How Long Will A 40 Degree Wash Take? (here’s what you need to know)

All washing machines are different but the average duration of a 40 degree C wash cycle is around 1.5 to 2.5 hours

There are variations which include 40 C quick washes which can take as little as 15 minutes and 40 C baby washes that can take 3 hours in some cases.

Why Do Wash Cycles Take Such A Long Time?

As policies on climate change have become more prevalent, washing machine manufacturers have been pressured to produce appliances that use less water and less energy. 

To make washing clothes effective using less energy and water, the programmes had to become longer. A shorter wash cycle has to use more energy and water to clean your laundry and a more environmentally friendly wash cycle, one using less energy and less water will take more time.

Using a 40 degree C wash cycle will save you money as it saves on water usage and electricity but it won’t save you time. 

What Is A 40 Degree C Wash Cycle?

A 40 degree C wash cycle is a cycle that washes clothes in your washing machine at 40 degrees C. It is the most commonly used wash cycle used on washing machines and is considered to be a warm wash.

It uses less water and electricity than a 60 C wash but can still get clothes clean. 

What Can Be Washed At 40 Degrees C?

Most of the average households laundry can safely be washed at 40 C including;

  • Cotton 
  • Denim
  • Towels
  • Synthetics
  • Wool

What Are The Pros & Cons Of A 40 Degree C Wash Cycle?

40 Degree Wash Cycle

Let’s look at the positives and negatives of a 40 degree wash cycle.

The Benefits

The main benefits include;

  • The 40 degree wash cycle is gentler on clothes
    Washing clothes at high temperatures is likely to damage the fibres. A 40 degree wash is that happy medium between cold washes and extremely hot washes.
  • 40 degrees is hot enough to remove many stains
    As long as you use the correct detergent, a 40 degree wash will remove many stubborn stains far better than a 30 degree wash.
  • Keeps colours stable
    In most cases, a 40 degree wash is hot enough to remove stains but not so hot as to cause colours to run.

The Disadvantages

The main disadvantages include;

  • Some viruses and bacterias can survive a 40 degree wash
    There are some bacteria and viruses that can survive at 40 degrees. These will either need to be removed in a 60 degree wash or by adding a laundry sanitiser to a 40 degree wash.
  • Not hot enough to remove really ingrained stains
    There are some ingrained stains that will need more than a 40 degree wash to remove them. You could pretreat these stains or soak the garment in a detergent soak before washing at 40 degrees.
  • Can be a long cycle
    The average duration of a 40 degree wash cycle ranges from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours which can seem like an absolute age if you’re waiting for a particular item of clothing.

Using a 40 C wash cycle will remove many stains and clean your clothes without any fear of shrinkage or colour fades. Many of today’s detergents are designed to work at 40 degrees to remove germs and clean laundry.

It is a great cycle to use as long as your clothes are not heavily soiled or made from a delicate fabric like silk.

However, if your clothes are heavily stained and are in need of sanitising, you might want to consider using a 60 degree wash cycle (if the care label allows).

You should always consult the wash care label before washing any clothes in a washing machine.

Are There Any Quicker Wash Cycles?

Yes, the Quick Wash cycle is a faster option for smaller loads of around 1 to 2 kg of laundry which can take between 14-60 minutes. However, unlike the standard 40-degree wash, it may not handle a full load efficiently. 

The Quick Wash works best for lightly soiled clothes and is not suitable for heavily soiled laundry that requires thorough cleaning. Which is why it’s not always a better option.

That being said, pre-soaking heavily soiled clothes before using the Quick Wash can improve its cleaning performance, but will mean you have to spend more time doing laundry – which probably isn’t your goal.

While the Quick Wash is quicker, the standard 40-degree wash provides better overall cleaning results and requires less work to get a deeper clean. If speed is a priority and your items aren’t too soiled, the Quick Wash does a good job.

However, for more thorough cleaning, especially with heavily soiled items, and if washing a full wash load, the regular 40-degree wash remains the better choice.

SEE ALSO: Quick Wash Vs Normal Washing Machine Cycle – What’s The Difference?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to wash at 40 or 60?

You should wash your clothes at 40 rather than 60 to save energy, water and money. The 40 degree wash is also less likely to shrink or damage clothes than a 60 degree wash. However, there are some germs and bacteria that can survive a 40 degree wash.

How long is a 40 degree wash cycle?

The 40 degree wash cycle takes around 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours depending on the make and model of washing machine you own.

Can you wash all clothes at 40 degrees?

You can wash most clothes at 40 degrees. There are some exceptions which include very delicate items for example. You should always check the wash care label before washing any clothes.

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