Anyone would rather do the thousand other tasks on their to-do list than the annoying and endless chore that is laundry.
If you live with a messy pet or child, you might be even more frustrated by loading up the washer.
A single wash cycle consists of prewash, wash, rinse, and a final spin and even though it feels interminable, a single wash cycle doesn’t actually last that long.
A normal wash cycle lasts between 50 to 60 minutes, which varies according to the type of washer. It takes around 60-80 minutes for efficient washing, as compared to 75-120 minutes in a front-load washing machine.
Read on to learn more about how long different washers take and what you should know about wash times.
How Long Do Washers Take?
The two primary factors that may prolong the washing time to about two hours or shorten it to 15 minutes are load size and washing machine settings.
Before we discuss them, it is important to account for the type of washer used.
A top-load washer uses more water than a front-loading one so the clothes freely float in the water, which is why a wash cycle in a top-load washing machine is shorter.
In a front loader, less water is used because the machine repeatedly picks up the clothes and drops them in the wash water.
Most modern washing machines have a built-in timer on the top that tells you how long the wash cycle is estimated to last.
Why Does A Washer Take So Long?
If you have used a washing machine at least once, you must have wondered why a washer takes so long.
Even though it might be frustrating, the high wash cycle length is environment-friendly and budget-friendly.
Modern machines have become more efficient with water, conserving their use by design changes to the washer’s load sense system and the water inlet valve.
Not only does it limit how much of it is wasted, but less energy is used to heat the small amount of wash water.
This, in turn, saves money and resources but comes at the cost of prolonged wash cycles.
While this is primarily an economical choice, washing machine manufacturers have also had to abide by efficiency and environmental legislation.
Additionally, slowing the wash cycle to a comfortable length minimizes the wear and tear on your clothes, enabling them to last longer.
Washers also take a long time due to a drawn-out spin cycle.
Higher final spin speeds remove as much water as possible from the clothes so they don’t end up soaking wet in the dryer.
This is efficient because the laundry has to go into the dryer anyway, so this gives it a head start. While this step only takes a few minutes to complete, it is one of the reasons why a wash cycle is so long.
Factors Affecting Wash Cycle Length
Even though a wash cycle may last significantly longer than the 60 minutes mentioned above, it would still be shorter than if you were scrubbing your clothes by hand.
Knowing what impacts the cycle length can help you customize its length to your needs.
If there is no problem with the load system, control panel, water inlet valve, and voltage, the following two factors affect wash cycle length.
As expected, the larger the number of clothes, the longer it will take to wash them.
Bulkier loads with towels, thick blankets, and beddings have a longer wash cycle than smaller loads with delicates and cotton clothes.
Besides the number of clothes, unbalanced ones and tightly packed bundles are a problem too.
A tightly packed load will require the washer to undergo extra phases to clean each side of it properly, whereas an unbalanced one such as mixing denser items like quilts with thin ones like t-shirts is known to prolong a wash cycle.
When your washer detects that a load is unbalanced, it will repeatedly pause to try and fix the issue.
Front-loaders will slow the spinning before reverting to top speed again, while top-loaders will keep filling the tub with water to redistribute the clothes.
Besides the number of clothes, too much detergent can also extend the wash cycle duration.
Different brands and models of washing machines allow you to customize the washer settings, inputting different programs for your clothes.
Some wifi-compatible washers even enable downloads of online wash settings.
For example, a heavily stained load will require a higher soil setting, i.e. more cycles of filling, spinning, and rinsing than normal to get rid of the soil.
Understandably, this heavy-duty wash cycle can take anywhere from 1 hour to over 2 hours, depending on how soiled the garments are.
Moreover, sanitize cycles for the whitest whites that have extensive soaking periods for the detergent to penetrate the fabric may also extend to 2-3 hours.
If you are in a hurry and have a light load, many washing machines provide the option of a quick wash cycle that only lasts from 15 to 40 minutes.
However, this does not work on extremely dirty items such as your child’s muddy clothes and is more designed for use on everyday clothes, such as a pair of pants worn once.
On the contrary, if your load only consists of delicates like sheer fabrics, sweaters, blouses, lingerie, jeans, and/or anything with a “gentle” on its tag, a special delicate cycle of a washer runs between 45 to 80 minutes.
Lowering Wash Cycle Time
Everyone wants to spend as little time before the laundry as they can, which is why there is a lot you can do to speed up the process.
- Treating the stains early with a pre-treater or laundry soaker so it only spends one cycle in the washer rather than multiple of them
- Familiarize yourself with wash instructions so you pick the best washing settings according to your load. There is no point in a full cycle if you are cleaning one t-shirt that is compatible with a quick wash cycle
- Use the highest spin speed so the laundry spends less time in the dryer
- Use the delay timer the night before so your laundry is ready when you wake up in the morning
The Bottom Line on How Long a Washer Takes
Adulting is hard, and laundry is a major reason why that might be so. While a normal wash cycle takes around an hour, load size and washer settings can remarkably change that.
This one hour is just a tiny piece of the puzzle.
However, knowing how long a wash cycle lasts on average is the first step toward learning how to get your laundry done.