Laundry Room Basics: When To Launder on Cool or Cold

Ever feel confused about when you should wash on cold instead of hot? It can be hard to know what items are best washed with cold water. We’re here to give you a quick rundown on all the items that are best laundered in cold water and why. 

Here’s an overview of what temp to select for each type of laundry: 

  • Hot Water – Best for linens, socks and undergarments, bath towels, kitchen towels, and heavily soiled items. 
  • Warm Water – Best for general use, such as permanent press and jeans
  • Cold Water – Best for delicates, bright colors, when dealing with stains, or when indicated on the care tag. 

Washing Laundry on Cold

Things You Should Know about Washing in Cold

The first thing to remember about washing in cold is that there is cold water — and there is cold water. Cold water for laundering should fall between 80 and 60 F. If cold water is below 60 F, your laundry is unlikely to be cleaned very well. Keep this in mind when laundering. 

The second thing to remember about washing in cold water, is that laundry powder may have a difficult time dissolving. This is especially true if you have hard water. In these circumstances, you may have better success choosing our Liquid Laundry Detergent or All Sport Athletic Laundry Detergent

Lastly, when laundering in cold water, it’s extra important to pre-treat stains before clothing goes in the washer! Take the time to check your garments for stains and use a stain treatment before tossing them in. 

Washing Delicates and Blouses

Delicates and Business Attire

If you’d wear it to the office in the morning or for a night out with your friends, chances are good that garment should be washed in cold water. 

Hot water can damage finer, delicate fabrics. It can cause stretching, distortion, and shrinking. Cold water is perfect for these more delicate, lightly soiled items. Button up shirts, blouses, camisoles, cardigans — all are best washed on cool or cold. 

Master Tip: SWIM™ Cleaner is an excellent, gentle detergent that can be used on all your delicate clothing. It’s color-safe and packs a generous load of enzymes that help remove sweat and oil. 

When to Wash on ColdSweaters and Bulk Knits

When laundering knit sweaters and pullovers, it’s always best to use cool water. We recommend hand washing your favorite sweaters, but if you don’t feel up to that, set your washer to the most gentle setting — and cold water! 

You can read more about how to properly care for sweaters here

Master Tip: Cotton, silk, and cashmere sweaters should be washed every 3-4 wears. Wool blends should be washed every 5-6 wears.

Washing Lingerie

Lingerie and Bras

We don’t recommend putting bras in the washing machine. Instead, we suggest handwashing these often pricey investments in a clean sink or tub with cool water and a squirt of SWIM™ Cleaner. Hand washing is the best way to get all the sweat and odors out of your bra while ensuring it stays in good shape. 

If you must wash your bras in the washer, choose the gentle cycle and launder with cool water. Place your bra in a laundry bag to help keep it safe. 

Bras these days are manufactured using memory foam, lycra, cotton, and other delicate fabrics that are easily ruined in heat or when stretched. This goes for all bras, whether sports, yoga, or everyday bras. 

Master Tip: You can wear your bra an average of 3-4 times before it needs washing. Just remember to give it a rest between wears to help it retain its shape. 

Bright Colors and New Clothes

Is your ten-year-old excited about her new red hoodie? Chances are good you’ll be sorry if you toss that in with your jeans. You’ll probably be pulling pink pants out of the washer. 

When laundering bright colors, especially new, unwashed clothing, it’s best to opt for cold water. Hot water encourages dye to run and colors to fade. 

If you’re washing older clothes with bright colors, you can get away with warm water. In fact, add a scoop of Oxygen Whitener to the drum of your washer and you’ll brighten those colors up nicely. 

Curious to Know More Laundry Basics?

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