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Ken's Plumbing | Blog

What Do Each of the Washing Machine Cycles Mean?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on May 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Washing Machine TitlesThere are two types of people: those that just throw all their clothes in the washing machine, toss in some soap, and hope for the best, and those who separate everything, try to decipher the heiroglyphics on the tag, and match up what they say with all of the washing machine cycles.

While the second way is absolutely the right way to do laundry, we totally see why it's easier to just ignore what the tag says. Washing your clothes shouldn't be an exercise in mental ability, so allow us to explain just how washing machines work and what all those different cycles mean:

How do Washing Machines Work?

First, each washing machine works in three basic steps. Regardless of the cycle you choose, your clothes are always washed, then rinsed, then spun to remove excess water.

  • Wash: Your washing machine is filled with water according to the selected load size, then the clothes and soap are swirled around together thanks to the agitator.
  • Rinse: The dirty, soapy water is drained, then the washing machine is refilled and your clothes are "rewashed" in clean water.
  • Spin: All the water is drained completely, then your clothes are spun very fast and excess water is removed thanks to centrifugal force.

What are all of the Different Washing Machine Cycles?

Is your favorite dress supposed to be hand washed? Is your lucky jersey supposed to be washed in cold water? What we trying to do here, wash our clothes or build a rocket?!

Each cycle has its own time, speed, and temperature. Here are the cycles you're most likely to see on your washing machine and what they all mean so you can start taking the guesswork out of laundry.

  • Pre-soak: In this cycle your washing machine is filled with water, but agitation doesn't begin right away
  • Cotton, linen, or normal: These cycles have higher spin speeds and aren't particularly fast or long
  • Permanent press or casual: These cycles have average or maybe even slightly slower spin speeds
  • Colors: This cycle uses cold water for both the wash and rinse steps
  • Quick or speed wash: These cycles use hot water and have quicker wash cycles
  • Delicates, hand-wash, or wool: These cycles use cold water for both the wash and rise steps, then they are spun slower than average (if your washing machine spins at all for this step; some don't)
  • Bulky or heavy: These cycles have lower spin speeds
  • Sanitize: This cycle uses the hottest possible water during the wash step

Your washing machine does a great job at getting your clothes clean, but it can also do a great job of flooding your home. If your washing machine supply hose isn't replaced often, it could burst and have you standing in several feet of water before you even know what happened. Reduce your home's flood risk by giving us a call at (864) 242-5511, or simply schedule your washing machine supply hose replacement online.

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Topics: Plumbing, Washing Machines, Water Conservation