At Home with Lisa: Cold Water Wash

Some days it feels as if the laundry is never done.

Last year, I discovered laundry balls and how they can help shorten the time it takes the laundry to dry. I still use my laundry balls and I’m shocked at how much drying time they save.

But I can still work on energy savings while doing laundry. I read this week on Avista’s website that 90% of the cost of energy per load is to heat the water if you have a top-loading washer, which I do.

It turns out that if regular washing is your goal, washing your clothes in cold water is fine. There’s no need to heat up the water and your clothes will be just as clean. In fact, if you are washing out blood or sweat, those fluids actually set into clothes if you wash them in hot water. Cold water also works for grass stains and makeup.

Delicate fabrics do better in cold water, as do dark fabrics. Cold water can help prevent shrinking and fading, too.

If someone in your family has been sick and you are working to sanitize the load, then hot water is best. Also, check the label of your clothing—some fabrics do better with hot or warm water. But if you are just washing a regular load, go ahead and switch it over to cold water.

Avista’s website also has other laundry tips, such as doing your laundry after 7 p.m., to reduce excess heat and humidity in your house. You should also wash only full loads and adjust the water level. And I’m looking forward to warm summer days when I can hang some of my clothes outside to dry them.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving