How do you select the correct water temperature for laundry? Read the care labels on each piece of clothing. You'll find the information you need to choose both your water temperature and the type of washing cycle. Following the recommendations on the label is especially important if you are a laundry-novice or if the garment is new.
If the label is missing or unclear, wash with cold water. Using cold water will cause the least damage like shrinking, fading or color bleeding. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can then try warm or hot water. Once you have some experience under your belt, you'll find that some fabrics can be cleaned at one of several temperatures.One tip that works with all cycles and fabrics, is to use a cold water rinse. Rinse water has little effect on stain removal or cleaning; so cold water works just as well to rinse away detergents and suspended soil. Set the washer dial on cold rinse and leave it for every load.
When To Use Hot Water
- Benefits: Cleans heavy soil, sanitizes linens infected with bacteria or fungus, kills insects
- Good For: White cotton clothes (underwear) worn close to the body, bed and kitchen linens, heavily soiled or sweaty garments, oily stains and sick bed linens
- Problems: Can fade colors, sets protein stains and shrinks some fabrics
When to Use Warm Water
- Benefits: Helps to dissolve powdered detergents, more energy savings than hot water
- Good For: Washable man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, spandex and rayon blends; lightly soiled clothes
- Problems: Can fade some colors, does not sanitize fabrics, cannot remove some heavy soils and stains
When To Use Cold Water
- Benefits: Most energy efficient water temperature, less likely to shrink items or fade them, acceptable for any washable fabric
- Good For: Dark and bright-colored clothes, delicate fabrics
- Problems: Less efficient for removing stains; will not sanitize clothes
For best results with cold water washing, pretreat stains before washing. Use a liquid detergent or one formulated for cold water.
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