(CNN) – It’s one of the basic rules of laundry. The hotter the water, the cleaner the clothes.
The reason for this is your detergent. Historically, detergents needed the hotter water to be more effective.
However, Consumer Reports experts say that rule no longer exists. Now there are detergents formulated to work better in cold water. In fact, Consumer Reports says the cold cycle is more effective at cleaning your clothes and removing stains.
If the water hits higher than 75 degrees, the detergents become less effective. Additionally, the heat may help stains dig deeper into your clothes. The hot water can also damage some fabrics.
You should use hot water if you have to sanitize your clothes, there is an illness, bugs, or if your baby wears reusable diapers.
Even then, the hot cycle may not be enough. Use bleach if you need to sanitize, or place those items in boiling water.
You can also use your iron to kill germs.
Consumer Reports says that if you use decent detergent and have a machine that’s working well, your clothes will get cleaned.