How Long Do Washing Machines Take To Wash Clothes? (for every fabric type)

When it comes to doing laundry, one of the most common questions that pop into our heads is, “How long does the washing machine usually take to wash clothes?” 

Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as we might hope. The amount of time it takes for your washing machine to complete a cycle can vary significantly based on a variety of factors, which are mainly the cycle and temperature you use.

In this article, we’ll explain how washing machine cycles work and how different programs and water temperatures can impact the time it takes to get your clothes sparkling clean.

How Long Washing Machine Cycles Take

Wash CycleAverage Time
Quick Wash15-30 mins
Cotton Wash1 ½ – 3 hours
Synthetics Wash1 – 2 hours
Delicate Wash30 mins – 1 hour
Wool Wash30 mins – 1 hour
Eco or Energy-Saving Wash3 – 5 hours
Sports Wash1 ½ – 2 hours
Heavy Duty Wash1 ½ – 3 hours
Baby Clothes Wash1 – 2 hours
Dark Care Wash1 – 2 hours
Sanitise Wash1 – 2 hours

Before we get into the specifics, it’s essential to understand that washing machines are designed to accommodate various fabric types, dirt levels, and specific wash needs. 

They come with a range of main programs, from the basic cotton and synthetic washes to special cycles like sports and sanitising programs. 

Always check the care label before washing your clothes. This will guide you in selecting the best wash cycle for your garment, keeping them in good condition and making them last longer.

NOTE: Each machine and manufacturer might use different names and temperatures for these cycles, so it’s always a good idea to refer to your machine’s user manual for a detailed guide.

Quick Wash

Quick Wash Cycle

Use the Quick Wash program when you’re in a hurry to save time and swiftly clean a smaller load of lightly soiled clothes. This cycle generally lasts around 15 to 30 minutes, making it the fastest cycle the machine is capable of.

However, keep in mind that heavily soiled items might require a longer program for a thorough clean. Think twice before putting those muddy trousers in the washer or you’ll be disappointed. 

Cotton Wash

Cotton Wash Cycle

For clothes such as shirts, shorts, and linens made from cotton fabrics, the Cotton Wash program is what you need. 

This cycle provides high agitation and uses higher water temperatures, typically around 60°C, to ensure a thorough clean. 

The downside? It’s not the quickest option, as it can take anywhere from 1 hour and 30 minutes to nearly 3 hours to complete.

Synthetics Wash

Synthetic Wash Cycle

Use the Washing Machine’s Synthetics Wash program for the best care of synthetic and mixed fabrics.

It uses a lower spinning speed to wash gently, which is perfect for these less tough materials. 

A Synthetics Wash cycle typically takes between 1 to 2 hours to complete.

Delicate Wash

Delicate Wash Cycle

Delicate or Handwash cycles are designed for sensitive items like lace, silk, and lingerie. 

To protect these delicate fabrics, the program uses low water temperatures and slow spin speeds. 

A Delicate Wash cycle usually takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour and a half to complete.

Wool Wash

Wool Silk Wash Cycle

For your woollen items, the Wool Wash cycle aims to clean your garments while keeping them in shape. 

Like the Delicate Wash, most Wool cycles use cold water to prevent any unwanted shrinking. 

Expect a Wool Wash cycle to take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Eco or Energy-Saving Wash

Cotton Eco Wash Cycle

If you’re eco-conscious and want to reduce your carbon footprint, the Eco or Energy-Saving Wash is your choice. 

This cycle uses less water and energy, but it comes at a cost – which is your time. You might be looking at a washing time of around 3 to 5 hours. 

Keep in mind that heavily stained or soiled clothes may not fare well with this program.

SEE ALSO: What Does Eco Cycle Mean On A Washing Machine?

Sports Wash

Sports Wash Cycle

Do you do sports, exercise, or other activities that make you produce a lot of sweat? The Sports Wash cycle is designed to clean your sportswear, removing odours and stains. 

This program uses a longer cycle while maintaining low water temperatures to preserve the integrity of your athletic fabrics. 

A Sports Wash cycle typically takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete.

Heavy Duty Wash

Heavy Duty Wash Care

For heavy fabrics and seriously soiled garments, the Heavy Duty Wash program comes to the rescue. 

It uses vigorous agitation and hotter water temperatures to remove tough grime and bacteria. 

On average, a Heavy Duty Wash cycle will take between 1 hour and 30 minutes to 3 hours to complete.

Baby Clothes Wash

Baby and Toddler Clothing Wash Cycle

Babies’ clothes and everyday fabrics like bedding and linens can benefit from the Baby Clothes Wash. 

