Laundry Basics: What You May be Misunderstanding About Laundry Machines

Laundry Basics: What You May be Misunderstanding About Laundry Machines

Whether you just moved out of the house and are finally on your own, or you want to better understand how to do your laundry, you came to the right place.  

Laundry can be confusing, each machine varies in setting complexity depending on the quality of the machine, articles of clothing all have a different set of instructions on them, and stains all require their own special treatments.  

In this article, we will tackle the complexities of the machines themselves.  By the end of this article, you should know the ins and outs of the laundry machines, and be fluent in the complex language of the various units. 

Mastering the Washing Machine


The “Regular” setting is not meant for your regular load of casual clothes, use the “Permanent Press” option instead

Let’s start by describing the three functions that make up the washing machine: cycle length, cycle speed, and water temperature.  

Cycle length

The cycle length (or timer) is how long the machine will wash your clothes. Opt for the shorter cycles for less soiled clothes such as your everyday wear, and longer cycles for heavily soiled garments. Choose the shortest cycle you need to get the job done; the less time your clothes are in the wash, the longer they’ll last.  

Cycle speed

The cycle speed is next. This is where some confusing laundry jargon is introduced. When selecting the laundry speed, your machine may use terms like “regular,” “permanent press” or “delicate” and this is where the laundry machine companies go wrong. What these terms generally translate to is “fast/fast,” “fast/slow,” or “slow/slow.”  

This is referring to the speed at which the clothes are washed, when water and detergent come into the bin, and when clothes are spun out, which extrudes water from the clothes rinsing them out.   

  1. The regular setting, which is really a “fast/fast” setting, is for more bulky and soiled garments, your heavier load.  
  1. Your regular everyday clothes that need a wash will be better on “permanent press” or “fast/slow.” Meaning your wash cycle is fast and the spin cycle is slow; a slow spin cycle is good for getting wrinkles out of your clothes.   
  1. The delicate “slow/slow” cycle is meant for your more delicate garments; you decide what garments you want to be more careful with or may need a more gentle cleaning based on their fabric.

Water temperature

Water temperature is next. With advancements in laundry detergent and washing machines, virtually all your laundry can now be washed in cold water. Washing your laundry in cold water will save energy and money. It is also easier on the wear and tear of fabrics thus your clothing will look nicer longer.  It can still be helpful to know the general rule of thumb: hot water for whites and heavily soiled items, cold water for darks. Hot water is tougher on clothes and may fade color but is a deeper clean. Cold water will keep dark colors from bleeding to other articles of clothing. When in doubt, the safer option is cold water. 

Understanding Your Dryer Settings  

The “Regular” setting is not meant for your regular load of casual clothes, use the “Permanent Press” option instead

The dryer is where your clothes can really be ruined. Over drying your clothes can cause fading, shrinking, and fraying of the fabric. Below we are going to break down common dryer machine terms to help you better understand how to properly dry your clothes.  


Following the general pattern of poor laundry terms, regular is the highest heat setting. It is meant for heavy items like towels, not your regular, everyday clothes.  

Permanent Press

You guessed it, the medium-heat setting with a cool down period at the end. This is the setting to use for your everyday clothing.   


This can also be labeled as “low-heat dry”. This setting is for your more delicate items, clothes prone to shrinking or that retain smells like cotton or wool, special fabric clothing, and yoga pants.   

Tumble dry

This term is fairly self-explanatory and can also be labeled as “no heat” or “air dry”. If you want to be really careful with some of your clothes and you think the delicate setting might not be delicate enough, you can choose tumble dry. At this point, we would suggest air drying your clothes.  


Whether you’ve been doing laundry your whole life or just learning, most of the machine terms are confusing and don’t really mean what they say. Make sure you understand what settings are best for the specific load you’re doing and remember to not over dry your clothes. For further tips on cleaning certain fabrics and best stain removal techniques, see upcoming articles soon. 

To help you stay on top of your laundry and other cleaning, download our app today! 

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