Do You Wash White Clothes In Hot Or Cold Water? 

Do You Wash White Clothes In Hot Or Cold Water
White clothes on the lines
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White is class. White is status. White is purity. White is wealth. White clothing means different things to different people.

But after all the glory and glamor, whites need maintenance.

Now that you’re about to wash, the question is: should you use warm or cold wash to get a cleaner and whiter white?

Cold VS Hot Wash

In a battle of cold vs hot, in washing white clothes, hot water wash will always wine. But hot water is not the best for your whites.

A third option is: warm water wash. More on this later.

This is what we mean. Hot water acts well on fabrics, when combined the … effect of detergents are able to remove strongly entrenched stains.

This is good news for the eyes. But it comes at the expense of your fabrics.

Hot temperatures are bad for your cotton fabrics, but the effect only shows with time. And if you’re dealing with lighter fabrics, the effect is quicker and more noticeable.

By the way, machine wash is generally viewed as hot when it’s at 60 degrees Celsius and above.

At this temperature your fabrics begin to take a beating. First sign is the shrinking of your clothes.

Now we introduce warm water.


Do You Wash White Clothes In Hot Or Cold Water
white towels arranged

Situated at the middle of the cold and hot wash debate is the warm water wash. O the upside, warm water wash cleans your garments with little or not shrinking.

On the downside, it does not retain the sanitizing effects of hot water.

Generally water temperature at 40 degrees Celsius is considered warm. At this temperature, germs in your garments should be just fine.

Warm water don’t kill germs. But when combined with a good measure of detergents, you should be able to get rid germs.

So strictly on the terms of hygiene, warm wash is ideal. 

But now to the issue of whiting your whites? Warm wash too is the overwhelming winner.

Warm water increases the surfactant effects in detergents. This is responsible for the removal of stumble stains in fabrics.

In retrospect this single property of detergents is what:

  • Remove germs from fabrics, and 
  • Whitens your whites.

Cold VS Hot VS Warm White Wash Contest Table

1Preserves fabricsDamages FabricsWarm on fabric
2Does not remove hard stainsEffective at stain removalsRemove stains
3Not good for heavily soiled clothesEffective at cleaning heavily soiled clothesFairly okay at cleaning heavily soiled clothes
4Ideal for delicate garmentsBad for soft garmentsGood for delicate garments
5Fair on soiled bed linen, not the best though.Harsh on bed linenIdeal for soiled bed linens
6Does not kill germsEffectively kill germs at high temperatureDoes not kill germs. Prolonged usage encourages mold
7King at preserving colorDestroys fabrics colorFair performance with fabrics color
Best for whites?NoYes, but at cost to fabricsIdeal for whites

Should You Wash White Clothes Separately?

Do You Wash White Clothes In Hot Or Cold Water
white and other color clothes

Leaching is when chemicals drain or are removed from a substance when water passes through it. 

Every time you wash, especially with high temperature water, leaching takes place. Colors in your fabrics leave the clothes when it comes in contact with water and heat.

The implication is that when you wash white clothes with other colors, you stand a chance of staining the white with the other ‘leached’ clothes.

This just makes sense to wash your whites separately. Even leaching from lighter colors can gradually affect your whites. Although not noticeable, they gradually dull your whites.

You should wash your white separately to prevent stains and dulling of your clothes by contact with colors from other clothes.

what Temperature to Wash White Clothes

40 degrees Celsius is ideal to wash whites. You should wash whites in warm water, as it helps remove stains and brighten your clothes. Avoid washing whites with cold water, except when washing extremely sensitive fabrics. And hot water can damage light fabrics. Warm water gives you the best of both worlds.

Different fabrics will respond differently to different temperatures, so it is important to test a small amount of the fabric to see what temperature works best for it. You should already know how heat affects each of your fabrics, so wash each of them according to their heat tolerance. Always arrange similar colors together. Similar fabrics should also be washed separately 

Generally, washing white clothes in warm water will result in a brighter and whiter appearance, while washing them in hot water will cause them to become more colorful and faded. It is best to experiment a little and see what temperature works best for your clothes.

Can You Wash Whites in Cold Water? 

Yes you can. Although whites are better laundered in warm water. You should do cold wash:

  • When dealing with delicate clothes: Silk, wool, linen, and other fabrics are better washed with cold water. Even when your clothes are a white, you should use cold wash to preserve your fabrics.
  • Saving electric power: It is estimated that you can save 57% of your washing machine energy cost simply by lowering your washing machine temperature.

How to Wash White Clothes With Warm Water

If you want to get whites looking their best, follow these tips:

  1. Soak your whites in bleach to remove stubborn stains.
  1. Use a gentle detergent.
  1. For whitening effect, add a cup of white vinegar to the machine before starting.
  1. Use a non-scratch fabric softener.
  1. Use the “delicate” cycle.


  1. Mold: Regularly washing with warm water can encourage mold growth. If this is your only option, remember to keep your washer drums dry. Regularly washing them is another good option
  1. Shrink clothes: While this is rare, some very delicate wears can shrink in temperature of 20 – 30 degrees. If your white wear is made of silk.  You’re better off opting for cold wash.


Cold water is not the best for whites. Hot wash is bad for delicate wears. Warm water is the perfect compromise of both worlds.

When washing whites, use detergents specifically for whites. Options like: Tide, Gain, and Cheer are a good choice.

So, should you wash your white clothes in hot or cold water?

The answer is: none of the above. 

You’re better off washing with warm clean water.

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