Washing Machine Programs Explained

Washing machine programs can be small to large depending on what they’re needed for. A child lock program is simple. It ensures the door is locked so that children can’t just open the door while the washer is running a cycle. Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. This machine program not only tells the machine to lock, but also not to open while the machine is running. This means that the machine needs to differentiate when a cycle is on or when it’s not. These programs become quite complex quite quickly. We’re not going to explain how each program is written, and you’re probably not interested. So, here’s a run down of washing machine programs and what they do.

Synthetics and Cottons washing machine programs

Most washing machines these days have separate programs for Synthetics and Cottons. Cotton programs tend to run at higher temperatures while synthetic programs tend to run around 40 Degrees. This is due to Synthetic materials being more sensitive and require a more “careful” wash. Synthetic programs also spin less frequently to avoid damaging the clothes.

Synthetic programs can sometimes be called “easy-care” cycles. They are specifically used for non-cotton garments and fabrics, like viscose and polyester which might require a gentler wash.

Most machines you will see, will utilise a Cotton program but not all will use a Synthetics program. This is not the end of the world as you will find other suitable programs on most washing machines such as “delicates” or “hand wash“. The capacity for these machines can be different so when buying one, look for one with a capacity that is suitable for your needs. For more information please read our helpful article – washing machine capacity explained.

Wool, Delicate and Hand Wash programs

These cycle programs are usually low in temperature and implement fewer drum rotations to protect delicate fabrics such as silk and wool from damage in a similar process to synthetic programs.

Like the synthetic wash, if you have sensitive clothes, like wool and silk, then these could be useful. However, you want to check the labels of all your clothes before sticking them in the machine as some will advise that you should rather dry clean the clothes.

Sports Washing Machine Programs

These cycles are usually longer cycles on a lower temperature as not to damage the micro-fibre materials that sports clothing items are usually made of. The longer wash cycle is great for removing sweat stains and body odours from clothing. Some machines also have a cycle for washing trainer shoes.

This washing cycle is great for athletic and sporty people who have a lot of sports clothes to wash. In recent years going to the gym has become a more popular activity and this cycle is great for washing your gym clothes.

Quick Wash Settings

Beware of the quick wash. A popular option on many machines but not such a thorough cleansing. This is not the wash you want to put your garments through if you’re looking for heavy duty stain removal. However, if you’ve run out of clothes for work and you only have an hour before you need to leave, this is the cycle for you.

You do want to also watch how much you put in as quick wash loads will only run if the load is lighter than 1.5kg. The biggest pro is that most machines will do a quick wash in 15 minutes or so.

Temperature washing machine programs

Temperature programs allow you to change the temperature of water that your clothes are washed in. There are many reasons why you might want to do this, but the most common are higher temperatures to remove tougher stains and lower temperatures to reduce bills. Another reason to reduce the temperature is to make your washes more eco-friendly. Washing your clothes as low as 20 degrees Celsius can reduce your costs by up to 66%. However, it is likely to remove less stains than a wash at 40 degrees Celsius.

Hygiene/ Anti-Allergen

Studies show that you can’t simply rely on your cottons wash at 60 degrees Celsius to remove bacteria, virus and allergens that might continue to infect your family. The Hygiene/Allergen cycles usually run at a higher temperature or use a steam setting if your machine has a steam function. This makes the environment more difficult for bacteria and germs to survive. It also loosens the fabric to release allergens such as pet hair.

What next?

That’s our run down of common washing machine programs and what they’re designed to be used for. Hopefully you are now able to make informed decisions about what to wash in which cycles. From synthetics and cottons to eco friendly washes you can now optimise your washing machine usage to suit your individual needs.

We hope you find the information on this page helpful and informative. If you need any more advice or if you have any questions, please get in touch, our Repair Aid engineers are here to help.

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