- For a small load, choose a quick wash.
- Synthetics cycles are often better for more delicate clothing.
- The eco-friendly cycle is a good choice for saving water and energy.
The different settings are for dealing with different types of fabrics and clothing. As you know, levels of grime differ, and sweaty sports clothing needs a longer cycle than a T-shirt worn for an hour or two.
Some machines, depending on the manufacturer, also have settings for curtains, outdoor clothing or down-filled items. Where possible, match the setting to the laundry. It is a good idea to wash similar items together, and save garments such as shirts or dark items for a separate wash.
These are best washed at a lower temperature (30C) with a couple of towels to reduce noise. Remove any loose dirt; take out the laces, and put laces and shoes in a mesh bag for washing. Always check the care label on the trainers to make sure they are machine washable.
Many washing machines allow you to choose the temperature of your wash, and 40C is a considered a good choice for effective cleaning of most everyday items. Use hotter temperatures (above 40C) for more soiled laundry. Sheets used by someone who has been ill, could benefit from being washed at 60C or above. The NHS recommends washing any sources of bacteria –such as shared towels - at 60C to prevent germs spreading.
Lightly worn clothing can be washed at lower temperatures – 20C or 30C – and these settings reduce energy use, but may be less effective at removing stains.