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Hot or Not When to Use a Cold Wash Cycle in Washing Machine
Hot or Not When to Use a Cold Wash Cycle in Washing Machine

1m read

Hot or Not: When to Use a Cold Wash Cycle in Washing Machine

To set the record straight at the outset, a cold wash cycle will always be safer for your washing than heated water. However, safer doesn't necessarily mean cleaner, and modern washing machines usually have more than enough options to make us all confused.


Our goal is to shake you out of a possible hot water washing mindset passed down through generations from the days when washing was boiled for days on end. The other questionable habit many tend to adopt is to choose a favoured setting and wash everything on that - usually, the shortest time setting available.


In today's laundry appliances, you can't cheat. If it takes longer than you planned to wash what you asked it to, it will adjust the wash cycle and correct you.


Is the Cold Water Cycle the Same as the Cycle for Delicates?


Yes and no. Delicates do best on a cold water cycle although a gentle warm cycle won’t ruin them. It's the machine action that throws a monkey wrench into the works.


There are far fewer movements involved in handling delicates than with vigorous machines, which will be considerably less than for stubborn laundry.


The spin cycle is totally different for delicates and woollens than for tougher clothing and linen.


You won’t go wrong if you remember the laundry anthem to ’Read the Labels’.


More often than not, it will recommend a cold wash cycle. Any deviation from this can cause shrinkage or fading.


The stakes are high when it comes to washing at the wrong temperature.


When it's too hot, clothes shrink and colours run. When it's too cold, detergents can't do their job. Lukewarm wash temperature has more merits than hot water, but that option is seldom needed.


Two reasons underlie a change in how to treat your clothes, linens, and towels;

  1. Washing machine technology has evolved a great deal since the days of boiled washing.
  2. Washing detergents are specific; favourite brands are not all that matters.


For the sake of your laundry, your time, and your money, let's set the record straight. This will remove the mystery of washing temperatures and add magic to washday blues.


There are three key players in the washing game to keep in mind:

  1. Thermal factors
  2. Chemical factors
  3. Mechanical factors


Get these three to work in harmony and you have happy laundry days coming your way.


Coming Clean With A Cold Wash Cycle


Let’s begin with the thermal, or temperature aspects and the reasons why cold water cycles win against the odds.


It means losing the idea that heat cleans better. It might in certain instances, such as for stubborn stains on non-delicate items. But then there are also excellent stain removers to pretreat laundry items and still have them come out clean from a cold water wash.


Hot water does kill more germs than cold water, yet again, adding a cup of white vinegar to your cold water cycle will do the trick too.


What is Defined as a Cold Water Cycle?


According to the Eco Nuts washing guide, cold water comes in anywhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. (15 - 26.7 degrees C)


Those variants in degrees are in themselves a red alert that not all cold water is equal. The only way to be really sure is to use a cooking thermometer to ascertain the temperature coming from the outlet pipe while you’re washing on your cold water cycle.


Doing that in the winter months is even more important because if your cold water temperature is coming in under 15℃, your washing is likely not going to be properly cleaned.  All you need to do is to set your machine to wash on warm - not hot, mind. Just remember to set it back to wash on the cold water cycle in the spring and summer months.


The Secret to a Successful Cold Water Wash Cycle


Still staying with matters thermal, a closer look at the chemical factors i.e. detergents, is helpful.


Because washing machine technology has created the situation where cold water washes effectively, we can also positively evaluate the improvement in detergents.


Here follow two basic principles of laundry science you need to know:

●      Cold water weighs more than hot water and natural fabrics absorb more cold water, which will add a little to your wash time. Never overload with natural fabrics on a cold water cycle.

●      Cold water often requires more detergent to achieve the cleanliness achieved by warm or hot cycles.


Technology has addressed those scientific axioms, so that will be the next thing we address.


A Hot Tip For Cold Water Detergents


Did you know that today’s cold water detergents include enzymes capable of working from as low as 15℃? Washing in cold water today is much more effective than it ever used to be.


There are some types of powdered detergent that work better in cold water. It is however important to experiment with the conditions unique to your home or laundry specialist. Having said that it has been suggested that using liquid detergents eliminates any problem with undissolved detergent altogether.


Mechanical Matters for Cold Water Cycles


Last but not least, let's consider mitigating mechanical and machinery factors.


For cold water wash cycles, today’s washing machines use enhanced washing capabilities, which result in deeper washing penetration for your laundry. Better performance in this department has changed the way of caring for our washables forevermore.


With inverter technology, machines can detect the weight of the load, and use the correct amount of water per weight to prevent excessive strain on the engine. If you have added a lot of natural fabrics to your load, they will absorb more water, weigh more, and the machine will draw more water to compensate.


Doing so may add a little more time to your cold water cycle as it will use that same water requirement for your rinsing cycle. Most modern machines automatically override the washing time you may have selected and do what is appropriate for the items you loaded.


Aquafusion Technology


Did you know that nearly 25% of your detergent is lost through the drain before it even comes into contact with the laundry? Therefore, consider investing in a product like the Defy 6kg Front Loader with AquaFusion Technology. This smart tech blocks all tub outlets so the detergent remains inside the tub, delivering the most effective cleaning results - ideal for a cold wash cycle. A simple solution for a better product.

Benefits of the Cold Water Cycle on your Laundry


Putting all the foregoing together, you can readily see that mastering your cold water cycle will save your electricity and your precious time.


This is true, however, only if you balance out your three operating principles: thermal, detergent, and mechanical.

  1. When purchasing a washing machine, you should opt for one that has enhanced action and enhanced laundry penetration.
  2. Check your cold water temperature, especially in cold spells and you know what to do if it drops below your 15℃ ideal.
  3. With the above two in place, you have the luxury of choosing a good detergent that will dissolve in 15℃ water or a liquid detergent to be totally on the safe side.


Your delicates will love you for your efforts to wash on a cold water cycle (with the low spin on the delicates option), your colours will neither run nor fade nor shrink and your clothing, towels and linen will all last longer for your attention to this impactful detail.


In the debate about whether to wash in hot or cold water, there are three points to keep in mind. First, today’s machines are designed to get laundry clean in cold water. Second, today’s detergents are manufactured to clean well on a cold water cycle. Third, cold water saves time heating water and the electricity needed to do so. Happy cold wash cycle days are here to stay.


Contact Defy or visit our website to find the washing machine that is just right for you.