Working out what the programmes on your washing machine can actually do is a great way to get the most out of your appliance and avoid damage to clothes. For this reason, it’s good to know which materials need which kind of wash and what those symbols on your labels actually mean.

  • Wool – Requires only the gentlest wash but plenty of water
  • Synthetics – Requires a simple, gentle action
  • Delicates – Requires a slightly gentler programme than synthetics
  • Cottons – Requires the most
washing machine symbols


Short washes

The short wash or quick wash function allows you to get things washed quicker if they aren’t overly soiled or dirtied, saving you time and money. \

Hold rinse

Some machines have a hold rinse function which keeps your washing in the final cleaning stage, allowing you to set it to spin dry when you’re actually around.


A pre-wash function will allow you to remove some of the dirt and grime from anything which is heavily soiled, before completing a normal wash.

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