As the demand for washing machines continues to increase exponentially, laundry technology trends and features are growing in matching speed to meet consumers at their point of need. With each manufacturer trying to stand out in the fiercely competitive market, advanced features are becoming a common ground in the latest washer models across products by different manufacturers.
One such feature is the soil level preset which leaves a lot of users wondering what it means and the purpose it intends to accomplish.
What does Soil Level Mean on a Washer?
Soil level is a setting that you should use to indicate the level of soiling on your clothes. Ideally, it comes predetermined for each wash cycle, but you can change it depending on how dirty your clothes are.
Generally speaking, the level of soiling on your clothes can vary significantly depending on activity level and tasks accomplished when wearing a given set of clothes. Clothes your wear to office on a single day do not have the same level of soiling as clothes you wear to a day out hiking.
A much different scenario is clothes you wear while fixing your car in the garage or clothes your baby wears while playing with crayons, markers and so on.
Some clothes have regular dirt from dust, which indicate the possibility of getting pretty decent results with the soil level preset for a regular wash cycle. On the other hand, clothes soiled with stains, spills, dust and much more might require a bit or more work from your washer.
Primarily, this is the disparity that washing machine manufacturers try to address with the soil level preset.
How does Soil Level on a Washer Work?
The soil level washer preset provides three settings that include:
- Low or light soiling
- Medium or normal soiling
- Heavy soiling
Ideally, each of these settings should help determine how long your wash cycle lasts and how clean your clothes look in the end.
The light or low level soil setting is ideal for clothes with light soiling. As such, it is short and works best with delicate fabrics. Practically, the washer agitates at a slow speed thereby keeping clothes tangle free and less wrinkled. It is also shorter because it implies to the machine that the clothes require less washing.
The medium soil setting is suitable for clothes with normal soiling. This makes it your most likely choice for regular washes. Since the length of a wash cycle increases as the soiling settings advance, clothes take longer time with this setting as compared to the low soil setting. There is also more agitation which means that clothes can tend to be wrinkly end.
The heavy soil setting is the option you should go for when throwing heavily soiled clothes into the washer. It takes the longest time and the machine agitates vigorously. It is ideal for heavy fabrics and cotton. It is important to note that it has a downside of leaving clothes looking wrinkly.
How reliable is the Soiling Level Washer Preset?
Now that you know how to adjust the soil level setting depending on how dirty your clothes are, you might think all you need is to press the button, sit back and have the machine do its thing every time.
Unfortunately, you might need to do more and here is why.
In as much as having the soil level preset improves the efficiency and reliability of your machine, there are disadvantages that come with this technology. The setting only affects the washer time and agitation but does nothing to the water level.
Your machine does not use more water to help make your clothes cleaner. And as you might as well know, washing heavily soiled clothes with more water increases the chances of pristine results. That being said, there are efficiency regulations for washing appliances. How efficiently they consume water and energy matters.
So what then?
Even with the soil level preset coming in handy, you can pretreat stains first, and utilize the presoak option of your machine.
Pretreating is the best way to stains. Remember that stains behave differently depending on the composition of the staining product. This rules out the need to relying on the detergents you put in your washer to turn all your garments stain free.
You have to go the extra step of treating different stains with appropriate stain removers. For grease stains, use a degreaser such as dish soap or other products that serve the same purpose. As for water soluble stains, they are much easier to handle.
Besides pretreating stains, the presoak option provides additional time for tough stains and soling to loosen up. Ultimately, this improves the efficiency of your machine.
Soil Level Settings for Different Machines
Different washing machine brands have the soil level present and they provide information as to how it works.
Speed Queens have light, medium and heavy or max soil levels. The wash time changes as you change the soil level.
There are some additional details that the manufacturer provides in relation to soiling.
- Sort clothes by soiling– Heavily soiled clothes can make lightly soiled clothes dingily if the two sets are washed together.
- The warm water setting is suitable for moderately soiled clothes.
- Use the hot water setting and the soak option for heavily soiled clothes.
- The quick wash cycle is appropriate for lightly soiled items.
Samsung Washing Machine
Samsung washers have more options for soil levels but this may vary depending on your model. The options include:
- Extra heavy: This option is for clothes with extra heavy soiling.
- Heavy: For clothes with heavy soiling.
- Normal soiling: Best option for normal loads.
- Light: A soling option for clothes that are lightly soiled.
- Extra light: Use this option if your clothes are barely soiled.
Whirlpool Washing Machine
Whirlpool machines have the soil level preset with three settings that include:
- Extra heavy soil level: For heavily soiled clothes.
- Normal soil level: For regular wash cycles.
- Light soil level: For lightly soiled clothes.
The length of your wash cycle depends on the soil level that you choose.
Maytag, GE and LG washing machines.
These three brands have similar settings for the soil level preset. They include:
- Heavy soil level.
- Normal soil level.
- Light soil level.