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Tide wants you to wash in cold water to save the planet; Yes, your clothes will get clean

Durable Goods
Posted at 1:00 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 16:04:54-04

Detergent and cleaning brand Tide is urging Americans to do their laundry in cold water; to save the planet, and maybe save some money.

As part of their effort to lower the carbon footprint of doing laundry, Tide’s new campaign is aimed at getting people to do an average of three out of four loads of laundry with cold water by 2030.

Currently, about half the loads of laundry in North America are with cold water.

The switch will cut down on the power consumption needed to heat the water.

"This is going to be the defining decade for where we end up on climate change," Shailesh Jejurikar, CEO of Procter & Gamble's fabric and home care division, said in an interview. "If we don't get this situation under control in the coming years, we are going to pay the price. There is a need to act now."

According to Tide, which is owned by Procter & Gamble, if 75% of laundry loads are with cold water, it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as removing about a million cars from the road for a year, they told CNN.

"There is no tradeoff. You will save $150 a year in energy costs, your garments will last longer. And by the way, you're helping to save the planet," Jejurikar said.

There are several reasons to consider washing more loads of laundry with cold water, including possibly saving money on energy costs.

Yes, cold water will still get clothes clean. Modern washing machines and detergents are designed for cold water, with enzymes that start to work on stains in low temperatures.

Those stains from sweat, grass or blood can actually set into fabric if washed in hot water.

Washing in cold water is also better for brightly-colored clothes to protect against color fading and shrinking. And delicates like lace and silk and denim will last longer if they are washed in cold water.

However, if the goal of washing a load is to sanitize, like if someone in the family is sick, washing clothing and bedding in hot water can help. Some newer machines have a special sanitizing cycle that only heats the water needed for a cycle to kill germs.