What Is PreWash On A Washing Machine?

Modern washing machines have a load of program and cycle options that are often confusing to the uninitiated. What is prewash? How do you use it? And when should you use it? If these are questions that are bothering you, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we look at all of the aspects of the prewash cycle and answer all of the relevant questions pertaining to it.

What Is The Prewash Function On A Washing Machine?

Prewash is a cycle that uses cold water and is used to help clean particularly soiled laundry. It is a short cycle that fills the drum with cold water, agitates the drum and then spins the water out.

The prewash loosens the dirt and detritus from the fabric and gives an extra wash to heavily soiled clothes. After the prewash finishes, the drum is emptied, the laundry is spun and then the main wash cycle begins.

You can run the prewash cycle without adding detergent but it is more effective at removing excessive dirt if detergent is added.

How Long Does A Prewash Cycle Run For?

The prewash cycle typically runs for around 5 minutes (different makes and models run for different times) which doesn’t sound like a long time. However, the prewash can return brilliant results in terms of how clean your laundry becomes.

The idea is the prewash removes excess dirt allowing the main wash to get on with washing the clothes clean.

When Should You Use The Prewash Cycle?

As we just said, the prewash cycle helps to remove dirt from particularly messy or dirty clothes. This then allows the regular wash to remove dirt and sanitise your laundry.

You should use the prewash cycle if you have;

  • Children that play outside
    Kids enjoy playing in dirty, muddy environments and their clothes often get caked with ingrained dirt and mud.
  • Babies
    Babies create a lot of dirty clothes, from leaking nappies to vomit, babies clothes will almost always benefit from a prewash cycle before the main wash.
  • A particularly dirty job
    Dirt and dust, grease and other mess can be difficult to remove from work clothes. A prewash cycle can help to release those hard to clean stains.
  • Sporting hobbies or outdoor pursuits
    Sports fields can become extremely muddy very fast. All it takes is a spot of rain just before kickoff to turn a football or rugby pitch into a mud bath.

All of the above can make you or your family’s clothes extremely dirty. This would make the prewash an essential part of your laundry routine.

How Do You Use The Prewash Cycle?

You should always refer to your owners manual for detailed instructions on how to use the prewash cycle for your particular washing machine. But in the absence of specific instructions, the following work for most washing machines;

  1. Load the laundry into the washing machine drum
  2. Add the correct amount of detergent into the prewash and detergent compartments in the detergent dispenser drawer (on most washing machines, the prewash compartment is labelled “1”)
  3. Select the intended wash cycle (prewash cycles are not usually available on speed wash, delicates etc)
  4. Press the prewash button
  5. Press the start button

Once the prewash has finished, the main wash cycle should start automatically.

Are There Any Cycles That Can’t Start With A Prewash?

There are some washing machine cycles that cannot start with a prewash cycle. These include;

  • Quick Wash
  • Hand Wash
  • Wool Cycle
  • Delicate Cycle
  • Rinse & Spin

Do You Need Extra Detergent When Running A Prewash Cycle?

You will need to add extra detergent when running a prewash cycle. You will need to add detergent into the main wash detergent compartment as well as adding detergent to the prewash compartment.

The additional detergent helps to remove stubborn stains and ingrained dirt and helps to soften regular dirt making the clothes get a thorough wash.

Is It Necessary to Run The Prewash Cycle?

If your laundry is particularly dirty then a prewash is a good idea to ensure all of the dirt is removed. However, if the clothes are not heavily soiled, then the prewash cycle is probably unnecessary.

Are There Any Alternatives To The Prewash Cycle?

As we saw earlier, there are some wash loads that don’t have the option to prewash. If any of these clothes are heavily soiled and you feel they could do with a form of prewash, there is an alternative:

Soaking Soiled Clothes

You could soak those clothes in a bucket of water with added detergent to help loosen the stains before running through the regular wash program for those specific clothes.

Pretreating Stains

Some stains can be pretreated with the appropriate treatment but once treated the clothes can then be washed in the normal way.

Never Use More Detergent Than Is Actually Required

It can be tempting to use extra detergent in the vain attempt to get heavily soiled garments clean. However this is a waste of detergent and time. If you were to use too much detergent instead of cleaning your clothes, they’re more likely to feel dirtier.

This is because the residue detergent will feel slimy or sticky to the touch on the clothes after washing. They could also become stiffened due to dried on soap suds.

If you do accidentally use too much detergent, the easiest way to remedy this is to run an extra rinse cycle.

What did one sock say to another sock in the washing machine?
See you next time around! 😂

SEE ALSO: What Is KG Mode On Washing Machines?

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I use Prewash in washing machine?

You should use the prewash cycle on your washing machine if the clothes you’re planning to wash are particularly heavily soiled.

What is the difference between Prewash and main wash?

The prewash is an extra wash cycle that is used to remove dirt from heavily soiled garments. The prewash runs before the main wash program. If you do not select the prewash option, the clothes will just go through the main wash cycle.

Do I need to use Prewash?

For averagely dirty clothes, the prewash cycle isn’t necessary. But if your clothes are particularly dirty a prewash cycle is a good idea to remove excessive dirt and grime.

Do I add detergent for Prewash?

Yes, you do need to add detergent for the prewash cycle. The prewash compartment is usually the number one compartment in the detergent dispenser drawer.

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