Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold water laundry

I was taught to use hot water on whites and towels, cold water on dark and bright colors and warm water on everything else when it comes to doing laundry. Honestly, I am lazy so I mix everything together most of the time and stick it on warm. My whites are not as bright as they could be and I am sure I am not helping the fade factor on deeper colored clothing.

I started looking into washing laundry in cold water. Does the laundry get clean enough? How much does it really save as far as cost goes? Does it really help environmentally? Let's look at some numbers.

According to the US department of energy,
About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water.

That is a lot. It really is.

According to this site for a gas water heater, to wash on hot costs $.39-$.52 per load depending on rinse temp, to wash on warm costs $.27-$.39 per load while washing with cold costs $.14 per load. If the average family does 400 loads per year, that is a difference of $208 for a hot/warm cycle versus $56 for a cold/cold cycle or $152 per year. That isn't huge but added up over a lifetime there is a definite difference.

But do clothes get clean on the cold cycle. Well, mostly. The recommendation is to wash diapers and towels along with anything else that you need to worry about sanitary conditions on the hot water cycle along with anything with oily stains. For most clothing though you will not be able to tell the difference between the laundry washed in cold water vs. the laundry washed in warm or hot water.

So I have a new goal of changing my laundry habits.

Project 365: Today I came into a new set of dishes. This was my grandpa's set. Since my dishes were dwindling thanks to careless preteen handling, I gladly accepted these very pretty dishes. I am always happy to change things up a bit, and they remind me of him <3

1 comment:

  1. When we bought a new washer we were excited to find one that specifically said the cold water cycle got the clothes as clean as the hot water cycle. I still wash diapers, towels, sheets, and whites on hot, but it's nice not to have to worry about the rest of the things.

    I also love our washer because it only takes 15 gallons of water to wash. It's a big front loader washer that fits about 1.5 loads in one load. The average top loading washer takes around 40 gallons! I'm so thankful for our front loader... it saves us a ton of money by using cold water and less water!