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Does Water Temperature Matter When Washing White Laundry?

Washing clothes is not as straightforward as it seems. While we wish we could just throw in every fabric type and colour of clothes at once in the washing machine, there are clothes-washing rules that we have to follow. From the type of detergent you use, right up to the water temperature; everything matters when it’s laundry day.


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Does Water Temperature Matter When Washing White Laundry?

Does the Water Temperature Matter When Washing Laundry?

The short and sweet answer to that, is yes it matters. Clothing fibres are sensitive and improper care can leave you with damaged clothes or ones that have shrunk a size or two. The water temperature can affect the effectiveness of the detergent and the cleanliness of your clothes, so it’s not something that should be overlooked.

Want to get the whitest of white laundry without a single stain or mark in sight? We’ve got just the tips and tricks you need to prevent your white clothing from turning yellow or damaged.

How Does Water Temperature Affect White Laundry?

Did you know that the temperature of the water has different effects on your white laundry? When used individually, hot and cold water can affect your white laundry in different ways.

Fabrics are delicate and require the correct care to keep your clothes in tip-top shape. Here’s how hot, warm, and cold water can impact the appearance and condition of your white clothes:

For stain removal:

Hot water is excellent for removing tough stains, dirt, and grime, but it can also damage delicate fabrics and cause shrinkage. Warm water is a good alternative for a gentler wash but is not as effective in removing tough stains. Cold water is not recommended for stain removal, but is suitable for light soils and delicate fabrics. The same applies to hand-washing stained clothing.

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For fabric shrinkage:

Hot water has a reputation for shrinking some fabrics, especially those that are cotton or wool. Warm water can cause some shrinkage, but is not as common as hot water. Cold water is the best for preventing the shrinkage of your white clothing.

There are pros and cons to using hot, warm, and cold water for white laundry. Here are a few pros and cons of each water temperature for washing your clothes.

Hot Water Pros

  • Most effective for stain removal.

  • Can help whiten and brighten white clothes that have become discoloured.

Hot Water Cons

  • It can cause some clothing fabrics to shrink.

  • Can cause some fabrics and dyes to fade.

Warm Water Pros

  • Is effective for removing stains on white clothes that were lightly soiled.

  • Is more gentle on some delicate fibres such as lace and silk.

Warm Water Cons

  • Not as effective in killing bacteria and removing stains from heavily soiled clothes.

  • Is less effective in whitening discoloured clothes.

Cold Water Pros

  • Less likely to cause fabric shrinkage or colour fading.

  • Most suitable for white clothes and delicate fabrics.

Cold Water Cons

  • Less effective for removing stains.

  • Not to be used for whitening discoloured white clothing.

Determining the right water temperature for your white laundry can take some trial and error, but if you learn the above pros and cons, you’ll have perfectly sized, stain-free, white laundry for a long time.

Choosing the Right Washing Powder for White Clothes

It’s important to remember that not all washing powders and detergents are created equally. Some laundry detergents may not be suitable for white clothes and some are designed for more delicate fabrics such as silk and lace.

That’s why choosing the right laundry detergent for clothes is so important - you don’t want to unintentionally damage your clothes or shrink them in the process. Not sure how to choose? Consider the following factors when choosing white-clothing-friendly washing powders:

  1. Look for a detergent that contains optical brighteners This is a special ingredient that actually helps reflect light and makes white clothes appear brighter.

  2. Use a washing powder that contains bleach. Bleach is a very powerful whitening agent that is designed to help remove tough stains and brighten white clothes. Opt for washing powders with this ingredient for guaranteed crisp, white clothes.

  3. Choose a washing powder that is designed for white clothing and fabrics. As mentioned, some detergents are specifically formulated for white clothes and contain ingredients that are effective in preventing yellowing of white laundry.

  4. Look for a washing powder that is colourfast This is a term that means it doesn’t cause any colour bleeding or fading. While white clothes don’t exactly contain colour, it can still bleed onto other clothes, which isn’t ideal.

  5. Choose Surf Hand Washing Powder When you want results, Surf will never let you down. It’s perfect for hand washing, contains excellent quality bleaching powder, and is suitable for all types of fabrics. It’s also colourfast, so you won’t need to worry about any kind of colour bleeding.

  6. Choose a laundry bleach that is suitable for white clothes Surf bleach is a trusted and effective choice for maintaining the brightness and whiteness of white clothes. With powerful stain removal capabilities, it targets and eliminates tough stains while being gentle on fabrics. Its colourfast formula ensures that only stains are removed. Surf bleach's reliable performance and commitment to quality make it a preferred option for achieving bright and pristine white garments. Follow the instructions for proper usage and dosage recommendations to maximise its benefits for your laundry.

How to Get the Whitest White Laundry?

Is your goal to get the whitest of white laundry possible? It’s very possible, especially when you use Surf Hand Washing Powder. Here are our fast and fabulous steps to achieve just this.

  1. Separate your coloured clothes from your blacks and whites.

    This helps prevent colour bleeding. This is best practice, and should be followed strictly to avoid swapping and bleeding of colours.

  2. Use the right water temperature for the recommended fabric

    . Hot water is excellent at removing tough stains and dirt from white clothes. Just make sure you read the care label on your clothes so that the fabric can sustain the heat.

  3. Pre-treat stains in a detergent and water solution

    . Before washing, pre-treat any stains with a stain remover or a mixture of baking soda and water.

  4. Soak heavily-stained clothes before washing.

    Soak your white clothes in a solution of water and washing powder before washing. This will help remove any stubborn stains and keep whites bright. Not doing this step can result in yellowing and damaging white clothes.

  5. Use the right amount of washing powder.

    Use the recommended amount of washing powder for the load size and level of soiling.

Laundry Tips for White Clothes

The more tips you know, the better your white clothes will stay after being washed. Here are some of our additional laundry tips for white clothes when washing them by hand.

  • Don't dry white clothes in direct sunlight as it can cause yellowing.

  • Wash white clothes separately from coloured clothes to prevent any colour bleeding or fading.

  • Rinse your clothes thoroughly to remove any soapy residue.

Common mistakes to avoid when washing white clothes by hand include:

  • Overloading the washing basin. Overloading the basin with too many clothes can lead to ineffective cleaning and poor results.

  • Agitating too vigorously. Agitating your clothes too vigorously can cause them to wear out quickly or even tear. It is best to handle your clothes gently while washing them.

Washing white clothes by hand requires attention to detail and careful consideration of factors such as water temperature and washing powder. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can achieve the whitest white laundry and keep your white clothes looking fresher, brighter and cleaner for longer.

Your laundry partner in hand, Surf Hand Washing Powder is excellent for washing white clothes by hand. With its excellent bleaching power and colourfastness, Surf Hand Washing Powder can take your clothes from yellow to white with one wash.

For unmatched brightness, always choose Surf.


Can I use bleach on white clothes?

Yes, bleach is an effective way to remove tough stains from white clothes. However, be sure to follow the instructions on the label and use bleach only on white clothes.

How often should I wash my white clothes?

It depends on how often you wear them and how dirty they get. Generally, you should wash white clothes after every wear or every other wear to keep them looking fresh.

Should I separate my white clothes from my coloured clothes when washing them?

Yes, it is best to separate your white clothes from your coloured clothes when washing to prevent any colour bleeding or fading.

Do you wash whites in hot or cold water with bleach?

You can use either hot or cold water with bleach, but it is best to follow the instructions on the bleach label for the best results.

Can I use Surf Hand Washing Powder on coloured clothes?

Yes, Surf Hand Washing Powder can be used on coloured clothes, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label and test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure colourfastness.

Originally published