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.