Washing performance ratings on eco labels

Energy Labels This is my third article about what the individual sections on washing machine energy labels actually mean. It also looks at how useful they may or not be. (Links to the previous articles at the bottom of this article).

Washing performance

This is a rating from A to G, the same as the energy efficient rating. It allows you to see that one washing machine is rated higher than another though without any reference to how much. It doesn’t show what the difference between a wash performance of A and B is? Is it significant? Most people will clearly want one rated A but A isn’t necessarily significantly better than B. It’s just “better”.

The washing performance section is arguably less important now because most washing machines soon became A rated. I can’t imagine one being rated D or G. If you look at the picture above, the first 3 ratings are now A+, A++ & A++. So what’s the difference between the new ratings and the old A,B,C? Again, we only know that one is better than another but not by how much. They need to rethink them.

Manufacturers soon made it their goal to achieve A wash efficiency ratings so it’s unlikely any washing machine will be rated less than A. The problem with this rating is that only one wash cycle is tested. So it’s possible for any manufacturer to make sure this particular cycle passes the tests to get an A rating – even if it means making the wash last 2 to 3 hours. Therefore two different washing machines can get the same rating, but one could achieve it much quicker than the other. This isn’t accounted for.

Washing performance is only for 1 wash cycle

For some reason they chose to rate the washing machine’s washing performance on a 60° wash. According to statistics hardly anybody uses these days. So they will award an A washing performance rating to any washing machine as long as just one wash programme achieves this status. This is the case even if the rest its wash programmes were less than satisfactory.

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The current situation is that the washing performance rating is not doing the job it was intended to do. All washing machines are now virtually rated the same. Not only are they rated the same but they are only rated on special 60 degree wash program that isn’t used much any more. Most consumers will assume the entire washing machine has been tested and deemed “A rated” on all washes.

Even the cheapest budget washing machines with a poor reputation proudly boast they are A++ wash rated. Until they come up with something better it’s best not to pay too much attention to it.

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6 thoughts on “Washing performance ratings on eco labels”

  1. Hello Andy,

    Going to start a good debate here!

    Where to start, you are quite correct that the “A” wash rating is absolute rubbish , have researched this and only found 1 washing machine not to have it……..HEC priced at only £156.49, no wonder it is a “B”, at Argos. Now I know this is one of those cheap sh1te Chinese affairs! But all the others, even all cheapo Merlonis have an “A”! So you are qtite correct it tells you nothing!

    I have a 15 year old Bosch and it washes and rinses FAR better than any modern machine you can buy today, mainly because of the high water usage. I had a Hotpoint proir to this and it was a new efficient model, it did NOT get clothes clean and the rinsing was abysmol. I wouldn’t have any modern machine again their performance like you say is tailored to economy not good cleaning and rinsing performance.

    And on to the long cycle times, modern “A” rated washers wash in excess of one hour some even as long as two before they start to rinse, not only will this wear out the machine much quicker but will ruin you clothing bobbling it and removing the colour etc. Going back to my Bosch, it washes for no more than 20-40 minutes dependant on the temperature and cycle chosen, I have an “intensive” option button but it washes so well find it not to be needed. I am even able to wash alot of things with the “Short wash” button selected, meaning no more than a 20 minute wash! The rinsing and spin only take about 45 minutes meaning the programmes are very short and whats more wash better to!

    Making machines wash for longer is bad for the environment because they wear out faster and with machines not being built like they used to be some don’t even make it past the warranty period, meaning more land fill. Also with spare parts being extortionate, virtually no body repairs them any more and they get thrown away! Throw away society springs to mind.

    Like Andy clearly states washing machines are tested on “Cotton 60” a very long high temperature wash, that no one uses! So they should test “Cotton 40” the most commonly used cycle in Britain, they could test both! Some 60 cycles wash for in excess of 3 hours, thats 3 times longer than my Bosch.

