Simple Savings: Wash clothes in cold water.

18 - Wash clothes in cold water. Read this article to see the actual amounts you'll save when you wash in cold water. You'll be amazed!

Like baking my own bread, I’ve been washing most of my clothes in cold water for some time. Washing clothes is cold water is another simple way to save. I know this practice saves me money but I was curious to find out exactly how much I am saving. Do you know? In research for this series and today’s tip, this is what I discovered. I think you’ll be amazed. I know I am!

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First, I happened to stumble across the Simple Dollar’s article on why to use cold water.  It was very well written with great detail. The Simple Dollar referenced Mr. Electricity’s article on washing machines, which gave even more detail. These two articles give you proof that you save using cold water. I highly encourage you to read them! However, I will summarize my findings here – adjusting the numbers for my own use.

According to Mr. Electricity, here are the average levels of kWh use per load, based on wash and rinse cycles. This is noting the cost of electricity only, because all loads of laundry will have the same cost of water.

Hot / Warm uses 4.5 kWh.

Warm / Warm uses 3.5 kWh.

Hot / Cold uses 2.8 kWh.

Warm / Cold uses 1.9 kWh.

Cold / Cold uses 0.3 kWh.

Right away, we can clearly see that that based on the kWh, we are saving from using hot water. I looked at my most recent bill and figured out that my kWh cost is currently 11.5 cents per kWh. Using that cost, here is what the levels cost me.

Hot / Warm uses 4.5 kWh and costs $0.5175 per load.

Warm / Warm uses 3.5 kWh and costs $0.4025 per load.

Hot / Cold uses 2.8 kWh and costs $0.322 per load.

Warm / Cold uses 1.9 kWh and costs $0.218 per load.

Cold / Cold uses 0.3 kWh and costs $0.0345 per load.

Isn’t that incredible? By switching from hot water (at 52 cents) to cold water (at 3 cents), I am saving $0.49 on every single load of laundry that I do that way! I have to admit that I am shocked. I didn’t expect the savings to be this great. Considering that I do at least 2 loads of laundry a week, that is $1 I am saving each and every week – which adds up to over $100 a year saved just from this one simple change. Wow. Knowing this, I will continue to use hot water only on my sheets and towels. As for the rest of our laundry, I’ll stick to using cold water and pocket the savings!

Will you make the switch, or do you already wash your clothes in cold water? If you want to see how this applies even more directly to you, you can adjust these numbers by multiplying the kWh by your current cost of electricity. Finally, were you surprised by the amount of savings in this one simple strategy?

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  1. I’m curious on this, because I do closer to 8-10 loads a week. I do wash some things on cold, with towels and sheets in hot… but the rest of the clothes?! I have one child who goes to an outdoor school (in Michigan!) and I guess I feel like I need a little warm water to ‘get the clothes clean.’ I imagine you, Nathan and Andy aren’t all that dirty each day. 🙂 I am going to try it, as I assume I would see similar savings! I shall update and let us know an update on what you think in a month or two, please?!

    1. I will be very curious to hear what your conclusion is after a trial run with cold water! Andy’s pants seem to attract plenty of teacher stains and Nathan’s baby food does leave plenty of stains, too, I’m learning! For now, a round of Felds Napa soap before my cold water wash seems to be doing the trick. It’s the best $1 stain remover I’ve found!

  2. Wow! Thanks for the research on this! I had always wondered and was never quite sure. It would add up the more loads you do, too. Is that why you should always do a full load too, because it would cost about that much every time regardless of the size?

    1. Yes! Exactly. I was floored by the savings. If you are heating up water, regardless of the size of the load, you would still spend as much to heat it up. I will be doing more full loads on cold from now on!

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