In our busy lives, we often forget how our actions affect nature.
One daily habit, washing clothes in hot water, might seem harmless, but it can release extra tiny particles called microfibres.
These come mainly from synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon and end up polluting oceans and drinking water.
When we wash synthetic clothes, the problem gets worse.
Dryers, especially, release about 40 times more of these tiny particles than washing machines—which makes it tough for systems to clean our water properly.
This microfibre pollution is a big part of the plastic issue in oceans, making up about 35 per cent.
And it's not just bad for the environment; it directly harms sea creatures, as these small plastic bits look like food, messing up how marine life works.
But here's a simple solution: switch to washing clothes in cold water.
One study found that quick cold washes release way fewer microfibres than long hot washes.
Besides, there are three more compelling reasons to choose cold water washing and we’ll tackle each below.
1 Reduce energy consumption
Switching to cold water makes practical sense by saving a lot of energy according to expert advice.
The Clorox Company says heating water for laundry uses 75-90 per cent of the total energy—making choosing cold water a significant means of achieving energy savings.
CHOICE also agrees, noting that heating water during washing is the main energy consumer and cost contributor.
If you transition from washing a half load daily with warm water to washing a full load daily with cold water, CHOICE's calculations indicate you could save $135.85 annually.
2 Reduce CO2 emissions
According to the American Cleaning Institute, cold water washing can significantly slash CO2 emissions (release of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere) by 391.74 kilograms annually.
Moreover, this change can substantially reduce clothes' carbon footprint (greenhouse gases).
Carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee stresses that 70 per cent of a typical cotton T-shirt's carbon emissions come from washing and drying.
Washing in cooler water can cut the overall footprint by about 15%, providing a straightforward yet impactful change for the environment.
3 Reduce colour fading
It’s proven that hot washing can harm your clothes, causing colours to fade.
One Brisbane textile teacher highlights that cold water is better than hot for keeping colours vibrant and extending the life of clothes.
Washing in cold water not only slows colour fading but also prevents fabrics from shrinking.
For delicate fabrics like silk, wool, or cashmere, cold water washing is highly recommended to minimise damage.
In a nutshell, switching to cold water washing isn't just about doing laundry differently—it's a cool way to help our planet by saving energy, cutting down on pollution, and keeping our clothes looking good for longer.
But, here's a little tip to make it even better: when you're choosing laundry detergents, choose products such as our 32 Laundry Sheets and 64 Laundry Sheets—available in both Fragrance-Free and Fresh Linen Scent—which are kind to the environment.
The choice of detergent matters too, and it doesn't have to be the most expensive. It's a small change that adds up to a big win for our world.
So, next time you're doing laundry, think cold, green and Good Sheet!