Washing At 90 Degrees Celsius? (what you need to know)

The temperature range on a washing machine runs from cold water right up to 90 C. Whilst we all know there are certain materials that should only be washed using cooler temperatures, do you know about the 90 C wash cycle?

If you are wondering about how, when and what to wash using the 90 C wash cycle, keep reading.

Why Use the 90 Degree C Wash Cycle?

There are certain times when using the 90 degree C wash can be a good thing and We’ll get into those in a bit. Some people have some preconceived ideas as to what the 90 degree C wash is for which include;

  • Sanitising Clothes
  • Cleaning The Washing Machine
  • Preshrinking Clothes

But are these ideas correct? Let’s have a close look at the 90 degree C wash cycle.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of The 90 Degree C Wash Cycle?

Washing Machine

There are a number of benefits and disadvantages to using the 90 degree C wash cycle. Let’s look at the benefits first.

The Benefits

The main benefits of using the 90 degree C wash cycle include;

  • It’s Great To Clean The Washing Machine
    To remove all of the germs, bacteria and soap scum from your washing machine, a 90 degree C wash cycle is a great choice. Always ensure that there are no clothes in the drum before starting a cleaning cycle. 
  • It’s Great For Removing Stubborn Stains
    Some cotton items can get stained with ingrained dirt that a regular wash cycle just won’t remove. That’s when a 90 C wash can really be effective.
  • It’s Great For Brightening Whites
    White clothes can be dirt magnets. Washing white clothes at 90 degrees C and using the correct biological detergent can easily remove that dirt and stains from your white clothes. Be aware that some fabrics cannot take 90 C temperature so this should only be used on 100% cotton white garments.
  • It’s Great For Sanitising Towels
    Towels are items that come into direct contact with our skin and are therefore likely to pick up germs and bacteria every time they’re used. The 90 C wash cycle is a great way to remove those germs.
  • It’s Great For Cotton Clothes
    100% cotton clothes can be washed using a 90 degree C wash cycle without causing any damage to the material. This is ideal if any of your 100% cotton clothes are badly stained or need to be sanitised.

With the exception of the washing machine cleaning cycle all of the other items above can just as successfully be done using a 60 degree C wash cycle.

The Disadvantages

Let’s look at the main reasons against using the 90 C wash cycle. These include;

  • 90 Degrees Doesn’t Work On It’s Own
    We want our clothes sanitised and clean and using a 90 C wash cycle is a way to achieve this. However, it will only work if used in conjunction with a decent detergent. Getting the correct detergent can be costly.
  • Many Clothes Are Prone To Shrinkage At 90 C
    Even the most robust materials like 100% cotton have the tendency to shrink in boiling water. 90 C is not far from boiling water which means there’s the possibility of the clothes shrinking in a 90 degree C wash cycle.
  • Colours Can Run At 90 C
    The extreme temperature of a 90 degree C wash could cause some colours to run. This can make other clothes in the same wash load become unwearable due to the bad staining or different colouration.
  • Fibres Could Damage At 90 C
    The fibres of some materials could become warped, stretched or deformed at 90 C. This would render the clothes as unwearable after the wash.
  • It Costs More To Wash At 90 C
    The washing machine has to heat the water up to 90 C before the wash can commence. This uses more electricity which costs more money.
  • More Damaging To The Environment
    As the washing machine uses extra electricity to heat the water to 90 C, it causes a larger impact on the environment and over time, can cause the machine to be under extra strain which will make it more prone to break down. This will mean replacing it with a new machine which has an even greater impact on the environment.
  • Takes A Long Time
    The 90 degree C wash cycle runs on average for 2 ½ to 3 hours. This is a long time for a few towels to wash.

Do Clothes Need To Be Washed At 90 Degrees C?

For the most part, a 90 degree C wash is an unnecessary, costly business. It is only really 100% cotton towels that really should be washed in a 90 degree C wash and they can become just as clean and sanitised at a 60 degree C wash using the correct detergent.

For the most part, the 90 degree C wash cycle should only be used to clean the washing machine as a service or maintenance wash.

SEE ALSO: Do Clothes Actually Get Clean On A Quick Wash?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to wash clothes at 90 degrees?

It is really only OK to wash 100% cotton clothes at 90 degrees C and even they run the risk of shrinking.

Is 90 too hot for the washing machine?

90 degrees C is the hottest wash cycle found on washing machines. It is only really used for 100% cotton clothes and towels.

Should you wash towels at 60 or 90?

To remove germs and bacteria, towels should be washed at 60 degrees C using a good detergent.

Can I wash my towels at 90 degrees?

You should only wash 100% cotton white towels at 90 degrees C. Coloured towels are likely to run at any temperature above 60 C.

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