Adventures in Cold Water Washing


I am the ever-practical environmentalist; doing all that I can in my daily life to keep the earth a little greener.  Most notably in my laundry practices.  I’ve been air-drying exclusively now for about four years; ever since my dryer refused to heat.  It makes my life easier (really!), my utility bill is down about 15%,  and I don’t have the added worry of a possible dryer fire.

While I could feel some smug satisfaction with the energy and environmental saving aspects of using a clothesline, I still continued to regularly use warm, and sometimes hot water to wash my laundry.  I think it was a combination of  “it has always been done this way”, and the thought that my clothes would not get clean in cold water.    I think it’s been pounded in our collective brains over the years through advertising, and yes, from mom, that warm and hot water washes are “the way” to go.  You don’t want creepy crawly bacteria or other horrifying creatures crawling on your clothes do you???

This summer I decided to “Go Cold”… all the way, baby!  The temperature setting on my washer is now set on cold, and hasn’t budged.  I wash everything in cold water.  Yes, even sheets, towels, and underwear.  Amazingly, everything comes out extremely clean.  The whites are brilliant, and the colors aren’t faded.  I am almost convinced that there is some kind of super power in cold water!

No heat at all is used in my laundry practices.  Cold water wash, and then straight to the clothesline or drying rack.  I rarely, if ever, iron – so no heat from that either.  Hang-drying leaves clothes perfectly pressed.  The life of my clothes will probably be extended indefinitely!  This is good because I love my clothes, and wear a lot of vintage clothing too.

These days I guess I could feel a bit smugger, knowing I’m about as green as you can get in laundry practices.  But I’m not a smug person.  I do get a feeling of satisfaction and yes, joy, from doing things this way.  Now THAT is a good feeling!


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