how long does it take to wash clothes

How long does it take to Wash Clothes and Dry Them?

Wondering how long it takes to wash clothes is normal. After all, time is a valuable asset. Further, if you are planning to acquire a washing machine, you might be interested in determining how much time it saves you.

 It is also possible that you are interested in evaluating different washing methods and establishing the value you derive from each in respect to time. Whichever the case, we are here to help with the answers.

Generally, the time it takes to wash clothes can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. This depends on factors such as the method of washing, garment, water temperature, fabric and soiling among other factors.

Methods of Washing Clothes

There are four main approaches of washing clothes. Each have advantages and disadvantages in regard to time and other factors.

The methods include:

  • Handwashing
  • Machine Washing
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Laundromat

Hand Washing

clothes in laundry basket for washing

This is the oldest method of washing clothes. Although it is quickly getting replaced by other methods in the USA, it is still common in many countries. Additionally, it is the best for some fabrics and clothing items.

The main advantage of hand washing is convenience. It gives you full control of the cleaning process. Therefore, you are able to dwell on every part of the garment and handle it with ultimate care.

The main disadvantage of hand washing is limited use. It works effectively for some fabrics but it can also ruin others completely.

When hand washing, the main factors that influence the duration of the process include the garment, water temperature and soiling.

Generally, clothes made of light hand washable fabrics take the least time to wash. For example, a chiffon garment can get clean within five minutes.

However, heavy soiling and staining can affect the length of the cleaning period in a big way. Pretreating stains and soaking clothes can help shorten the time. Using hot water is another factor that influences the time and process positively.  

Washing clothes by hands is mostly followed by hanging them on a clothesline. There are many factors that affect clothesline method drying time as discussed in this article.

Machine Washing

Machine washing is the most common laundry method in the USA. Thanks to rapidly advancing technology and a busy lifestyle that leaves no time to the good old ways of doing things.

A washing machine allows you to do other things while it runs to get your clothes clean. It is also highly versatile because the settings provide different wash cycles. Moreover, the rinse cycle removes excess water from clothes thereby cutting down the drying time significantly.

The main limitation of this appliance is power consumption.

When it comes to time, different wash cycles last for different time periods. Furthermore, different machine models do not function with exactly the same speed. For example, a speed queen is faster than regular machines and the speed of the latter is also different from that of HE machines.

You will also notice that the amount of detergent, load size, water temperature and soiling affect how long it takes for your machine to clean clothes.

laundry machine settings

Pre Wash: This cycle only lasts about 3 minutes before the washing machine advances to the selected main cycle. It is specifically designed for heavily soiled garments. It helps soak them up with water and detergent for improved cleaning. The prewash setting is only available for some cycles.

Quick Cycle: A quick cycle lasts from about 15 minutes to half an hour or slightly longer. Since it is shorter than a regular cycle, it is only appropriate for use with clothes that are lightly soiled. Garments with heavy soiling or stains do not clean thoroughly.

Standard Cycle: A normal cycle lasts for about 50 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. The period mainly depends on soiling, load size, type of the machine and the amount of detergent used.

Delicate Cycle: In most cases, a delicate cycle lasts between 40 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Pretreating stains can help speed up the cleaning process thereby cutting down the cycle time.

Heavy Duty Cycle: A heavy duty cycle is the longest and most suitable for heavily soiled garments. It mostly lasts from 1 hour to 2 and a half hours.

Drying Clothes in a Dryer: A tumble dryer takes from 30 minutes to one hour to dry clothes. The time depends on factors such as load size and type of fabric. You can add a small dry towel into the load to speed up the process.

Dry Cleaning

If you decide to take clothes to a dry cleaner, one of the many concerns you will have is the turnaround time. You will want to know if you can have your clothes back on the same day or not.

In most cases, dry cleaners ask their clients to pick the clothes after 24 hours. However, the actual cleaning does not take that long. They have to factor in time for inspection, sorting, pretreating, cleaning and any other process that comes into play. Essentially, the cleaning alone can take as little as 30 minutes.

How Long Does it Take to Wash Clothes at a Laundromat?

Fresh & Clean note that washing clothes at a laundromat takes approximately 32 to 38 minutes and drying a load can take from 30 to 45 minutes.

 Essentially, the time is much shorter compared to using a home washer.  In most cases, laundromat machines are large and highly efficient. This automatically translates to shorter laundry times.  

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