Now, this might seem straight forward, though this gesture affects your environmental and economical footprint, AND improves the lifecycle of your clothing!
What do we mean exactly? Well, 90% of energy usage in a standard washing machine goes to heating the water, with the other 10% powering the appliance. Not only will you decrease your energy bill and minimise your environmental impact, but your clothing will benefit also. Hot water can make the material fade and wear out quicker, particularly for cotton and linen fabrics. Cold water will not jeopardise your clothing but rather extend its life cycle. This is a perfect reason to commit to only washing with cold water and avoiding the hot as much as possible. There may be times when something is extra dirty and needing special attention. In this instance, washing in a bucket or the laundry sink with slightly warmer water (so you can control how much) and rinsing with cold after can do just the trick.
1. Before loading the washing machine for a cold wash, check your larger clothing items for particular stains or patches that may not come out in the regular wash (this will save you time and resources having to wash something twice)
2. Pop the machine on cold water, using the same amount of cleaning solution (or equivalent) that you would normally use
3. With the items that have specific stains/patches, you can wash by hand separately in the laundry sink or bucket (only fill the sink so the clothes are just submerged). Address the stains with lemon or bi carb soda (depending on the material)**
5. Hang the load of washing on your clothes rack to complete your minimal environmental and economic footprint load of washing!
**Note: To remove stains with minimal products (without packaging), it can vary greatly fabric to fabric. Bicarb soda, lemon or a soap bar are often used, by wetting the area and leaving either the soapsuds or bicarb to dry. It will then be ready to add to the next load of washing, or can be washed in a bucket by hand.