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Wash in cold, and your wallet will thank you

Woman doing laundry

Cold water washing one of the easiest changes you can make, year-round

As the weather turns colder and wetter, many of us find it more difficult to save energy around the house. The heat goes up, the clotheslines and drying racks come down, and the oven goes on. But you can still save energy with simple changes. And even if you're drying more laundry at this time of year, one of the simplest things that you can do to save energy can still be found in the laundry room.

Just change to washing your clothes in cold, and you could see some big savings over the year.

Heating water takes most of the energy used by your washing machine

Washing in hot water is great for dishes, but it's not really needed for your clothes. And all that unnecessary heating can add up on your bill. 90 per cent of the energy consumed by washing machines goes to heating the water, not to agitating or rinsing. Simply washing in cold water will save up to $70 in electricity costs over the year.

And if you're worried that clothes and fabrics won't get as clean on a cold cycle, there's good news. Experts say that that's simply not true. It might even have some benefits.

Cold water just as effective as hot for most loads

Anyone who has accidentally shrunk a favourite sweater knows that hot water isn't always the best choice for some garments, particularly delicate fabrics. But choosing the “cold” button on your machine might help more than just your sweater's shape:

  • Cold water is less stressful on most fabrics, especially bright colours. Clothes are more likely to fade, stretch, or shrink when washed in hot water. So your clothes can last longer when regularly washed in cold water.
  • Although many people think that hot water gets clothes cleaner, it can actually be the worst choice for certain types of stains, especially protein-based stains (think your sweaty gym clothes). Stains like these can set into the clothes when washed in hot water, but not when they're washed in cold.
  • Advances in both washing machines and detergents have made cold water washing a more viable option for all types of loads. Even detergents not marked specifically for cold water use are more effective than they used to be, and modern washing machines generally offer great performance on cold temperatures.
  • Even clothes with stains can be washed effectively in cold water – consider pre-soaking in cool water to loosen even stubborn stains before washing, rather than choosing hot water.

Team Power Smart members can win an energy-efficient laundry pack

We're making it easier for Team Power Smart members to make the switch to cold. Members can enter to win an energy-efficient laundry pack in this month's members-only contest. You could win one of fifteen prizes:

  • Three prizes of an indoor drying rack from our partners at Rona, and a coupon for a free bottle of Tide Coldwater liquid laundry detergent from our partners Procter & Gamble.
  • 12 prizes consisting of a pack of dryer balls and a coupon for a free bottle of Tide Coldwater liquid laundry detergent from our partners Procter & Gamble.

That bottle of Tide Coldwater detergent is recommended by the likes of Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports, and it might just help you make the switch to energy-saving suds.

How to enter:

  • If you're already a Team Power Smart member, log in to your MyHydro account and go to your Member's Tool Box to enter this month's contest. Once you have entered your Members' Tool Box, select "View this month's contest details" and follow the contest entry instructions.
  • Not a Team Power Smart member or don't have an online (MyHydro) account yet? You'll need to create a MyHydro Profile and join Team Power Smart, then go to your Members' Tool Box to enter the contest. Once you have entered your Members' Tool Box, select "View this month's contest details" and follow the contest entry instructions.