This program uses hot water, with the average temperature typically ranging from 60°C to 90°C, to thoroughly disinfect the garments.

You can expect a Baby Clothes Wash cycle to last for about 1 to 2 hours.

Dark Care Wash

Dark Care Wash Cycle

Dark fabrics require special attention to prevent fading, and the Dark Care Wash cycle is designed just for that. 

After all, it uses less agitation and lower spin speeds to protect your dark-coloured garments. 

Typically, a Dark Care Wash cycle takes 1 to 2 hours to complete.

Sanitise Wash

Allergy Wash Cycle

When hygiene is your top priority, the Sanitise Wash or Anti-Allergy cycle comes into play. 

It uses higher temperatures and a longer cycle to eliminate bacteria from your garments. 

This cycle is ideal for heavily soiled items, outdoor clothes, or garments used in medical settings. You can expect it to take about 1 to 2 hours.

How Long Temperature Programs Take

Temperature ProgramAverage Time
Cold Wash (30°C and below)30 mins – 1 hour
Warm Wash (40°C to 50°C)1 – 2 hours
Hot Wash (60°C and above)30 mins – 1 hour
Auto WashVaries

Besides choosing specific programs, many washing machines allow you to manually select the temperature for your laundry. The time it takes for your washing machine to complete a cycle will depend on the temperature you choose.

Here’s how long the washing machine will take, depending on the temperature: 

Cold Wash (30°C and below)

cold wash setting in washer

Cold washes are perfect for delicate items or fabrics that tend to fade or shrink. With a temperature of 30°C and below, this cycle can be completed in just 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

It’s an excellent choice for coloured clothing, denim, delicates, and synthetic fabrics. Opting for a 30°C wash over higher temperatures can also reduce energy costs, helping you save money.

However, avoid using this setting for towels, underwear, or heavily soiled items, as the lower temperature may not clean them effectively.

Pro tip: Consider using detergents specifically designed for cold washes to achieve maximum cleanliness without relying on hot water.

SEE ALSO: What Temperature Is A Cold Wash?

Warm Wash (40°C to 50°C)

40 Degree Wash Cycle

If you want to balance cleaning power with fabric care, the Warm Wash is your middle-ground option. 

With temperatures around 40°C to 50°C, this cycle typically takes between 1 to 2 hours. 

Keep in mind that while warm washes clean better than cold ones, they may not eliminate germs as effectively as hot washes.

SEE ALSO: When Is A Warm Wash Not Enough?

Hot Wash (60°C and above)

60 Degree Wash Cycle

Hot washes are your go-to when you need to deal with heavily stained or dirty items. However, it’s crucial to check your garment’s care label before using this cycle, as it can potentially damage delicate fabrics. 

With temperatures around 60°C and, in some cases, reaching as high as 90°C, hot wash cycles are usually short and can be completed within 30 minutes to an hour.

SEE ALSO: What Should You Wash On A Hot Wash?

Auto Wash

Many modern washing machines now come equipped with an automatic temperature setting. 

This setting determines the ideal temperature based on the program you select and the dirt level of your garments. Therefore, the duration of the cycle may vary, depending on these factors.

When It Comes To Laundry – Patience Is Key!

The time it takes for a washing machine to wash your clothes depends on a lot of factors, including the program and water temperature you choose, the machine’s make and model, and the size of your load. 

So, whether you’re in a rush or need a deep, sanitising clean, your washing machine has a cycle to fit your preferences. Just remember to read your user manual to ensure you’re making the most of your machine’s capabilities. 

Have questions? Feel free to ask them below!

SEE ALSO: LG Washing Machine Cycles Explained (front & top load settings)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 30 minutes enough to wash clothes?

No, 30 minutes is typically not enough for a full washing cycle, but it might work for a Quick Wash with lightly soiled clothes.

Why do washing machines take so long to wash clothes?

Washing machines have varying cycle lengths because they cater to different fabric types and cleanliness levels. Longer cycles ensure thorough cleaning for heavy soiling.

What is the best cycle on a washing machine?

The best cycle depends on your specific laundry needs. For a balance of cleaning and efficiency, consider the Warm Wash cycle.

What does an anti-allergy setting on a washing machine do?

An anti-allergy setting, also known as the Sanitise Wash, uses higher temperatures and a longer cycle to eliminate bacteria and allergens from garments, making it ideal for heavily soiled items or medical settings.

What is the most efficient washing machine cycle?

The most efficient cycle is usually the Quick Wash, which is ideal for smaller, lightly soiled loads and typically takes 15 to 30 minutes.

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