Do Washing Machines Need Hot Water?

Modern washing machines claim they can help the environment and save you money at the same time. Cold water washing is the latest eco-friendly trend. Do washing machines need hot water? 

No, Modern washing machines are being designed to just run on cold water. Some new washers only require a cold water inlet and do not have the option for hot water washing. 

Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of cold water washing and see if you can make the switch. 

Laundry Tales of the Past

Older washing machines had dual water supply lines on the back. One for hot water and another for cold water.

They were traditionally red and blue, with the red being the hookup for hot water. There were distinct cycles, and water temperatures to choose from.

You had the option to wash your clothes in cold, hot, or even warm water. 

Traditionally we reserved the hot water for white clothes and bleach. I still remember my mother telling me that the bleach didn’t work unless the white clothes were washed in warm water.

I also remember a red shirt finding its way into the washer and turning my favorite white shirt pink too.  

Cold Water Only 

Do white clothes need hot water? Does bleach need hot water to work? Many new washing machines only come with a single hookup for cold water.

Detergents also claim to work in water as low as 60℉. Washing clothes in colder water is better for most clothing. Delicate fabrics such as silk and lace benefit from colder water washing.

Colorful fabrics resist bleeding when they are washed in cold water. 

Warm water tends to set stains rather than remove them. Blood and sweat are set into the fabric in hot water not removed.

Grass stains, makeup stains, and other stains are still removed in the colder temperatures leaving your clothes looking clean and smelling great.

Cold water is less likely to shrink, fade or otherwise ruin clothing. Cold water also resists leaving your clothes wrinkly. 

Environmental savings 

Not needing hot water for your washing machine can reflect on your energy bill.

An estimated 90 percent of the energy used by a washer was consumed by heating the water.

Switching to cold water only could be significant savings on your gas or electric bill. 

Fewer wrinkles will also lead to less need for ironing. That will provide time and energy savings also.  

Hot Water Needed

On a few occasions, hot water may be a more desirable option when washing your clothing. Kint fabrics as well as some synthetics including nylon, polyester, rayon, and spandex respond better when washed in warm water. 

In the event of sickness, washing any fabric that may have gotten contaminated and needs to be sanitized will benefit from hot water.

It will be able to kill any gems found on the surface of the fabric.  

Come cold weather climates may have water colder than the 60℉ needed for the detergent and the washing machine needs to cleanse the clothes properly.

Warm or hot water will be needed to bring the colder water to the 60℉ minimum. 

Hot Water Machines in the Future

Washing machines that have hookups for both hot and cold water are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

They currently are being manufactured but due to their higher energy costs, they are becoming harder to find as consumers opt for the lower energy-cost cold-only models. 


Modern washing machines are being manufactured with a single cold-only outlet.

They are capable of cleansing your clothes in water as cold as 60℉ making hot water machine washing a thing of the past.