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Washing Dishes With Cold Water? (11 Things To Know)

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Last updated on November 12th, 2022 at 06:02 am

Everyone, at some point or another, feels the need to ditch the dishwasher and do the dishes the traditional way; hand-washing.

Water, as we know, is an essential aspect of dishwashing. You may know this, but the water temperature also significantly affects the dishes’ cleanliness.

You can use Coldwater to wash dishes, although most people would use slightly warm or hot water instead. Coldwater has its pros and cons. You should know that cold water requires more scrubbing, does not entirely disinfect, is uncomfortable to the skin, and needs detergent. Below are more.

11 Things To Know About Washing Dishes With Cold Water


#1. Cold Water Requires More Scrubbing

Doing your dishes in cold water would require more effort to completely rid the dishes of dirt.

You would have to intensify your scrubbing to get a sparkling result.

You’d only need minimal scrubbing with warm or hot water because the water can melt dirt particles faster than cold water.

The molecules in cold water move rather slowly than in hot or warm water.

Without this rapid speed, hard water cannot break the dirt’s bond with the dishes, hence the need for more scrubbing.

Some cooking stains are immune to cold water washing. These stains would also require more time and more intense scrubbing to get rid of.

#2. Cold Water Does Not Completely Disinfect


After washing your dishes in cold water, they may seem clean to your eyes, but they are not entirely free from germs.

Some bacteria particles can only be seen with a microscope still clinging to the dishes.

Coldwater cannot eliminate string germs; it can only make them dormant and inactive.

On the other hand, hot water can kill most germs because most of them cannot withstand heat. Cold water disarms the germs, but only for a limited time.

The germs will bounce back, and if the same dish is reused without proper disinfection, the germs can cause you some stomach trouble.

They can even make you very sick. After washing them in cold water, the best thing is to swipe them in hot water to rid them of bacteria.

#3. Washing in Cold Water Is Uncomfortable for the Skin

Dishwashing requires you to keep your hands in water for as long as possible to get the dishes clean.

If the weather is warm or humid, you may not feel the cold burn as you would if it were frosting.

When your hands stay in water for too long, your blood may no longer flow in its usual current.

As a result, very cold water can cause your blood to clot, especially if your hands are in it for a long time.

In addition, prolonged exposure to cold water can temper your entire body temperature and even make you sick.

It is advisable to wear gloves when washing in cold water. But, when worn for a long, globes can become uncomfortable or even irritable to the skin.

#4. Cold Water Can’t Clean grease.


Too bad, because most of us cannot cook without oil or butter.  Coldwater is not your best option for washing dishes stained with fat or oil.

Coldwater condenses lipids, thus making the fat or oil thicker and stickier.

With cold water alone, you would be unable to get these particles off the dish no matter how long or how much you scrub.

On the other hand, hot water can melt fat and oil with ease. In addition, lipids are highly soluble when exposed to heat; therefore, washing your greased dishes in hot water will get them clean in no time.

Coldwater can also clear fat and oil, but you need a powerful detergent.

#5. Cold Water Washes Protein Residues Faster

Cold water can dissolve proteinaceous debris from dishes. Hot water hardens protein either during cooking or washing.

So, if you use a bowl to prepare oatmeal, beat eggs, or make porridge, cold water is your best way to clean it.

Washing in cold water saves you time and the stress of excessive scrubbing.

#6. Cold Water is Best for Pre-wash


Cold water can help soften rigid molecules that stick to dishes. In addition, soaking dishes in cold water before washing them in warmer water can enhance the warm water’s efficiency.

However, greasy dishes cannot be preached in cold water. Low temperature increases the viscosity of lipids, thus making them more crystallized, defeating the prewash’s aim.

In other words, hot water is suitable for pre-washing grease, while cold water is the best protein substance.

#7. Cold Water Is Best for Rinse

Dipping your dishes in cold water after washing them in warm or hot water helps stabilize their temperature. Asides from this, hard water give your dishes a smoother appearance.

However, another downside of washing with cold water is that the dishes would be left with a cloudy surface.

Improper rinsing can also cause unclean dish surfaces. If this is the case, a double rinse could help fix it.

#8. Doing Dishes with Cold Water Lowers Your Bill

We’re all about saving costs these days. Using cold water for your dishes is cheaper since you have to pay for water heating.

A water heater puts pressure on electricity grids, so minimizing its use would lower your bill at the end of the month.

However, in an attempt to avoid bills from water heating, you might end up accruing more from excessive usage of cold water.

The best way to hand-wash your dishes is to fill the sink with water and shut the lower tunnel, so the water doesn’t flow out.

This way, you can save up to 8 gallons of water and still have nearby dishes.

#9. Cold Water Dries Slower

It is common knowledge that hot water evaporates faster than cold water. Besides this, hot water also possesses very active molecules that rapidly dry off dishes.

The particles in cold water are denser, hindering their drying speed. Therefore, dishes washed in cold water must be further dried with a hand towel.

But then, if used for an extended period, a hand towel acquires bacteria from the atmosphere or close-by surfaces, and re-infects the dishes, thus ruining all your efforts to have germ-free dishes.

#10. Cold Water Can Be as Efficient as Hot Water

It all depends on the suitable detergent. The sole aim of doing dishes is to leave them clean and germ-free.

Without a suitable detergent, you may not achieve this. When using cold water to do dishes, ensure to use a solid detergent that can supplement the weak cleaning power of cold water.

The good thing about solid detergent is that you do not need it in large quantities. Instead, tiny drops are enough to effectively clean the dishes and kill germs.

If you aren’t sure what detergent to use for a cold water wash, try Fairy Platinum Antibacterial, W5 Wash, or Magnum Premium Wash.

With any of these three, you can be sure of having spotless and germ-free dishes.

#11. Detergent is a necessity

Without detergent, washing dishes with cold water would waste effort.  You do not necessarily need detergent when washing with hot water, but it is necessary with cold water.

Although, for the hot water to eliminate germs, it has to be of a very high temperature. Most germs can withstand minimal heat, so the water must be excessively hot.

However, when washing dishes with water this hot, you might end up scalding your skin.

Furthermore, soap is barely soluble in cold water. Most detergents are produced to be used in warm or hot water, and as such, they do not perform excellently in cold water.


Cold water on its own is not as efficient as hot water when it comes to washing dishes. Coldwater has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Although, you can overlook most of its cons with a suitable detergent.

Nevertheless, warm or hot water remains the best option for washing dishes. This is because you can quickly clean and disinfect your dishes with warm or hot water.

In addition, you may choose to wash your dishes with hot and cold water; this way, you can enjoy the benefits of both hot and cold water.


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