What Spin Speed Is Gentle on a Washing Machine?

Washing machines have come a long way since they were first invented. What was once a manual device now comes with so many different washing options and settings that it can be hard to know which ones to use!

Many people have got the hang of choosing different wash cycles and temperatures by now, but spin cycles often remain a mystery.

Your washing machine will automatically pick a spin speed based on your chosen washing cycle. Sometimes, though, it is nice to understand what each speed cycle is and select the setting you want.

But how do spin speeds work? What spin speed is gentle on a washing machine? And when does a gentle spin speed need to be used? Read on for all you need to know.


What Is a Gentle Cycle Spin?

The spin speed of a washing machine refers to the number of times the drum spins around in a minute. This is measured in rpm (rotations per minute). For example, 1400rpm means that your washing machine drum rotates roughly 1400 times every minute during its spin cycle.

Most washing machines choose a spin speed of 1200rpm or 1400rpm for a standard wash, as it suits the majority of washing loads. However, this will often change based on your chosen wash cycle, meaning that your washer will pick a different spin speed for a cotton wash than a delicate wash.

Spin speeds ranging from 400rpm to 600rpm are considered gentle.

Although the default spin speeds on your washer will usually be fine, you can also manually choose the speed you want for each load of washing by pressing the button next to the speed options.

The lowest rpm available is typically 400rpm.

Gentle spin speeds on washing machine


Is High Spin or Low Spin Better?

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to spin speed, as all spinning options have their pros and cons.

For example, lower spin speeds tend to be quieter and leave fewer wrinkles in your clothes, while faster speeds decrease your washing’s drying time. There are perks to both!

Because of this, most people typically choose their spin speed based on the items of clothing that are being washed:

Use fast spins for thicker fabrics

Generally, faster spin cycles need to be used for cotton, denim, and wool fabrics. The faster your machine spins, the more water is removed from your clothing. These materials greatly benefit from this as they tend to hold onto water more than other fabrics.

This doesn’t make a difference if you’re using a tumble dryer, but it speeds up drying using other methods.

Use slow spins for delicates

On the other hand, gentle speed cycles will be the better option when washing finer fabrics.

Silk, in particular, is prone to ripping in the washing machine, so a spin speed of 400rpm is ideal.

Other fine items, such as delicates or dress shirts, can be spun at 600rpm instead. For synthetics, a medium spin speed is usually best.