Choosing to wash in cold or hot water is not just about saving money, it can be the difference between putting on some fresh clothes, or having to either repair or throw away your favourites! And while the label on your clothing items will tell you what direction to head in, Canstar Blue have put together a quick guide on the differences between a cold and hot wash to give you the inside lane the next time you have to put a load on.
Cold Vs. Hot Wash: Which is better?
It’s an age-old debate, but what temperature you should be washing your clothes at is entirely dependent on what material each item is made of, and how dirty they’ve gotten. Hot water is generally best for heavily soiled items and grease stains, while cold water is generally better for delicate fabrics.
What can I wash in cold water?
The majority of fabrics are suitable to wash in cold water, with delicates such as silk, wool and lace, along with dark or colourful fabrics, generally benefiting from a cold wash. Silk and wool fibres aren’t as strong as synthetic fibres, meaning a wash in hot water may end up damaging them, while darker colours may bleed in a warm wash, meaning that a cold wash can generally keep your clothes looking as they should be. Cold washes also limit the likelihood of any clothes shrinking, helping you to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions.
What can I wash in hot water?
Most fabrics are suitable to wash in warm or hot water, except for silk, wool, lace fabrics, or dark colours, which can become damaged or lose their vibrancy. Washing in hot water is generally recommended for items that are heavily soiled, as the warm water breaks down the dirt and grime, and helps stop the spread of germs and bacteria.
Is it better to clean with hot or cold water?
Both hot and cold water washing can effectively remove residual dirt caught up in fabrics, meaning for your day-to-day washing, either option is generally fine. However, there’s a few other areas you’ll have to consider when choosing a temperature to wash with, including:
- Detergent – Some detergents don’t dissolve in cold washes as effectively as they do in hot washes, so you may need to look into what type of laundry detergent or powder you’re using to ensure your clothes are coming out fresh.
- Cost – Washing with hot water will also increase your electricity bill, as it takes energy to heat up the water. So if you’re on a budget, looking at cold washes may help you save some money.
While which temperature you decide to use will depend on a variety of factors, it’s also recommended to occasionally run a warm wash to help clean your washing machine and prevent a build-up of mould and detergent.
Read more: Washing Machine Running Costs Explained
Should jeans be washed in cold or hot water?
Unless your jeans are heavily soiled, it’s recommended you wash them in cold water, as the higher the cotton content, the more likely they are to shrink in hot water. It’s also suggested that you wash jeans on a gentle cycle to help keep them looking newer for longer.
Should towels be washed in cold or hot water?
Towels should be washed in warm water to help kill bacteria and potential mould. However, hot water can decrease the life of your towels as it can weaken fibres, fade colours and contribute to shrinkage. So, to help improve the life of your towels, you might like to put them through cold-water washes instead.
The bottom line on washing machine temperatures
Understanding what clothes and fabrics to wash in cold water and what to wash in hot water is not an easy task. However, looking at the label on the clothes can help, as will understanding how each washing machine cycle works.
Alternatively, with how washing machine technology has improved over the past few years, looking into a new model could also help keep your clothes stay clean, and vibrant, for longer. Check out our ratings for front-load washing machines via the button below.
Original Author: Veronika Hleborodova