Do You Do Your Laundry in Cold Water

United States
August 13, 2009 9:47am CST
I always do my laundry in cold water, how about you ? this is just of the steps we have taken to save money and the invironment. Only thing I am still trying to figure out is how much it actually saves on a yearly basis doing this. I just did a google search to try to figure out how much, but nothing came up. I was expecting a schedule or so but didn't find any. Do you know ?
8 people like this
33 responses
• United States
13 Aug 09
Well there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to figure out what you're saving. Is your washer energy efficient in general to begin with? What size loads do you usually wash? I couldn't tell you the exact savings, but i can share my experience with you. First of all, you should fill the washer like a large load but set it to a medium load level of water to conserve. I never put my water level on large- it is a big waste. Normal loads should always be set to Cold. If you have all whites and are trying to get out stains, you can use a warm setting once in awhile if you need to. Do as much as you can in one load, because two small loads takes up a lot more energy and electricity than one large load set to medium water level. Also, my dryer has a "Energy Preferred" setting. If you have this- use it! Otherwise try 40 minutes timed and then check if they're dry... or better yet- hang your clothes up to dry instead! These tips can save you (depending on your providers costs obviously) anywhere from $20 to $50 a month! Also... what I've been doing the last few months is completely unplugging everything except for my stove and fridge. My microwave, toaster, stereo, tv's, computers, printer, cell phone chargers, even lamps, and all other electronics I completely unplug when they are not in use. When I started doing this, plus doing my laundry with the tips above I noticed a $80 difference on average in my electric bill. And... what is good for our wallets, turns out to be good for the environment too in this case! Hope this helps!
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for your response and tips. I have a brand new washer and have most features to save as possible it also weighs the water to use less. I always unplugg most appliances when not in use except for tv, pc, and other needed appliances. I also try to (when remembering) take out meat the day before using it and let it thraw up in the fridge, which is both healthy for the meat but also save on my utilitybill as the fridge uses the energy from the frozen meat to cool the food down.
1 person likes this
@marty3888 (2359)
• United States
13 Aug 09
No I don't know. I do know this. I can turn on hot water and run it for two minutes and the hot water heater will fire up and run for about 15 minutes. I have always done my laudry in warm water but I've been thinkiung about that, to. I'm just wondering ifr there's any dirt or maybe a small stain that won't come out in cold water that would have come out in warm water. But that's it. I think it depends on how big of a water heater you have, if it's gas or electric, etc. That's probably why you can't find the information online.
1 person likes this
@ladym33 (11008)
• United States
13 Aug 09
Actually did you know that cold or warm water can actually set a stain. It is true that using warmer water will help get out stains better than cold, but if the stain does not come out it can be made worse by using the warm or hot water. I find it best to try to the get any stains out before putting them in the washer, that way you can use cold water.
1 person likes this
@ladym33 (11008)
• United States
13 Aug 09
I do all my clothes in cold water except for the one load of whites I do. But if money is tight I will do them in cold too. I also wash everything in the faster gentle cycle. The gentle cycle is much shorter and uses less electricity, and it helps the clothes to last longer as the washer does not beat them up as much as it does in the regular cycle.
• United States
13 Aug 09
Good point with the faster cycle, I didnt think about this. We just got a new washer and dryer - we bought it when we moved into our new home not to long ago.
@caver1 (1765)
• United States
13 Aug 09
I use cold water for all load except the whites. I use warm/cold for the whites. I just think it gets them cleaner. I don't have an answer for how much you save by using cold water instead of hot.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for reponding, yes I am sure a lot of people uses cold water when doing laundry and its good that we all pitch in helping saving this way.
2 people like this
@caraj444 (1080)
• Canada
13 Aug 09
I also do my laundry in cold water and the only difference i do notice is that whites dont always come out as good but the benefits outway it (with two little kids i dont tend to wear alot of white anyways!) im supprised there were no figures saying how much it saves? Im sure it must save alot over the course of the year as thats a significant amount of hot water saved, hopefully someone will have the answer im curious myself now!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for your response to this. I am just curius to see how much it actually saves.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Aug 09
Yes, I usually do my laundry in cold water with a good detergent. I don't like using hot water because I think clothes fade faster and wear out faster. Sometimes, if i have some tough stains, I'll pretreat and then soak in the hot water, but still wash in cold water.
1 person likes this
@tdemex (3547)
• United States
13 Aug 09
Don't have a clue how much you save however the point is that you do. Here in Mexico they just raised the price of natural gas again and it's really outragious, so we turned off the hot water totaly and that is a little drastic for this gringo, but I'm trying to go with the flow. I'm more worried about doing the dishes in cool water! It's hot here and the water that comes out is cool not real cold! tdemex
1 person likes this
@vikkiz (519)
11 Oct 09
I know this is sooo ignorant but i dont do my washing in cold water i still use a 40 or 30 degree wash, I have never been one to care about all this recycling and ''go green'' stuff as i just dont have any extra time on my hands to think about it, i have that much of a busy week that any spare time i do have is spent on internet,tv,pampering myself. I know its very selfish but im a selfish kind of gal, Plus i got put off the whole recyling fiasco because i did actually start using my blue recyling bin when it was first given to me, I was recyling everything from my tins to papers, only to get a council memeber at my door to hand me a fine for putting a wrong tin in the bin!!!!!????? A WRONG TIN! 50 quid....for a wrong tin!! After that i vowed i wouldnt recycle again! however i do give all clothes,shoes,unwanted gifts to charity, i also raise a lot of money for charity aswell so i think thats my bit done
• United States
11 Oct 09
The wrong tin in the bin, I have to agree that sounds weird. I have to admit that I recently started doing my laundry in 30-40 degree water as I had my parents staying with us, they live overseas. One day when I washed my dads white t-shirt I guess the laundry detergent stained his t-shirt and from thereon I started doing the laundry in warm water. I assume the detergent I use was not suitable for cold wash. Since then I have not done any laundry in cold water.
