Admit it. There are a bunch of you out there who still wash your clothes in hot water. Don't worry, I'm with you. But this just in: Stop. Use cold. Washing with hot wastes money, energy, and is bad for the environment.
First, being a poor New
Yorker Jerseyan means I don't exactly have the means to separate my precious delicates from the rest of my laundry. That's incidental. I would if I could, trust me. I have an addiction, you guys. I like separating and knowing on some base level that my favorite pair of boxers is especially clean. And the truth is that, yes, in a perfect world hot water is better at getting things cleans. It's pretty effective.
But fuck that. For one, the expense and environmental toll inherent in any load of laundry outweighs the benefit of separating your clothes out for a nominally cleaner set of undies. According to the New York Times:
About three-quarters of the energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions from washing a load of laundry come from heating the water - a practice that, scientists say, is often wasteful and unnecessary.
For another, the industry is starting to catch up. Different companies, Tide's Procter and Gamble included, have come out with a number of cold water alternatives that wash your clothes more than satisfactorily and they're only improving. And many manufacturers are working on high-efficiency machines that better utilize cold water. Really, the greatest obstacle to us saving money is... us.