Author Topic: Tips for cold water laundering?  (Read 4705 times)

Trudie

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Tips for cold water laundering?
« on: September 20, 2015, 08:11:14 AM »
I'm going to commit to cold water laundering for energy savings.  Any tips? 

I use whatever detergent is on sale at Costco.  I particularly like their store brand.  I just opened a big bottle of "Ecos."  I can't attest to how well it works but I like the smell. 

Washer and dryer are old Maytag top loads.  I've commented on them before here.  We've never had issues with them in 20 years of marriage so aren't going to kick them to the curb for something not built to last.

We signed up for "off-peak" energy pricing and I do all our laundry at off peak times.  Other than reducing dryer usage (which we have) and re-wearing gently used clothes (something we do), there aren't many other options for reducing costs in this category.  But every little bit...

Rural

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2015, 10:01:12 AM »
You may want to use less detergent just because it will dissolve slightly less, but I've been washing in cold only for years with no real change in habits and no problems. My machine is probably about the age of yours.

BlueMR2

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2015, 11:52:45 AM »
"Just do it" would be my tip.  I use the same (which isn't much) amount of concentrated detergent and have noticed not difference since going cold water.  Everything comes out just as clean.

jengod

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2015, 03:00:34 PM »
It's expensive and unmustachian and you probably just want to use hot water if this is your situation, but if you have to kill off either dust mites or bed bugs and you use a cold water laundry system, you need a laundry additive called De-Mite. Pretty expensive, I love it since I have all the allergies.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 05:45:07 PM by jengod »

Cassie

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2015, 03:09:50 PM »
I wash everything in cold except for bedding, sheets & towels. These I still wash in hot as I have bad allergies & want to make sure everything ( dust mites) are dead.  Although, you can't see them everyone has them.

abhe8

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 03:43:45 PM »
For dust mites, can you wash in cold and dry on hot? Or does it have to be hot for both?

abhe8

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 03:44:42 PM »
I also wash all in cold, except sheets and towels. We also hang dry, which helps. Except the sheets and towels, I dry on hot.

Cassie

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 05:04:24 PM »
I read that you need to wash in hot.

PMG

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 05:26:02 PM »
Powdered detergent sometimes leaves a residue when used in cold water.   Liquid is good to go.

Of course, that was my experience 15 years ago, detergents have changed.



Rosy

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2015, 06:18:45 PM »
We wash mostly in cold. Every once in a while I do the towels in hot and I like to do the rugs and sheets on warm every so often. When I wash, the undies are washed in hot, Mr. R. washes everything in cold.
Liquid detergent is the way to go and we use Aldi.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2015, 09:58:21 PM »
I don't think I've ever washed in hot water. As a kid, Mum never showed me which button to press to make the temperature go hot. So... always washed on cold.

But, we live in the desert, and hang out clothes out to dry in the scorching sun - dry within 10minutes. I'm assuming that kills "dust mites" (Are they even real?).

MMMaybe

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2015, 11:28:21 PM »
I was washing in cold (30c) but went back up to 40c for clothes.

Things were still coming out of the washing machine stained and clothes didn't smell fresh. We live in a tropical climate so its very important that you don't end up with lingering sweat smells because they build up over time.

I use some tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil in my final rinse to deal with germs etc.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2015, 06:29:24 AM »
Washing on cold means clothes will dry slightly slower (if your comparison is moving the warm, freshly washed clothes to the dryer immediately). You may want to increase your usual spin speed.

FLBiker

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2015, 06:52:03 AM »
Powdered detergent sometimes leaves a residue when used in cold water.   Liquid is good to go.

Of course, that was my experience 15 years ago, detergents have changed.

+1

We always did cold, but w/ cloth diapers we use warm because our preferred detergent (powder 7th gen) doesn't dissolve as well in cold.  W/ liquid we never had trouble w/ anything.

Pigeon

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 07:05:28 AM »
I don't think I've ever washed in hot water. As a kid, Mum never showed me which button to press to make the temperature go hot. So... always washed on cold.

But, we live in the desert, and hang out clothes out to dry in the scorching sun - dry within 10minutes. I'm assuming that kills "dust mites" (Are they even real?).

