Washing clothes in cold water has plenty of benefits. And you can safely put most garments, shoes, and accessories in the washing machine on the cold-water setting.
Technology in home appliances improved drastically over the last years. And detergents got a lot better, which means that washing clothing with cold water is now a viable option.
Cold water does the job for most fashion items, beddings, and linens. You can place them in the washing machine with a temperature lower than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) to effectively refresh textiles that are too dirty.
Hot or warm water is still useful for sanitizing, eliminating bacteria, cleaning heavily soiled clothes, towels, underwear, and white garments that show dirt. But most of the time, cold water is preferable when doing your laundry.
Here are ten proven reasons why you need to wash your clothes in cold water.
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1. Avoid missing instructions
Before washing any garment, read the care instructions you can find on the care tag to determine if each fabric is washable. Care labels are also useful to find out the preferred temperatures for both the washing and rinse cycle.
Most clothes are safe to wash, and you can place them in the washing machine at moderate temperatures. However, many garments are delicate are require special attention. Some even need to be hand washed or dry-cleaned.
If you don't care to read the proper instructions, you risk damaging the fabrics. If you wash your clothes in cold water, they will be safe most of the time.
2. Prevent stains
You may notice stains on your clothes at the end of the washing cycle if you choose to do your laundry with hot or warm water.
Some colors are fragile and don't resist high temperatures. They can taint your clothes if you are not careful enough.
Hot water and vigorous washing can also spread stains and even damage the fabric permanently.
3. Avoid dye-bleeding
Some garments made of delicate fibers and colors should be cleaned by hand, with cold water, and air-dried to avoid color fading.
Make sure to separate light from dark colors to avoid dye bleeding. Wash them separately and resist using high temperatures.
Before washing, you can also test if they would bleed by dampening a hidden spot and blotting it with a white cloth.
Fabrics with light colors generally support heat better. Choose lower temperatures for dark colors.
4. Increase clothing longevity
Warm or hot water can melt fibers and dyes and also damage fabrics. It's best to use lower temperatures if you want to preserve your clothes and wear them for longer.
In general, you should use cold water for fragile, synthetic, and semi-synthetic textiles such as those found in athletic sportswear.
Many fabrics are washable but don't resist heat very well. They have low thermal resistance and will melt under high temperatures.
5. Reduce wrinkles and crease
Use a gentle cycle, avoid high spin speeds, and use cold water as much as possible to reduce wrinkles and prevent your clothes from becoming creased.
Cold-water washing means clothing is less likely to form lines and ridges. Textile fibers will keep their strength and shape. And clothes that get washed with cold water are less prone to wrinkling.
6. Save time
The cold water is associated with shorter wash cycles on many washing machines. Make sure to soak your clothes for shorter periods to save time and make them last longer.
Doing your laundry with cold water can also save time associated with ironing as your clothes are less likely to crease. Delicate fabrics require the lowest temperature setting.
Use the lowest temperature setting to iron your clothes. Many types of fibers can easily dissolve under high temperatures.
7. Conserve water
Cold-water washing decreases water usage as the washing cycles are usually shorter. Washing machines tend to use too much water in general. And properly doing your laundry can save a lot of water.
Water scarcity is a huge issue that already affects every continent. Two-thirds of the world population experience severe water scarcity at least one month every year.
There are many easy ways to reduce your ecological footprint to preserve the Earth for future generations. Fill the washing machine all the way, take shorter and colder showers, wash your car less often, and capture rainwater to water your plants.
8. Reduce energy consumption
The washing machine and dryer aren't the most environmentally friendly devices in your home. They consume an absurd amount of energy and can damage your clothes.
To reduce your energy consumption, protect the environment, and ensure your clothes last longer, choose lower temperatures whenever you can.
Your laundry doesn't require high temperatures every time. The cold water setting on your washing machine saves lots of energy.
9. Save money
To save money on electrical bills, reduce carbon emissions, and protect the planet, wash your clothes with cold water.
Depending on how often you usually do your laundry, you can save a hefty sum of money with low water temperatures.
10. Decrease microfibers
Washing your clothes at home can release a lot of microfibers in the water system. A liter of wastewater from a washing machine could contain up to 200,000 textile fibers.
Microfibers contaminate water sources, endanger human health and the environment. The number of textile microfibers entering the world's oceans is increasing at an alarming rate.
Cold-water washing reduces microfibers that goes out into the world. Fabrics are more likely to keep their integrity at lower temperatures.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.