What Is the Best Washing Machine Temperature for Laundry?

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Washing clothes is a simple task, you have to start by sorting your clothes before loading them into the washer. However, getting the right washing machine temperature for your laundry can be a challenge. When you choose the wrong temperature for your laundry, it can ruin your clothes and make them fall apart faster than normal.

This article will help you select the appropriate water temperature based on how dirty your clothes are. It will also tell you which settings work best if you're cleaning a small load of laundry or a big one. Keep reading.

First, Learn How to Do Laundry

Before setting the best washing machine temperature for your laundry, you must learn how to do laundry. Remember, different clothes require different washing machine temperature settings. Check your clothing tags for specific instructions on how to wash them. Tags are not always accurate, however, so don't go by what they say if you think it's wrong.

Next, Set the Washing Machine Temperature

After you've decided which items need to be washed in hot water and which ones do not, it's time to set the temperature. There are different temperature settings on different washing machines. If you're not sure which one to use, check the owner's manual that came with your washer for instructions. If you don't have it and can't find it, call a repair person and ask for help.

If you must: there is no need to wash everything in cold water or hot water unless stated otherwise. Below are some of the temperature settings perfect for laundry.

When to Use Hot Water for Laundry

Hot water is the best laundry temperature if you have heavily soiled clothes. Hot water will help remove oils, grease and even certain stains like some protein stains. Hot water works for most items but not all. Care instructions for washing white clothes will tell you to use hot water, especially when dealing with undergarments and linens.

Hot Water for Laundry
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Hot water is needed to disinfect dish towels, washcloths, bedding and diapers. But while hot water cleans efficiently, it can also shrink your clothes, cause fading and lead to dye transfer, making your garments look older faster. It requires more energy, and up to 90 percent of the energy used during the laundry process goes towards heating the wash water for warm or hot cycles.

There are situations in which using warm or hot water is also important, especially when a member of the household is ill or for heavily soiled garments like cloth diapers, sheets and workout clothing.

When to Use Warm Water

For most laundry, the best temperature for washing clothes is warm. Warm water is the go-to temperature for washing colored clothes. Whether the fabric type or how light or dark the clothing is, warm water is always the best. A mix of hot and cold water is a good balance of cleaning power and reduces shrinking, wrinkling, and fading.

Warm Water for Laundry
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You can wash natural fibers like cotton and synthetics. However, warm water still has some setbacks, just like hot water. Be careful to watch issues that could occur when using a warm wash. For instance, it can lead to less damage than hot water in terms of shrinkage, fading and dye transfer which can prematurely age your garments. But you can lower the risk of these blunders by referring to specific care labels on your garment before washing to see if it can be safely laundered in warm water.

When to Wash Clothes in Cold Water

If you use a front-loading washing machine, cold water is the only choice. Also, you should consider cold water whenever you have stained clothes to wash or if you are planning on doing a thorough cleaning for your whole laundry load.

You can also opt to do a cold water wash to prevent shrinkage and color bleeding on your clothes. Cold water provides an effective clean, is more sustainable and improves the longevity of your clothes by preventing wear and tear.

If you're doubting what temperature to wash clothes or laundering clothes without a care label, cold water is always a safe and reliable option. Cold water is best for preventing damage, including shrinkage and fading. However, you should check to see that the cold water in your washing machine is in the range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your washing machine runs cold, it's possible that some washing detergent won't be effective or rinse out completely. Washing your clothes in cold water also helps to save money on your energy costs. You can save a considerable amount of money by washing in cold water. Clothes recommended to wash on a cold setting include shirts, light summer clothing, t-shirts, sportswear, jeans and colored clothes.

Washing Machine Temperature Guide

20 Degrees

Washing your items at this temperature will dramatically reduce the running cost of a washing cycle, helping you save energy. This programme is suitable for lightly soiled garments that may need freshening up or delicate items like silk, boned dresses or bras.

Even if your washing machine is large, it's not recommended to do a full wash at this temperature. This is because regular washing at low temperatures can increase the chance of mold and grease buildup. This can be found around the machine door seal or inside the detergent drawer.

This can cause a musty, damp smells to come from your washing machine. To get rid of these issues, you can use light bleach-based products or cleaning sprays to wipe around the areas where mold has developed.

30 Degrees Celsius

This is a great temperature to have your washing machine on as it's quite low. However, this low temperature might not be suitable for all fabrics as there could be a chance of shrinkage if these fabrics are washed along with towels and other heavy-duty items.

40 Degrees Celsius

This would be a perfect temperature to have your washing machine on if you were going away for a week and needed to clean all the clothes in the house. However, it's not suitable for most fabrics, as there could be shrinkage if washed along with towels or other heavy-duty items.

50 Degrees Celsius

Specifically designed to clean stains and dirt from blended or mixed material fabrics, this is a smart choice for those with heavy stains on their clothing or who do not have the time to separate laundry.

60 Degrees Celsius

Ensure that your garments are suitable to be washed at this temperature before throwing them in. This is the perfect temperature to kill bacteria, viruses and remove stains. The wash setting is also recommended for washing towels and bedding, but it will increase the running costs as the higher the temperature, the higher the cost.

You need to use a good detergent to kill bacteria when washing at this temperature because, on its own, this setting won't remove all germs.

90 Degrees Celsius

This setting should be reserved for brightening whites, removing stubborn stains on cotton or linen, killing bacteria on items with heavy soil or performing routine maintenance on your machine.

FAQs on Selecting Machine Washing Temperature

When should you not use cold water?

Although cold washes can be good for more delicate and softer garments, they're not good for all fabrics. More durable materials such as lightly soiled bed linen or cotton should be washed at warmer temperatures for a more effective wash.

What temperature do you use to kill germs and prevent the spread of bacteria?

Hot water is needed to remove stubborn stains and brighten whites, while some hot wash will also sterilize fabrics. These washes aren't good for all items, some being too hot for more delicate fabrics.

What temperature do you use when washing colored items?

Cold washes are best for most items with color on them, but if they have dark or bright shades, it is better to wash them in cool water. It is important to check the garment's label before washing an item of clothing in these temperatures, as some colors can run or fade with a cold wash.

How much water do washing machines use?

It's important to know how much water washing machines use before setting the temperatures. Basically,  a full load of laundry means that the machine is filled to capacity and all pockets and crevices in the washer basket are stuffed with clothes.

The correct amount of water varies from one brand to another, but most modern washing machines use between 12-14 gallons of water per cycle depending on the size of the load.

Final Thought on Best Washing Machine Temperature for Laundry

As you can see, it's very important to know the type of your items before you plan on choosing a washing machine temperature. It is very useful to know what your garment can handle and what drying methods you will use before operating a machine, it will make the overall process easier for both of you. Always check the clothing labels and follow them accordingly, they know best.

 

 

Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is a stay-at-home-mom and an expert chef. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her writing about her favorite kitchen appliances on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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