Washing at 60 vs 40 Degrees Celsius

Washing at 60 vs 40 Degrees Celsius – When to Use Each

When it comes to washing clothes, there are many different opinions on the best way to do it. Should you wash your clothes at 60 degrees Celsius, or is 40 degrees Celsius better?

With soaring energy prices, it’s a question that more and more people want the answer to. Here we will take a look at the pros and cons of each temperature setting, and help you decide when to use each one. Let’s take a look!


Should You Wash at 60 or 40 Degrees Celsius?

The answer to this question depends on what you are trying to wash. Most people believe that washing their clothes at a higher temperature will clean them better. However, this is not always the case.

In fact, washing your clothes at a lower temperature can be more effective in some situations. For example, if you’re trying to wash blood out of clothes or sheets then cold water is better as a hot cycle can set the stain into the fabric. 

One of the main benefits of washing at a lower temperature is that it uses less energy. This can be important for both environmental and financial reasons.

In addition, laundry detergents are designed to work well at lower temperatures, so you don’t need to worry about it not getting the job done. This can save you money and also help to protect your clothes from damage.

Of course, there are some circumstances where washing at a higher temperature is necessary. If you are trying to remove oily stains, for example, then you may need to use a higher setting. However, in most cases, washing at a lower temperature will get your clothes just as clean as using a higher setting.


When to Wash At 60 Degrees

washing machine dial

Washing your clothes at a higher temperature will kill more bacteria and make sure that your clothes are perfectly clean. 

If you’re worried about being in contact with bacteria or viruses, then 60 degrees is the way to go.

You may also want to use a hotter wash for clothes that have an excessive amount of sweat or any that have been in contact with vomit. 

If you have a lot of stains or dirt on your clothing, washing at a higher temperature is probably the best option. The likes of suncream, oil, grease, mud, ink and grass stains will all come off more easily in a hotter wash. 


When to Wash At 40 Degrees

40 degree celsius wash temp

Washing your clothes at a lower temperature is gentler on fabric and will help them last longer. The heat of a washing machine can be fairly brutal on clothes, which can cause the stands to break, the fabric to shrink or the colours to run. 

It is also more energy efficient and can save you money in the long run. Imagine having a bath at 40 degrees or one at 60 degrees. It takes a huge amount of energy to get the water that hot so washing at a lower temperature can be a real money-saver.

There is a presumption that all stains need washing at high temperatures but that’s not true. We’ve already mentioned blood but also most food stains respond best to cooler temperatures, especially any foods that are high in protein such as baby formula and dairy products.

40 degrees would also be a better idea for water-based paint, urine, alcohol (including wine) and chocolate. 

Washing at 60 vs 40 degrees


Fabrics That Need a Cold Wash

fabrics that need cold wash

We’ve mainly focused on stains so far but what about fabrics? You’ll already know that there are plenty of clothes that either ask you to wash at a maximum of 40 degrees or say hand wash only. 

The reason for that is either they are made from more delicate materials or there is a high chance of the colours fading. For this reason, any brightly coloured clothing is going to be better suited to a lower temperature.

Wool and silk clothing also needs a lower temperature but will also need to be placed on a delicate cycle. Cotton can also shrink with a hot wash and 40 degrees would be a better option for T-shirts and light clothing, unless heavily soiled.


Fabrics That Need a Hot Wash

fabrics that need hot wash

There aren’t many fabrics that need a hot wash if they aren’t heavily stained. There are a few exceptions to this as it’s usually always best to wash towels and bed linen at 60 degrees due to their contact with our skin. For this reason, underwear is best washed at 60 degrees too.

Ideally, whites should be washed at 60 degrees to keep them pristine, although this can depend on the fabric. White cotton work shirts, for example, would be best washed at 60 degrees but you may need to allow for a little shrinkage if they’ve not been washed before.


Rules to Follow

Due to the benefits of washing at 40 degrees in terms of energy use and money saved, it makes sense to wash your clothes at that temperature if you can.

As a general rule, you can wash at 40 degrees unless:

  • You need to kill bacteria/viruses
  • The clothes are heavily soiled with oil or dirt
  • You are washing towels, bed linen or underwear


What’s the Best Temperature to Wash Your Clothes?

So, what is the best temperature to wash your clothes? The answer depends on what you are looking for. If you want a deep clean, then washing at a higher temperature is the way to go.

However, if you are looking to save money and energy, or preserve your clothing, washing at a lower temperature is probably the better option.

Whichever way you choose to wash your clothes, just make sure that you follow the care instructions on the label. If you follow the tips that we’ve looked at her, you won’t go wrong.