How Long Does It Take For a Washing Machine To Finish Its Cycle?

Even though it feels like laundry takes up a lot of time, a normal cycle of clothes really isn’t that long.

Do you know how long it takes for a washing machine to finish cleaning up a batch of clothes? The answer varies significantly.

A normal wash cycle can take anywhere between 40 minutes and a little over an hour to finish. The timings can vary considerably depending on a variety of factors. These factors include cloth thickness and the mode you have selected.

Keep reading to find out exactly how all of this is determined so you can come up with adequate settings for your clothes to ensure that they are as clean as they can be.

How long is a normal wash cycle?

A normal wash cycle takes between 40 minutes and an hour; this can vary depending on the setting you choose.

Clothes that are tightly packed, have uneven distribution, and have an excessive number of suds are all factors that can lengthen washing cycles.

It will even lead to substandard cleaning and you may not be happy with the results. This is why it is so important to choose the correct cycle.

Different kinds of wash cycles

The kind of cycle you choose will depend on load size and cloth thickness. The various cycles that you can choose are mentioned below along with the ideal circumstances in which they should be used.

Quick wash cycle:

For lightly soiled clothes and smaller loads, you can get away with 15 minutes and this range goes up all the way to 40 minutes.

Make sure you use this option only for light clothes or when you’re in a rush. Consistently resorting to this one will create substandard results eventually.

Heavy-duty wash cycle:

A heavy-duty wash cycle can take anywhere between 60 to 120 minutes. This option is for heavily soiled clothes.

Keep in mind that the nature of the clothes must also be kept in mind as delicate clothing requires a different setting which will be discussed next.

Failure to follow these instructions may cause damage to delicate clothing items.

Delicate wash cycle:

This kind of cycle takes between 40 to 80 minutes to complete. This option caters to items similar to sweaters, sheer fabrics, blouses, and pants.

When in doubt, check the product tag and if it says ‘gentle’ then this option is the one you should use to clean that particular article of clothing.

This cycle is generally the shorter one as compared to others as the clothes are usually thinner and do not require extensive washing and dry rather easily.

Sanitize wash cycle:

This cycle can take between 90 to 120 minutes to complete.

This mode does not come with every washer but it is especially useful for clothes that are heavily soiled.

Mix your detergent with some form of Oxi additive to derive even more benefit.

This option is especially useful when it comes to cleaning items that are in need of thorough cleaning as it is specifically targeted toward household bacteria.

How long do drying cycles take?

On average, a drying cycle can add 45 minutes to your total wash time. That means that you are left with around two hours of total wash time.

The drying time itself can also vary, with delicate and thinner clothing articles taking around 15 minutes and heavy-duty towels taking close to three hours in more extreme cases.

The size of the load, dampness and the temperature of the washing machine rinse mechanism can all have an effect on how long it will take your clothes to try.

If you had to come up with a range, the total wash time will range between 45 minutes to 4 hours in the vast majority of cases.


It is all about making the correct choices when it comes to deciding the setting you want to go for.

Washing machines and their associated manuals come with guidelines as to how you can make this choice. Clothing tags will help you further in this decision.

The lack of instructions on a clothing article usually indicates that you can get away with most settings without causing harm to the article.