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Best Temperatures for Washing Clothes

Best Temperatures for Washing Clothes

Hot, warm, or cold? Each temperature has different washing benefits.

Washing one’s clothes in a washing machine may seem to be a task that is easy enough. Does it really matter how hot or cold the water temperature is? Why set the clothes on any other setting than the “normal” one? Does it matter if your water is hard or soft? In this blog post, we will discuss the first question, “What are the best temperatures for washing clothes?”


Hot water has its pros and cons. Hot water is typically 130 degrees Fahrenheit or above. It is good for removing stains from clothes and also for sanitizing clothes. The heat of the water will kill bacteria. On the other hand, hot water can cause the most shrinkage, bleeding, and possibly damage in clothes. Hot water is also the most expensive way to wash, because of the cost of heating the water. Hot water is best used for washing things such as undergarments, bedding, sick clothes, and heavier-soiled clothing.


Usually about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, warm water is best for washing man-made fabrics. Polyester, spandex, nylon, and so on fit in this category. Warm water is also good for washing jeans and knits. Not too hot, and not too cold, warm water is not too harsh on clothes, but does not have the sanitizing zing of hot water.


Ranging from around 90 to 70 degrees, cold water also has its advantages and disadvantages. Dark and bright-colored clothes will benefit from having the least likelihood of bleeding and fading with cold water. While cold water is not the best for removing heavy soiling and stains, it is ideal for removing stains from wine, blood, and coffee. Cold water is also good for washable woolens, because cold water is the least likely to cause shrinkage. A final benefit of washing with cold water is that it takes up the least amount of energy

If you decide to wash the majority of your clothes in cold water, you will want to prewash or soak the most soiled garments in a water-and-detergent solution for the best results. 

A Guiding Principle

One thing to remember about cold water is that it will be harder for the detergent to break down and wash the grime out of the clothes, especially powdered detergents. With hot water, the detergent cleans more easily.

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