What Washer Setting Should I Use? How to Best Launder Your Clothes - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Apr 12, 2023

What Washer Setting Should I Use? How to Best Launder Your Clothes

Have you ever looked at the dial on your washer and wondered what all the different settings do and what they should be used for? Decoding your washing machine shouldn’t be rocket science, but with so many options when it comes to spin cycles, water temperature and load size, how are you to know which combination is best for the clothing you are washing?

When it comes to properly caring for your clothing, you’ll need to assess all three of these main components (load size, water temperature and spin cycle) before adding the soap and pressing “start.” Read on to learn more about each of these important factors so that you can keep your clothes well laundered and looking new for years to come!

Load Size

The first step to proper laundering is determining your load size. This can help you choose the correct setting on your washer and the right amount of detergent and fabric softener to use. The most accurate way to measure load size is by referring to your washer’s manual, which takes into account weight of clothing as it relates to your washer’s capacity.

If you can’t locate this information in the manual (or perhaps locate the manual itself) here are a few general guidelines on load size based on how much clothing is in the drum:

       Small: One quarter full
       Medium: Half full
       Large: More than half full
       Extra Large: At full capacity

Water Temperature

Next, you’ll want to choose what temperature to wash your clothes. As you can imagine, the hotter the water, usually the cleaner your clothes will be. But not all textiles are created equally when it comes to durability and not all fabrics will appreciate being sent through a hot-water cycle, as hot water can cause some items to lose their color or even shrink. 

Best practice is to sort your laundry by item type, color and material. For example, wash your towels together and separate from your clothing. Separate darks from lights and keep your delicates together. For the most effective laundering, check the tags on your clothing which will indicate what cycle and water temperature are best suited for cleaning the item without ruining it.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind:
       Durable white clothes: Hot wash, cold rinse
       Durable color clothes: Warm wash, cold or warm rinse
       Delicates & permanent press: Cold wash, cold rinse

Washer Cycle

Once you have your laundry sorted and an appropriate temperature picked out for the load, now it’s time to determine which laundry cycle to use. Here are some of the most popular settings found on washing machines and their uses.

Quick Wash: This wash is for laundering in a hurry. It’s not a deep clean but will freshen up that outfit you’re hoping to wear to dinner tonight. It’s great for small loads comprised of minimally-soiled clothing.

Permanent Press: The key word here is, “press.” Permanent press is designed to remove wrinkles from clothing by agitating them in warm water. For best results, use this setting when laundering clothing that is marked as “wrinkle free.” This setting is great for synthetic fibers including polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon or knitwear.

Heavy Duty: This cycle is designed for your most heavily soiled items (ie: muddy play clothes). The hot water and vigorous agitation will help remove built-up filth and give you the most thorough clean.

Delicates: Just like it sounds, this setting is best for washing your delicate items. Its quick cold water wash and rinse with slow tumbling makes it perfect for lingerie, sweaters and other delicate items. Fabrics that do well in the delicate setting include silk, satin and chiffon.

Considering all of these different factors can be a lot to keep in mind when doing laundry but the good news is, as long as you read the care instructions on your clothing tags, you can launder with confidence.