In the course of regular washing machine repairs, we are often asked about exclusively washing in cold water. In fact many of the washing machines we service around the Gold Coast don’t even have the hot tap turned on, or don’t have the hot hose connected at all.
Many modern washing machines don’t require a hot connection as they have heating elements built into the machine, but in general, people just don’t wash in hot water any more.
The cost of electricity is a major factor in this decision, along with the claims of cold water washing powder manufacturers, but the truth is slightly more complicated.
If you’ve had the same washing machine for many years, always used cold water, and have never had a problem then keep doing what you’re doing. Chances are your clothes are not heavily soiled with oil or grease, and you either don’t use fabric softener or use it lightly.
If you find your washing machine is presenting with any of the following symptoms then you may need to set your washing machine to a higher temperature on occasion.
- Black, grey or white specks on clothes (sometimes appears grease-like but rubs off when dry)
- Smelly washing
- Smelly washing machine
- Grease/body stains that won’t shift
While most better quality cold water washing machine powders are engineered with enzymes to breakdown body fats, this process is far more efficient when the water temperature is between 40-60 degrees when the body fat naturally begins to soften.
Washing machine smells are often caused by bacteria build up. By making the water as hot as possible you kill bacteria, and can assist this process with antibacterial chemical or a cup of vinegar.
Fabric softener causes a build up on the outside of the steel bowl that you can’t see. Eventually this residue builds up to a point where no more can accumulate and it starts to break away into your washing. If you regularly use fabric softener in your washing machine, a hot wash once a month may help to break down the residue and keep your washing machine clean.