Washing hands in cold water

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If like me you are a frequent washer of hands – in my case this being due to my Romani-Gypsy Culture and our People's Cleanliness Laws – then using the hot tap for this purpose would be rather wasteful, both in terms of water and energy. By the time the water reaches the tap, generally, you will have finished washing your hands which means that – one – you have anyway washed, basically, in cold water and – two – and this is the important bit – you have needlessly fired the boiler.

Most, if not indeed all, soaps, and especially here I have found the handmade varieties such as those from The Littlecote Soap Co in Buckinghamshire, England, work also well in cold water, so there is, therefore, no need to even turn on the hot tap in the first place. Just use the cold one, period.

Starting a water boiler, whether electric of gas, takes a great amount of energy and if you do not actually get the benefit from the heated water, as you do not, I an sure, want to wait the x-minutes it will take for the hot water to arrive before washing your hands and have completed the washing of your hands generally before the water arriving with you has even turned warm, then all you do is waste this energy used to heat that water.

Aside from the fact that you are wasting money in doing this you are also increasing your environmental footprint every time that you – needlessly – turn on the hot water tap.

Cold water hand washing, as you are basically doing anyway – unless you actually wait the x-amount of minutes until the water has turned warm or hot (thereby wasting water and energy) and has arrived with you – is the answer to a greener way of washing your hands.

© M Smith (Veshengro), June 2008