Washers have come a long way since the first wringer washers. And while the physical excursion has lessened for the user, the choices that must be made before starting the washer have increased dramatically. The water temperature and wash cycle choices you make will affect the look and longevity of your clothes. You can even save money by selecting options that reduce utility costs.
For each load of laundry that you wash, there are three choices that must be made before you start the washer:
- Load size and/or water level
- Water temperature for wash and rinse cycles
- Cycle setting
Small, Medium, Large or Super. What do they mean?
Before you try to guess, read your washer manual. You’ll find very clear help in making choices about load size. The most accurate method of determining load size is by weight in relation to your washer capacity. But there are a general rules of thumb about which setting to use based on the level of the clothes.
- One-quarter full – small setting
- One-half full – medium setting
- Over one-half full – large setting
- At full capacity – super large setting
Choosing the correct water temperature for each load is important to prevent clothes from fading, stretching or shrinking. Again, you have a guide – the labels on your clothes and linens. One of the keys to success is sorting your laundry correctlyand washing like items together.
The old rule was to use hot water for best cleaning.
That is no longer true because many of today’s fabrics actually can be damaged by hot water. Follow these new rules:
- Cold Water: Best for dark colors and delicate fabrics. It is also a perfect choice for any lightly soiled clothes like office wear no matter the fabric type. Cold water will not harm any washable fabric and saves on utility costs.
- Warm Water: Best for synthetic, permanent press fabrics. Warm water should be chosen for any colored garments that are heavily soiled with oil or stains.
- Hot Water: Best for white cotton fabrics that are worn or used close to the body like underwear, socks and bed sheets. If you have laundry that has really heavy soil and cleanliness is more important than protecting the color – work jeans, mechanics’ overalls, kids’ play clothes – hot water may be needed to remove the stains.
No matter the water temperature selected for the wash cycle, the rinse cycle water temperature should always be cold. This will save money on utility costs and warmer temperatures are not needed for rinse cycles.
Using the correct cycle for washing and spinning will help clean your clothes and keep them looking their best. It is very difficult to give the specific cycle name on every washer make and model. You will need to use your best judgment or again, read that manual to select the right cycle. Here are some common cycles on today’s washers:
Final Setting Selections to Make
Soil Level: Some washers have changeable soil level settings. If you select low soil, the agitation time will be shorter and increases as the soil level is set higher.
Final Spin Speed: If your washer has settings for the final spin speed that can be changed, select a lower spin speed for delicate fabrics to reduce wrinkling, tangling and damage to fabric. Higher final spin speeds extract more water and reduces drying timeand helps you select a quicker dryer cycle.