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Tide talks partnering with Walmart and major appliance makers to make laundry better from the jump: 'They're going to get a great result'

"It seems like such a small act, but because we do 30 billion loads of laundry in North America a year, that one small act really adds up to a massive impact."

"It seems like such a small act, but because we do 30 billion loads of laundry in North America a year, that one small act really adds up to a massive impact."

Photo Credit: Procter & Gamble

The latest installment of Tide's journey to get us to wash clothes on cold goes way beyond detergent. Hint: It involves America's biggest retailer β€” and your shiny new washing machine.

This spring, Tide and Walmart joined forces to show customers firsthand how switching to a cold water wash can help save shoppers up to $150 every year while reducing energy consumption by up to 90%.

Tide has also teamed up with Electrolux, GE, and Samsung to literally build the change into washers, with an innovative feature that claims to enhance the machine's ability to wash on cold.

Working together "can be so much more powerful and [have] so much more reach as a voice than a single brand," said Todd Cline, senior director of sustainability at Procter & Gamble (Tide's parent company), especially if you're not afraid to think outside the box. 

"It seems like such a small act, but because we do 30 billion loads of laundry in North America a year, that one small act really adds up to a massive impact," said Cline. Even just between 2020 and 2023, Tide, which recently released a line of detergent with no plastic packaging, has boosted cold washes from 48% to 57% β€” with the goal being 75% by 2030.

In an exclusive conversation with The Cool Down, Cline took us through how Tide has been pulling in the power of partnerships to get the job done.

🚰 Quick refresher: Why cold water is so important 

"About 70% of the carbon footprint of doing a load of laundry is not driven by the raw materials, the packaging components, [or] the manufacturing," Cline said. "It's actually how the consumers use the product. And it's whether someone chooses hot, warm, or cold when they're picking their temperature."

β€’ Switching from hot to cold ➑️ 90% reduction in energy on average.
β€’ Switching from warm to cold ➑️ 70% reduction in energy on average.

That dramatic impact is "why we're so focused and committed to helping consumers make that change to cold," Cline said.

And what does that look like IRL?

By Tide's calculations, getting three out of every four washes on cold for a decade would add up to avoiding a total of 27 million metric tons (almost 60 billion pounds) of carbon dioxide pollution. Or in other words: "That's the equivalent of powering both New York and San Francisco for an entire year," Cline told us. 

🀝 Working with Walmart to change habits

"Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store," Cline mentioned in a news release, so "collaborating with Walmart to amplify the benefits of cold wash with Tide is an extremely impactful way to drive cold water trial and adoption." 

By working together, Walmart and Tide can get the message across by holding ​​in-store product sampling and demos β€” as well as through digital ads and social media promotions.

The initial phase of the partnership focuses on the benefits of cold washes: 

β€’ "No. 1, you can save money β€” up to $150 per year."Β Β 
β€’ Cline noted it's also "easier on your clothes when you wash on cold," while still getting a "deep-down clean."
β€’ Not to mention, "you can reduce your carbon footprint."

"There's so many benefits that line up well with what [Walmart] shoppers are looking for," Cline told us. 

⚑ Innovations that turn the dial, literally 

For many of us, washing on hot or warm is nothing more than a long-term habit. That means getting people to switch to cold is all about ways to "make it easy, make it attractive, make it social, and make it timely," Cline said.

And what's easier than a toggle button right on your washing machine? "One of the new partnership programs we're really excited about is Tide Cold Certified, where we have multiple washing machine manufacturers who have joined us in helping people switch to cold."

Electrolux, GE, and Samsung have all banded together to design washing machines with specific, built-in Tide cold water features, "so consumers get that cue at the point of doing laundry."

"They're also designing the machines to elevate the cleaning performance in cold," Cline added, "to make sure that when people try cold, they're going to get a great result. So they'll keep using cold over and over again."

🏈 Even the NFL washes on cold

Grass stains and pasta sauce splotches are one thing β€” but can cold water washes handle 1 million pounds of professional football gear?

"We did a partnership with the NFL … where we switched half of the NFL teams over to cold water washing with Tide," said Cline. "And they're still doing it today. All of their loads, whether it was uniforms, practice gear, towels, everything, was done on cold with Tide β€” and they've stuck with it."

Tide has also partnered with Hanes and even NASA to show what's possible when it comes to resource efficiency and clean laundry.

πŸ“° ISO: Unique teammates, must love cold cycles

Tide is continuing to ask: "How do we expand that ecosystem?" Looking at the broader landscape of companies that have similar values and aspirations, not solely partners directly tied to the laundry process, "has been a real enabler for us," Cline said.

He noted that "I think there will be additional people … whether it's more clothing brands … or additional washing machine partners, additional retailers β€” or maybe other parts of the ecosystem, [like] energy providers."

"Who knows what it will be … but we're absolutely looking for who else wants to join us."

Anna Robertson conducted this interview for The Cool Down. 

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