Saturday, 13 August 2011

Laundry - Part 2

After comments from Carol and Peter regarding my last laundry post I started thinking.  I was surprised by the comments about cold washing and why was I attempting to replicate the conventional hot laundry washing done in the UK.  Back in Australia and NZ 95% of our washing cycles were done with cold water.  It didn’t seem to matter which washing powder we purchased – they all worked in cold water!
I must admit, when Jan first started washing in cold water many years ago I had my own doubts.  My grandmother boiled her clothes in a “copper” to wash them.  My mother always used hot water in her machine.  In my single days I also did my laundry with hot water.  I’d obviously developed a belief if laundry wasn’t washed in hot water then it wouldn’t “kill” the germs or remove the dirt. 
How wrong I was!
After some research I read modern washing powders contain enzymes that kill harmful bacteria and hot water actually kills the enzymes.  So these days washing in water over 30 degrees could actually be detrimental. 
Should we use washing powder or liquids?  Powders contain bleaches and are better for washing “whites”.  Liquids don’t contain the bleaches and are considered gentler on coloureds.  Jan has always used powder and I haven’t seem much sign of rapidly fading coloured clothes!
So the situation has been reversed.  Rather that attempting to get hot water into the washing machine I need to consider ensuring the machine doesn’t heat the water. 
However it’s important to note most washing machine manufacturers recommend a very hot cycle once a month to “clean out the system” by removing the scale and other unwanted deposits.  Rather than run hot water through the washing machine Jan would run a cold wash cycle and add “CLR” to the water.  This is a descaling liquid.  I should also mention the water in Adelaide was particularly “hard” which resulted in a reasonably rapid build up of scale.
Oh; after some searching I found a manual on the internet for the Candy washing machine.  Actually the manual wasn’t lost - so I couldn’t have found it!  I was probably the lost one. Smile  Anyway, having read the manual I was pleased to note the Candy has a cold wash option.


Bruce in Sanity said...


Two thoughts on that:

1 The cold wash + enzymes may well remove the dirt and germs, but not the creepy crawlies. If you wash bedding containing bed bugs at less than 60 C, all you get are clean bed bugs.

2 A lot of people develop allergy to the enzymes after a while. Remember too that all your grey water goes straight into the cut, and we are asked by BW to avoid using washing detergents that contain phosphates to reduce phosphate pollution of the canal.

All the best


Tom and Jan said...

Hi Bruce,
I guess that means we've been sleeping in harmony with clean bed bugs for the last 20 years :-)

Good point about the use of washing powders containing phosphates. According to Wikipedia, in 2004 the EU introduced regulations to require biodegradability in all detergents,and intends to ban phosphates in domestic products from 2013.

Bruce in Sanity said...

Yeah, we've never seen them either, but I do wonder if the plague of them they are suffering in NY, NY is to do with the fashion for low temp washing.

They were famously a problem for the working boaters (see refs to "stoving" the cabin), but their opportunities to wash were a bit limited.

take care


Jo (Boatwoman) said...

These days having a washing machine onboard is a must, because so many of the laundrettes are closing down. Not only that no one wants to lug heavy washing up and down the towpath in the depths of Winter.We have a Candy compact and all washes are done on low heat, we have never had a problem.
We also use Ecover washing liquid, because we do not want to help to the pollution in the canal. It is up to all of us to help keep the canal pollutant free...

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jo,
No I suspect you are the "jo" of Hadar and we've followed your blog for several years!
I'm really pleased I posted an entry about laundry because it has resulted in so much valuable information. We're having a re-think of our plans.