Most clothes and other things that can be washed safely in a washing machine can be done so with cold water. Grass stains on your child’s jeans and mascara smudges on a sweater may both come out with this method. Cold water is best for delicate fabrics like lace and silk, as well as for fabrics that are dark and colorful.
If reading this makes you want to buy more laundry detergent, don’t. Jolie Kerr, an author, cleaning pro, and host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person, says that the cycles of a washing machine are made to break up and wash away only a certain amount of cleaning chemical. She says that if you use the pump or scoop with a strong hand, enough detergent will gather on your clothes and trap bacteria and smells. She also says that fabric softener can leave behind a residue that traps smells.