Why You Should Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Most modern day detergents don't require heat in order to clean your clothes. Plus, switching to cold-water washes helps save you money on your next energy bill.

George Dvorsky from io9 reports in a recent article that more than 60 percent of Americans may not realize they don't need to launder their clothes in warm water anymore. Instead, he says, wash your clothes in cold water — they'll get just as clean, save you some money, and help the planet in the long run.


Part of the issue is spreading the word that the science of detergents has changed for the better, allowing for more eco-friendly washes. There's an old-world mindset that's still prevailing in a majority of Americans who think warm water is necessary in order to get clothes sudsy and clean. However, detergent chemistry has made strides since then. Most of the high-performance liquid detergents we use today don't require high heat in order to activate their cleaning solutions to get out stains and grime.

What's more, the most expensive part of washing your clothes comes from heating up the water, consuming roughly 75 percent of the energy that goes into completing a cycle. Consumer Reports calculated the savings in an article, writing that switching to cold-water washes would “save you $60 or so in energy costs (or more if you live in a state with higher-than-average electricity rates), which should just about cover the cost of your detergent, assuming you do the average 300 loads of laundry per year.”

Dvorsky put it in larger terms, writing:

“If every Las Vegas household switched to cold washing for an entire year, the amount of energy saved could power its famous Strip for nearly a week. If every household across the U.S. switched to cold water for an entire year, that would save the same amount of energy produced by the Hoover Dam in 20 months.”

Another added benefit of washing your loads in the cold cycle is the preservation of your clothes — they'll last longer. Washing at warmer temperatures tends to break down the dyes and also causes clothes to shrink after a while.

Read more about the chemistry of detergents and why washing in warm water is unnecessary at io9.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Study: Selfies are perceived far more negatively than ‘posies’

In a new study, people who posted a lot of selfies were generally viewed as less likeable and more lonely.

Kim Kardashian/Instagram
Surprising Science
  • A new study examined how people perceive others' Instagram accounts, and whether those perceptions match up with how the posters rate their own personalities.
  • The results show that people react far more positively to "posies," which are photos of the poster taken by another person.
  • Still, it remains unclear exactly why people view selfies relatively negatively.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less

Vaping changes blood vessels after one use, even without nicotine

E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.


John Keeble
/GETTY
Surprising Science
  • A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
  • The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
  • The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Keep reading Show less