Permanent Press Vs Cotton Cycle – What’s The Difference?

Modem washing machines have so many programs and settings and it can become confusing which one to use. Which is probably why so many people always use the same program no matter what they’re washing.

However, using the correct setting can save your clothes from wearing out too quickly or fading in the wash. In this article we look at two cycles – the permanent press and the cotton cycles. If you want to know the difference between the permanent press cycle and the cotton cycle, keep reading.

What Is The Cotton Cycle On A Washing Machine?

The cotton cycle is designed for heavy duty cotton items like pillows, towels, curtains, rugs, jeans, sweatshirts, joggers or lighter cotton clothes that are exceptionally dirty.

Often referred to as the regular cycle, the cotton cycle washes and spins at high speed to agitate the clothes and wash the clothes properly. The cycle has a duration of longer than many other cycles and often incorporates a prewash cycle as well.

This is necessary because cotton fabrics are known to hold onto dirt more than other fibres and needs a strong cleaning action to remove that ingrained dirt.

The spin speed on cotton cycles is usually fast because cotton is far more absorbent than other materials. Which means the machine needs to work relatively hard (spin faster)  to remove as much water as [possible.

What Is The Cotton Cycle Temperature?

The temperatures for cotton cycles range from 40 to 90 C depending on what you’re washing. For the averagely dirty cotton items and colours, 40 C is perfect. 60 to 90 C is used to remove ingrained stains and for bedding etc.

If you decide to use a hot wash ensure the items are 100% cotton or else they’re likely to shrink.

What Is The Permanent Press Cycle On A Washing Machine?

The permanent press cycle is for washing everyday lightweight clothes like shorts, t-shirts, cotton sportswear,  wash and wear clothes, non iron clothes and synthetics. 

The permanent press cycle washes clothes using warm water and low spin speeds to gently but thoroughly clean clothes that aren’t too heavily stained.

The low spin speed and warm water are gentle enough on the clothes to not cause them to crease or wrinkle during the cycle. 

What Is The Permanent Press Temperature?

Often labelled as “casual” or “wrinkle control”, permanent press washes at an average of 30 to 40 C with many cycles finishing with a cold rinse. These low temperatures along with the gentle spin speed helps prevent wrinkles and creases from forming.

You should always remove the clothes from the machine as soon as the permanent press cycle has ended and hang them immediately.

Cotton Cycle Or Permanent Press Which Should You Use?

The main differences between the cotton cycle and the permanent press cycle is the amount of heat used and the spin speed. You should never use the cotton cycle for clothes that could easily become damaged by too much heat or rough handling.

This means you should use the cotton cycle for robust items like;

  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Rugs
  • Jeans
  • Cotton Clothing

But not for any fragile fabrics like man made synthetics.

The permanent press cycle is more suited for items like;

  • Gym Wear
  • Swimwear
  • Polyester
  • Elastane
  • Lycra
  • Acrylic

As well as items that cannot be ironed (always check the label).

Cotton Cycle & Permanent Press On A Tumble Dryer

The corresponding programs on a tumble dryer work in a similar way. The permanent press cycle on the dryer uses less heat than the cotton cycle. The main reason for this is the fact that synthetic materials absorb less water than cotton which means they dry quicker.

The permanent press cycle also helps to prevent wrinkles and creases from forming as long as the drum isn’t overloaded and the clothes are removed as soon as the cycle is completed.

The cotton cycle uses a higher heat setting because the cotton fabric will have absorbed much more moisture and will therefore take longer to dry. 

This longer drying time at a higher temperature can lead to creases and wrinkles but these can easily be removed with an iron which is something that can’t be used on synthetics.

The secret to success when washing and drying your clothes is to always check the care label. 

Plus, you should always separate synthetics and cottons so that they can be washed and dried appropriately. Blended items should always be treated as synthetics to preserve their quality.

What is a washing machine’s favourite song?
Twist and Shout! 😂

SEE ALSO: What Is Steam Hygiene & Steam Refresh On Hotpoint Washing Machines?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between permanent press and regular wash cycle?

The difference between permanent press and regular wash cycles is the temperature and spin speed. The regular, also known as the cotton cycle uses hotter water and a faster spin speed to help remove ingrained stains on the more robust items of clothing. Permanent press, on the other hand, uses warm water and a slower, gentler spin speed to help prevent the clothes from becoming creased or wrinkled.

Can I wash cotton with a permanent press cycle?

You can wash cotton using the permanent press cycle. It will prevent the cotton clothes from some shrinkage and will also help prevent the cotton clothes from creasing.

What wash cycle is equivalent to permanent press?

If your washing machine doesn’t have a permanent press cycle, look for wrinkle control or casual program. If your machine doesn’t have any of these use the delicate cycle.

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