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How Long Should a Wash Cycle Be?

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By cecilia

My Laundry Question

How many minutes would be good for maximum clean? I've heard you can wash clothes too long and actually put dirt back into fabric. I usually set washer for about 9 minutes.

Share a Little Background Info

I have a whirlpool top load. I'm not sure of manufacture date, probably 2003 maybe 2004. It's not an appliance problem. But I have heard you can over-wash clothes and actually put the dirt back in fabric. I'm talking normal loads, cottons and some blends. I can't seem to find the answer to this question anywhere. Most stains I pre-treat with the detergent I use and water. My preference is tide. It has removed red cool aide stains and red mud. I just dilute and pour on stain, rub a minute or so and throw in washer.

Lessons Learned

  • I set timer to wash about 9 minutes for normal dirt. If it's heavily soiled I will set 12 to 14 minutes.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

For average soil, the wash cycle should be 8 - 12 minutes. It is important to use the correct amount of detergent and water levels. For heavy soil, the cycle should last 12 to 15 minutes.

You cannot over wash and put dirt back in clothes. Clothes may not come clean if you use an inexpensive detergent that does not have enough surfactants to suspend the soil in the water until it is drained/rinsed away.

Good luck!

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