How Long Does The Spin Cycle Take? (and what it’s for)

The spin cycle on a washing machine is designed to remove excess water from the clothes so that they will dry in a reasonable time frame. 

The average spin cycle runs for around 3 minutes but can range anywhere between 2 to 12 minutes depending on the make and model of machine you own as well as the wash cycle you have selected and the size of the load you’re washing.

However, there are variables within these time frames, to find out more, keep reading.

What Is The Average Duration Of A Washing Machine’s Spin Cycle?

The average spin cycle time is around 3 minutes, but this often varies between different machines and depends on the wash cycle you’ve selected as well.

The shortest spin cycle runs for around 2 minutes with the longest coming in at around 12 minutes.

The spin cycle is engaged towards the end of every wash programme on the washing machine. It is vital to remove most of the water absorbed by the clothes during the wash and rinse cycles.

If the clothes weren’t subjected to the spin cycle, they would be incredibly wet and super heavy. One litre of water weighs one kilogram, which gives you some idea of just how heavy your wash load would be if it never went through the spin cycle.

Can The Spin Cycle Be Used Without A Wash Programme?

Washing Machine

On most washing machines, you have the option to run just a spin cycle to help remove extra water from particularly sodden items. It can also be used to help remove excess water from bath towels or beach towels. 

Or if you have washed a few items by hand and you want to get them dry fast they can be given a spin in the machine to remove excess water.

What Is The Speed of The Drum During A Spin Cycle?

Spin speeds vary from programme to programme and are also dependent on the make and model of your appliance. 

Spin speeds tend to be anywhere between 400 to 1400 RPM (revolutions per minute). With that said, there are a few machines capable of 1800 RPM.

Generally front loader washing machines have a faster spin speed compared to a top loader. The slower spin speeds are typically for delicate, hand wash or wool cycles and the faster spins are usually for heavy duty fabrics like cotton.

Why Is The Spin Cycle Taking So Long?

Sometimes, the spin cycle takes longer than is usual which can be worrying as you might think the machine is about to break down. However, there is usually a simple explanation for lengthy spin cycles which include;

The Load Is Unbalanced 

If the clothes in the drum are unbalanced, the machine will try to correct this. If the machine detects that the load is unbalanced, it will slow the spin down and do a few short revolutions to try to correct the balance of the load in the drum.

If it doesn’t succeed, it will keep on repeating this process until it detects that the load is now balanced. 

This will increase the spin cycle time by a considerable amount of time in some cases, and could go on indefinitely until you intervene.

You Added Too Much Detergent


Most modern washing machines operate using sensors that can detect many things including the presence of too much detergent in the drum. If your machine senses that there’s too much detergent in the drum, it will continue rinsing and spinning until that detergent has been removed.

You can prevent this from happening by always using the correct amount of detergent for the size of wash load you’re doing.

The Water is Draining Too Slowly

If there is a blockage in the drain hose and the water is slow to leave the drum of the machine, it will continue spinning until it detects that all of the water has gone.

To prevent this you should check and clear the drain filter regularly and ensure that the drain hose is fitted correctly without any kinks or snags.

Too Many Clothes In The Drum

If you load too many clothes into the drum or the clothes you put in the drum are particularly big and bulky, the machine will detect that the spin cycle hasn’t removed the excess water still lodged in the load and keep spinning to remove it.

The machine will automatically extend the spin cycle for heavy loads to counteract this extra absorption of water. If you don’t want extra long spin cycles, you should always be mindful of the size and weight of the load you intend to wash.

Faulty Timer

If the timer becomes faulty on your washing machine, it could affect any part of the programme. If it happens to develop a fault during the spin cycle, it could result in the spin cycle never stopping.

You might be able to fix this by resetting your machine (consult your handbook for more specific information). If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer if the machine is still on warranty or contact an expert washing machine repairer.


Can You Safely Stop A Spin Cycle Before It Ends?

If you find that the spin cycle is taking far longer than is normal for your machine, you can stop the cycle without causing any damage to the appliance. 

Of course, the laundry will probably still be wet and you’ll need to wring it before it can be tumble dried but stopping it mid spin shouldn’t cause any damage to the washing machine.

Will A High Spin Speed Damage My Clothes?

High spin speeds are designed for removing excess water from robust, heavy items like towels, denim, bedding, etc. If you were to use a high spin speed on delicate items there’s a strong possibility of causing some damage to the clothes.

This is particularly true for items made from silk, lace or other delicate materials. You should always select the correct cycle for the fabrics you are washing to prevent damage.

SEE ALSO: What Is Rinse And Spin On A Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast should the spin cycle be?

The spin cycle on a washing machine has various speeds depending on the programme selected. Delicate items should be subjected to low spin speeds whereas more robust fabrics can withstand faster spin speeds.

Why does the spin cycle take so long?

There are several reasons why the spin cycle could take a long time. These include; an unbalanced load, the use of too much detergent, too much laundry crammed into the drum, a blockage or obstruction in the drainage system or a faulty timer.

Does spin cycle speed matter?

The spin cycle speed does matter because the faster the spin speed the faster the washing will be dry enough to remove from the machine. But be warned, using a spin speed that is too fast for the fabric being washed can cause damage to the material.

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