What Does a Pre-Wash Cycle Mean?

When tackling a heap of laundry, it can take a little know-how to get your clothes as clean as possible.

It is wise to consider what fabrics need cleaning and how dirty the clothing is before filling the wash tub or wasting laundry detergent. 

A Pre Wash cycle is a short cycle that gives an initial wash to clothing that is heavily soiled. The cycle will wash and drain quickly, then refill with fresh water to resume cleaning the clothing with additional wash settings.

A Pre Wash is sometimes necessary to loosen and remove excess dirt or debris.

What Is The Pre-Wash Cycle?

On most washing machines, the pre-wash setting is an extra cycle that usually precedes a more thorough wash cycle.

Pre Wash is usually short and the washer will usually automatically move on to a new and more vigorous wash cycle.

Most machines only allow a pre-wash for certain cycles; this often does not include Speed Wash (since it’s already a quick wash meant for small, lightly soiled loads) and Delicate (meant for clothing that can be easily damaged) settings.

Why Should I Use The Pre-Wash Cycle?

Pre Wash cycles are great for anyone dealing with large amounts of heavily soiled clothing.

A Pre Wash helps to remove loose debris and can partially lift stubborn stains in order to prevent the stain from setting.

This ensures that the main wash cycle can be more effective, especially since the dirty Pre Wash water is drained and the tub is refilled with clean, fresh water.

When should I use a Pre Wash Cycle?

Pre Wash cycles are not useful for all loads of laundry but are a great option for heavily soiled garments such as:

  • Sports Uniforms
  • Cloth diapers
  • Clothes worn during yard work
  • Work uniforms, such as those worn by chefs, plumbers, and mechanics

When should I not use a Pre Wash Cycle?

You should select a different wash cycle if you are washing delicate clothing that could become damaged during the pre-wash spin cycle.

Most machines do not have a pre-wash setting for other cycles, especially Speed Wash, Delicate, and other settings for specialized fabrics like wool or silk.

How To Use The Pre-Wash Cycle Of Your Washing Machine

All washing machines are different, so make sure to check your washing machine’s User Manual. The process is generally the same regardless of which make and model of washing machine you are using.

  • Place clothing into the wash tub of your machine
  • If applicable, add a pre-wash detergent in the proper dispenser.
  • Select the wash cycle.
  • Press the Pre-Wash button located on the control panel. Some washing machine makes and models may call the Pre Wash by another name.
  • Close the washer and press the start button.

How Long Does The Pre-Wash Cycle Take?

A Pre Wash cycle is usually not very long; some take as little as five minutes.

Considering the short time frame, a Pre Wash can take care of loose dirt, grass, and other larger debris so that the Normal Wash cycle can do more in-depth cleaning of the laundry. 

Final Thoughts

A Pre Wash can be a great laundry cycle to get heavily soiled clothing a jump start on stain removal.

This helps to ensure the water for the Main/Normal Wash can be fresh and clean, and that the Normal Wash cycle can focus on a deeper clean.

A Pre Wash is a great time to add detergent supplements like stain removers. Because the cycle only lasts about five minutes, a Pre Wash can be a great addition to your laundry routine.