What temperature is best for clothes in the wash?

After doing laundry for so many years I was surprised to know I might just be using the wrong temperature to wash my clothes? Now with the new high-efficiency machines, there are so many more options. 

When doing some research I’ve found that certain temperatures are best for different kinds of wash. This is why it’s so important to always sort your clothes before you wash. 

The next thing to do is to choose the temperature. Let me do over some rules of thumb when it comes to water temperature and laundry.

How do you decide what temperature is best for your wash load?

Choosing the right laundry temperature first begins with reading the clothing labels. A lot of people including myself forget to read the small white tag on the inside of the garment. But, it’s there for a reason. So if you are ever confused about what to choose, always read the care label first.

How to Choose the Temperature for Washing White Clothes

White clothes can be tricky to wash and dry and some people find it difficult to choose the best heat setting for whites.

Firstly, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to the best heat setting for whites because many factors come into play such as the type of detergent or bleach that you use.

There are a few general rules that you should follow such as washing them in hot water and dry them on a lower temperature than you would regular clothes.

When you wash your whites with hot water, do not exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and make sure that there is enough water in the machine so that your whites don’t get too bunched up.

When to use hot water for laundry?

As mentioned before, hot water is best for white clothes but also good for stain fighting in the wash. When considering choosing hot water (130 degrees F or above) it’s all good for seriously soiled clothes. The heat not only helps dissolve stains but helps sanitize fabrics. 

The issue with hot water is that it can cause your clothes to shrink, fade and damage certain fabrics. So again, check the care label to see if your garment can withstand the heat. Delicate fabrics, however, should not be washed in hot water. 

Read my article with more tips on Washing White Clothes

How to use Vinegar for Whitening your Clothes

How to Whiten your Clothes with Bleach

When to use warm water for laundry?

Warm water is good for man-made fibers, knits, and jeans. The warm water temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s definitely shrinking and fading safe. If you are ever confused about what temperature to wash your laundry, always choose warm water. 

The majority of your clothes can be washed in warm water. Permanent press fabrics like woven tops and jeans are best when washed with warm water. It’s the worst feeling in the world to have your jeans shrunk! We all know finding the right size pair is hard enough.

When to use cold water for laundry?

Coldwater temperature is mostly at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to use cold water is best for dark or bright colors. These would be anything that would easily color bleed onto other clothes. For example, when I’m washing my red bedding for Christmas I choose cold water.   

You can also use cold water for delicate fabrics. The second greatest thing about cold water use for laundry is that it ultimately saves you money on energy costs and is more eco-friendly. If you are trying to use water to get out any stains make sure you pre-treat or pre-soak them before the wash.

Tips for Washing Clothes Temperature and Detergent

When measuring the amount of detergent to use, remember that the lower the temperature of water the more detergent you’ll need. So if you choose hot water you won’t need too much detergent, less is more. 

For heavyset stains, one trick you can try is washing them in cold water (more soap or detergent) and then washing them again in hot water. This is more work, but it helps if the stain has been set in for a while. 

When choosing the temperature that is best for you, it’s important to always read the care label first. Reading the label will determine what it will take to preserve your fabrics. Select hot water is best for whites and or heavily soiled clothes. Warm water is good for all washes and is generally the safest pick. Finally, cold water in the wash preserves the most energy and is best for dark and or bright colors.

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