Why You Should Stop Washing Your Clothes in Warm Water

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iStock

When you’re throwing your clothes in the wash, you probably reflexively turn on the warm cycle. The hotter the water, the cleaner the clothes, right? Not so. As we learned from io9, washing your clothes in warm water isn’t going to get them all that much cleaner than cold, and the latter is better for the environment, your wallet, and, in the long run, your wardrobe.

While hot water was once the best choice for washing clothes, over the last decade or so, companies like Proctor and Gamble have developed new detergent technology that can work as well in cold water as in warm water. (Powder detergents still typically require warm water to dissolve, though.) Some washing machine manufacturers have also come out with machines that rely largely on cold water cycles.

Washing in cold water is also better for your clothes in several ways. Some types of stains will only come out in cold water. Protein stains—like blood and sweat—will just set in further if you wash them in warm water. And warm water can cause dyes to bleed and fabric to shrink, whereas clothes washed in cold water will stay brighter and keep their size and shape for longer.

Cold water is the greener option, too. A full 90 percent of the energy required to power your washing machine goes into heating the water, according to Energy Star. Washing your laundry in cold water can prevent hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

And when you save energy, you save money. Personal finance blogger Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar estimates that switching to cold water washes instead of warm or hot could save the average family more than $200 a year.

While some experts recommend washing truly germ-ridden items—like dirty diapers—in warm or hot water, for most clothes, cold water will work just as well. Personally, the warm water function on my washing machine is completely broken, and the cold cycle has never failed me yet, even when tackling my smelliest, most disgusting gym and gardening clothes.

[h/t io9]

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America's Top 25 Colleges and Universities for 2021

Harvard University's Memorial Hall.
Harvard University's Memorial Hall.

Deciding what makes a certain college more desirable than another is highly subjective. Some prospective students might think a championship-winning football team and a massive student body are major selling points, while others prize a small, tightly knit community above all else.

To try to come as close as possible to identifying objectively great colleges and universities around the country, WalletHub analyzed a whopping 30 factors in seven categories, from student selectivity and cost to campus experience and career outcomes. These encompass basic metrics—admissions rate and average class size, for example—as well as more specific considerations, like study abroad programs, on-campus employment opportunities, and the median salaries of recent graduates.

Of all 1008 schools included in the study, the Ivy League ones continue to reign supreme. Harvard University ranked first, with a score of 78.6 across all 30 metrics, edging out Yale by just .03 points. Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Brown also made the top 25. With low acceptance rates and high graduation rates—not to mention huge endowments—these stately old institutions are rather difficult to compete with, but they’re definitely not the only esteemed places to get a four-year education.

As a testament to the continuing success of the tech industry, three technology institutes made WalletHub’s list: Massachusetts in third place, California in fifth, and Georgia in 11th. Those three schools ranked in the top five for return on educational investment, meaning that graduates make high starting salaries compared to how much their education actually cost.

Geographically, New England (and the East coast in general) is home to a majority of the top schools, though five from California alone did chart, too: Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Pomona College; and Claremont McKenna College, in addition to the aforementioned California Institute of Technology.

Check out the top 25 below, and see where your alma mater ranks on WalletHub’s full list here.

  1. Harvard University // 78.6
  1. Yale University // 78.57
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // 78.44
  1. Princeton University // 78.41
  1. California Institute of Technology // 77.65
  1. Stanford University // 77.12
  1. Rice University // 76.96
  1. Northwestern University // 75.4
  1. Duke University // 75.18
  1. University of Pennsylvania // 74.95
  1. Georgia Institute of Technology // 74.92
  1. Vanderbilt University // 74.66
  1. University of California, Berkeley // 74.54
  1. Columbia University // 74.51
  1. Johns Hopkins University // 74.37
  1. University of Chicago // 73.59
  1. Dartmouth College // 73.43
  1. Williams College // 73.19
  1. Brown University // 73.17
  1. Carnegie Mellon University // 73.11
  1. Washington and Lee University // 73.08
  1. Swarthmore College // 73.08
  1. Pomona College // 72.92
  1. Claremont McKenna College // 72.84
  1. Amherst College // 72.83