How Long Do Clothes Take to Wash?

Washing clothes is a weekly task that everyone does, but the amount of time to complete it is different for everyone. It is a quick and easy process for some, yet for others, it is a very long process. 

On average, washing clothes typically takes about 50 minutes to an hour when clothes are cleaned in a washing machine on a regular cycle. However, various cycle lengths, the number of clothes, and the temperature of the water can significantly affect this timing.

In this article, I’ll go over how long it takes to wash clothes, what factors affect the amount of time, and what else you can do to adjust your washing process to get your clothes cleaner quicker. 

How Long Do Clothes Take to Wash?

The average washing machine takes about 50 minutes to an hour to wash clothes in normal washing conditions. This result includes washing on a normal cycle, adding the right amount of clothes, and not having deep stains. However, various ailments will affect how long or short every washing cycle is.

This time will be slightly longer for a gentle or delicate cycle, from 45 minutes to just over an hour. This adjustment is because a washing machine’s drum, or its rotating inside, spins slowly in this cycle. Even if a load of laundry is less than you usually put it, this cycle will still require a decent amount of time to ensure that the clothing is not shredded or damaged.

For a quick wash cycle, you only have 15-30 minutes maximum. Quick washes clean your clothes on a lower level than other available cycles. It has a higher spin cycle to remove the water and detergent quicker, meaning that these materials only get a little time to soak into the fabrics. 

If you have a heavy laundry load or need to sanitize your clothes, you can expect to wait close to 2 hours or more. For these loads, the cycle needs more time to allow the clothes to soak up all the detergent. 

Hotter temperatures and longer spin cycles ensure that water and detergent make their way into all fabric crevices to remove bacteria, dirt, and challenging stains. 

Why Does My Washer Take 2 Hours to Wash?

Your washer takes 2 hours to wash clothes because of excessive loads and sanitizing cycles. Additionally, if you have overloaded the machine with detergent, fabric softener, or clothing items, these factors will also increase the time needed to clean them.

Heavy loads and sanitizing cycles require more time for the water to circulate the detergent in the wash. Without enough time to flush all the soap out of the clothes, your clothes will need another cycle. 

Also, adding too much detergent, fabric softener, or other cleaning products will not be rinsed out properly unless a longer cycle is used. Sensors will pick up that more than the normal amount has been used and adjust accordingly. 

How Long Should a 40 Degrees Wash Take?

A 40°C (104°F) wash should only take about 50 min to an hour, as this is the washing temperature used on the regular cycle. This temperature is ideal for removing stains and dirt from clothes without requiring extra sanitation measures.

This time can still vary from machine to machine. However, a wash at this temperature should typically stay within that hour-long range. 

Why Do Washing Machines Take So Long?

Washing machines take a long time because of the different lengths of their cycles, too many clothes are loaded inside, you have a front load type of machine, or something needs to be fixed. 

Cycle Variations

To clean clothes inside a washing machine, the machine must circulate the clothes until all the residue is gone. This process only requires some detergent and an hour of your time for some cycles, though others require more alterations. 

Yet, others may need longer cycles due to shorter spin cycles or more time to deep clean the inserted materials. It depends on whether your stains are on the surface or multiple layers deep. 

Too Many Clothes in the Load 

Washing machines are meant to be pretty spacious. However, this means only some of your clothes will fit in a single load every time. 

Washing machine drums are only supposed to be filled up about halfway to avoid becoming so heavy that the weight makes it unable to spin well. Additionally, having lots of heavy coats, blankets, or bedding pieces can add more bulk, reduce the speed, and increase the waiting time. 

You Have a Front Load Machine

Front-load machines are washing machines with the drum on their side. Then the door opens outwards instead of from the top.  

These machines have more cycle options where you can pick and choose timed washes but lack an agitator. An agitator is a large cone or tube that sits in the drum’s center and rubs against the clothes as they spin around. It works similarly to scrubbing clothes on a washboard and helps scrub out remaining dirt or stains faster. 

A front-load machine can still perfectly clean clothes effectively, but it takes more time to ensure that every bit of dirt comes out of your clothes. 

Your Washing Machine Is Broken

A washing machine can break for many reasons, including:

  • Miscalculated weight sensors
  • Broken detergent level sensors
  • Draining issues 
  • Misaligned or unbalanced drum

These issues impede the clothes from being washed correctly and promptly because the machine fails to register how long it takes to make the cycle. While it is true that you can set your cycle on a timer, many modern machines are created with technology that automatically sets or alters the cycle depending on what is inside. 

If your washing machine cannot correctly detect the water levels, weight of the clothing inside, or how much detergent is poured in. It can miscalculate and extend your cycle by minutes or hours. 

How Can I Reduce the Time on My Washing Machine?

To reduce the time needed for each cycle, add the right amount of clothes for every load, use only a little detergent or additional products, and regularly check the status of your machine’s functions. 

Don’t Overfill

Make sure you load your machine up with clothes properly every time by only filling it halfway. While getting your whole week’s worth of laundry done in one go is tempting, this can create more problems.

Overstuffing your machine can throw it off balance and extend your time by hours. You may need to separate your laundry into multiple washes. 

A Little Detergent Goes a Long Way

Additionally, use only a little of your detergent. Many assume that to clean clothes, so they are spotless, you must add excessive amounts of detergent, fabric softener, and brighteners. You only need the amount listed on the packaging to clean your clothes efficiently. 

Also, try to pick a laundry detergent that combines these cleaning tasks. Many stores offer detergent mixed with fabric softener for double the cleaning in half the amount. By reducing how much you add to the wash, you can use a shorter cycle that doesn’t need a ton of rinsing. 

If you want to learn about whether or not you need detergent in a wash at all, check out my article discussing if you can wash clothes without detergent.

Maintain Your Machine

If you notice your washing machine is not performing correctly, try to figure out the underlying issue through investigation and observation.

In many cases, it is due to needing minor adjustments to the sensors or settings. Yet, other instances may be caused by internal problems that require taking the machine apart. Contact a repair service to get a second opinion or a solution to your predicament. 

If you don’t notice any issues immediately, continue doing laundry with your machine and take note of any new changes. 

Final Thoughts

Washing clothes can take anywhere from 15 minutes to over a few hours, depending on the cycle type. In addition, other causes, such as too many clothes in the wash, broken parts, and too much detergent, can all result in your clothes taking longer to get clean.

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