Cracking the Cold Code: How Tide Redesigned Their Laundry for Better Washing
This article is sponsored by P&G.
It’s no secret that the planet is hot water, ecologically. It is precisely for this reason that Tide has spent years researching and developing a product that will provide customers with superior cleanliness in cold water.
Since the invention of washing machines, hot water has been shown to be effective in removing visible stains, preventing the build-up of odors and grime – all vital tasks considering the average person produces a liter of sweat, 10 grams of salt and 40 grams. of sebum (body oil), while eliminating 2 billion skin cells every day. These and other bodily soils can account for 70% of the “invisible dirt” in a load of laundry.
Despite all of its bleaching benefits, hot water requires significantly more energy for each charge, which in turn has a negative impact on the environment. Indeed, if three in four consumers switched from hot water bleaching to cold water bleaching by 2030, this would have the power to reduce 4.25 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse (GES). That’s the equivalent of taking nearly a million cars off the road for a year.
For decades, however, the idea of going exclusively – or primarily – to washing in cold water has failed. Consumers believed that washing in cold water was just not as safe and effective as washing in hot water. And for much of that time, they were right.
That started to change in 2005 when Tide introduced Tide Coldwater, a new version of our long-standing detergent that was formulated to deliver superior cold water performance. Since then, at Tide, we have continued to refine all of our cold water wash detergent formulas. It was not easy.
Cracking the “cold code” meant rethinking the key ingredients in our formulas, especially Tide’s cleansing “workhorses” such as enzymes. Enzymes are natural proteins that break down stains and make them easier to remove. Until recently, they were only effectively activated at warm temperatures. Today, Tide products contain proprietary cold water enzymes that help consumers save energy while getting a great cleanse in cold water.
Yet decades-old habits are difficult to change. Many consumers continue to follow the tradition of choosing to wash with warm or hot water, while others remain skeptical of the cleaning power of Tide when cold.
The truth is, in almost any situation, the facts tell us that washing in cold water with Tide is just as effective as washing in hot water.
Here is a proof. Recently, Tide asked Charles P. Gerba – better known as “Dr. Germ” – to research the hot and cold conundrum. Professor of Virology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona, he is internationally recognized as an expert in the detection of pathogens in water and food.
First, Gerba soiled more than 20 loads of laundry by adding nasty contaminants such as E. coli, the human coronavirus 229E (the cause of the common cold) and a replica of a type of stomach flu virus. Then he washed them in cold water (60 degrees Fahrenheit) with an industry standard detergent, then dried them in a hot dryer.
The results? No E. coli or cold viruses could be detected in washed / dried clothes. Only the stomach flu virus remained and it was removed by washing in hot water followed by complete drying in the heat.
This study showed that in healthy households with the occasional respiratory virus, consumers can wash their laundry in cold water with confidence. Clothing should be washed in hot water only in homes where someone has an upset stomach and if the sick person’s clothing is separated from the clothing of other residents, other clothing can be washed safely at cold water.
Gerba’s study confirmed that most loads can be washed in cold water. Not only that, but consumers who try a cold wash with Tide report a better washing experience, citing its cleaning and stain removal power while providing better color protection, longer garment longevity and fewer wrinkles. In the knowledge that they have made an environmentally friendly choice.
Within the framework of Tide’s ambition for 2030 – a set of far-reaching sustainability commitments and goals announced in March – we are investing heavily in education and awareness campaigns to share the benefits of cold washing, with a specific goal of transforming three loads out of four cold by 2030 We’re enlisting the help of well-known celebrities, such as Ice-T and Stone Cold Steve Austin, to serve as “cold callers” in a humorous TV ad campaign calling their famous friends to turn towards the cold. We have also partnered with like-minded partners, such as Hanes, to share the benefits of cold water and call for action on packaging. By broadly encouraging consumers to wash cold, we can collectively have a significant impact on reducing GHG emissions.