Inner page banner image that shows 4 light blue waves on top of one another

Water Temperature Guide

It’s important to clean your clothes in the most effective way possible without damaging the fabric. The water temperature you use for your laundry directly affects how clean your clothes are and how long they last.

There are plenty of questions people have when it comes to knowing which temperatures to use when doing laundry. What temperature should you wash towels on? Do you wash whites in hot or cold water? What temperature should you wash soiled clothes on? Explore our laundry temperature guide to ensure you have all the answers you need.

What Temperature to Wash Your Clothes

Many washing machines will have three temperature settings to choose from — hot, warm and cold. The hot water setting will be 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the warm water setting will be between 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit and the cold water setting will be 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Various aspects of the load you’re washing can influence which temperature will work best: 

Generally, cold water works best for delicate clothing, warm water helps clean lightly stained fabric and hot water is most effective for disinfecting and cleaning heavily stained and soiled items. Still, there’s more to consider when choosing the right water temperature to wash clothes.

Hot Water is The Best Temperature to Wash White Clothes

If you’re looking to disinfect any clothing worn by a sick person or clean heavily stained or heavily soiled materials, hot water will do the trick. High-temperature water can help to loosen and wash away many types of stains and debris. Hot water is also generally the best temperature for white clothes, though you should check the tags of your clothing items to ensure the hot water is safe to use.

It’s important to remember that hot water can be harsh on delicate and dyed fabrics and may even set the stain into the material if the stain is protein-based. In these cases, it might be best to pretreat the stain and wash it in cold water instead. Otherwise, hot water is perfect for washing heavily-stained clothes.

When to Use Warm Water

Warm water is a good choice for effectively cleaning clothes without damaging the material. This temp will work best for most loads, including lightly soiled cotton, synthetic blends, linen fabrics and manufactured fibers. Warm water makes it easier for detergents to dissolve and lessens the possibility of fading and shrinkage.

When to Use Cold Water

Cold temperatures are perfect for delicate items and any clothing with colors that may bleed or fade with higher temperatures. These include black clothing, bright-colored clothing, lingerie, swimwear and wool. If any of these items are heavily soiled or stained, be sure to pretreat and soak these clothes before washing them. Additionally, cold water is the better option for removing protein-based stains such as dairy and milk and beverage stains like soda, coffee, tea, wine and beer.

Did you know that 90% of washing machine energy goes toward heating water? Cold water is an excellent option if you want to minimize your carbon footprint and save energy. According to the American Cleaning Institute, if you wash four out of five loads of laundry in cold water, you could prevent the release of 800 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Laundry Tips And Tricks

Tips for Washing Clothes

For decades, many believed the best way to wash clothes was with hot water. Now, we know the temperature you use largely depends on the type of material you want to wash. Here are a few more best practices for taking better care of clothing:

1. Read the Label

Clothing labels generally provide specific washing instructions and should be your primary guide for which temperature and wash cycle to use. Following the clothing tag instructions can help you maintain the longevity and cleanliness of the fabric based on what’s best for that fabric type. You can also group your laundry loads according to their tag instructions.

2. Treat Stains Before Washing

By treating stains before you wash the material, the stains are less likely to set into the fabric and have a better chance of being removed. It’s crucial to check that the stain removal product you use is suitable for the fabric beforehand, especially if it is delicate clothing. You can do this by applying the product to a hidden spot on the material to test it, reading the product label or doing a little research.

3. Sort Laundry Beforehand

Sorting your laundry can help you reduce lint and color bleed by grouping similar items by time, texture and temperature:

Meet Your Laundry Needs With Caldwell & Gregory 

It’s important to meet your users’ needs in any facility, whether in an academic or multi-housing setting. Our dedicated professionals at Caldwell & Gregory understand the importance of staying attentive and keeping users happy. That’s why we provide laundry solutions such as laundry equipment, the latest payment technology, preventative maintenance and quality management systems.

We take a consultative approach to laundry by meeting in person and providing knowledgeable options based on your facility, cleaning processes and resident needs. For quality laundry solutions you can trust, contact our laundry experts today!