The water temperature for washing white garments varies depending on the type of fabric, but whites generally do well in hot water. Hot water more thoroughly cleanses the dirt and stains that are prominently displayed on white clothing.
In most washing machines, cold water is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit while hot water is 130 degrees or higher. White garments made with delicate fabrics, such as silk, linen or sheers, potentially shrink, wrinkle or disintegrate in hot water, so they need to be washed on the cold cycle. Cottons and synthetics tolerate warm water while towels, sheets and socks are fine in hot water.