washing machine dial

Does a Quick Wash Actually Clean Clothes?

A quick wash cycle is one of the shortest and arguably most convenient cycles you can select on your washer to wash your clothes. But does a quick wash actually clean clothes?

Yes, a quick wash can clean lightly soiled clothes that need to be spruced up a touch in mere minutes. It’s ideal at cleaning things like a relatively clean top or a school uniform you forgot to wash but need by the next day, for example.

However, a quick wash isn’t very good at cleaning other types of laundry, like items that are heavily stained or soiled, for example rugby kits. To wash clothes that are very dirty you need to use a longer cycle that uses hotter water, so it can clean the grime off the clothes properly.

In addition to this, a quick wash cycle cannot be used to clean a full load of laundry. This type of wash is typically used to clean a few items at a time, say one to three kilograms. And these items generally look quite clean to begin with!

It would be unwise, unless you’re told to do so, to wash a full load of laundry on a quick wash cycle because all of the items may not be cleaned properly.

If you were to overfill your washing machine’s drum when running a quick wash cycle, or you added heavily soiled and stained items to it, the laundry wouldn’t be very clean by the end of the washing cycle.

In fact, the dirty laundry wouldn’t look much different from when you placed it inside the drum at the beginning.

In turn, running an inappropriate load through a quick wash cycle won’t just waste your time, but you’ll end up having to re-wash the laundry on the right cycle later on. This will likely mean that you’ll have wasted energy and products in the process.

And finally, quick wash cycles are normally run at a much lower temperature to that of a normal cycle. This is because the cycle is so short the water doesn’t have a huge amount of time to heat up as it normally would.

Although this temperature can be used to wash relatively clean laundry, it isn’t necessarily hot enough to wash extra dirty loads of washing. In this scenario you generally need hot water to remove the bacteria and grime from the garments.

So, unless you actively change the temperature, you might run your laundry through a wash that isn’t quite warm enough! In the process, you might not remove all the dirt and bacteria from your garments.

Quick Wash

Pros and Cons of Quick Wash Cycles

Benefits of using a quick wash cycle to clean clothes:

  • Great at washing slightly dirty clothes. Ideal if you just need to spruce up an item of clothing but you don’t need to wash it intensely.
  • Excellent cycle to run if you’re in a hurry and need an item or two washed quickly.
  • Time saver
  • Short cycle means you use less water
  • Can save energy

Drawbacks of using a quick wash cycle to clean clothes:

  • If you overload your washer and run a quick wash cycle, the laundry isn’t likely to come out clean at the end.
  • You can’t wash a huge amount of laundry at once.
  • There’s not much point trying to clean very dirty clothes on this cycle.
  • You might end up re-washing laundry because it may not be clean enough after one washing cycle.
  • Some detergent residue may be left on laundry at the end of the cycle, and you might have to rinse the clothes again. This issue could become particularly problematic if you continuously forget to reduce the dose of your detergent when running a quick wash. You don’t normally need to use a full dose of detergent on a quick wash cycle because you don’t add that many clothes to the drum!


When and When Not to Use a Quick Wash Cycle

When you should use a quick wash cycle:

  • When you have a handful of slightly dirty items to clean.
  • When you need to wash clothes in a rush.
  • When your clothes aren’t actually dirty, and they just need a spruce up rather than an intense clean.

When you shouldn’t use a quick wash cycle:

  • Not all materials should be put through a quick wash because it may damage them. Delicate materials might not be able to withstand such a cycle, for example.
  • When you need to clean extremely soiled clothes, for example, oily or greasy outfits.
  • When you have a pile of stained clothes that need to be cleaned.
  • Clothes that need to be washed at a higher temperature.

Quick Wash Mode

Does a Quick Wash Work as Well as a Normal Wash?

A quick wash cycle is a convenient and quick washing cycle that can clean lightly soiled laundry. It can clean clothes well, as long as they aren’t too dirty to begin with.

However, not all materials can be put through such a cycle, for example, delicate materials.

In contrast, a normal wash cycle covers the other cycles that you can run on a washing machine.

Such cycles include, but are not limited to ‘cotton’, ‘synthetics’, ‘temperature’ and ‘handwash’.

These kinds of cycles give clothes a more thorough clean because they’re able to wash the laundry for longer, and more intensely by using hotter water, if need be.

In turn, these cycles can remove toughened dirt, bacteria and take out stains on laundry. Plus, normal cycles can usually be run with a full load of laundry, so you can get more washing done at once.

The only significant drawback with normal cycles is that they can take a long time to complete, so they’re not as convenient as a quick wash cycle.
quick wash vs normal wash cycle
Both a quick wash cycle and a normal wash cycle have their pros and cons. And as long as you use the right cycle to clean the right type of laundry there shouldn’t be a problem, and you should end up with clean laundry at the end of either cycle. 

That being said, it does also come down to your personal laundry situation. If your laundry rarely gets very dirty and you’re a last-minute washer, you could get by using a quick wash cycle and find it very effective.

But if you’ve got lots of gym wear, football kits and greasy uniforms to clean, you’d be better off picking a normal washing cycle as this would be more beneficial and would clean your laundry properly.

Generally, if you stick to the rules of the quick wash cycle (you don’t add too many items to the drum and you only put lightly soiled clothes in the machine), your clothes should come out of the washer clean.

But if you ignore the rules (you overfill the drum or you try to wash very dirty laundry), you’re not going to get clean clothes by the end of the quick wash.

As a side note, although a quick wash cycle is a very convenient, and arguably cost effective, washing cycle that can clean clothes well, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should make a habit of using it.

In some cases, it would be better for you to wait for your laundry to mount up, so you could add a larger pile of washing to the washer.

You could then run a normal wash cycle, and as a result of this you’d be able to run a vast amount of heavily stained/dirty laundry through an intense wash, which should effectively save you time, money (buying resources), and would clean your clothes more thoroughly in hotter water.

15 minute and 30 minute quick wash


Is a 15-Minute Wash Enough?

A quick wash cycle that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete will be able to clean lightly soiled items of clothing. However, this length of time is not going to be long enough to clean heavily soiled/stained items of clothing.

To clean such items you would need to use a normal washing cycle that suits the material you’re trying to clean.


Is a 30-Minute Wash Enough?

A 30-minute-long wash can clean clothes, but the laundry in question must not be very dirty to start off with.

If the items in question are only lightly soiled, a 30-minute wash should be able to spruce these items up. But if there are bad stains, or very dirty patches, on these items a 30-minute wash won’t clean these clothes effectively.

To clean these kinds of clothes you’d need to pick a normal washing cycle that is more intense, is longer, and uses a hotter water temperature.


Can I Use a Quick Wash to Clean All My Laundry?

using quick wash setting

No, you cannot use a quick wash to clean all of your laundry.

A quick wash cycle should only be used to clean lightly soiled items of clothing. If you have very dirty clothes, or items that are stained, they should be washed on a normal wash setting, whereby the cycle length is longer and the water is warmer.

Washing said clothes using a normal washing cycle will ensure that the soiled patches and general grime are removed properly, which, in turn, makes the clothes more hygienic.

In addition to this, not all materials, particularly delicate ones, should be washed on a quick wash cycle. So, before you clean your laundry, check the items’ care labels.