Chill Out to Save Big on Laundry Day

Mom always said getting clothes clean was a job for hot water. Well, maybe in Mom's day it was, but not anymore.

Today's efficient washing machines, combined with new laundry products, make cold water washing a smart option for a lot of very good reasons:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 90% of the energy used to wash clothes in a conventional machine is used for heating the water. At a time when most of us are looking for ways to save money, washing just 80% of your laundry in cold water for a year could save you more than $60 in energy costs -- and up to $100 if you live in an area with high electric rates.
  • In addition to saving energy, cold water wash can also help preserve your clothes. Hot water tends to fade and shrink garments, while cold water is easier on fabrics.
  • Washing in cold water also helps the planet breathe a little easier. The heat used to create hot water can lead to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions than when clothes are washed in cold water. Selecting the "cold/cold" cycle has the potential to offset as much CO2 emissions each year as thousands of miles driven in a car, or even an airplane flight or two.

But does laundering in cold water really get clothes clean? Unless you're dealing with really serious stains, or a situation that requires hot water (like dust mites -- and even then you should choose a cold rinse), there's not much benefit to using hot water. Seventh Generation's Natural 2X and 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergents, for example, work well in all temperatures. The concentrated formulas work in HE machines and use plant-derived cleaning agents and enzymes to lift and remove even stubborn stains and dirt. Plus, our amazing new 4X Laundry Detergent comes in an innovative recyclable/compostable bottle made from 100% recycled fiber.

Next time you load up the washing machine, you can do your wallet, your clothes, and the planet a favor by giving the cold cycle a try. Maybe you can even convince Mom to make the switch.

Have you switched to cold water wash? Let us know.

photo: cmiddings

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Greenwrite is a prolific writer with an eclectic range of specialties that reflects her curiosity for just about everything. A former advertising creative director, she makes her home in Vermont, but escapes to a sunny beach whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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