Are dust mites real?  Ahh, yes, they are and it will take you second to find images that you will wish you could unsee.  They like higher humidity, so you may not be bothered by them as much in the desert.

The Mayo Clinic advises washing bedding in hot water at least weekly if you have problems with allergies.

We don't wash our clothes in hot water, but I have one kid with dust mite allergies, and following the recommended advice about dealing with dust mites, washing and otherwise, helped her considerably.

Cadman

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 08:44:59 AM »
This is one of those cases where I would spend the extra money to heat the water and wash as appropriate. There’s really three issues here.

One is that you need to reach a minimum temperature to kill mites, bacteria, etc. that thrive in bedding and undergarments. You can either wash in cold and then let the dryer take care of it, but when I work the numbers, it’s more expensive to fire up that dryer than to use the hot water and line dry. If this is not done, you will get transfer of bacteria (imagine face towels and underwear together).

The second issue is the effect on detergent and machine life. Avoid powdered detergents if you wash in cold as they won’t dissolve as well as liquids. You’ll also want to make sure you use a detergent specifically designed for a cold water wash. Many sources state you need to use more detergent, but this leads to other problems. If you do run mostly cold, it’s a good idea to run a very hot wash occasionally to try to flush out the buildup of ‘scum’ that will accumulate in the outer basket of the machine and to help keep seals and hoses soft. This stuff can get nasty in places you’ll never see, but will affect machine life. It’s also lead to the rise of “washing machine cleaner” additives.

The third issue is the chemistry of laundry. The idea is that you’re trying to relax the fabric so that the ‘pores’ open up to release trapped solids. This isn’t such a big deal on permanent press fabrics, but that hot water is needed for most things cotton. The mechanical action dislodges these oils and solids once the item relaxes and the soil gradually floats to the top. The spin prior to the first rinse in your Maytag is designed to spin this soil out to the outer basket, the following rinses work to dilute remaining detergent. At a 98.6F body temperature, those soils were absorbed/trapped. You really need to get above this to be effective. Any other temp requirement would be dictated by the detergent (there’s a lot more that goes into the actual chemistry and pH, but basically we no longer have the phosphates that helped take up the slack for poor temp or detergent, and enzymes do have some very specific requirements).

Gone Fishing

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 09:23:05 AM »
Been washing my laundry in cold for years (mom did too).  I'll spot treat (apply a little liquid detergent to stubborn spots) and run an occasional warm load if things start to look a little dingy (more so in the winter when the incoming water is ice cold).  Other than that, I have not experienced any adverse effects.  I think the primary benefit of hot/warm water is softening the greases and oils that trap dirt.   

My wife has bad allergies and I sympathize with those that do. If hot water helps by all means go for it.  Given that we have carpet, upholstered furniture, etc.  I do not think the incremental benefit of using hot water on our sheets is going to make that much of a difference.

FrugalWad

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 10:52:18 AM »
I use cold/cold on everything except sheets and towels. I also use vinegar in the bleach chute instead of bleach. I used to use cold/cold on my military uniforms (without using bleach or vinegar) that were supposed to be dry-clean only and never had any bad results.

It makes for a lot fewer loads when tossing everything in on cold regardless of color.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Tips for cold water laundering?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 02:51:37 PM »
My well water varies from cold in the summer to very cold in the winter.  For clothes, I have few enough loads each week that I just put a load in with cold (add liquid detergent first, add water and let mix, then add clothes and agitate), then I let it sit.  If I put the load on in the evening I finish it the next morning. I reset it to the start, so there is more agitation to get the loosened dirt out.  If I start it in the morning, I finish in the evening.  Every so often things will need a warm wash, but mostly this does me.  This and air drying means everything with elastic lasts much longer.
Sheets get a warm wash cold rinse, and towels get a warm or hot wash and cold rinse.

Dust mites - I am allergic to house dust, which really means the dust mites.  I find having only wood/ceramic floors (no carpet) and foam pillows makes the most difference.  I read someplace that dust mites need warm temperatures, so if you let your bedding cool off when you get out of bed, many will die (as opposed to making your bed as soon as you get up, and trapping all that heat).  Letting your sheets cool off and air dry every morning also helps them not get clammy during the summer when humidity is high (I learned that one from Two Little Savages).