***REPOST FROM FACEBOOK GROUP: SUSTAINABLE STEPS***

It is well known that cooler temperatures are more environmentally friendly. This is a post about the pros and cons of various washing temperatures.

HERE ARE THE SUMMARY POINTS:

– Since 2013 washing machines have had a 20 degrees wash function- Washing at 30°C instead of 40°C saves around ~38% of the energy required and at 20°C instead of 40°C saves ~62%.- It is estimated that if the UK changed from 40°C to 30°C for their washes this would reduce the CO2 footprint the same as taking 400,000 cars off the road.- Many new detergents are formulated to work at low temperatures and you may get just as good a clean- Higher temperatures may be required for stains and soiled clothes- Higher temperatures can be damaging to clothes and reduce their lifespan- always check the care labels!

THE DETAIL:

Firstly it is important to note that the cleaning ability of you washing machine is related to more than the temperature. It is also dependant on the laundry detergent, length of cycle and cycle speed (agitating clothes helps remove stains). Newer washing machines are able to clean clothes at lower temperatures due to improvements in technology alone.To help remove spot stains you may consider treating them before the wash with undiluted detergent on the location of the stain. Vinegar can also be used in washing to help brighten colours and remove stains (search the group for more info on this). The sun is also a great stain remover- leaving clothes on a sunny window or out on the line is great (and free). 🌞😎

WASHING AT 20°C

Which found that stain removal was worse at 20°C compared to 40°C, but that switching to a liquid detergent helped with this. There is a large energy saving to be had when washing with this temperature and for everyday clothes it may offer adequate cleaning and save you money. It is not advisable to only wash at this temperature, as it may promote mould growth in the washing machine. So having a mixture of wash temperatures and regularly cleaning your machine (seals and drawer included) is advisable.

WASHING AT 30°C

30°C is recommended for all delicate clothes. It also has a role in preserving the colours of coloured clothes. This temperature may not be adequate to remove blood staining. 30°C is a good consideration if you have clothes which are lightly soiled and just need a freshen up. It is also worth considering for your regular clothes washes. If your clothes have had light use then hanging them up rather than leaving them on the side or leaving them outside may freshen them up and reduce the requirement to wash them.

WASHING AT 40°C

Although washing at 40 degrees is better for heavy soiling, it does take its toll on your clothes. It can cause colour fading, shrinkage and damage certain fabrics. Therefore for bright and dark colours considering 30 degrees may make your clothes last longer.I would also like to add here that I contacted Ariel and asked them about the enzymes in their biological washing powders (I’m not advocating Ariel here, they just have a responsive customer service). Enzymes are proteins and each is specific to a certain molecule (e. enzymes for fats will not work on starches). Above certain temperatures enzymes are damaged and no longer work (denaturing). They told me that above 30 degrees their enzymes are denatured, so washing at higher temperatures will not improve your washing powder. Enzyme activity breaking down stains will not happen above 30 degrees (any activity that occurred will be at the cold filling temperatures or washes under this temperature).

WASHING AT 60°C

60°C was found to deliver “slightly better cleaning” than 40°C, especially relating to greasy stains. Caution is advised as heat can actually ‘set’ stains. It is generally recommended to wash bedding and towels at higher temperatures such as 40°C or 60°C, although it should be noted that this temperature is not going to kill all bacteria.

by Grace May

Image by Cotton Bro at Pexels

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