Friday, March 7, 2008

Carbon Fast for Lent: Cold Water Wash

The Fourth Friday in Lent
“Run your washing machine at 30 degrees. This uses 40 per cent less electricity than running at 40 degrees.”

OK, in non-metric English: 40 degrees Celsius is 104 Farenheit; 30 C is 86 F. This means I was wrong in my original assumption that the Carbon Fast was asking for cold-water washing — it looks like they’re just suggesting a switch from hot to warm. But if we go that extra mile to actual cold: TerraPass posted an article claiming that for an average household that spends $72/year on electricity for clothes washing, switching to cold water will save 85% or $61. That’s certainly significant. For the environment: a 1,281 lbs. reduction in one’s carbon footprint — wow, that’s a lot.

I’ve been skeptical about cold water washing. Does it really get clothes clean? (And could I sound any more like June Cleaver?) Has anyone tried washing normal stuff (jeans, towels, sheets) in cold water? Let us know.

Today’s mitzvah: Turn down the washer temps!


Ern said...

I do most of my wash in cold. I use Cheer All Temperature, which claims to work just as well in cold water as in hot. I don't know if it's really better than other detergents in cold, but I guess I do know that I buy into advertising!

jen x said...

Ern, thanks for the info! Since I don't have a financial incentive (I use my apartment building's coin-up washers), I have to give myself an extra nudge to try this out. An all-temp or special cold water detergent sounds like a good idea.

Emily said...

I've always washed my clothes in cold water (unless the instructions specifically forbade it) and never had any problems. Mostly this is a hold over from my impoverished/lazy college days, but it's never been a problem.

jen x said...

Who knew so many years of laundromats had actually spoiled me?! I've never had a washer in the apartment as a grown-up: laundry = quarters, regardless of temp. I'm going to have to try the cold water thing :-)