Advantages and disadvantages of washing your clothes in hot water
Ah, the washing machine. One of the great innovations of our age, this device has freed up hours of time and energy. Nowadays, it’s incredibly easy to use, too. Throw in your clothes, add a little detergent, and voila: your fabrics are clean!
For many years, it’s been accepted that washing clothes in hot water is the way to go. But is it really? Or is all this warming up doing more harm to your favorite shirt than good?
Today we are looking at the pros and cons of the discussion regarding the hot water issue:
Pro: Hot Water Gets the Job Done
Tossing your clothing into hot water (and adding a dash of detergent) will take out most stains—including those unfortunate sweat stains—or that dollop of ketchup your child dripped on himself/herself during hamburger night.
Hot water is also the way to go for clothes that have been lived-in—workout pants, socks, and most underwear, for starters. To ensure that your clothes smell clean and refreshing the next day, let them rest in warm water.
Pro: Hot Water Kills Germs
Flu bug going around your child’s school? Just got off an airplane? Hot water is the way to go. If you want to make sure your clothes have a clean, refreshing scent the next day, put them in heated water.
Con: Hot Water is Environmentally Unfriendly
In the last ten years or so, we have grown increasingly concerned about the environment. A large part of the energy used to wash a load of clothes goes directly into heating the water – according to the latest studies, approximately one third of the energy used goes into washing warm clothes. The energy is produced through electricity, which is largely produced by fossil fuels – so the power plant works harder to power your washing machines, an increasing number of by-products are released into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Consider how much laundry you do per week. And then think about how that will spike your power bill!
Cons: The heated water can harm or discolor the fabric.
Next time you’re debating laundry water temperature, take into consideration what kind of clothing you’re washing. Heated water can make your bright colors run and fade, and can shrink certain types of fabric.
Additionally, specific types of stains actually require cold water to get out—things like wine and coffee can actually set deeper into fabrics when you run them in hot water, making them impossible to get out later. For these types of stains, we recommend running them in cold water before anything else.
Study the tags on your clothing and linens and decide for yourself what sort of washing machine temperatures to use with your family’s belongings. You may well end up using a mixture of hot and cold water, rather than depending on one or the other. In the meantime, why not find out about other ways to keep your family healthy and happy by maintaining a germ-free household.