What Spin Speed Should You Use On A Washing Machine? (the ultimate guide)

We all rely on our washing machine to get our clothes clean and as it does so automatically, we probably don’t think about the spin speed too much. However, the spin speed of your washing machine plays an important part in how quickly your laundry dries.

If you’ve ever wondered about the spin speed of your washing machine, keep reading.

What Is The Spin Speed & What Does It Do?

The spin speed on your washing machine is how many times the drum turns during the spin cycle. It is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), so a 1200 RPM spin speed tells us that the drum spins 1200 times every minute during the spin cycle.

The faster the spin speed, the more times the drum rotates every minute, the less water left in your laundry at the end of the cycle. Which in turn means the less time the clothes will need in the tumble dryer or on the washing line.

Water is removed from the clothes as a result of centrifugal force. As the clothes are spun at high speed the water is forced out due to that fast spinning action.

Do We Have To Select The Spin Speed?

The various programmes on your washing machine have a preset spin speed for each setting. For instance the silk programme will have a preset spin speed of 400 RPM. This is because silk is delicate and likely to get damaged if spun at high speeds.

So ordinarily, we don’t need to select the spin speed. However, there are occasions where the fabrics being washed can withstand a faster spin speed than the preset programme applies.

In which case you can override the preset spin speed with a faster one. This feature is available on most appliances but you’ll need to consult your machine’s user manual for more information.

What Are The Best Spin Speeds For Each fabric?

woman holding knitted wool sweaters

As we just said, it is possible to manually alter the preset spin speed for the particular fabric you’re washing. But the machine’s programme is usually set at the best spin speed for each type of fabric to prevent damage.

The general spin speeds for each fabric run as follows;

  • Silk: 400 RPM
    Silk is the most delicate material you can wash in a washing machine. It will easily become damaged which is why the spin speed when washing silk should be no higher than 400 RPM.
  • Delicates: 600 RPM
    Delicates are more likely to succumb to damage if the spin speed is too high. Which is why the recommended spin speed for delicates is 600 RPM.
  • Wool: 800 RPM
    Wool is quite a delicate material but it can be spun as long as the spin speed is kept to no higher than 800 RPM to prevent any damage.
  • Denim: 900 RPM
    Denim is fairly robust and can withstand quite high spin speeds. Denim items are usually quite thick which means there will always be some water left after spinning.
  • Synthetic: 1000 RPM
    Synthetic materials don’t absorb as much water as other fabrics which is why a 1000 RPM spin speed is sufficient to get synthetics nearly dry without causing any damage to the fibres that make up the material.
  • Cotton: 1400 RPM
    Cotton items are the most robust of all the fabrics used to make clothes. These items need a high agitation during the wash cycle. This allows extra water to get absorbed by the garments and needs a fast spin speed to expel as much water as possible.

SEE ALSO: How Long Do Washing Machines Take To Wash Clothes? (for every fabric type)

When Would You Alter The Preset Spin Speed?

Seeing as how the manufacturers have taken the time to set the spin speed on the various wash cycles on your machine, why would you want to change them? 

There are occasions where altering the spin speed makes perfect sense for instance; if you’re washing a small load of clothes that aren’t particularly dirty, a high spin speed could be too much.

Or if you have a full load of extremely dirty clothes you might want to up the spin speed because the higher the spin speed the drier the clothes will be.

How Does The Spin Speed Affect How Dry The Laundry becomes?

It’s interesting to note just how much difference the spin speed can make to the amount of moisture left in clothes. The following shows the effect the spin speed has on the moisture content of the clothes.

Spin SpeedMoisture Content After Spinning (%)
800 RPM70%
1000 RPM60%
1200 RPM53%
1400 RPM50%
1800 RPM42%

As you can see the faster the spin speed the lower the moisture content.  However, the difference between the 1400 RPM and the 1800 RPM in terms of residual moisture is not that great when you consider how much more expensive a washing machine with an 1800 RPM spin speed is in comparison to an appliance with a 1400 RPM spin speed.

Will Higher Spin Speeds Damage Clothes?

It is possible that using a spin speed that is too high for the fabrics being washed could cause them damage. However, as long as you stick to the correct spin speed for the materials being washed, you should encounter no problems.

Cotton fabrics tend to be the most robust and can withstand the highest spin speeds. The question really is do you need a machine that has a high spin speed if you only wear synthetic fabrics?

The answer would be no you don’t but, you probably use cotton towels etc which will need a faster spin speed than synthetics. As with all clothes you should check the care label before washing to ensure your clothes don’t get damaged in the wash.

Is A Washing Machine With A Higher Spin Speed More Likely To Break Down?

Washing Machine

There is a misguided school of thought that claims that washing machines with very high spin speeds are more prone to breaking down. They claim that the pressures placed on internal parts due to the high spin speed will cause some of these components to break easily.

However true this might have been a few years ago, it’s certainly not the case now. Many modern washing machines use advanced technology which makes them more reliable than ever before. 

They have brushless inverter motors and direct drive technology which removes the need for belts and pulleys. In fact, some modern washing machine manufacturers are so confident in their products that they carry a 10 year warranty as standard.

What Are The Benefits Of A High Spin Speed?

The main benefits of having a washing machine with a high spin speed include;

  • Ideal For Cotton Fabrics
    Cotton clothes are robust enough to benefit from being spun at high speeds. Whereas other materials are likely to get damaged at high spin speeds.
  • Clothes Dry Faster
    If you don’t have a tumble dryer or you have limited space on a washing line, higher spin speeds remove more moisture from clothes which means they will dry faster.
  • More Energy Efficient Than Tumble Drying

Tumble dryers use far more electricity than washing machines with high spin speeds.

What Are The Disadvantages Of High Spin Speeds?

There are a few disadvantages associated with using high spin speeds which include;

  • Damage To Clothes
    There is a possibility of causing damage to fragile or delicate fabrics if you use a spin speed that is too high.
  • Higher Energy Usage
    As the appliance uses more power to turn the drum faster, it uses more energy which in turn, equates to more expensive energy bills. However this is counterbalanced by the lower energy usage as the tumble dryer will not take as long if the garments have a lower moisture content.
  • More Noise
    The higher spin speed can cause the machine to run louder. This is not a problem if the machine is housed in a separate utility room but could be problematic if the machine is housed in the kitchen for example. Making sure the appliance is sited level will help to decrease noise levels as will using sound dampening pads.

Do You Need High Spin Speeds?

The reality is washing machines with the highest spin speeds tend to be the most expensive. All you’re really getting for that extra cost is a machine that can spin clothes faster than is safe for most fabrics.

Cotton is the most robust material and that should be spun at 1200 RPM to 1400 RPM. Which means an 1800 RPM spin speed is excessive and unnecessary in many cases.

What do you call a washing machine for bank notes?
A money spinner! 😂

SEE ALSO: How Long Does The Delicate Wash Cycle Take? (and what it’s for)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to have 1400 or 1600 spin washing machines?

The reality is there aren’t any fabrics that should be spun at more than 1400 RPM. Anything above this just increases the purchase price and doesn’t necessarily have any benefit when drying a regular wash load.

Is 800 spin speed enough?

A 800 RPM spin speed is enough to spin wool or synthetic items. Cottons should be spun at 1200 RPM to 1400 RPM, whereas delicates should be spun at 600 RPM and silk at 400 RPM.

Does high spin damage clothes?

A high spin speed could damage clothes depending on the material they are made from and how high the spin speed is. You should always check the care label in the clothes before washing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *