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Understanding Different Washer-Dryer Settings

Learn the difference between your washer and dryer settings to help you save energy and prevent your clothes from getting damaged.

Ever get confused with all the different settings on a washer/dryer or the laundry jargon on your clothing tags?

Knowing the difference between all the settings and making simple changes in the way you use your washer or dryer can actually help save energy, as well as prevent your clothes from getting damaged.

For instance, the “delicates” setting on your dryer may be a less efficient option because it uses low heat, leading to a longer drying time, according to PartSelect

PartSelect also suggests paying attention to labels on your clothes to avoid fabric shrinkage or damage. A tag that says “No Tumble Dry” means you should not use a dryer, but instead follow other directions, such as hang dry.

Learn the difference between wash and spin cycle settings and which temperature to use for specific clothing items. For instance, the “regular/normal” setting has a strong agitation speed, which is the level of shaking and spinning that the center device creates to get your clothes clean again. Your delicate pieces should be washed in the “delicates” setting, which uses light agitation to prevent damage to the fabric.

Consider the following washer/dryer tips from PartSelect to help you successfully conquer the laundry room.

Washer settings:

  • Regular/Normal: This setting heats your water between 120-140 degrees and the washer cycles in fast agitation while washing. This setting is recommended when washing white clothing items. 
  • Permanent Press: Choosing this washer setting brings the water temperature to about 85-105 degrees and cycles in mild agitation while cleaning your clothes. This setting is best for colored clothing.
  • Delicates: You'll want this cycle if you're washing delicate fabrics and want a light agitation cycle. The water will be cold while washing at about 65-75 degrees.

Dryer settings:

  • Automatic Dry: This is a more energy efficient than a time dry because it causes your dryer to automatically shut off when clothes are detected as dry.
  • Regular/Heavy: This is the fastest and hottest setting of your dryer. It's best to use this setting when you're drying white or light-colored clothing.
  • Delicates: This setting uses low heat so drying time will be longer, this is the best setting to use for delicate fabrics.
  • Permanent Press: This setting uses medium heat while drying and is best used for colored fabrics.
  • Air Fluff: This setting is not used for drying, it actually draws in room temperature air to "fluff" out stiff clothing.