The Day I Started Running Hot

The day I started running hot was the day I read a report that said 100 percent of dust mites could be eliminated from fabrics by washing at temperatures of 140°F or over. Ever since then, sheets and towels have been strictly Normal Wash Hot. Underwear and athletic socks too. I’ve slept better ever since.

But not without misgivings.

The people who support air-drying laundry as a way to reduce household energy consumption also advocate washing in cold water for the same reason. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends it as well. So, while I won’t argue with the fact that heating the wash water accounts for 90 percent of the energy used by a household washing machine, I will say that cold water doesn’t have the same effect on my sheets and towels. Much as I hate to admit it, I make an exception for myself in this regard.

I do what I can to compensate—wash a full load and tumble dry it on a medium setting. I hang dry everything else.

Laundry reminds us that it’s hard to go through life without getting into hot water.

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