Stay Cool: Why We Recommend Cold-Water Washing

Longtime Coyuchi customers may notice there's been a change in the care cards that come with our products. Where many used to say "machine wash warm," we now recommend cold water for all our washable items.

"But," we hear you saying, "sheets and towels need to be washed in hot water to really get clean!" Not so! In fact, even the New York Times says that today's detergents work perfectly well in cold water, yet people "cling to mom's age-old advice that hot water washes best – squandering energy and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions."

In fact, just turning that selector dial on your washer to Cold will save up to three quarters of the energy you would have used to wash that load if you selected Hot. That translates into a much greener load of laundry, and more green in your wallet, too.

Beyond the Earth-friendly benefits, cold-water washing also extends the life of towels, bedding and clothes (hot water can weaken fibers, fade colors, destroy elastic and contribute to shrinkage), so you save money there, as well.

Now, we're not trying to say your mom was wrong. But detergents and washing machines have evolved quite a bit in recent years. Today, cold water really does get everyday laundry just as clean as warm or hot. Which means you can have perfectly clean clothes, and a cleaner environment, too.

More tips for a greener laundry room:

If your washer has a "Tap Cold" setting, use it. Today's smart washers have a specific temperature range for "Cold," meaning that if your water comes out of the tap colder than the set temperature, the machine will add a bit of hot water to adjust it within range. Choosing "Tap Cold" overrides that feature, so no hot water is added.

Use non-phosphate laundry soap and organic peroxide bleach. GOTS certification prohibits chlorine bleach in textile processing, so we use hydrogen peroxide for our whites. Non-chlorine bleaches are best, since chlorine can turn cottons yellow and weaken the fiber.

Skip the fabric softener and the dryer sheets. Both are full of unnecessary chemicals, and they reduce the absorbency of fabric – so your towels won't dry as well, and your sheets and clothes won't breathe as well, either.

Air-dry, if you can. It brings the outside in and saves energy (mom was 100% right on that one).

If you must machine dry, do it at a low temperature. It's better for fabrics, and --trust us-- everything still dries.

Do laundry at night, when energy is cheaper and demand for it is lower.