Can You Wash Dishes In Cold Water

Can You Wash Dishes In Cold Water

The sensation of hot water on our hands may be unpleasant, but it can feel better than cold water when cleaning dishes. Some claim, such as experts at Ohio State University, that dishwashing with plenty of soap and cold water can be as effective as hot water.

However, there are reasons we use hot water, as does your dishwasher. Soap cleans and disinfects dishes, yet hot water still plays an important role. You may ponder over this while standing at the sink. Is it OK to wash dishes in cold water, or do you need to carry on outing hot?

In our guide, we look at the various reasons you wash with hot water. By the end, you’ll see such things as hot water cuts through oil and grease on your dishes, whereas cold soapy water doesn’t.

You’ll end up with a much better idea of why the water is the temperature and why a dishwasher or washing clothes has settings and detergents for cold washing. (Learn How To Add Baking Soda To Front Load Washer)

Washing Dishes In Cold Water

Can You Wash Dishes Without Hot Water?

Here’s a few reasons why hot water and not cold works best for cleaning dishes.

Goodbye Greasy Stuff

If you want to remove grease from your dishes, use hot water and dish soap. While dish soap works on grease, the hot water loosens the grease molecules, allowing the detergent to grab and hold on to it.

As a result, soap foam mixes with the grease when you wash the dishes.

You may ask why the dish soap doesn’t grab the grease molecules without loosening them. This is because dish soap can only grab what it contacts, and the surface of grease is so tight that grabbing a single molecule is challenging.

Here, you’ll find hot water softens grease and loosens molecules, making the dish soap grab hold of it.

You can see this in action when you scour oily dishes when washing in cold water. The scrubbing action offers a chance for the antibacterial soap to contact the detergent.

Hot Water as a Dish Sanitizer

Unlike cold water, when you have hot water at a certain temperature, it begins killing bacteria and sterilizing your dishes.

While you can use antibacterial dish soap to wash at colder temperatures, it opens up the risk of bacteria and food poisoning if you use cold water for cleaning dishes and don’t get them cleaned thoroughly.

Better Cleaning Power

The benefit of hot water extends beyond greasy dishes. Hot water offers a higher cleaning capacity than cold water, even for non-greasy dishes.

To begin with, hot water will hasten the dissolution of food and filth from the dishes. This means that using hot water to clean your dishes will take less time than using cold water. (Learn How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher)

Cut Down on Drying

Dishes that have been rinsed in hot water dry faster than those that have been rinsed in cold water, and you’ll find that rinsing dishes in hot water dry on their own.

Apart from the speed of drying, dishes cleaned with hot water are streak-free and dry spot-free.

Reduced Effort

Since hot water has superior cleaning from higher temperatures, it means you’ll have to use less effort cleaning your dishes, pots, and pans as you would with cold water.

Tips in washing dishes with cold water

Is Washing Up With Cold Water Bad?

While hot water can be better and won’t leave contaminated dishes, there’s no reason to think cold water is all bad for cleaning dishes, of course. You may be surprised to find some food remains are best cleaned with cold water, such as dishes used for dairy products. (Milk, ice cream, and yogurt)

Using hot water on these remains makes them gummy or sticky; thus, cooler water takes less effort than more. There’s no need to panic if you’re just equipped with cold water and soap. Also, if the dishes aren’t overly oily, you may not need to use hot water.

To summarize, you can clean your dishes using cold water and dish soap, but you will have to scrub for longer periods and use more effort. The following are things to keep in mind when washing dishes with cold water.

Cold hands

Washing dishes in cold water makes your hands cold and washing up isn’t as comfortable as with slightly hot water. In addition, washing dishes with cold water can be tricky since it restricts blood flow, and too much exposure to cold might make you sick. Many individuals use hot water for hand washing dishes for this reason.


Cold water can be used for washing up, but it doesn’t destroy germs. Cold water can kill or inactivate many bacteria and pathogens, while a hot water temperature is needed to eliminate most bacteria and germs found on dishes.

Even if you wash your dishes with cold water, you must rinse plates and dishes with hot water to sanitize them. It will remove all soap residue and kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs on your dishes.

However, using the correct detergent and cold water can eradicate bacteria and germs as effectively as hot water. Anything can be cleaned using detergent. However, because of surfactants, many detergents perform better in hot water than cold water.

