Energy efficiency myth: Washing your clothes in warm water is better and more efficient

Washing clothes in warm water has often been credited with killing more germs and making clothes cleaner. In fact, 60 percent of Americans still wash their laundry in warm water (1). Some even believe that washing in warm water requires less detergent and less drying time. At energySMART, we’re looking to clean up this myth and show you the benefits of easy efficiency practices.

Heating is an energy hog

Do you know how your washer uses the energy it consumes? According to the EPA, 90 percent goes toward heating the water, while only 10 percent actually goes to the washer motor (2). Washing with cold water will help save that energy and cut down carbon dioxide emissions. With this simple change, you could save up to $63 a year.

Washing your clothes in warm water doesn’t just hurt your wallet, it hurts your clothes too. Heat breaks down dyes in clothes and can cause shrinkage (3). Pairing your new cold water washing routine with the right detergent will ensure that dirt, sweat and stains are broken down and lifted out, resulting in the same clean you expect from a hot water cycle.

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1https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-are-you-still-washing-your-clothes-in-warm-water-1706931003

2https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2014/04/earth-month-tip-wash-your-clothes-in-cold-water/

3https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/case-washing-clothes-cold-water-180955459/