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Why Washing Machine Cycles Are So Long

washing machine timing cycle length

We’ve all been there – standing in front of the washing machine, desperately waiting for the seemingly never-ending wash cycle to end, so you can get to bed, or start the drying process and get on with your day.

It’s been noticed that modern washing machine cycles take longer than older machines. Times have almost doubled in 10 years. This is primarily down to manufacturers creating more advanced programmes that provide a thorough wash, so times take longer. Also, now that laundry appliances have regulated energy ratings, washing machines are designed to be more energy efficient by using less electricity and water, so to compensate, the cycles may be longer to remove stains.

Cycle Wash Program Times

The average washing machine cycle takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. Of course, this will depend on the washing machine programme selected and drum capacity. Wash cycles can range from 15 minutes to 4 hours, so you must make sure you have selected the appropriate cycle and loaded your machine properly if time is a factor.

Almost all machines have a “quick wash” or some speeder programmes. Choosing a programme with the longest time doesn’t always mean a better wash. Smaller laundry loads of fabrics that aren’t heavily soiled can be washed in a 30 – 50 minute cycle.

A countdown timer on more modern machines can help you gauge where your program is at. This will usually be a digital clock on the front of the machine that will start a countdown from the start of the cycles.

If your washing machine is very basic, with just a dial for setting the program, and maybe a power-on light, then you’re in the dark on what stage your cycle is at. With this type of machine, check the cycle time for the programme as set out in the manual, then start a timer or set an alarm using your phone.

Program Time Examples:

selecting washing cycle time

Let’s have a look at the most common modes and programmes and determine how long they tend to last. In this example, we’ll discuss a single mode and the user-adjustable features that come with it, including water temperature and spin speed (RPM), both of which have an impact on the total time required to complete a load of laundry.

Below are some examples of wash programmes, and their times, taken from washing brands such as Samsung, Beko, LG, Hotpoint, Hair, and Bosch.

  • Quick Wash / Express / Turbo / Rapid: These modes typically take 15 – 30 minutes to finish a wash. They’re typically used for smaller loads of around 2kg when you just need a few items washed quickly.
  • 90°C cotton wash: You can expect this cycle to take around 2 hours and is suited to whites or machine cleaning.
  • 60°C cotton wash: Will take roughly 2 – 3 hours to wash a load and is ideal for bedding, towels, and full loads of clothes, and is hot enough to kill germs and bacteria.
  • 30 – 40°C cotton wash: Considered “eco” mode and the most common washing temperature for general day-to-day washing, takes anywhere in the 2 – 3 hour range to finish.
  • 20°C cotton wash: This mode is only for clothes with minimal soiling and will usually take the longest to get a good wash because the temperature is so low. At 3 hours or more, you’ll be waiting a while for this cycle to finish, but it’s the most energy efficient.
  • Silk Mode and Hand Wash: (wool) garments require a 50-minute wash cycle.
  • Bulky item: Certain models have a mode called “Quilt” that operates for around an hour and thirty minutes.
  • Intense or Deep Clean: Depending on the type of machine, intensive washing can take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4 hours because it requires water to be heated to 90 degrees Celsius and the clothes to remain in the water for an extended period of time.
  • Eco-wash: (bio-care) programmes include an extra rinse to extend the washing cycle to at least 2 hours, using low temperatures and optimal spin.
  • Other options, like a super rinse, an easy iron function, or a pre-wash, can be programmed into some of these cycles, adding another 15-30 minutes to the total time.

Washing Machine Taking Longer Than Usual

Sometimes your washing machine will take longer to complete a cycle than the specified time. For example, you’re running a cycle that takes 60 minutes, according to the program setting, but it takes longer and seems to slow down nearer the end of a cycle.

If the washing is overloaded, the washing machine will struggle to rinse and drain the water. Although the timer indicates that the cycle has 1 or 2 minutes remaining, it will freeze at this time until it has drained enough water that the door can be opened safely.

This is why your must load your washing machine with a laundry load that does not exceed the appliance’s weight capacity.

The amount of time it takes for water to drain at the end of a cycle could vary based on the temperature of the water. The draining process only begins once the water cools down. If the water temperature is too high, the cycle won’t end for safety reasons.

End Washing Machine Cycle Early

If you’re pressed for time or fear there may be a fault, you can stop your washing machine mid-cycle, or at any point before the machine has worked its way through the full program. Ending the cycle early is not always instant, as the machine will still need to drain before you can open the door, otherwise, you’ll flood the room. Always refer to the user manual to see the exact process for stopping the machine early.

Washing Machine Won’t Stop

In rare cases, there may be a fault with your washing machine that causes the cycle to never end. A never-ending loop that won’t progress to the next stage of the wash process could be caused by an overloaded drum, a blocked drain, a faulty pump or an electrical board. Check for error codes and check the user manual if the cycle seems to be stuck.

Does the Washing Machine Model Affect Washing Time?

The washing time, of course, is related to the type of washing machine being used. Manufacturers of newer models make considerable efforts to lower energy consumption indications and shorten the length of washing modes. The instructions for your washing machine will give you a more accurate estimate of how long a cycle will take, but this is a guide and the manufacturer will state that sometimes a cycle can take longer.

No matter how you load your washing machine, the cycle time will remain constant. Similar modes exist in top-loading and front-loading machines, with minor variations in their length. These, like most others, have a quick wash setting and a deep clean mode.

Models of washing machines with a digital display showing the remaining washing time are the best option for time-conscious consumers. The delayed washing function is very useful, as it allows you to set the machine to begin washing after a wait of 3-19 hours.

That’s why there’s such a wide variety of recommended machine washing times, from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Everything rides on the sum of the aforementioned variables and conditions.