Cost-conscious homemakers are more interested than ever before in the dollars and cents of their home laundry operations, and energy, or how to use less of it. More than 90 percent of the energy for today’s washing is used to heat water. You can save money on laundry by using cooler water at appropriate times in washing cycles.
While hot water – 140 to 145 degrees – is best for general laundry and allaround soil removal, some fabrics and colors may have a better appearance when washed with cooler water. And, cold water can provide a satisfactory rinse for any type of load.
In addition to decreasing energy consumption, this procedure reduces wrinkling, which in turn saves time and effort when ironing. Cold-water rinse increases drying time slightly, but the extra energy for drying is far less than that needed to heat water for the rinse cycles.
To further save money on laundry and reduce energy use, cooler-water washing cycles can be employed regularly for lightly soiled, dark or bright clothing. Moderately soiled clothing as well as permanent press and synthetic fabrics can be washed in warm water, with the hot-water washes reserved for heavily soiled or stained items, white clothing and colorfast cottons.
Sorting clothes along these general guidelines and carefully following garment washing instructions will help determine the temperature and cycles which produce the best results and the greatest energy-efficiency.
A good approach to better cleaning results at lower water temperatures is to “retreat” heavily soiled or stained items. Also, soaking before washing helps loosen dirt. Chlorine bleach, additional detergent or other laundry products can be added during the wash cycle to boost the cleaning power of the detergent.
For coldwater washes, use liquid detergent, or a powdered detergent, pre-dissolved in some hot water. Steps may be needed to combat unusually hard water or special, local mineral conditions which contribute to wash problems.