• United States
27 Aug 09
I pretty much always use cold water too. Although after reading all these tips and responses, I'm going to have to think about my next laundry day. I too, am having a problem with my clothes smelling musty right after washing them. Someone before mentioned they have a front loader, but I don't. I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to have to start washing everything in hot or warm. I just can't afford the electric bill now, let alone then! I love the tip about the gentle cycle, will definitely incorporate that, especially when washing my daughters clothes.
• United States
29 Aug 09
Thanks for your response. I have read somewhere that using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar should help the musty smell. You simply add it instead of softner. I am going to try it out.
1 person likes this
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
18 Aug 09
I have tried to do my laundry in cold water but I have a front loading washer and it seems if I don't use hot water the clothes smell musty. I have tried cleaning the inside of the drum and the huge gasket around the door but it doesn't seem to make much difference. I wish I could use cold water to save some $$$$.
• United States
27 Aug 09
It's funny you should say that! I use cold water and lately my clothes have smelled musty too. Like they sat in the washer wet overnight or something. I don't have a front loader though. I wonder why this is happening. I didn't notice it as much before. Help!!
• United States
13 Aug 09
It depends, some things yes but sheets and towels should always be washed in hot.
• United States
29 Aug 09
Thanks for your response. I believe the detergent today has been developed to fight germs and dirt even with cold water.
@imsilver (1669)
• Canada
13 Aug 09
I have no idea how much it actually saves me moneywise but I do all my laundry in cold water. I'm not so much worried about the money as the hot water. LOL. As you've seen in plenty of my posts; I'm a big believer in a hot bath curing everything so I like there to be hot water in the tank when I want a bath. I think that's my main incentive for doing laundry in cold water.
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for your comments. That is actually hilarious why you do it.
@peavey (16327)
• United States
13 Aug 09
I do dark and colored clothes in cold water, everything else gets washed in hot water. I'm not germophobic, but I don't want to wash my face with germs that was on my privates last week. Hot water helps kill those and it also keeps white clothes white. I also line dry and that helps more with costs than the temperature of water. I only have two loads per week and sometimes less.
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for your comment. I believe the detergent today has been developed to kill those germs.
• Canada
13 Aug 09
Yes, I have always washed and rinsed with cold water and I also hang my laundry on the clothesline to dry (for as much of the year as I can) to further the benefits. In the winter, I have a standing dryer rack in my laundry room that I use. A load takes about a day to dry on that but it's not too bad. I only ever use the dryer if something is needed immediately or for things like sheets that don't work well on the smallish dryer rack :) I looked for some tables and I found one for you. It's offered by a Canadian website but I'm sure the theory of it is still useful wherever someone lives. It just gives an interesting comparison of how much can be saved by switching to cold/cold from whatever water combination is currently being used: http://www.energyefficiency.org/cold/en/energy_and_cost_savings.html
• United States
13 Aug 09
Thanks for your response and for finding the schedule. About the clothes line, yes this is definitely my next step, I just got an umbrella clothes line, we just havent had the time to put it up in our yard but will work on that this weekend. My mom always used her dryer line, so when we got our own yard this was a must to me.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Sep 09
I have to use cold water to wash clothes in because the house we rent doesn't have hot water going to the washer. If I want hot water in the wash I have to put it in a bucket from another sink and put in the washer. I just use the cold water and it does okay.
• United States
20 Aug 09
It is hard to figure out how much we really save. There are so many different options to choose. It depends on the size of the loads, how often we do them, what level we set the machine on and what machine we are using. I did think about figuring out what my savings were but I could not figure it out. We use cold water unless someone is sick in the house then we use hot to wash all the bedding and things we feel need extra germ washing. I think it all turns out the same and we have been happy with it.
@lwy519 (159)
• China
17 Aug 09
I think it's normal,I do mylaundry in cold water.is this the dissimilarity between USA and China?
@happy6162 (3011)
• United States
14 Aug 09
I wash my laundry in warm water and rinse in cold water. I do not know how much you actually save by doing your laundry in cold water. I also do not know if I am saving anything either.
@Opal26 (17691)
• United States
14 Aug 09
Hey freebies! Yes, I always do my laundry in cold water! It is better for the clothes! It is less wear and tear on them too! It is not only better for the environment, but it makes them last longer, avoids shrinkage, less color running! But, luckily for me my boyfriend is the laundry person now in my house! He drags the clothes out to the laundrymat! They are just too heavy for me so he has now taken over that miserable task since he is so picky about how he likes his clothes being washed! So I am so happy now that I don't have to do them anymore! And he even folds them after they are dried or hangs them up for the ones that don't get put in the drier! I love my brown sugar!
@robert19ph (4584)
• Philippines
14 Aug 09
hello freebiesandsavings, Here in our country, we always use cold water in washing the clothes. We never use warm/hot for doing the laundry. We do bleach the white and put them under the sun for hours, this way it will become whiter.