    Now on to this eco bandwagon trend of low temperature washing, this is less effective at removing dirt than say a 60 wash, so even longer cycles. But thats not really the issue, if you constantly wash at 30/40 degrees your poor washing machine will pay the price, it will get all gunked up and rot away the drum spider, meaning that at least once a month the 90/95 maintanence wash is needed with either a bleach containig powder or washing machine cleaner such as Maytag Affresh! If not its either engineer time or new washer time!!
    Personally I wash 90% of things on Cotton 60 or Cotton economy 60, both good at killing bacteria in towels etc. Low temperatures do not kill bacteria, meaning not only you laundry may smell but your washer will some what HUM!!

    Hope to recieve some comments on this, especially from Andy and Dave, should be very interesting!!

    All the best


  2. P.S Andy thanks for the interesting new article, look forward to seeing good contributions in the near future!


  3. You can only trust “Which?” reports on washing machines’ cleaning performance. The Which? tests are performed using programmes and temperatures that consumers actually use and the washing machines have to shift some very tough stains to get good marks.

    I don’t work for Which? but I’m a member and would encourage others to sign up for Which? to avoid wasting money on products that are absolute rubbish.

  4. I’m interested in WhatMatters’ comment (No3 above).
    I’ve been a member of Which? several times in the past but each time I’ve given up in disgust after buying Which? recommended products which WERE utter and complete rubbish. These have included a CD Player, a Dishwasher and a Lawnmower. Granted that the CD player was back in 1986 when they were quite new and the Dishwasher back in 1988 and I realise that things have changed a great deal since then.

    What annoys me most (other than their recommended products turing out to be rubbish) is Which?’s extremely high-handed attitude to what they actually test. My most recent “trial” subscription was when I was forced to buy a new washing machine just over a year ago and wanted one with a hot fill.

    When I enquired of Which? why they did not test any of the LG ones which have hot fill (LG being the only brand available in the UK to make any hot fill machines any more as far as I know) the woman, who I can only describe as “Snotty” said “oh we don’t test those, that’s a very old fashioned request”. When I pointed out that Which? do test Solar Water heating, and that I have solar water heating and that’s exactly why I wanted a hot fill washer, she was clearly taken aback, and obviously had never thought of this connection before, and fumbled for a response before eventually muttering that she would put my suggestion forward for consideration in future reviews. Fat lot of use that is!

    Similarly I cannot trust the Energy Savings Trust who awarded the LG machine that I bought an award for energy efficiency. This is patently a joke since the machine uses around 4 units of electricity for a wash cycle on the programme nominated for testing, compared to my 26 year old Hoover that I had last which used less than 1 unit for a hotter wash of similar type. When I asked The Energy Savings Trust about this their response was that “modern machines will always use more power than older ones because they have more features, but we can advise you which modern ones are the most efficient in their class”. What a load of utter loblocks – clearly not to be trusted at all.

  5. Dave
    On the Which? website you can see what their members think of every product tested, not just the best buys. On a “best buy” washer-dryer for instance, there are plenty of negative views from Which? members who bought that model.

    I would rather trust Which? to test a washing machine than rely on the useless eco labels. The eco labels don’t even tell you how well a washing machine rinses, but Which? test for that, obviously important if you are sensitive to detergents.

    I’m not saying Which? are perfect, but at least you get a good idea before you buy something major. When it’s time to buy something such as a mobile phone, I will look at all the best buys and also read the members’ views to see if they have any criticisms about the product they’ve paid for.

  6. For what it’s worth, the labels are meant to mean something and the information is out there! The regulation about washing machines spin performance relates to the measured water left after a weighted average of programmes. Obviously this gives the manufacturers an incentive to design to the test instead of good design.

    Spin-drying efficiency class | Remaining moisture content|
    A (most efficient) | % < 45 |
    B | 45 ≤ % < 54 |
    C | 54 ≤ % < 63 |
    D | 63 ≤ % < 72 |
    E | 72 ≤ % < 81 |
    F | 81 ≤ % < 90 |
    G (least efficient) | % ≥ 90 |

    The law is called
    Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1061/2010 of 28 September 2010 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of household washing machines

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