A bearded man reaching into a washing machine drum full of blue clothing.

How to Use Different Washing Machine Cycles

Washing machines are now more advanced and more useful than ever before, and even the most basic of machines will offer a wide range of washing machine settings to give you more control over how you do your laundry. Unfortunately, this does come with a few problems - how on earth do you use these settings? You’ll see the control panel covered in all sorts of buttons and dials, but there’s not really any easy-to-follow instructions to help you out. That’s why we’re here. We’ll explain each washing machine setting in simple terms, helping you to get the most from your appliance.

Pre-Wash Cycle

If your clothes are very heavily soiled, there’s no need to spend hours scrubbing them before popping them into the machine, just use your machine’s pre wash cycle. In your detergent drawer, you should see three compartments – one for the pre-wash, one for the main wash, and one for fabric softener.

Add your favourite detergent to both detergent compartments if you wish to use the pre-wash cycle. What this setting does is soak your clothes in water and detergent before the main wash, so any stains or dirt are already softened and ready to be flushed from the fabric by the time the main wash begins.

Express Wash Cycles / Eco Wash

In a hurry? Then use your machine’s express wash cycle! These super quick washes can have your clothes clean in as little as 15 minutes. It’s ideal for when your laundry load isn’t too heavily soiled, and fits in perfectly with the hectic lifestyle us Matic Moms lead! Simply press the express wash button and your machine will speed up the process automatically. This setting is sometimes called the ‘Eco Wash’ setting because it uses much less energy than a regular wash, and helps you do your part for the environment (and it helps save on your energy bills, too!).

An express wash not only runs for less time, saving power, but also uses less water, encouraging water conservation which is hugely important throughout India. Unless your clothes are very dirty and require a longer soak and a more thorough wash, it’s recommended that you make use of the express wash or eco wash as much as you can.

Hand Wash Setting

This washing machine cycle is a true favourite, and it’s one that many of us simply can’t live without. The hand wash setting ensures your clothes are treated just as gently as if they were being washed by hand, which means you can wash your delicates, your sarees, your silks, and not worry about them becoming damaged.

There are two distinct aspects of the hand wash setting - firstly, your machine will agitate or spin much slower so that delicate fibres and hand embroidery don’t snag inside the drum, and secondly a lower temperature will be used to prevent melting any glue that’s holding decorations in place. Pushing the hand wash setting button is all you need to do, and this will automatically lower the temperature and minimise the agitation, although you can always adjust these individually if you feel they’re not quite right.

Washing Cycles for Wool, Synthetics, Dark Garments

Some machines will have special settings for different types of delicate materials, whereas others won’t. If your washing machine doesn’t, don’t panic! What these settings do is simply adjust the temperature so it’s right for each fabric, but you can easily do this yourself.

For wool, stick to a cooler temperature of around 30 degrees celsius as warmer temperatures can cause the wool to shrink. Wool blends, however, can usually tolerate a slightly higher temperature of 40 degrees. 40 degrees is also the best option for synthetics as higher temperatures can cause some synthetic fibres to melt.

Dark garments will often be OK washed at either 30 or 40 degrees, but the ‘Dark’ setting on your machine will usually wash at 20 degrees. If your clothes are new and haven’t yet been washed, a cold wash is best for reducing the risk of colours runnings.

Don’t be Afraid of Your Washing Machine!

In the past, you may have looked at all the dials and controls on your washing machine and felt yourself breaking out in a cold sweat – we’ve all done it! However, these buttons aren’t there to scare you, they’re to make your life easier. Now that you understand what the different buttons mean, and how to use them, there’s really no need to fear your machine. It’s time to take charge, and show those stains you mean business!  

One of our matic moms has this great tip about using a washing machine:“Small tips while reading the fine print can help you understand the cycles concept. Ask your dealer for a good demo and ask the right questions.”  

What advice do you have about your washing machine cycles? Share your experiences and thoughts with us in the comments below!

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