What to Look For
If you're concerned about the environment and high energy costs, consider that up to 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is spent heating water. That's why more people are washing their clothes in cold water. However, there are some things to know before you press the "cold" button on your washer's temperature selector.
Use the right detergent Powdered detergent can sometimes struggle to dissolve in cold water, especially during winter, when water from the tap is coldest. Try using liquid detergent to avoid undissolved powder and clothes that don't get clean. Some detergents even have special formulations for cold wash cycles.
Get a washer with a dedicated cold cycle The Kenmore 40272, for example, has a dedicated setting for a cold wash.
Extend the life of your clothes Not only does a cold wash save energy, it could also save your clothes! Hot and warm water washes can cause dark colors to fade, delicate fabrics to fray, and shirts to shrink. If the label says "warm," it'll probably be fine in a cold wash.
Save the warm wash for white fabrics Sometimes, only a warm wash will do. If you've got stubborn stains on a white tablecloth, or undershirts that need an extra cleaning, run a separate hot or warm wash.
Some items need hot water Bedding, pet items, bathroom rugs, underwear, and cloth diapers need a hot water wash to kill harmful bacteria and other unwanted visitors. Some washers even have a sanitize function that heats up to 150 degrees.