Bulky setting on washing machine

What Is the Bulky Setting on a Washing Machine?   

Among all the programmes on your washing machine, you may have noticed the ‘bulky’ setting. It sounds pretty straightforward—presumably it’s for your bigger items.

But what laundry is considered ‘bulky’? And is a heavy wash the same as a bulky wash?

In this article we find out what the bulky setting on a washing machine is and which items you should actually put in a bulky wash.


What Is a Bulky Wash?

A bulky wash is for larger, heavier items such as bath mats and small rugs. The washing machine employs a lower spin speed, lower washing speed and a pre-soaking stage.

The cycle works like this:

  1. The washing cycle begins by adding more water than a normal cycle to ensure that items are soaked through.
  2. The water temperature is generally around 40 degrees Celsius, as it’s safe to wash most items at this temperature. However, you may want to select a higher temperature for items that can withstand it.
  3. The detergent is then added and the items are left to soak for around 25 minutes to ensure that everything is covered in detergent.
  4. The drum then begins to agitate to wash the items, but does so gently so as to ensure that the washing machine doesn’t bump around due to the heavy items inside.
  5. The rinsing stage deploys more water than usual to ensure that the detergent has been completely removed.
  6. The spinning stage has a lower spin speed but lasts longer. This way, the machine avoids jerking around too much, but the longer spinning process removes as much water as possible.


Is the Bulky Wash Setting the Same as Heavy Duty?

Washing machine with bulky and heavy duty settings

No, these are two different settings. In this case, ‘heavy’ doesn’t refer to the weight of the items, but rather the soil level.

The heavy duty cycle uses higher temperatures, a longer wash time and higher spin speeds to get rid of all the dirt.

This cycle is intended for clothing that is visibility soiled, for example, clothing that may be worn on a construction site, sports clothes worn in a muddy field, but also for sturdy fabrics such as towels or jeans.

If you only have one of these settings on your machine, be sure to check the manual to make sure that you’re using the correct programme.


Can You Wash Sheets on the Bulky Setting?

Yes, you can wash sheets on the bulky setting. However, if you have a ‘Sheets’ or ‘Bedding’ setting on your machine, you may prefer to use this instead as it’s better suited for this purpose.

Other items that manufacturers consider bulky include rugs, sleeping bags, towels, duvets, blankets, bath mats, curtains and quilts.


How Do You Wash Bulky Items?

As always, it’s best to avoid overloading your machine. Whilst the bulky setting is made for heavy duty items, they still need space to soak and spin.

On the other hand, you should try and make sure you have more than one item so that the weight can be evenly distributed during the washing stage.

If you have large items, you could take your load to a launderette as they have larger machines than most homes.

Even though it may seem inconvenient, you won’t have to do this very often because bulky items such as duvets can be washed every 6 months and rugs every 12-18 months.