Heating water to do laundry is one of the largest users of energy in a typical home. So, switch to washing in cold water – it gets clothes just as clean as hot water, while using less energy and money.
Energy Star states that almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water. Switching from hot or warm water to cold water washing saves that energy. In fact, each household that makes the switch to cold-water washing eliminates about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to the Sierra Club.
But if the benefits are so obvious, why haven’t people made the switch before? Although cold water has long been used for certain garments, many people have assumed that only hot water could really get clothes clean. That’s just partly true.
Heat is one of three main ingredients in cleaning clothes – mechanical energy (in the form of your washing machine agitating clothes) and chemicals are the other two, according to a recent New York Times article. So, you can take out one of the ingredients as long as you improve the others, James Danzinger, a senior scientist who works on detergents for P&G, told the Times.
Cold-water specific detergents do just that. Whereas older soaps only worked well with hot water, new cleaning agents are chemically formulated for cold water. These cold-water detergents perform the same as or better than traditional detergents, as rated by Consumers Reports. In fact, P&G’s Tide Coldwater, one of many detergents specifically designed for cold water, is ranked above many regular detergents onConsumer Reports’ detergents list,.
Cold-water detergents also cost about the same as their warm-water competitors, with the additional benefit of reducing energy use by over three-quarters. This can add up to substantial savings every time you do laundry.