Cold water for laundry

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A recent change at Chez Bitb: I'm now washing laundry in cold water only. Some of you will surely wonder what has taken me so long.  Because of the huge energy cost for heating wash water, the issue for me is not if hot water cleans laundry better than cold water, but if cold water cleans laundry well enough. And by washing clothes just enough I try to make them last longer and possibly reduce the number of clothing articles I need.

I don't usually promote commercial goods, but I use, like and recommend Charlie's Soap, a scent-free detergent that works very well in cold water. (It also seems to have a cult following in the cloth diaper crowd.) I used to get it at a now-defunct green goods store, but discovered it sold at (of all places) the Vitamin Shoppe, where I got a fresh tub this weekend.

5 Replies to “Cold water for laundry”

  1. We made the switch to cold wash water years ago, at the time because it cut down on clothes shrinkage and color bleeding. Thank you for the soap recommendation. We use a non-eco-friendly but scent-free soap, and making the switch to Charlie’s, if we can find it, seems like a good idea.

  2. Our Kroger’s here in the sticks carries Seventh Generation, which is available unscented (although we use the lavender) and is eco-friendly. We’ve used only cold water for 30 years.

    Next – hang to dry. We are fortunate that we have always had somewhere to do that, and now have a covered back porch so rain is not as much of a problem, but we hang in the basement if necessary. There is nothing like sun-dried sheets, and tumble-drying is much more wear on clothes, besides the energy savings.

  3. Tried to go to washing all laundry on cold, but my spouse has objected to the practice. He believes very strongly that not using hot water is un-sanitary. The exact words to me were, “You might as well be washing the clothes in a dirty toilet. Hot water kills germs.”

    PS – First name altered to protect feelings.

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