You're Probably Washing Your Clothes Wrong

There's a good chance that whoever taught you to do laundry may have given you some bad advice. Many of us are under the assumption that washing your clothes on a warm cycle is best practice, but that isn't always the case, according to Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. "Cold water is safest overall, especially for bright and dark colors, and delicate fabrics, because it won't cause fading or fiber damage," Forte revealed to Good Housekeeping

And Forte isn't the only expert recommending the cold cycle for colors. A recent study by the University of Leeds and Procter & Gamble found that if you wash your clothes on a cold cycle, they're actually going to last far longer (via ScienceDirect). Basically, the cold water cycle is less likely to pull out any colors or dyes, which ultimately means it's not going to put your clothing and fabrics through as much distress as it would on a hot cycle.

Washing clothes in cold water can be more effective and efficient

Whereas we once worried our clothes weren't getting thoroughly cleaned with cold water, that's no longer the case. "Technological advances in both machines and detergents, and not just cold-specific detergents, have made cold washing a highly effective option," clothing-care expert Steve Boorstein told Real Simple.  And that's important, because certain stains, including blood and sweat, are more likely to become permanent after washing with hot water. Plus, the high-temp water may shrink certain fabrics.  

Another great reason to choose a cold cycle? It's more energy efficient. About 90 percent of the energy used to do a load of laundry is for heating up the water, according to Energy Star (via Consumers Reports). So the less hot water used, the more energy — and money on utilities — you save. 

If you're considering jumping on the cold wash bandwagon, Forte says your choice of detergent is more important than you think. "Be sure to use a good detergent that's formulated to clean well in cold water, like Good Housekeeping Seal star, Tide," she advised Good Housekeeping. Then it's up to your washing machine to act "cool" and do its thing.