I’m an appliance expert – what the settings on your washing machine actually mean & the best one for stubborn stains

PEOPLE typically have a go-to setting for getting their garments squeaky clean, letting a world of opportunity pass them by.

Well, with one quick hit of a button, you can begin to explore all that your washing machine has to offer, but you might want to know what everything means first.

The extra rinse setting is optimal for people with sensitive skin


The extra rinse setting is optimal for people with sensitive skinCredit: Getty
It's often thought that the heavy duty setting is meant for bulkier items, but that isn't the case


It’s often thought that the heavy duty setting is meant for bulkier items, but that isn’t the caseCredit: Getty

The folks down at PureWow keyed people in on what the different settings on your washing machine actually mean.


The permanent press setting helps prevent wrinkling when washing your clothes. It works the most efficiently with clothes that are labeled permanent press.

This setting works by using a slow spin cycle and warm water. The warm water loosens the wrinkles that were already there, while the slow spin works to keep new wrinkles from forming while your clothes dry.


This is the most widely used setting. It’s great for most basic items. Using hot water and a strong tumbling speed, it cleans your clothes thoroughly leaving them squeaky clean.

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This setting is convenient for when you’re in a rush or only need to wash an item that isn’t heavily dirty.

This usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes, spinning your clothes faster, which means they won’t take as long to dry either.


Instead of having to put a stain remover on your clothes and letting them soak for 20 minutes, you can simply rub the stain remover into your garment, toss it in the washing machine on the pre-wash setting, pour detergent in the tray, and voila!

This setting will save you time, is extremely efficient, and will help you tackle those stubborn spots.


It’s often thought that this setting is for bulkier items, but that’s not the case.

It’s actually used to target intense stains like dirt and mud. This is accomplished through the use of hot water, an extra-long cycle, and high-speed tumbling.


Fairly different from heavy-duty, you have your delicate setting.

It’s intended for delicate fabrics as it won’t damage or shrink them. It utilizes cold water along with a short, slow cycle to get the job done.


This setting is intended for exactly what it sounds like. It’s meant to imitate washing clothes by hand and gets this done by stopping and starting with periods of soaking in between.

Using cold water, it’s ideal for clothes that are labeled ‘hand wash.’


This setting is optimal for people with sensitive skin.

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It does what it says, and adds an extra rinse cycle to your wash to make sure any excess grime or detergent has completely left your clothes, ensuring that the fabric won’t irritate you.


This setting is convenient for when you want your laundry cycle to start a little later so that it finishes washing and can be immediately placed in the dryer when you get home.

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