What is Pre-Wash in Washing Machine (Explained)

What is pre-wash in a washing machine?

A pre-wash is a cold water cycle that is used to soak clothes (especially heavily soiled ones) before the main wash cycle. Think of it as a separate wash that helps loosen up stains. The pre-wash cycle will fill the washing machine with cold water, add the detergent in the pre-wash compartment, tumble and then drain.

By this time, the stains on the heavily soiled clothes have been loosened and are ready for the main wash cycle. After the pre-wash cycle is finished, the washing machine will continue to the main wash cycle. 

What is the difference between pre-wash and wash?

Pre-wash is an extra wash before the main wash. The pre-wash cycle runs before the main wash cycle and usually lasts for 5 minutes. Once finished, the dirty water will drain away and the main wash cycle will start.

What is the purpose of pre-wash in a washing machine?

The main purpose of the pre-wash cycle is to soak clothes before the main wash cycle starts, helping to loosen up stains. While it is not necessary, a pre-wash cycle can help get rid of dirt and grime before the main cycle, especially if you have particularly stained or soiled clothes.

What do you put in the pre-wash washing machine?

You can leave the pre-wash compartment empty and let the pre-wash cycle run with cold water only. However, you can add detergent or stain remover to the pre-wash compartment for heavily soiled clothes.

How long does the pre-wash cycle take?

Generally, a pre-wash cycle lasts about 5 minutes. While it may not seem like a long time, the pre-wash cycle works wonders in loosening stubborn stains from heavily soiled clothes in your washing machine.

When to use pre-wash in the washing machine?

Use the pre-wash cycle option in the washing machine when clothes are extremely dirty or excessively soiled. You should also use the pre-wash cycle for clothes with a care label that recommends pre-washing.

Here are some cases of when to use the pre-wash cycle:

  • Clothes soiled from construction work
  • Clothes soiled from yard work
  • Clothes soiled from outdoor sports
  • Clothes soiled with sweat and stains
  • Clothes stained with food
  • Baby clothes stained with poo, urine, or vomit

As a general rule of thumb, you should use the pre-wash cycle if your clothes are exposed to the outdoors or dirty environments. A regular wash might not be enough to remove all the stains off of the clothes. This is where a pe-wash comes in handy because it is an extra wash before the main wash.

How to use the pre-wash cycle

Not all washers are the same. Always refer to your owner’s manual for detailed instructions that pertain to your specific washing machine. That being said, here’s the general guide on how to use the pre-wash cycle:

  • Add the clothes to the washing machine
  • Add the correct amount of detergent into the pre-wash compartment
  • Select the wash cycle
  • Press the pre-wash button
  • Close the washer lid and press start
  • The pre-wash cycle will automatically run before the wash cycle

If your clothes are not very dirty, you can leave the pre-wash compartment empty. The washing machine will run the pre-wash cycle with cold water only. The pre-wash cycle doesn’t take a lot of time but it’s very useful.

Does pre-wash drain?

The dirty water from the pre-wash cycle will drain away at the end of the cycle, and fresh water will enter the washing machine when the main washing cycle starts. 

Key takeaways

The pre-wash cycle is an extra wash before the main wash. Use it when your clothes are extremely dirty or excessively soiled. Add detergent (liquid or detergent) or stain remover to the pre-wash dispenser.

Read also: What are the 3 compartments in washing machine drawer