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Laundry Guide: How Long Is A Wash Cycle?

Laundry Guide How Long is a Wash Cycle

Have you ever been to a laundromat, and you are ready to wash, dry, and fold your laundry, but you cannot understand the settings on the machine? Today’s modern washers and dryers are smart devices that come with pre-programmed settings that help you better with your laundry wash cycle. You can easily set your washing machine up for washing casual clothes, heavy bed sheets, towels, and delicates with a press of a button.

However, not everyone understands what it means when you set your washer to “delicates” or “heavy-duty”. On top of that, washers are not created equal. Some washers come with ambiguous settings that will take a decoder to understand.

Wash, Dry, and Fold Your Laundry with the Right Wash Cycle Setting

Learn more about wash cycles and different settings so that you will never wash your laundry with the wrong setting.

First, what is a wash cycle? Wash cycles are pre-programmed settings that your washer uses to get its job done. A single wash cycle starts with a washing cycle, in the beginning, then it rests, rinses, and spins your laundry to remove the water. Some settings have more than one rinse and spin cycle to ensure that your items are clean.

Most washers have normal, quick, heavy-duty, and delicate wash cycle settings. Here is what they mean respectively:

Normal Cycle

A normal cycle lasts for around 50 minutes to one hour. Although this duration can still vary depending on the size and options you choose (water level, number of rinse and spin, etc).

Keep in mind that with modern washers– tightly packed clothes, unbalanced loads, and excessive suds can affect your normal wash cycle since they can account for these differences.

Quick Cycle

As the name suggests, quick cycles do not take as long as the normal cycle. You can use this wash cycle setting if you just need to quickly wash, dry, and fold a very light load of laundry. This cycle can take 15 to 40 minutes depending on how many items you need to wash.

Keep in mind that the quick wash setting is not designed to wash a full load of laundry. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a quick wash cycle won’t give you the temperature or the duration you need.

Heavy Duty

A heavy-duty cycle is best for heavily soiled items. It can also be for larger laundry items like bedsheets and towels. This wash cycle can take around one to two hours and 15 minutes to finish.

This cycle offers a longer wash time with high-speed agitation and spins to remove as much moisture as possible.


This cycle setting is used for fragile or dainty items like clothes with sheer fabrics, blouses, lingerie, and any item that requires or recommends a gentle cycle on its care label. This cycle uses warm or cold water with low or no spin and is the shortest and most gentle cleaning cycle. This cycle takes 45 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes.

In Summary

Wash cycles are settings that are pre-programmed in your washing machine so that your washer knows what to do. Different wash cycles have different purposes and their duration varies depending on their intended use.

A normal cycle lasts for 50 minutes to one hour, quick cycles take 15 to 40 minutes, heavy-duty takes one to two hours and 15 minutes, and delicate wash cycles take 45 minutes to two hours and 20 minutes to complete.

You need to consider the load size, type, and condition of each laundry item when choosing a wash cycle. Depending on the washer available, it can also give a time estimate for your laundry. Your laundry can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 5 hours depending on what your items need.