Hot or cold water for stains? Which is best

Few topics are more divisive when it comes to laundry than the argument between hot and cold water. Some people say cold water can do it all and hot water is just an expensive waste that isn’t needed. While others will argue that the only way to properly wash stains is with hot water!

But who is right? Well, let’s get one thing out of the way first both hot and cold water can be used however at certain times one of the two will usually be the more effective option. So, don’t worry if you’ve been using hot or cold water so far, you’ll still likely have nice clean clothes.

But let’s look at how both hot and cold water can be used. First, let’s look at the admittedly more expensive option hot water, shall we?

When Should I Use Hot Water?

Many people believe hot water is always going to be the best choice when it comes to laundry time and it’s often passed down in families as well. Many people have heard this seemingly wise advice from their grandparents.

The good news is in the vast majority of cases hot water will work on most stains and will often provide better results as well! However, the difference between hot and cold on some stains isn’t always very high which means you could be paying more without any major difference in the end results.

Hot water is also going to be more expensive to use especially on longer wash cycles. Hot water is suggested for tougher more stubborn stains though things like oil, wine, and ink should all be washed with hot water as cold water will at most only fade the stain.

However, while hot water is usually going to be effective when it comes to stain removal there are some risks to consider. Hot water can damage more fragile materials and causes some to shrink like wool for example. Hot water can also cause colours to run so if you’re ever unsure about putting something through a hot water wash check the label first.

So, the truth behind hot water is that it is often going to be the better option as it is more effective at dissolving detergent and getting rid of tough stains. But in some cases, the extra expense of using it isn’t always worth it.

When Should I Use Cold Water?

Let’s look at cold water, now shall we? Cold water might not have the mighty stain removing power hot water is thought to have but the truth is in many cases it is just as effective. Cold water is also gentler on clothes and should always be your choice if you’re washing more delicate garments.

Cold water also won’t run dyes so there is less risk when it comes to coloured clothing. However, if you want effective cleaning with cold water it’s important you don’t make it too cold, a good temperature to stick to is 30 degrees Celsius.

Cold water washes do have some downsides however for one thing they can’t tackle tough stains effectively. At best they will only fade the stain and at worst, it might not look like they’ve affected it at all. And no one wants to complete a wash cycle only to be left with soiled wet clothing, do they? Cold water should also never be used on materials or garments that could contain a lot of germs or bacteria.

If you’ve been sick in bed, for example, you’ll want to wash your bedding and any clothes you’ve been wearing with hot water. Cold water won’t kill the harmful bacteria so while it is usually an effective way to wash clothes you need to know when to use it.

One final thing to remember about cold water though is protein stains, this includes things like blood, glue, and eggs (basically anything that could contain proteins) in hot water washes these stains can be baked into clothing so you should always use a cold water wash.

So Should I Use Hot or Cold Water?

You should really use both! Both hot and cold water have unique benefits that the average person will likely need to utilise at some point. However, I would strongly advise sticking to cold water washes for the most part.

Because it will save you money, doing a hot water wash when you don’t really have any tough stains or bacteria filled clothing that needs cleaning is just going to be money down the drain, quite literally. So, inspect any clothing carefully before deciding what water to use to ensure you always get the best results.

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Author: Repair Aid®

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