Hot vs. cold wash – what’s best?

We all know that washing your laundry in hot water is one of the more effective ways to get your dirty clothes clean from stains and bacteria. Yet, the news agenda is rife with stories surrounding the environmental impact our lifestyle choices are having: lifestyle choices such as frequently washing clothes at high temperatures, which is having an influence on our drinking water supply and the quality of our oceans, not to mention the higher energy costs.

The reality is that choosing to wash your laundry in a colder temperature is not just about saving on power, energy and money and helping the environment. It’s also about sustaining your clothes.

We’ve put together this helpful guide on how to choose between a hot or a cold wash.

What temperature is a hot wash?

60°C is considered a hot wash, with anything higher being a very hot wash.

What temperature is a warm wash?

30°C and 40°C are both good temperatures for a warm wash. Most clothes are also fine being washed at these temperatures too. Obviously the 30°C wash will require less energy.

What temperature is a cold wash?

A cold wash means no heating of the water. Most washing machines come with a cold wash setting which is a suitable option for delicate clothing.

What temperatures kill bacteria?

It’s true that washing your laundry at high temperatures is one of the more effective ways of killing off germs from clothing garments and stopping them spreading, especially bed linen, towels and items which are heavily soiled. However, it has been proven that washing at 60°C is a more than adequate temperature so there’s no need to dial it up any higher than that.

Boost your washing power and add a scoop of the ACE for Colours powder to your wash to help remove stains and clean hygienically. Suitable for colours, whites and delicates, it will also eliminate any odours and leave your clothes smelling fresh and looking brighter.


Can I wash in cold water all the time?

Cold water washes are absolutely fine for most clothes and laundry items on a daily cycle. Even at cold temperatures, stains can be removed – and results enhanced – with a detergent that’s suitable for colder conditions.

What temperatures get rid of stubborn stains?

The most important thing when it comes to treating stains, is that no matter what stain you’re dealing with, you need to prevent it from setting. Ensure you treat any stain with water and a spray of ACE Stain Remover Spray (perfect for coloured items) or ACE Power Mousse (perfect for whites) at the front and back of the stain. Never rub the stain, simply dab with a damp cloth.

If the laundry label allows, wash the item on a higher temperature than normal, ensuring the machine is not overloaded, and watch the stain disappear. Not all stains will be removed in the first wash, regardless of the water temperature, so sometimes you may need to repeat this process to completely banish them.

When is a cold wash not suitable?

Underwear, baby clothes, bedding and towels should be washed at a higher temperature on a regular basis for sufficient sanitisation.

When should I use hot water?

As we touched on earlier, hot water is good at killing off bacteria and germs. If you’ve been tucked up in bed with the flu, then we highly recommend popping your bed linen on a hot wash as the best option for disinfecting them.

What are the benefits of washing at colder temperatures?

There are many benefits a colder wash – including less risk of clothes shrinking or colours fading, reduction of wrinkles and saving on energy costs.


The reality is that selecting the correct temperature depends upon different influencing factors, including what the fabric care label says, so make sure you always check this before popping on a wash.

We hope this guide has helped answer some of your questions concerning whether you should be doing a hot or cold wash. If you have any hints and tips on tackling the never-ending laundry pile, or how you choose your washing temperature, do share with us at @ACECleanUK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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