Do you wash colored clothes in hot or cold water? How about washing white clothes in hot or cold water? The answers to these questions depend entirely on what you're washing and for what purpose. The temperature of the water you use when washing clothes can have a major impact on how effectively a stain is removed, how thoroughly bedding is sanitized, the costs associated with the wash, and so much more.
This issue is particularly relevant to parents who have to do multiple loads of laundry each week and contend with lots of stains caused by young children. People working in the hospitality and the food industry can also benefit immensely from knowing the difference between using hot or cold water for laundry. In this post, we'll provide helpful examples and explore the effectiveness of hot and cold water when doing laundry.
Does Hot Water Clean Clothes Better Than Cold Water?
Not necessarily. Hot water and cold water have their own unique strengths and weakness. A major advantage of hot water is that it helps prevent the spread of germs. If you have a sick family member or are concerned about the spread of germs at your business, washing clothing and bedding in hot water is the way to go. Many also prefer hot water for cleaning and sanitizing their baby-related items, including cloth diapers and baby clothes.
Hot and warm water can also be more effective than cold water for certain fabrics. For example, knits and synthetic fabrics like spandex and polyester are generally easier to wash in warm water. Those living in cold-weather states may also find warm or hot water more effective at cleaning their clothes, as detergent is sometimes less effective in cold water.
What Happens If You Wash Clothes in Cold Water Instead of Warm?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with using cold water over hot or warm water. In fact, using cold water comes with many benefits. A washing machine has to use a great deal of energy to heat water, so opting for cold water is actually better for the environment and your budget. Cold water is also the superior choice when dealing with delicate fabrics like lace and dark or colorful pieces of clothing.
Cold water is effective at removing many different kinds of stains, including those left by grass, blood, sweat, and makeup. Hot water can worsen some stains, as it may cause the stain to seep deeper into the fabric. The only stains you should typically use hot or warm water for are oily or greasy ones.
Does Warm or Hot Water Shrink Clothes?
A downside of using hot water on clothes is that it can shrink, wrinkle, and fade some fabrics. When washing with cold water, your clothing is less likely to shrink or fade. Cold water can actually reduce wrinkles, which saves you the time and energy of ironing out your garments. So, if you have a piece of clothing that you really can't risk fading, shrinking, or wrinkling, cold water may be the safer choice.
Which Is Better — Hot or Cold Water?
While cold water is more eco-friendly and tends to be more gentle on clothing, hot water is uniquely effective at sanitizing everything from cloth diapers to athletic wear.
Your choice of temperature should depend entirely on what you're washing and why you're washing it. Using the information provided above, you can make confident choices about which temperature is best suited to your needs. Soon, you'll be thoroughly sanitizing linens and eliminating stains with ease!