The Only Setting You Should Be Using on Your Laundry Machine

published Oct 23, 2020
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When you have piles of laundry to conquer or you’re just short on time, your washer’s quick wash setting is an appealing alternative to the full, hour-plus cycle. But does the rapid wash really achieve the same thorough results on your clothes? 

The answer is a resounding yes, says laundry expert Patric Richardson, owner of the Minneapolis-based boutique Mona Williams. “If I made a washer, it would only have one setting on it,” Richardson says. “And that setting would be the quick wash.”

Here’s the thing: The built-in technology of most modern washers combined with your laundry detergent or laundry soap is enough to get your clothes clean in as little as eight minutes, Richardson says. All the longer cycle does is waste water and electricity. And, in the long run, the ongoing abrasion from the washing machine can wear down your clothes. 

Credit: Nipitphon Na Chiangmai | EyeEm | Getty

If you’re not getting the results you want from the quick wash cycle, you’re probably making a few common mistakes, Richardson says. First of all, you should almost always pretreat and/or spot-treat items before you launder them for an effective clean. It might seem counterproductive to take this extra step when a speedy process is your goal, but the investment on the front end is worth it, especially since it’ll protect your garments. “It can take a few minutes to pretreat your clothes, but in the end, using the quick wash whenever possible can save you hundreds of dollars on utilities and wear and tear on your clothes,” Richardson says.

Secondly, make sure you’re not overloading the machine. When the appliance is loaded with too many items, it can’t thoroughly clean what’s in it—even if you use a longer cycle. So always follow the washing capacity instructions in the user’s manual. Typically, it’s not recommended to fill your washer’s drum more than three-quarters of the way.

Finally, whenever you can, use a warm water cycle for a thorough clean and consider using soap instead of detergent, Richardson says. (He recommends adding soap flakes like these to your cycle.) When it comes to laundry, it’s so much gentler and works just as well on clothes.