Is A 15 Minute Wash Cycle Enough To Clean Clothes? (when & how to use it)
The quick wash cycle is generally the fastest wash cycle on an automatic washing machine. It is enough to wash small wash loads (1 to 2 kg) of clothes that aren’t particularly dirty.
Many quick wash cycles run for 15 minutes, some take 30 minutes and the longest quick wash cycle runs for almost an hour. Which leads to the question, is a 15 minute wash cycle long enough?
To find out the answer to this question, and for more information on the 15 minute wash cycle, keep reading.
What Is A 15 minute Wash Cycle?
The 15 minute wash cycle is typically the fastest wash cycle on a washing machine. It generally uses the lowest water temperature and is classed as a quick wash.
It is only effective when washing small loads of not too dirty clothes to just freshen them up. It’s not good enough to do a deep clean or eliminate germs and bacteria.
This is because of the short duration of the cycle and the low spin speed.
Is A 15 Minute Wash Cycle Enough?
To answer this question accurately depends on the items being washed. This is because as we just said, the 15 minute wash cycle is only intended for use on small wash loads of lightly soiled clothes.
So yes, the 15 minute wash cycle is enough for between 1 to 2 kg of only slightly dirty clothes. They will become spruced up and due to the short wash and rinse cycle, they’ll dry relatively quickly too.
However, the 15 minute wash cycle is not enough for trying to clean a full wash load (typically 8 to 10 kg) of really dirty, stained clothes.
When Should You Use The 15 Minute Wash Cycle?
The 15 minute wash cycle can be a useful cycle as long as you use it correctly. The 15 minute wash cycle should be used when;
- You Need Clothes In A Hurry
If you need a particular pair of shorts for the sports match this afternoon, they can be run through a 15 minute wash cycle allowing enough time to get them dry before kick off.
- Your Clothes Need Refreshing
Sometimes clothes can gather dust in the wardrobe. These can be refreshed in a short 15 minute wash cycle to remove dust and have them all fresh and clean again.
- You Have A Few Clothes That Are Not Really Dirty
Every day work wear or leisure wear that isn’t too dirty can be quickly washed using the 15 minute wash cycle to save time and energy.
When The 15 Minute Wash Cycle Shouldn’t Be Used
You might be tempted to use the 15 minute wash cycle for all of your washing but that would be a bad idea. There are certain times when you shouldn’t use the 15 minute wash cycle, these include;
- If You Need To Wash A Full Load
The 15 minute cycle doesn’t run for long enough or use enough water to wash a full wash load. It works well for a few items but not for a full load.
- If Your Laundry Is Heavily Soiled
The low temperature and short wash and rinse cycle is not sufficient to remove ingrained dirt and stains. If your laundry is heavily soiled even if there are only a few items of clothing, you will need to either use another wash cycle or pretreat or pre-soak the clothes before using the 15 minute wash.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A 15 Minute Wash Cycle?
Let’s look at the main advantages and disadvantages of the 15 minute wash cycle.
The main benefits of the 15 minute wash cycle include;
- It’s Fast
The 15 minute wash cycle takes just 15 minutes from start to finish. This allows you extra drying time for your favourite shirt that you’re desperate to wear as soon as possible.
- Uses Less Electricity
The short, 15 minute wash cycle uses far less electricity than a full wash cycle.
- Uses Less Water
The 15 minute wash cycle is a fast programme which uses less water than a full wash cycle.
- Saves Money
As the machine is only running for 15 minutes, it uses less energy. Plus, as it uses a cool wash the water doesn’t need to be heated either which saves more on energy costs. Added to which the short wash and rinse cycles use less water which saves money on your water bill too.
- Better For The Environment
The reduction in water and electricity usage means the 15 minute wash cycle is an environmentally friendly programme.
The main disadvantages include;
- Doesn’t Clean Full Loads
The 15 minute wash cycle will not get a full wash load clean. In many cases if you try to run a full wash load through a 15 minute quick wash cycle, many of the clothes won’t even become wet, never mind clean.
- Only Works For Lightly Stained Clothes
The short wash at cool temperatures is not sufficient to remove heavily ingrained stains. Even just washing one really dirty item using the 15 minute wash cycle, would result in that item still being stained after the cycle had completed.
- Doesn’t Kill Bacteria
There are two reasons why a 15 minute quick wash doesn’t remove bacteria, firstly the water temperature isn’t high enough to eradicate bacteria and secondly, the cycle isn’t long enough either.
- Leaves Detergent Behind
The 15 minute wash cycle is so fast that it doesn’t have a good enough rinse or spin cycle. Which means detergent often gets left behind after the rinse cycle has finished. This can leave clothes with white streaks.
How To Get The Best From A 15 Minute Wash Cycle
To ensure you get the best from using the 15 minute wash cycle on your washing machine, you should;
- Never Overload The Drum
The 15 minute wash cycle is designed for washing a few items, at most 1 to 2 kg. Cramming as much into the drum as possible might seem like a good idea, but in reality nothing would get washed at all. Many items wouldn’t even get wet.
- Use The Minimum Amount Of Detergent
One of the main problems with using the short 15 minute wash cycle is too much detergent. Using extra detergent doesn’t get clothes cleaner, in many cases it has the opposite effect. Using too much detergent means the rinse cycle cannot remove all of those soap suds. Which leads to soap scum and stains on the clothes which can make the clothes feel hard and more prone to creasing.
- Never Use It To Wash Bedding Or Towels
The quick wash isn’t good enough for bedding or towels, there isn’t enough heat or time to kill germs and bacteria. In many cases, instead of removing bacteria, the 15 minute wash cycle can make them multiply.
Is A 15 Minute Wash Cycle As Good As A Regular Wash Cycle?
The 15 minute wash cycle has a lot going for it. It’s great for washing a few items of clothes that aren’t too dirty quickly and it saves water, electricity and time.
However, the 15 minute wash is not going to clean really dirty or germ ridden clothes. It’s also not capable of washing a full wash load, nor is it any good for particularly delicate items either.
A regular wash cycle on the other hand, can be used for many different fabrics, removes heavily soiled stains and kills bacteria and germs.
As the old saying goes, “it’s horses for courses” in other words, both the 15 minute wash cycle and the regular wash cycles have their place, but they’re designed for different purposes.
A regular wash cycle is better for washing school uniforms, sportswear, gym wear, work clothes and everyday clothes. But if you missed a part of the school uniform during a regular wash cycle it can be quickly washed using a 15 minute wash.
Frequently Asked Questions
A 15 minute wash cycle is enough for washing a few items of clothes that aren’t particularly dirty. But it’s not good enough to wash a full load or any items that are heavily soiled.
The 15 minute wash cycle isn’t really designed for washing towels. The water doesn’t get hot enough, the wash and rinse cycle aren’t long enough and any germs or bacteria will not be eradicated during a 15 minute wash cycle.
A 15 minute wash uses less water and less electricity to wash a few items of not too dirty clothes. It is not sufficient for a full load or heavily soiled items.