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Coldwater laundry detergent: good or greenwashing?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Featured Debate 27

 

As most of you know, on Huddler we have an open product addition system - that means anyone who registers on the site can add a product to the database. 

 

Well, there's been some debate in the reviews of the Tide Coldwater Laundry Detergent as to whether or not such a product is green or not.  So clearly there are some of you out there who like and use the product...and others who...well...don't think so highly of it.

 

So what do y'all think?  Is laundry detergent "specially formulated for use in cold water" just a bunch of baloney?  Or is it an easy way for the mainstream to green it up?

 

[This featured debate idea was brought to you by Dana1981.]

post #2 of 7

My take on it is that it's a step in the right direction.  The default is for your average joe to use a standard laundry detergent (like Tide) on your standard laundry cycle using warm water.  By using cold water, you save 80% of the energy used by the washing machine.  So by gearing these detergents toward cold water use, they get people to conserve a lot of energy, which is obviously beneficial for the environment.

 

Now, I'm not saying these are the greatest laundry soaps ever.  Certainly they still contain chemicals and aren't biodegradable.  Certainly there are greener options.  Ideally everyone would use a natural biodegradable detergent that worked in cold water.

 

However, the fact that coldwater detergents save 80% of the energy as compared to warm water detergents does make them reasonably green, in my opinion.  Certainly not greenwashing, because they have a significant environmental benefit.  And it's from companies like Tide, which your average joe knows about and trusts to make a good product.

 

It's kind of like the Clorox green line of cleaning products.  It's a good way to get people started thinking about using green products.  If they go beyond that - great.  If not, at least they've gone a step more environmentally friendly, and that's something.

 

What really bugs me is when people decide that if a product isn't as green as possible, then it's worthless.  The world isn't black and white, green or greenwashing.  There are greys, and there are steps in the right direction.  But when people get all snobby and say "you're not being green enough", that can turn other people off from trying to be green at all!


Edited by dana1981 - Tue, 29 Jul 2008 00:28:37 GMT
post #3 of 7

My mom always buys conventional detergent, and if it's towels, they are washed in hot, and if it's clothes, they are washed in cold.  What exactly is different about Tide Cold Water that makes it work better than anything else in cold water?  If it gets people using cold water when they would otherwise use hot, then yeah, it's a step in the right direction.  But I don't know that it's actually any better than any other conventional detergent...other than the fact that it's reminding people that washing on cold is okay.

 

Me?  I wash my towels in hot and my clothes in cold, using one of the more natural detergents.  I know dana likes to look at energy conservation, but I think you also need to think about the chemicals and problems like phosphorus in the water...

post #4 of 7

i wash my clothes in cold water all the time, simply because i'm unnecessarily (i'm sure) paranoid about colors transferring onto one another....nice to know it's also a green practice!

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitedreamer:

What exactly is different about Tide Cold Water that makes it work better than anything else in cold water?

That's what I'm wondering too - what was so broken about my old detergent?

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deej:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitedreamer:

What exactly is different about Tide Cold Water that makes it work better than anything else in cold water?

That's what I'm wondering too - what was so broken about my old detergent?

 

Well here's what Tide has to say about that:

 

Q.
Why can't I use the original product on a cold water setting?
A.
You can use regular Tide in a cold water wash; however, Tide Coldwater has been specifically designed for use in cold water to provide even better cleaning.

 

 

Which is basically what I assumed - it's specifically designed for cold water, so it works better in cold water than your standard detergents (and coincidentally, Coldwater works terribly in warm water - it doesn't dissolve well at all).  If you're satisfied with the performance of your normal laundry soap in the cold water cycle, then you don't need Tide Coldwater.

 

But what the coldwater detergents do accomplish is to get people realizing that they can do their laundry in cold water just as well as warm water.  If nothing else, it gives people confidence to use the cold water setting and save energy.  Personally before I got Tide Coldwater, I always used the warm water cycle.  I just assumed it would get my clothes cleaner and didn't consider the extra energy it used.


Edited by dana1981 - Sat, 02 Aug 2008 18:01:44 GMT
post #7 of 7

I took a peek at my parents' laundry detergents today, and was pleased to see that both Free & Clear All and Wisk both are phosphorus free, use buidegradable surfactants, and the bottles contains at leasr 25% post-consumer recycled plastic.  (I still like my 7th Generation detergent though!!)

 

Today actually feels like a bit of a "green" letter day- not only is traditional detergent not as bad as I'd feared, but we were at Chipotle for dinner, and they have started recycling all plastic and glass bottles!  They just put a shelf ring around the trash for bottles to be collected- it's a great idea, and I hope more fast food places catch on...  :)


Edited by nitedreamer - Tue, 05 Aug 2008 03:26:23 GMT
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