Essential Guide to Washing Machine Settings

Laundry can be frustrating for even the most seasoned washing veterans. It’s time-consuming, unceasing, and so much can go wrong! The first step to laundry day domination is understanding the different washing machine settings and how they can help or hinder your washing. Here we aim to help you decipher the mystery of laundry settings.


Mastering Washing Machine Settings

Washing machine settings have three main functions – cycle length, cycle speed, and water temperature. A better understanding of these functions will turn you into a washing whizz in no time! Here’s how they work.

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Cycle Length

The cycle length is how long the washer will clean your clothes. You should use longer cycles for especially dirty clothes that have seen better days – while average day-to-day dirt can be washed in shorter cycles. Always go for the shortest cycle you think you can get away with; the less time your clothing is thrown around in the wash, the longer it will last.

Cycle Speed

Cycle speed refers to the rate at which your clothing is agitated in the wash and spin cycles. The wash cycle is when water and washing powder are introduced into the drum, whereas the spin cycle is what extrudes water from the clothes post-rinse.


These washing machine speed settings will often be expressed using terms such as “regular”, “permanent press”, or “delicate”, depending on the machines at your laundromat. Discover what each setting means and when to use them.


  • Regular cycle: this is when both the wash and spin cycles are quick. This setting is perfect for bulkier items that are more hard-wearing.
  • Permanent press: this is a fast/slow cycle, meaning the wash cycle is quick while the spin cycle is slow. This setting is the go-to option for most of your laundry but is particularly effective with clothing prone to wrinkling.
  • Delicate cycle: this is when both the wash and spin cycles are slow, making it the preferred setting for washing your fine or delicate fabrics.


Water Temperature

Selecting the correct water temperature on your washing machine settings can make or break your laundry’s success. Virtually all clothes can now be washed using cold water, thanks to advances in washing powders and machine designs.


Hot water can still be used for whites or particularly well-lived-in clothing, but that extra cleaning power comes at a cost. With a tendency to be tough on fabrics, hot water can cause fading or colour running in your clothing and significantly reduce the life span of your favourite outfits.


As a general rule, when in doubt, use cold water!


Knowledge is Power When Tackling the Laundry!

We’re all facing an uphill battle with laundry, so why not use every advantage you can get? A sound understanding of washing machine settings will help you avoid the washing woes of your favourite jumper coming out two sizes too small. Visit our Greymouth Laundromat or any of our other Liquid Laundromats locations and put your newfound knowledge to the test!