DIFFERENT types of clothes require different settings to get everything completely clean, without problems occurring in the washing process, such as colour bleed.
Putting a coloured t-shirt in with white tops for a wash will cause the colour to seep into your pristine white fabrics! This is why it is a good idea to separate, then organise your dirty laundry into their setting categories, before “wash day”. It’ll minimise the risk of any damage or discolouration significantly.
It is also important to always check the care label on your clothes, before putting them into a wash. The label will tell you which washing machine settings to use, as well as how to dry the item afterwards.
Every washing machine will display their settings in a slightly different way. It’s always a good idea to check the manual to familiarise yourself with the available settings and cycles. But what do these settings mean and what is happening in each washing cycle?
- Normal – Used for cottons and coloured, mixed fabrics. This cycle uses warm water (30 or 40°C) to wash the clothes, followed by a cold-water rinse, with moderate agitation (machine spin) speeds. Modern detergents work just as well at 30°C as at 40°C; running your wash at a lower temperature will save energy and work out cheaper for the household in the long run!
- Whites – Used for white clothing to get everything properly clean. This cycle generally uses the hottest water (60 or 90°C) and strongest agitation speeds available to get the dirt out.
- Delicates – Used for lace and other fabrics that could get damaged by a vigorous wash. This gentle cycle uses cold water and slow agitation speeds. It’s best to use a gentle detergent for delicate items.
- Permanent Press – Used for no-iron clothes to keep the fabrics’ properties intact. It is similar to the Normal setting, but during the spin cycle the clothes are sprayed continually with water to keep them moist.
Other important settings:
- Quick Rinse – Used for small, lightly soiled loads of clothing. This setting requires less water and can save you energy.
- Pre-wash – Used for very dirty loads that require extensive cleaning. The pre-wash counts as an extra rinse cycle, with cold water that does not use detergent.
As well as the standard programs, your washing machine might come with a ‘load size’ setting: adjusting for small, medium or large washes will stop you from wasting water or energy and ensure that clothes in a large load end up as clean as those in a small load.