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Is it better to wash my clothes in cold or hot water?

When it comes to the right temperature to wash clothes, people tend to have a favourite wash programme or temperature setting on their washing machine that they repeatedly use for all their garments. But how do you know if the temperature that you have selected is the best one to use?

The reality is that selecting the correct temperature for your wash depends upon a number of different influencing factors, and below we have outlined some helpful situations in which you should use either hot water or cold water to wash your clothes and other fabrics.

Always remember to check the fabric care label attached to your clothing for the manufacturer's instructions on which temperature and wash setting to use.

When should I use hot water?

  • For particularly dirty clothes, such as sweaty workout clothes, socks and underwear, a hot water wash is the best option to ensure that your clothes will be clean and odour-free the next day.
  • Hot water is effective at killing off any bacteria and germs, so if you have any infected clothes, towels and bed linens, a hot wash is the best option to disinfect them.
  • White and lighter coloured clothes clothes can be washed in warm to hot water as there is less risk of the colours running, and it's more effective at removing stubborn dirt and stains.
  • If you want to strike the right balance between eco-friendly washing and efficient washing performance, use a warm temperature between 40°C and 60°C which is great all-round choice for most clothing items, such as jeans and moderately stained garments.

When should I use cold water?

  • For clothes which are only lightly soiled and stained, you can use a cold temperature wash without dramatically effecting the cleaning performance of your washing machine. The good news is that most modern detergents are still effective at lower temperatures such as 30°C.
  • For brightly coloured or dark clothes, use a cold wash as this will help prevent the colours from fading, discolouring and bleeding out onto other clothing.
  • For delicate fabrics, such as wool and silk, use a cold wash to protect the fabric fibres from damage and shrinking. We strongly advise you to read the label on your clothing items as this will indicate the correct temperature and setting to wash them.
  • Hot water washing uses a considerable amount of energy, which is produced by electricity which is in turn generated by the burning of fossil fuels. By lowering your wash temperatures on a regular basis, you will save more energy which helps protect the envirmonment and helps you save money.

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