Once a choice limited to delicate fabrics, cold water washing has entered the mainstream and is now the default choice for millions of households. That’s an important evolution since cold water washing is much friendlier to the environment and to the household budget. With the acceleration of climate change, inflation, and spiking energy prices – to name a few factors – cold water washing is the smart choice.
Why consumers are skeptical about cold water washing
There’s only one problem: a stigma has plagued cold water washing since before the invention of modern washing machines. That stigma: “Washing in cold water doesn’t work as well.”
The widespread assumption is that clothes are left dirtier and smellier when washed in cold water versus warm or hot water. And there’s good reason for that assumption: if you wash the same soiled piece of laundry in cold water and warm water using a standard laundry soap, you’ll probably have better cleaning results from the warm water (though you might be more likely to damage the fabric with the warm water).
Consumers debate on benefits about cold water washing
A stigma has plagued cold water washing since before the invention of modern washing machines: “Washing in cold water doesn’t work as well.” The widespread assumption is that clothes are left dirtier and smellier when washed in cold water versus warm or hot water, and probably the key factor in this equation is the combination of standard laundry soap and the cold water.
Consumers have made it very clear: they aren’t willing to compromise on performance. Even as concerns about budgets and sustainability increase, no one wants to run a load of laundry only to have it come out still soiled. That’s understandable. And re-washing, even in cold water, is also impactful to the environment and household budgets.
Laundry is responsible for an estimated 18% of a household’s energy bill. It consumes 14,000 liters of water per year on average, and households go through an average of 26 liters of laundry detergent each year.[i] Cutting the average wash temperature in half produces more than 60% energy savings.[ii] There’s a clear opportunity for more sustainability.
The conflict: Budgets and the environment demand energy savings in the wash sector.
The market demands perfect wash results.
And the demands for perfect wash results apply regardless of wash temperature used.
So, is compromise necessary?
The solution is here
The most innovative laundry ingredients on the market produce exceptional results at lower temperatures. This is what the market has been waiting for, and the wait is over.
Examples of ingredients enabling excellent results in cold wash are:
- Enzymes: Lavergy® Pro and Lavergy® C Bright 100 L,are bio-based and Safer Choice Cleangredients listed protease solutions which provide superior stain removal at lower temperatures. The Lavergy® Pro line includes several products designed as high-performance additions to liquid detergents. Lavergy® C Bright 100 L specifically prevents graying, meaning clothes can appear newer longer – another win for household budgets and the environment.
- Polymers: Sokalan® HP 30 Booster and Sokalan® HP 20, breakthrough technologies that pair well with cold water washing to deliver exceptional oily stain removal and clay/bleachable stains, respectively.
- Surfactants: Readily biodegradable and Safer Choice Cleangredients listed Lutensol® XP 40 and readily biodegradable Lutensol® CS 6250 are nonionic surfactants that deliver a range of benefits, including faster wetting on cotton.
- Optical Brighteners: Tinopal® CBS-X delivers effective brightening at lower temperatures. It is suited to both liquid and powder detergent formulations.
A win-win-win-win outcome
These state-of-the-art ingredients fill a market need, eliminating the need for compromise while delivering wins on multiple fronts:
Better for household budgets.
Better for the environment.
Better performance that delights consumers.
Better for formulators looking to add value.
In addition to performing exceptionally well at lower temperatures, these ingredients can deliver on high expectations during shorter wash cycles, too. That means consumers can add time savings to the list of reasons to embrace innovation in cold water washing.
It’s time for laundry detergent to deliver time savings, energy savings, and budget savings without compromising performance. To learn more about these ingredients, and what BASF is doing to make your brand an energy saver, visit www.hcii.basf.us.
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