at the normal temperature i.e the maximum temperature allowed on the wash care label to try and kill germs.


Check the wash label

Before reading on, it’s important to mention that despite everything said in this article, many of our clothes have wash labels inside instructing us to wash them at 30 degrees. Always check the label in your laundry. If it says you should only wash it at 30 degrees, then that’s what is necessary. Otherwise you could ruin your clothes.

It’s counterproductive if you don’t wash full loads

Washing a small load at 30 degrees is more wasteful than washing a full load at 40 degrees. In other words, if there are only a handful of items that can be effectively washed at 30 degrees and you can’t save them up until you have a full load then you might as well just mix them in with a normal load at 40 degrees.


Conversely, if you have a large load that can be washed at 30 don’t overload it. Overloading reduces the wash efficiency at the best of times and this effect is worse at 30 degrees. You could end up having to rewash things again.

Washing mostly at 30 degrees can ruin your washing machine

Don’t be tempted to try and save money by reducing the amount of detergent used. This can result in long term build up of slime, grease and bacteria. Again, this is already a problem for people washing mostly at 40 degrees and will be worse at 30

Extra Important: If you use mostly liquid detergent, detergent “friendly to coloureds”, or wash mostly at 40 degrees or less, you should do regular maintenance washes at high temperatures. Otherwise over time, your washing machine may accumulate bacteria, mould and greasy smelly gunge inside which will shorten its life. Full details here – causes of grease, slime and black mould inside washing machines

The last point of course is likely to use up most or all of the energy saved by washing at 30 degrees, which is why I’m not convinced of it being such a great idea. If you have to use boil washes to prevent serious slime and grease build up, and/or the washer breaks down or doesn’t last as long because it gets bacteria, black mould and grease rotting it then it’s counter-productive.

Your washing machine may be no good for 30 degree washes

30 degree wash cycles are often no good for general washing. They may be designed only for delicate laundry. Read my article here to see if your washing machine can properly do 30 degree wash cycles – Washing at 30 degrees

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2 thoughts on “Washing at 30 degrees 5 things you need to know”

  1. This is disturbing reading . My daughter recently did a 30 degree wash to find in covered in a foul looking mess ruining several items . We’re always being told to use 30 where possible now read this. An ruin your washing machine . An explanation would be welcome

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Maggie. Unfortunately this type of thing is rife. People never look at the full picture. What is the point in saving a few pence per wash only to have your washing machine ruined and be scrapped prematurely? It’s the same with eco wash cycles on dishwashers and washing machines? They use less energy but sometimes take up to 3 times longer. So what is saved on energy (or lower water usage) is undermined by the extra wear and tear on the motor and all moving parts.

    Say a motor is designed to last for 3000 hours of life and you mostly use eco wash cycles that take at least twice as long. That means the motor is potentially going to last half as long, or at least have significantly more wear. So when it fails or wears out years prematurely you will most likely have to scrap the washing machine because it’s too expensive to replace.

    Whenever anyone comes up with a way to save energy or water they need to work out at what cost. However, if saving energy and allowing companies to advertise that their products cost less to run results in many more sales they aren’t likely to car or may even be smirking that the appliance is likely to break down more or wear out quicker. If we want to save the planet we have to look at everything holistically.

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