4 Convincing Reasons to Start Washing Your Clothes in Cold Water, According to Experts
You don't need hot water to get them clean.
Loathe it or love it, laundry is a part of life. Some of us really do enjoy putting fresh sheets on the bed and folding our t-shirts on a Sunday night, while others think laundry a tedious chore to be put off as long as possible. Either way, when you do get to it, you've got a few different choices to make as you load the washing machine, including water temperature. Hot water is helpful for certain stains or if you need to wipe out germs, but if you're washing anything and everything in warmer water, experts say you're making a crucial mistake. Read on for four convincing reasons you should be washing your clothes in cold water.
READ THIS NEXT: The One Thing You Should Never Put in Your Washing Machine, Experts Warn.
Your clothes will last longer.
You may not realize it, but water temperature is crucial when you're doing laundry—and when you choose to wash on cold, your clothes will thank you for it.
"Cold water laundry cycles are gentler on fabric than hot water washes, meaning that delicate fabrics and colors won't fade as quickly over time," Beatrice Flores, cleaning expert and head blogger at Living Pristine, tells Best Life. "As a result, people who opt for cold-water laundering may find that their clothes last longer than if they were washed with hot or even warm water."
In addition, warm water doesn't help the fit of your clothing, Stefan Bucur, founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home, explains. "Warm water tends to dilate the fibers in your clothes, and when they dry, they shrink into new positions," he says. "There is a much lower likelihood that would happen with your clothes if you wash them in cold water."
This can happen with both natural and synthetic fibers, according to Patrick Kenger, personal stylist and founder of Pivot Image Consulting. "Think about how you would similarly protect your hair from heat—if you want your clothing to last, you need to be much gentler. That means cold water," he says.
You won't need to iron.
Doing a load (or several loads) of laundry is one thing, but when you have to iron your clothes afterward, it just adds another step. If you opt for cold water, however, experts say the cumbersome ironing board can stay in the closet.
"Washing clothes with cold water is a good option as it reduces wrinkles," Jimmy Olas, cleaning expert and CEO of Silver Olas, a professional cleaning service based in California, explains. "It also helps save energy costs that are associated with ironing to help save time and effort."
According to a study from the University of Kentucky, clothing laundered in cold water was actually the smoothest in terms of wrinkles, also resulting in the least amount of pilling, per Grove Collaborative.
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It's better for the environment.
While your clothes will look and feel better after a cold rinse, you'll also get a pat on the back from Mother Nature. When you choose cold water, you're using less energy—and it can really make an impact.
According to Adam Smith, CEO of Eco Energy Geek, roughly 90 percent of the energy used to do laundry is used when heating the water.
"From an environmental perspective, washing in cold water not only reduces energy consumption, but it also requires fewer greenhouse gas emissions," he tells Best Life. "This is because the energy used to heat the water is generated by burning fossil fuels, which means that cold water laundry presents a great opportunity to reduce the individual's environmental footprint."
Bucur notes that skipping the dryer is also environmentally friendly, helping you cut back even further on energy consumption. Air-dry your clothes instead and you might find that you like spending a few extra minutes outside, too.
It saves you money.
Helping the environment is certainly a plus, and many of us are actively trying to reduce our impact. An added benefit of staying eco-conscious, however, relates to your wallet. Less energy used means a lower energy bill, and with today's inflated prices, there's no reason not to give cold water a shot.
"It is highly recommended that people opt to do their laundry in cold water," Smith says. "It's an easy and straightforward way to save energy and money while also reducing one's environmental impact."
If your washer and dryer are on their last legs, opting for a more energy-efficient replacement can also save you money in the long run.