Doing laundry in cold water will save you loads

Doing laundry in cold water will save you loads

Tide Coldwater Clean cleans up in our tests

Published: October 31, 2014 03:00 PM

Want to pay nothing for laundry detergent this year? Start washing your clothes in cold water. It could save you $60 or so in energy costs (or more if you live in a state with higher-than-average electricity rates), which should just about cover the cost of your detergent, assuming you do the average 300 loads of laundry per year. But you'll need to reach for the right detergent, based on Consumer Reports' latest laundry detergent tests.

We just put Tide Coldwater Clean, 25 cents per load, through the ringer, setting our laboratory washing machine to 60° F, instead of the usual 75° F. Like other cold water detergents, this Tide is formulated with special ingredients that are designed to work at lower water temperatures. It lived up to the promise, vanquishing blood, chocolate ice cream, grass, and other tough stains in our tests. 

The Tide Coldwater Clean we tested is intended for high-efficiency washers. There's also a version designed for conventional washers that's done well in past tests. It says on the Tide website that both detergents can also be used in warm and hot water. We didn't test it that way, but in the past we've seen a slight drop off in performance when we've tested cold water detergents in warmer water. So our advice is to stick with the cold water, especially if you're hoping to reap lower energy costs, along with clean clothes.

—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico on Twitter)           

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