Should the washing come out warm or cold?

Here is a question that I get asked more than I would expect about the temperature of the laundry when it’s finished a wash cycle –

When the wash cycle ends, should the washing come out warm or cold? Mine comes out very cold. Is this normal? With my previous washing machine the washing always came out very warm.

The washing should be rinsed several times in cold water so it should come out cold. However, if laundry has been spun on a fast spin where most of the water has been extracted, or been left in the drum a while after spinning, it’s possible it could feel relatively warm(ish) in hot weather.

The temperature of the laundry is affected by the temperature outside because that affects the temperature of the cold water entering the washing machine.

So washed laundry should feel colder in winter. (When laundry feels colder it also feels wetter but that’s not necessarily the case).

In cold spells the rinsing water can be very cold indeed. So if it is warm or even hot something is clearly wrong.

If laundry comes out of washing machine hot

Hot or cold? If laundry feels quite warm or even hot at the end of the wash cycle then the washing machine is probably rinsing in hot water. This would also result in much bigger energy costs, lots of wasted hot water, and excessive creasing of clothes.

This situation is caused when the hot and cold fill hoses are connected the wrong way round.

Or when the hoses are connected correctly, but due to a plumbing error the hot tap is actually delivering cold water and the cold tap is delivering hot.

This can be caused by the plumber (or DIY plumber) wrongly identifying the hot and cold water pipes, or incorrectly labelling the taps by fitting the red and blue levers or indicators on the wrong taps. This subject is covered in more depth on the following article which gives other explanations laundry comes out of washing machine badly creased

If laundry comes out of a washer dryer’s drying cycle hot & wet

If the laundry is cold at the end of a washer-dryer’s wash cycle, but after a drying cycle they are hot and wet, this is a fault. In this case check out this article – Laundry comes out of washer dryer hot & steamy

How to check if machine is rinsing in hot water

The easiest way to check is to carefully open the soap drawer when it is halfway through filling up during the early rinses to see if the water is warm or hot. This is less trouble than pulling the machine out and disconnecting hoses.

The water coming in during the rinses should be cold. How cold will depend on how cold it is outside but it should be as cold as the water coming from your cold water tap at the sink.

Remember that hot water may take a while to actually run hot because it cools in the pipework, so if you test it by putting the machine directly onto a rinse it could take a while for the water to run hot.

You also need to have hot water in the system, so don’t check when the hot water hasn’t been on or someone’s had a bath and used it all up.

If the water is stone cold and remains so after coming in for 20 seconds or so it is probably connected up properly to the cold supply.

If laundry still hot but you know it’s rinsing in cold water

Here’s where things get difficult. If the laundry is coming out hot, but the wash cycle seems to otherwise run normally and it is not rinsing in hot water, then the only explanation must be that the heater is on during rinses.

This is because if it definitely is rinsing in cold water then the only other way the laundry could get hot is if the washing machine is heating up the rinse water.

I can’t say that’s impossible, but it’s very unlikely that the heating element would be on all the time, and if it was, it’s also unlikely to have chance to heat the rinse water up significantly because rinses generally only take several minutes.

maybe it’s not even doing the rinses?

If you are  getting hot laundry at the end of a wash cycle and the washing machine is definitely only connected to a cold water supply one explanation could be that a fault is causing the wash cycle to abort during or after the wash cycle resulting in it not actually carrying out any or all of the rinse cycles. This should in theory though cause some sort of error code to be displayed on most washers. To check for this you would need to watch the wash cycle and see if it is carrying out all the rinse cycles (normally at least 3).

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19 thoughts on “Should the washing come out warm or cold?”

  1. Thank you so much for the advice. Our hot/cold taps were the wrong colours so our machine was rinsing with hot water. We have just moved house so it’s a good job I realised there was something wrong when I did as it would be costing a fortune to run. As well as the washing coming out hot it was also smelly (a little bit like biscuits??) Hopefully swapping the pipe to cold has sorted the problems with the smell too, I think the hot rinse was washing all the softener away. Thanks again, Lisa

  2. Wow, this has saved me so much time and probably money, thank you for taking the time to write it.
    Our washing always used to come out warm (since the machine was fitted brand new). Never thought anything of it, just thought it was normal. Recently had our bathroom completely stripped out pipes and all, and new bathroom fitted. Our machine has always been connected to bathroom pipes. Since then our clothes have always come out cold, and I thought when the plumbers refitted everything they must have changed something because it was fine before then. I mentioned it to them and they said the machine heats the water so it wouldn’t be the connection. I thought the machine had developed a fault because even though it’s working fine the clothes have never come out stone cold before!
    Well this article explains everything! Our hot and cold water taps were always the wrong way round to what they were supposed to be and they got changed to the correct way during the new fitting. So I guess the machine has always been fitted to the hot water pipe rather than cold, so it was wrong before and now it’s correct!
    Thank you, makes sense and puts my mind at ease!

  3. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Thanks Emily. Good job you thought to Google it. If the hot water pipe is connected to the cold valve by mistake you can imagine how much hot water will get wasted over the years, never mind the amount of extra ironing required to get all those creases out.

  4. My washer is connected to the cold tap has been for years but tonight it stoped working would not since so I cleaned the filter and now after putting in on a rinse and spin it has came out very hot and steamy

  5. I’m putting on a very hot wash at 95 degrees on clothes and they are coming out cold even if I set it to not spin them at the end. I opened the soap dispenser drawer partway throygh wash and it is using cold water and also the washing machine door which has glass is cold whilst its washing. Not sure what the issue is any advice please? But seems like the washes are all on cold water.

  6. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Naz. Most washing machines only use cold water now and heat it up so the water going into the machine should be cold unless you know yours is a hot and cold fill washing machine. if it is, even then it will only take in hot water right at the beginning of a wash – and only then on the really hot wash cycles. After the wash cycle it should do several rinses in cold water so even on a 95 degree wash cycle the laundry should come out cold.

    If your washing machine isn’t heating the water up it should abort the cycle with an error code. If it seems to be running normally and taking the same amount of time it usually does and the laundry is clean that would imply everything is working ok. However, I have an article here specifically for anyone who suspects their washing machine isn’t heating the water

  7. Hello,
    I have an old Zanussi washing machine which washes fine up to 50 degrees. But when washing on 60 degrees for cotton, the door gets too hot to touch. I’m afraid that it might burst the glass. It never used to do this. Please tell me what has gone wrong because I like to wash towels on a higher temperature. Thanks in anticipation of your reply.

  8. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Mona. If it is overheating it’s likely to be with a temperature sensor or the main PCB. It’s unusual for temperatures to go wrong only on one cycle though. If the system controlling the water temperature develops a fault it would normally affect all programs. Unfortunately this fault is not something that you can fix without getting out an engineer, which unfortunately means it’s likely to be at least a £100 these days unless you are lucky enough to have a local engineer available. There aren’t many left these days.

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