Britain's biggest supplier of budget clothing is recommending customers wash its clothes at a lower temperature to save energy.

Asda will introduce labels across its George range from March, changing the recommended wash from 40C to 30C. If the advice is followed, it would bring about considerable savings in fuel bills for the store chain's 13 million customers as well as lower emissions from power stations.

With a 17 per cent share, Asda is the biggest player in the £7.8bn-a-year market for cheap clothing with 237 million garments sold a year. Until now, the supermarket had recommended washing clothes at 40C to ensure all dirt has been removed. But yesterday it said a "hot wash" was no longer needed because of improvements in the quality of detergents and washing machines. Its advice corresponds with a recent report by Cambridge University's Institute for Manufacturing that found most of the energy associated with clothing was expended during laundering.