It’s a bit paradoxical for a detergent company rooted in eco-consciousness to be preaching the benefits of washing in hot water. Particularly in the realm of stain removal, but here we are. 

In the past six years, our laundry world has been embroiled in debates over the best approach to washing clothes: hot water (above 40 degrees Celsius) or cold water (below 20 degrees Celsius). Is there even a difference? The answer is a resounding yes.

You will always lose approximately 15% of stain removal performance when you switch to cold water, regardless of your detergent. This is due to:

  1. Increased Molecular Activity: Heat is a powerful catalyst for molecular movement. When water is heated, molecules become more energetic, ramping up the effectiveness of detergents. This heightened molecular activity facilitates deeper penetration into fabric fibres, loosening the grip of stubborn stains.
  2. Enhanced Solubility: Hot water promotes the solubility of substances, making it easier for detergents to dissolve and interact with stains on a molecular level. Oily or greasy stains, notorious for clinging tightly to fabric fibres, are no match for the solvent power of hot water washes.
  3. Bacteria Elimination: If you're concerned about germs lurking in your laundry, hot water is your best defence. The heat helps to kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that may be hiding in your clothes, towels, and bedding. This is especially important for items that come into contact with bodily fluids or are used by multiple people, such as towels, bed sheets, and blankets.
Now enough big words. We thought we’d take it back a couple decades to demonstrate this with an old primary school science lesson. We took some blue and yellow food dye, added to both hot and cold water and watched what happened. The hot water disperses and mixes the dye much quicker than the cold water, acting as a more efficient vessel for whatever you add, notably laundry detergent.

However, we aren’t at all anti-cold washes. In fact, we think that certain fabrics and circumstances benefit from a chillier cycle, and there are definitely benefits:

Benefits of Cold Water

  1. Cheaper: One of the most immediate benefits of cold water washes is their cost-effectiveness. Unlike hot water, which requires energy to heat, cold water washes bypass this energy expenditure altogether. This means significant savings on your household bills over time.
  2. Energy Efficient: Cold water washes are champions of energy efficiency. By skipping the water-heating step, you're reducing your household's energy consumption and carbon footprint.
  3. Gentler: Your clothes deserve the utmost care, and cold water washes deliver just that. The cooler temperature is gentle on fabrics, helping to preserve colours, textures, and elasticity. Delicate garments, in particular, benefit from the tender loving care of cold water and a specialised Delicate Wash.

So the question becomes, what to use for what?

Washing Temperature Recommendations:

Hot or cold wash: Blood Stains?

Ah, the dreaded bloodstain – a common nemesis of laundry day. Many have heard the age-old advice that blood stains must be washed in cold water to prevent them from setting. However, we know differently.

When confronted with a blood stain, quick action is key. Begin by rinsing the affected area with cold water to remove as much of the stain as possible. Then, spot treat the stain with detergent, or use our Powder Booster to create a paste and work it into the stain. After leaving for 30 minutes (colours) or 2 hours (white garments), wash the garment in hot water. The elevated temperature of the water helps to dissolve and dislodge the proteins in the blood.

Hot or cold wash: Towels?

Towels are workhorses in the realm of household textiles. Due to their frequent use and exposure to moisture, towels are breeding grounds for bacteria, mould, and mildew if not properly cared for. This is where hot water washing comes into play as a crucial component of towel maintenance. We recommend washing towels as hot as you possibly can and using a detergent that contains antimicrobial properties, like our Advanced Wash Formula.

Hot or cold wash: Bedding?

Washing bed sheets at temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius or higher effectively disinfects, removes allergens, eliminates odours, and provides a thorough cleaning. This high temperature kills bacteria, viruses, and dust mites, creating a healthier sleeping environment for allergy sufferers and individuals with weakened immune systems. It also removes sweat, body fluids, and debris, ensuring freshness and extending the lifespan of the linens.


Anna Bolitho