I use cold water for regular clothing (i.e. dress clothes for work) and then let them air dry. I use warm water for sheets, and then hot water for all kitchen and bath towels, and all under garments. Workout clothes I follow the label where it says cold water and then let them air dry. I only use the dryer for sheets, towels, and under garments, and I made the homemade laundry detergent ChristinS is referring to and I really like it and it does get my laundry clean.