Does Buying Calgon For Your Washing Machine Make Financial Sense?

We’ve all seen the adverts for Calgon, which claims to make your washing machine live longer, but does adding Calgon to every wash actually make financial sense?

Indesit washing machineThe limescale in our water is bad for appliances, of that there is no doubt. Heating water in kettles and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers causes the limescale to accumulate on heating elements, reducing their efficiency and maybe their effective live.

The harder your water, the more limescale is likely to be building up in your appliances.

Calgon, a product that prevents the build up of limescale, claims to increase the life of your washing machine, presumably saving money over the long term as the parts that are exposed to hard water in your washer will last longer, even if you live in a hard water area.

Whilst we have no cause to doubt the claims made by the manufacturers of Calgon about the efficacy of their product in preventing limescale or their claims about increasing the life of washing machines, we do want to raise the question about whether adding Calgon to every wash does make financial sense for you.

The long term cost of buying Calgon tablets

Reckitt Benckiser, who make Calgon, claim on their website that “the sooner you introduce Calgon into your daily washing routine, the better”. For our cost analysis we are going to follow their advice and calculate the cost of adding a standard Calgon tablet to every wash.

We are going to assume that the average family will do five washes per week, which is probably realistic for a family of four. Adding a Calgon tablet to each wash means that you will use five tablets a week.

So that means that you will use 780 tablets over three years ( 5 x 52 x 3).

Sainsbury’s are selling 45 Calgon tablets for £9.99 (they have a special offer on at the time of writing – two packs for £14) so it currently costs £0.22 for each tablet.

Over three years with five washes per week, this will cost £171.60, assuming that the price of Calgon tablets stay the same over the three year period, which is actually unlikely.

The cost of a new washing machine

You might be surprised to learn that you can buy a brand new, perfectly good Indesit IWB5113 Washing Machine machine from Sainsburys for £224.99 including free delivery.

It might not have all the bells and whistles that more expensive machines offer, but it seems to be a very reasonable washing machine for a very reasonable price, particularly if funds are tight.

Note that this new washing machine costs only £53.39 more than three years worth of Calgon!

So does using Calgon in every wash make financial sense?

The figures speak for themselves. We have shown that the cost of using a Calgon tablet in every wash over a three year period comes close to the cost of buying a brand new washing machine.

Whilst we think environmental issues come into play too – the thought of binning a washing machine after three years is galling, however we do not know what the total environmental impact of using 780 tablets of Calgon is either.

It is undeniable how the cost of using a Calgon tablet in every wash adds up significantly over time.

Whether it makes financial sense for you to place a Calgon tablet into your washing machine every time you use it, is for you to decide.


  1. Marian 16th March 2012
  2. James 9th September 2010
  3. Gavin 8th September 2010

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