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How to use a washing machine

Find out how to use your washing machine and get super clean and fresh clothes after every wash

The washing machine. Where would we be without it? It looks after us, keeps us clean and we think it’s about time we started loving them back and using them to their full potential. Most of us only use one or two tried and tested programmes. We’ve compiled some of the best settings and handy tips that you can use to keep your clothes fresh after every wash.

Wash temperature

Most machines will have a dial or control for temperature, making it really quick and simple to make adjustments before the cycle starts. To give you an idea of what sort of temperature to wash at, we recommend using the care labels on your clothes as a guide. Clothes that can be washed at 40°c will normally clean just as well at 30°c, unless they’re really muddy or full of stains. By washing at lower temperatures you’re using less energy which can help to reduce energy bills and the risk of shrinking your favourite top!

Wash programmes

Most new washing machines are packed with programmes that tailor their settings to clean and care for a range of fabrics and stains. They utilise different spin speeds, one for tumbling and one for draining away water. A quick wash will tumble and drain quickly, while a delicate programme will work slowly to protect your clothes and clean them at the same time. It’s worth checking out your product manual and familiarising yourself with all the options your machine has. With more and more programmes available, you might not have known that some of them exist!

Detergent and softener

Detergents and softeners are great, but we know that there are so many varieties out there and it can sometimes be a bit confusing knowing where to put them and when. We’re here to help:

  • Liquid detergents – normally go in the detergent drawer but some can be measured out and placed in the drum after your clothes.
  • Washing powders – after measuring out with the provided scoop, pour into the correct area of the detergent drawer.
  • Washing tablets – depending on your machine, the tablets can be added to the drawer or the drum, before you add the clothes.
  • Laundry capsules – similar to tablets, just put one at the back of the drum before your clothes go in.

We always recommend that you check each specific product and your washing machine manual before you wash as these are just general rules to get you started. It’s also really important to measure the detergent out. Too much can damage your clothes, and too little won’t clean your clothes effectively.

Watch the load

Although it’s tempting to cram all your laundry into one wash, overloading is a big no-no. If your washing machine is full, the clothes can’t tumble and the water can’t move around enough to give a good clean. When the cycle has finished, try and get the load out as soon as you can. Leaving wet clothes in the drum can cause some nasty smells and even a build-up of mould. For more on how to take care of your washing machine, check out our handy guide.