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

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between the permanent press cycle and the delicate cycle on your washing machine, you’ve found the right article. We know that most people only ever use one setting on their washing machine for pretty much everything.

However, if you want your clothes to last longer, it’s time you started selecting the right program for your clothes.

What Is The Permanent Press Cycle On Washing Machines?

The permanent press cycle was designed for use with permanent press clothes. Permanent press clothes have been manufactured using synthetic, man made materials with chemical bonds that actually help to prevent wrinkles.

The program on your washing machine was designed to cater for these fabrics by using a warm water wash and rinse and a slower spin speed. The warm water helps the fabric to relax which helps any creases to drop out.

Then the low spin speed prevents any wrinkles from forming. The permanent press cycle is also great for preventing fading, shrinking and pilling in synthetic fabrics.

The permanent press cycle is a gentle cycle designed specifically for synthetic materials. However, it can also be used for thin cotton clothes to help eliminate the need for ironing.

It should not be used for delicate clothes however.

What Is The Permanent Press Cycle In Tumble Dryers?

The permanent press setting on the tumble dryer uses a medium heat with a cool down period at the end of the cycle. It is designed to reduce creases and wrinkles when drying the clothes without causing any shrinkage or other damage.

Once again, delicate clothes should never be tumble dried even on the permanent press cycle. 

This is because delicate items could very easily become damaged due to being subjected to any heat and the rough tumbling action of the dryer.

What Is The Delicate Cycle On Washing Machines?

The delicate or gentle cycle on the washing machine is designed for items made from wool, silk, cashmere, linen, sweaters, underwear, lingerie, lace and crocheted items. It uses a short cold water wash with a slow spin speed designed to not damage your delicate clothing.

The delicate cycle can also be used for items that are labeled as hand wash only. This is because the machine uses less agitation than a regular wash program – which helps protect really delicate clothes.

You should always check the care label before putting any delicate items in a washing machine and it’s a good idea to use a mesh laundry bag to protect the items even further.

Washing Machine

Is The Delicate Cycle The Same As the Permanent Press Cycle?

The permanent press cycle and the delicate cycle are both far gentler than the cotton or regular wash cycle. However they are not the same nor designed for the same types of clothes.

You should never put any delicate items in a permanent press cycle because the water temperature will be too hot and the spin speed will also be too powerful for delicate items.

Delicate clothes washed in a permanent press cycle could shrink, become stretched or any decorative embellishments could become loose or even fall off. Lace items could become ripped or warped as well.

We always recommend using the delicate cycle if the item has no label and you even suspect it might be delicate. The worst that can happen is the item gets a soft wash unnecessarily. On the other hand, washing a delicate item in a permanent press cycle could damage that item beyond repair.

Should Delicates Be Tumble Dried?

Delicate items of clothing should not be tumble dried as a rule. However, there are some delicate items that say in the wash care label that they can be tumbled using low heat. The circle inside a square with one dot in the middle is the symbol for tumble drying on a low heat.

If this is displayed on the care label, you should always tumble with other lightweight items to prevent any chance of damage as the drum turns. 

There are also some dryers that have a delicate cycle which uses low heat. The delicate cycle on a tumble dryer also typically has a timer that can be set so the item doesn’t become overdried in the machine.

Most delicate items will dry pretty fast without tumbling and we find the best way is to hang them as soon as they leave the washing machine.

SEE ALSO: What Is PowerWash On Miele Washing Machines?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is permanent press more gentle than delicate?

The permanent press cycle on a washing machine is more gentle than the cotton cycle but not as gentle as the delicate cycle.

Can I use the delicate cycle for everything?

There’s nothing to stop you from using the delicate cycle on your washing machine for everything. However, the delicate cycle would not do a good job of cleaning bedding, towels or heavily stained clothes. It is always best to use the correct program for the type of laundry you intend to wash.

Will the delicate cycle shrink clothes?

The delicate cycle is less likely to shrink clothes than any of the other cycles found on a washing machine. To give your delicate clothes even more protection they should be placed in a mesh laundry bag and dried on a no heat setting or better yet air dried.

Can I use a delicate cycle for jeans?

You can use the delicate cycle when washing jeans to help prevent them from shrinking.

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