I’d always heard that diapers needed to be washed in the hottest water possible. After two years of washing diapers in hot water, a post on Treehugging Family made me think about whether I could wash diapers in cold. Peggy writes about saving 72 pounds of carbon dioxide in one month just by washing four out of five loads in cold water. Keep that up for an entire year and you’ll save $60-100 on your energy bill.
But doesn’t washing in hot water kill germs and bacteria? Everything I read said no–unless your washer has a built-in heater, the hot water in your machine does not get hot enough to kill anything. Most water heaters are set to 120 degrees. You’d need a temperature of 160 to kill anything and 212 to actually sanitize your laundry. Jennifer (Peggy’s co-blogger on Treehugging Family) pointed out that the dryer does get hot enough to kill bacteria.