Doing laundry is an essential chore that almost everyone does routinely. One important factor that impacts the quality of the laundry is the water temperature used in washing machines. In this article, we will discuss the impact of washing machine water temperature on laundry and how to choose the right temperature for different types of fabrics.
What is washing machine water temperature?
Washing machine water temperature refers to the temperature of the water used in the washing cycle. Depending on the washing machine’s settings, water can be cold, warm, or hot. Cold water is typically between 60-80°F (15-27°C), warm water is between 90-110°F (32-43°C), and hot water is between 130-160°F (54-71°C).
How does water temperature affect clothing?
Water temperature affects clothing in several ways. Firstly, it impacts how clean clothing gets. Hot water is better at dissolving detergents, which means that it is better at removing dirt and stains. Secondly, water temperature affects the color of clothing. Hot water can cause colors to fade, while cold water preserves them. Finally, water temperature affects the fabric’s durability. Hot water can weaken and damage the fibers of some fabrics over time.
The Best Water Temperature for Different Types of Fabrics
Different fabrics have different ideal water temperatures for washing. Here are some guidelines:
- Cold Water: Delicate fabrics such as silk, wool, and lace should be washed in cold water to prevent shrinking and damage.
- Warm Water: Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and spandex should be washed in warm water to remove dirt and stains effectively.
- Hot Water: White cotton fabrics and heavily soiled items such as towels and bedding benefit from hot water to kill bacteria and remove tough stains.
Pros and Cons of Using Hot Water
Hot water has both advantages and disadvantages when used for laundry. Here are some pros and cons:
- Kills bacteria: Hot water is effective at killing bacteria, which is beneficial for washing heavily soiled items such as towels and bedding.
- Removes tough stains: Hot water is better at dissolving detergent, making it more effective at removing dirt and stains.
- Fades colors: Hot water can cause colors to fade or bleed, especially for brightly colored fabrics.
- Damages certain fabrics: Hot water can weaken and damage some fabrics over time, especially delicate fabrics such as silk and wool.
Alternatives to Using Hot Water
There are several alternatives to using hot water for laundry. Here are some options:
- Use cold or warm water: As discussed earlier, different types of fabrics require different water temperatures. When in doubt, use a cooler temperature to protect the fabric.
- Pre-treat stains: Instead of relying on hot water to remove stains, pre-treat them with a stain remover or soak them in a solution of water and detergent before washing.
- Use a longer wash cycle: If you’re concerned about killing bacteria, consider using a longer wash cycle instead of hotter water.
Tips for Choosing the Right Water Temperature
Here are some tips for choosing the right water temperature for your laundry:
- Read the clothing label: Always check the care label on clothing to see what water temperature is recommended.
- Sort laundry by color and fabric type: Sorting laundry by color and fabric type ensures that each item is washed in the ideal water temperature.
- Use cooler water for lightly soiled items: For lightly soiled items, use a cooler water temperature to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on fabrics.
- Don’t over-dry clothes: Over-drying clothes can cause shrinkage and damage. Be sure to follow the care label’s instructions for drying.
Overall, the water temperature used in washing machines has a significant impact on the quality of laundry. Hot water is better at removing dirt and stains, but it can also damage some fabrics and cause colors to fade. When in doubt, use cooler water for delicate fabrics and lightly soiled items. Always check the care label on clothing for recommended water temperatures.
- Can I use hot water to wash all types of fabrics?
- No, some fabrics such as silk and wool should be washed in cold water to prevent damage.
- Does using hot water make laundry cleaner?
- Hot water is better at dissolving detergent and removing dirt and stains, but cooler water can still effectively clean lightly soiled items.
- How can I prevent colors from fading?
- Use a cooler water temperature, sort laundry by color, and avoid over-drying clothes.
- What if I don’t have a setting for warm water?
- If your washing machine doesn’t have a separate setting for warm water, you can mix hot and cold water to achieve a moderate temperature.
- Can I wash all fabrics in cold water?
- Delicate fabrics such as silk and wool should always be washed in cold water,but synthetic fabrics and some cotton blends can be washed in warm or cool water depending on the level of soil and the care label instructions. Always check the care label for recommended water temperatures.