Minimum acceptable rinse temperature

johnmkFebruary 4, 2013

Tap cold in my area right now is around 45-50F (7-10C). Is there much to be gained by rinsing at, say, 65F (18C) instead, if I could snap my fingers and make that happen? Of course, my washer only allows cold rinses -- I believe tap cold.

What are the objectively defined differences between rinsing at various temperatures? Would three 45F rinses be as effective as two 65F rinses? What else should I know, also?

Thank you for any thoughts you can spare on this subject.


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FYI, I have a thermostatic mixing valve that lets me set the temperature of my cold water inlet on the washing machine. I presently have it set to 65F but I want to be sure it's really getting me something important, for the price (and less quantifiable, potential global effects) of the added hot water/energy use. Truly, I'm not hurting since 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour is cheap electricity, but unnecessary energy usage still rubs me the wrong way.

If there's appreciable benefit in a cool instead of a tap cold rinse, however, then I'll stay where I'm at.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:17PM
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Historically, hot/warm rinses were needed to remove soap from textiles. Modern synthetic detergents don't need a warm rinse anymore.

A warm rinse will make fibres swell so they can release detergent more easily, though. Miele Europe, for some time, had a washer that was capable of warm rinses that would, if set for a warm rinse, eliminate one of three rinses because of the better rinsing warm water gives - so Miele said. LG Europe offers a Medic Rinse option that raises the final rinse to 40C.

On the other hand, you can easily rinse dish soap (both for hand washing and the dishwasher) off dishes in cold water. Same goes for washing soap off one's hand - possible even with cold water.

In the end, you have to decide. If you feel that your clothes still have detergent in them... try a warm rinse.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:06PM
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That's good information, thank you Alex.

Additionally, I'm looking for objective information so that I don't have to invest my own equipment in laboratory experiments. I'm interested in this topic not just for tangible reasons, but also out of intellectual curiosity.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:00PM
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