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Washing Clothes: Hot OR Cold

There it is. My laundry room. In the past I’ve posted about my love of vinegar in the laundry room (that’s where this photo came from) and how I save money on my utility bill in the laundry room. I’ve even told you about my love of cloth diapering and the washing that takes place in this room, but never have we talked about HOW I wash clothes. That is, until now!

I’ve always washed our clothes in cold water to save money. Everything that is, except diapers and small loads of whites. I’ve never thought twice about it until this week. My coworkers were having an interesting discussion about sanitizing their laundry when I walked into the teacher’s lounge. It turns out that most of my coworkers wash towels, dish rags, underwear, sports wear and the like in hot water as a means of sanitizing. Well I admit at first I was a bit embarrassed and was thinking this meant my coworkers would think I was dirty – but then I got to thinking about it.

Our washing machine is an energy efficient machine – that means even on the hot cycle, cold water is being added to the wash. That means even the hot cycle isn’t truly “hot.” So is the hot cycle capable of “sanitizing” at all? According to an article in the New York Times, it is possible to have your clothes be just as clean in cold water as they are in hot, but the trick is using the right soap. Well sadly, I haven’t been using cold water specific laundry detergent.

So now I’m curious about your experiences. Do you wash in hot or cold? What are your thoughts? Have you tried cold water laundry detergent? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below! 🙂

Happy Laundry Day!

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