If you need washing machine settings explained, you’re not alone. There are so many setting options on a modern washer – our ancestors would be amazed! In addition to hot, warm, and cold, many machines offer settings like cotton, synthetic, delicates, wool, silk, hand wash, rinse, soak, permanent press, etc. Some even allow you to select the specific temperature at which you’d like your clothes washed. Luckily, most laundromats make the decision of which setting to select simpler, by sticking with commercial washing machines that include a few standard options. But if you aren’t sure which option best suits your load, use the tips below for help.
Washing Machine Settings Explained
If you need washing machine settings explained for commercial equipment in a laundromat, you’re likely talking about temperature options only: cold, warm, and hot.
Why is it so important to select the right washing machine setting? The setting you choose may impact the color, the fabric, and the lifespan of your clothes. The hotter the temperature of the water, the cleaner your clothes will be – but that doesn’t mean you should always crank up the heat. Hot water can also cause fabric fibers to shrink and colors to bleed. Cold water, on the other hand, protects colors and fabric fibers but doesn’t get clothes as clean. While warm water is a nice compromise, it may not be the best pick for every item of clothing in your closet.
Ideally, you should check the clothing tag for each item in your load to learn its ideal settings for washing. Some will specify that they ought to be hand washed or dry cleaned. Others will mention a specific temperature setting or include its symbol (a load with one dot is cold, two dots is warm, and three dots is hot).
That said, most people don’t have the time to check each tag before every wash (or the brain space to remember the washing instructions for each item). So keep in mind these general tips as you sort your load and select a setting at the laundromat:
- Cold water is best for dark colors (with dye that might be bleed), delicate fabrics, and items you don’t want to shrink. It works well for athletic clothing (hot water can damage the elasticity of the fabric). It’s also a good choice if your clothes are only lightly soiled and don’t need a deep clean. Not only does cold water protect fabrics, but it also reduces energy usage and lowers utility costs.
- Warm water is best for synthetic fabrics and colored items that are heavily soiled. It also works well for most knits, jeans, sheets, and towels.
- Hot water is best for white cotton fabrics that require a deep clean, like socks, underwear, and bed sheets. Kids’ play clothes and soiled work clothes (worn by mechanics, plumbers, farmers, etc.) should be washed in hot water to ensure they’re truly clean. Hot water is also best if you’re trying to remove a stain.
Finally, some commercial washing machines do offer more options. If you see any of these labels, here’s what you need to know:
- Normal Cycle: This is a fool-proof, all-around great option for most fabrics. It works well for cottons, linens, sheets, towels, underwear, heavily soiled items, and more.
- Delicate: Use this setting for delicate items, including bras, lingerie, silks, and items labeled “handwash only” or “gentle wash.”
- Colors/Darks: This is recommended for bright or dark colors in a casual fabric. It’s designed for dyed items that may bleed, like bright reds and blues.
- Permanent Press: Use this setting for synthetic fabrics and lightly soiled garments. It minimizes wrinkles and preserves wrinkle-free items, so it’s a good option for dress shirts, dress pants, office wear, and items that wrinkle easily (silk, linen, loose-weave cotton).
- Brilliant Whites: As you might assume, this setting is for white fabrics that you want to remain white (t-shirts, underwear, table linens, sheets). You can add bleach if you like.
- Heavy-Duty: This is used for large loads of sturdy, colorfast fabrics and heavily soiled items. You can also use it for heavy bedding, blankets, comforters, and rugs. Most people will not use this function frequently.
- Fast Cycle: Also called Quick or Super Speed, this setting is designed for a small load of lightly soiled garments that you want to wash quickly. You can also use it if you accidentally leave your clothes in the washing machine for a while and want to refresh them.
- Spin: The water is drained in this cycle, allowing the garments to spin off excess water. Use it only if the first spin has left the clothes wet instead of damp.
If you own or manage a laundromat, it’s important to remember that many of your customers will need washing machine settings explained. Consider hanging a prominent, straightforward sign to explain the settings of your machines (likely just hot, warm, and cold).
In addition, remember that many of your customers are eco-conscious and want to reduce their energy usage to limit their impact on the environment. And due to their reduced energy usage, eco-friendly cold cycles cost you less than hot cycles. So you may also wish to advertise on each machine that the cold cycle is the most eco-friendly so that your customers are aware of the option and consider choosing it.
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