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. I recently noticed that my washing was freezing cold when the cycle had finished. I was concerned that the heating element my not have been working. After reading your answer above it has put my mind to rest and saved my pocket an unnecessary denting. (Checked temp mid cycle everything fine) Many thanks Excellent site by the way added to favourites and will def be passing on to friends.

  2. Excellent answer! Makes sense if you think about it, but I didn’t know the final rinse is with cold water. No wonder my stuff is coming out cold, as it’s about -8 degrees outside…

  3. I notice poor washing results recently and what alerted me initially was that the washing felt particularly cold when getting it out. Turns out the heating element has bust and this is the reason. Waiting for a new part to arrive and looking forward to cleaner clothes soon.
    Whilst doing my research it seems in other countries there is a washing product where the enzymes work in cold water. I wonder if we have a product here so I can get better results before the repair man turns up (also it must be environmentally friendly!) I cannot see anything on the supermarket shelves

  4. kezza. There is cold water washing in the US and other countries but it’s not taken off in the UK. A broken heating element shouldn’t cause washing to come out cold though as washing should always come out cold if rinsing in cold water.

  5. Hi there..we just a snazzy new zanussi washing machine which my husband installed..but clothes are coming out steaming hot so would I be right in thinking he connected hot tap to machine rather than cold tap? He says it was the ‘blue’ tap but it sounds like the taps were incorrectly tagged… Thank you!

  6. No matter which setting I use, my machine rinses hot. I have to use hot water wash to get cold, but none of the rinse cycles are cold. Very frustrating. I have tried turning off each blue and red faucet, but this leaves no water coming out for the rinse. Help

  7. Hello Renee. It sounds like the pipes or taps are the wrong way round, i.e blue is giving hot and red cold. If rinsing in hot water you would need to swap the hoses over so that when it draws water in for the rinses it’s drawing in cold water not hot.

  8. I have checked that the water is cold tap by disconnecting my hose from washing machine and switching the valve on so my machineust be heating my water for rinses as my washing is hot !

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