You can discover your dishwasher even uses less water by using a higher temperature; thus, the amount of energy in use will drop as times to wash are reduced.

Cloudy finish

Using cold water to wash dishes might leave a hazy, thin film on the dishes. Also, because cold water does not dissolve soaps and detergents like hot water, a coating of soap might remain if not washed for an extended period.

To eliminate soap from your dishes, you must double rinse and inspect before drying. Then, rinse them with hot water to eliminate any lingering soap and detergent residue from your dishes.

Dishes can become foggy for many reasons. Dishes become foggy when washed with harsh water owing to frequent washing. The hazy appearance of such dishes is caused by surface degradation with repeat washing up.


Cooking for a long time can leave stains on difficult dishes to remove, even with cold water. Washing these persistent areas will require a lot of scrubbing, effort, and time.

Food thickness

Viscosity increases with temperature. It is tough to wash with cold water since it makes the chemicals much thicker and harder to remove from the dishes. To eliminate them from cleaning will take a lot of labor.

However, high temperatures reduce viscosity, making them easier to remove. Using hot water will quickly and easily remove thick and viscous stains from dishes.

Protein stains

Proteins are unique in their capacity to endure heat. Heat makes proteins cook and harden and eggs are a prime example. So washing dishes with cold water is easier and more efficient than using hot water.

So, if you have beaten eggs in a container, you can easily wash them off with cold water, but hot water cooks and hardens them further, so they stick to the container. Similarly, porridge in a pan washes the same way as eggs, and you can swill your pan when washing up easier in cold water than warm water. (Learn How To Wash Throw Pillows)

So, when cleaning dishes like this, rinse them with cold water first, then wash them with hot water. It will save you time and effort while the high temperature sanitizes your washed dishes.

Dish Washing Tools for Cold Water

What Temperature Water Should You Wash Dishes In?

Dishwashers should be hooked up to hot water. So they use the hottest water to wash dishes. That’s why dishwashers are effective at cleaning dishes. These devices already use hot water; therefore, they don’t need cold or hot water.

Dishwashers also disinfect and sterilize dishes without detergents, something hot water alone cannot do.

For the reasons stated above and more, we all desire a more accessible and more effective way to wash dishes. Besides using hot water, here are some other dishwashing recommendations.

Wipe Food off Dishes

Looking for an easy way of washing up? After eating, throw away the leftovers and clean off the residues as quickly as possible.

It’s difficult washing up when plates and dishes have food on them. Moisture evaporates from the food left on the dishes, making it harder. Food sticks to the dish, making cleaning difficult.

Don’t Pile Dishes

Do not put dirty dishes on top of dirty dishes while hand washing dishes.

Piling dishes reduces your desire to wash them as the pile rises. So you clean dishes as soon as they get filthy to avoid kitchen mayhem.

Dish Washing Tools

A decent sponge and other washing utensils will help you get rid of dirt and grease to get your dishes clean. An excellent sponge won’t scrape your dishes and won’t harbor bacteria. Yellow dishwashing gloves are also an excellent investment to protect your hands when washing up.

Soak Dishes

If you have difficult stains or dirt, soak your dishes in a water and dish detergents solution for a while. Soaking your dishes helps loosen leftover food. So, leave the dishes overnight and clean them in the morning; it saves energy and can reduce the water you need.

Let Dishes Dry

Most individuals hand dry their damp dishes, and while it appears to be saving time, doing this after you have used hot or cold water when washing up is in vain. This is because bacteria thrive on dishtowels which are a breeding ground, and as you dry plates and dishes once you have done your washing up, you can spread bacteria. Thus undoing all your hard work.

Hot water is excellent for cleaning dishes. Temperature increases detergent component efficacy and helps melt fat on dishes. Cleaning is affected by four factors: water temperature, washing-up liquid chemistry, scrubbing action, and washing-up time.

It’s tempting to shoot extra washing-up liquid at stuck-on food to get it off. But slathering the troublesome item in dishwashing solutions will only temporarily ease the situation.

Some detergents reach a certain level once a specific amount of washing-up liquid is added to the water. Adding another spoonful or a bucketful won’t help, and surplus detergent will be washed away.

Thus, to save time, energy, and money, you need the suitable dish detergent regardless of when you use hot or cold water to wash up your dishes.

Can You Wash Dishes In Cold Water

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *