Pre-soaking your clothes before washing them is a great way to remove stubborn stains, revitalise fabrics, and achieve a deeper level of cleanliness.
Although you can soak your clothing in a large bucket, it is much more convenient to soak them in your washing machine.
Soaking clothing in a top loader washing machine is simple. However, front-loading machines cannot be filled with water before loading your clothing into the drum.
You may wonder whether it is possible to soak your clothing in a front-loading appliance. But the answer is yes!
By reading this article, you will learn how to soak clothes in a front-loading washing machine based on your appliance’s available functions.
You will also learn the key benefits of soaking your clothes and some of our suggested soaking solutions.
Can You Soak Laundry in a Front-Loading Washing Machine?
While traditional top-loading washing machines were extremely easy to soak your clothes in, more modern front-loading ones can pose a slight issue.
As the door is on the front of the washer, you can’t fill the drum with your desired solution and then add your pile of clothing.
However, this does not mean you can’t soak your clothes in a front-loading machine. Instead, it means that you must allow your appliance to fill with water itself once you have loaded your clothes into the drum.
In most cases, these washers will have a soak setting or a stop/start function that can be used to the same effect. Instructions for how to use both of these functions are given below.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to soak your clothes in your washer if it doesn’t have either of these options. In this case, you must stick with soaking your clothes in a large bucket and then transferring them to the machine for washing.
How to Soak Clothes in a Front Loading-Washing Machine
Option 1: Soak clothes using the soak setting
If your washing machine comes with a soak setting, you can pre-programme your desired soak time into your machine before starting a wash cycle.
This will cause your washer to fill with water and then pause for the chosen length of time before doing a quick wash cycle at the end.
During the soaking period, your washing machine will typically use some slight agitation. For example, Samsung washing machines with this function cycle between one minute of pulsations and 4 minutes of rest until your selected time is up.
The way to programme this soak setting will differ slightly depending on your machine’s manufacturer. Some will come with a dial or button that can be used to select your soak time, while others may come with a touchpad that you can use to explore your machine’s various settings.
No matter which way of programming your washing machine is equipped with, you will be able to select a soak time from a list of options.
This is often available in 30, 45, 60, 120, or 180 minute increments. For specific instructions, it is always best to check your appliance’s user manual.
Option 2: Soak clothes using the stop/start function
Many high-efficiency front loaders typically don’t have a soak function. If this is the case with your washing machine, you will need to manually pause and resume your wash cycle according to the time you want clothes to be soaked. You can do this using the stop/start function.
This sounds extremely simple in theory, but you must pause the wash cycle at the correct point so that the drum is properly filled with water.
Detailed instructions for how to do this are given below:
- Place your clothing into the machine drum and shut the door. Add the required amount of laundry detergent to the dispenser drawer, select your desired wash cycle and temperature, and start the wash cycle.
- Wait for the drum to finish filling with water. Once the drum starts to rotate, set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes—this ensures your machines is completely filled with water.
- When the time is up, pause your wash cycle by pressing the stop/start button. The water will now remain in the drum until the wash cycle is resumed.
- After your desired soaking time has passed, resume the wash cycle by pressing the stop/start button once more.
- Wait for the wash cycle to finish, and then dry your clothing as you typically would.
If you’re soaking your clothing in something other than laundry detergent, make sure you either add it to the drum or dispenser drawer before starting the wash cycle.
Continue reading for specific instructions on creating some of the best soaking solutions.
What Are the Benefits of Pre-Soaking Laundry?
Pre-soaking your laundry may seem like a waste of time, but offers many benefits that help you achieve a deeper, fresher clean.
The exact outcome will depend on which substance you soak your clothing in, but some of the general benefits are as follows:
- Stain removal: Pre-soaking can effectively tackle any stubborn stains that wouldn’t come out during a regular wash cycle. The increased time in the machine allows the cleaning products to penetrate deeper into the fabric, breaking down the stains for easier removal.
- Odour elimination: Pre-soaking is especially useful for heavily soiled or smelly items as it helps eliminate unpleasant odours. Your cleaning products have more time to loosen and lift the odour-causing particles from your clothing, leaving them smelling clean and fresh.
- Enhanced cleaning power: Pre-soaking helps to enhance the natural cleaning power of your laundry detergent. Allowing it to work on the fabric for an extended period of time means that all traces of dirt, grime, or oil can be fully broken down and removed from your clothing.
- Fabric restoration: Pre-soaking can also revive fabrics that have started to look dull and dingy. It can help prevent fading and will remove any discolouration that reduces the vibrancy of the fabric.
Remember to follow proper soaking techniques and use suitable cleaning products when incorporating pre-soaking into your laundry routine.
Although this practice is highly beneficial, it can cause damage or leave behind residue on your clothing if done incorrectly.
What Can You Soak Clothes In?
When it comes to pre-soaking your clothes, there are a variety of options for creating the perfect soaking solution. Below are some of the most common products that are used:
- Laundry detergent: Regular laundry detergent is one of the simplest and most effective options for pre-soaking clothes. Add the recommended amount to your washing machine as you usually would when doing a simple wash cycle to see the range of benefits listed earlier.
- Oxygenated cleaners: Oxygenated cleaners, such as oxygen bleach and hydrogen peroxide, are effective at removing stains and brightening fabrics. You can either add a capful to your bleach dispenser or dilute the cleaner in a little water and add it directly to the drum. Take care to only do this when working with white clothing.
- Stain removers: Commercial stain removers can be useful for loosening stubborn stains from your clothing. You can apply it directly to the affected area of fabric or pour some in your dispenser drawer according to the packet instructions.
- Bicarbonate of soda: Bicarbonate of soda is another product that can benefit your laundry in all the ways listed above. Try adding a cup of the powder directly to the machine drum. If you’re doing a cold wash, you must dissolve it in a little water before adding it, else it will not be evenly distributed.
- Salt: Soaking your clothes in salt can help to prevent fading and remove stubborn stains. Simply add 75g of salt directly to the machine drum and let the wash cycle start. If you’re using a cooler temperature, dissolve the salt in a little water before adding it instead.
- Distilled white vinegar: Distilled white vinegar is great for brightening your clothes, removing stains, and eliminating odours. If using on its own, add 120ml of vinegar to the detergent drawer and start the wash cycle. Alternatively, dilute the vinegar in a little water and add it directly to the drum.
When soaking your clothes in a commercial product, remember to always follow the instructions provided by the product manufacturer.
Sticking to one product at a time is generally a good idea when creating your soaking solution. However, laundry detergent can be used in combination with the other items on the list if desired.
A good starting time for soaking your clothing is 30 minutes. This will help prevent any damage caused by soaking your clothing for too long.
If you don’t achieve your desired results, you can always increase the soak time at a later date.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.