Save time, water and money with these 10 easy washing hacks

Feb 06, 2020
The experts have finally weighed in on the best ways to save water, time and money all at once. Source: Getty.

Washing dishes and clothes might not be the most enjoyable to tasks, but it’s an unavoidable part of life – and, if done wrong, it can also be incredibly wasteful. So rather than burning through your cleaning schedule without a care in the world, get the most out of your day by making sure you’re working smarter, not harder when it comes to these everyday chores.

Here are ten big washing hacks from the experts at CHOICE that will see your washing machine and dishwasher stand the test of time!

1. Don’t trust everything you read

The internet is full to the brim with magic hacks that are said to make cleaning a breeze, but more often than not, they tend to just leave you with more damage to your machines than before. One of the most recent social media cleaning hacks to be debunked is the idea that you can use dishwashing tablets to clean your washing machine.

CHOICE white goods expert, Ashley Iredale says that although this tactic might work initially, he definitely does not recommend it due to its negative long-term effects.

“Washing machines aren’t designed to deal with highly caustic dishwasher detergents, so doing this may damage seals and hoses over time,” he says. “Which could also void your consumer guarantee or warranty as the manufacturer may say you didn’t follow proper instructions.”

2. Stop hand washing

The age old debate of what uses more water between hand washing and dishwashers has been going on since the day dishwashers started to dominate the industry. But with modern water efficiency, CHOICE experts have confirmed that it takes around six times more water and nearly twice as much household energy to fill a sink, compared to using a dishwasher.

3. Clean your dishwasher with vinegar

It’s easy to get complacent and find yourself neglecting the dishwasher, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that a dirty machine means dirty dishes. But don’t spend an arm and leg on expensive store-bought products when the best household cleaner is already sitting at the back of your pantry!

Vinegar is a cheap and clever way to remove soap build up and allow your dishwasher to survive its 11 year life expectancy without complications. Simply pour 1 cup (250ml) of vinegar into the bottom of the unit or into a bowl on the top or bottom rack and run the machine through a full cycle with no dishes or detergent. Make sure you check your manual first however, as some manufacturers advise against this method.

4. Scrape don’t rinse

Experts have discovered that the trusted tradition of rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher actually has no real effect on the cleanliness of the final product. In fact, scraping food is really the only thing that needs to be done before stacking the dishwasher to ensure that large chunks of food don’t end up clogging the system.

5. Increase the heat

If you’ve run out of dishwashing tablets or detergent and don’t feel like doing the dishes by hand – don’t fear as there is another way to get the job done. Rather than concocting a subpar DIY dishwashing liquid you’ve sourced from the internet, simply turn up the temperature on your cycle and run the dishes as normal with plain hot water. This will clean off and still sanitise lightly dirty dishes and cut down on what you need to do by hand.

6. Stick to a budget without skimping on quality

Not every home is fitted with a dishwasher, and for many Aussies, hand washing is the only way to get the job done, but with so many dishwashing liquids around – should consumers just go with the most expensive and hope it’s the best? Of course not!

CHOICE experts compared 41 supermarket dishwashing liquids to see which came out on top and although the top scorer was the more expensive Morning Fresh brand which came in at $1.23/100ml, second place went to Aldi’s Tandil Ultra Power Soak N’ Clean which was less than a third of the price of Morning Fresh at just $0.35/100ml.

7. Use dishwashing liquid all over your home

Surprisingly, dishwashing liquid can actually be used to clean other stubborn areas of the house. With some warm water, a drop or two of rinse aid and some dishwashing liquid, you can clean windows until they’re crystal clear or even remove light stains from shirts. You can also use washing-up liquid to clean make-up brushes or hairbrushes or mix it with some soda, add a toothbrush and you’ve got the world’s cheapest and easiest jewellery cleaner!

8. Use a wheelie bin to reuse your grey water

If you’re looking to make some environmental and economical changes this year, grey water is a fantastic way to start. Saving water from washing up and cleaning clothes to use on your gardens can save hundreds of litres in the process.

Rig up a hose from your washing machine and feed it outside to collect in a tank or even better, in a wheelie bin. With a constant supply of reused water, not only will you be saving money, but you can also maintain a healthy and lush garden even when there are water restrictions in place.

9. Don’t be afraid to run a hot load in the washing machine

Much like the dishwasher, don’t worry about buying supermarket cleaners when just plain, old hot water will do the trick. Those who save energy or protect their delicate clothes by constantly running cold loads, should occasionally run a very hot empty cycle with a bit of good quality detergent in the dispenser to keep the accumulated dirt at bay. Also, ditch fabric softeners to reduce build-up as they tend to be the biggest contributors.

10. Keep it bright

Once again, vinegar comes to the rescue! If you want to keep your colours bright and your whites white, avoid using the expensive bleaches that harm the environment and simply throw in a cup of vinegar to your load. The results will be instant and much less damaging to your bank account and more eco-friendly than manufactured versions.

What are your washing hacks? Have you tried any of the ones suggested above?

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