What Is Pre-wash In Washing Machine & How To Use It? 

So you have brought home a brand new best washing machine? Are you puzzled by the different features visible on its programmer? Is the pre-wash feature something new for you? How should you use the pre-wash in your washing machine?

It is necessary to understand how different wash cycles work and how one should use them. If you get the crux of the whats and hows of the pre-wash in washing machines, you might reinvent the way you do laundry. 

If you are wondering why you would really need to pre-wash your clothing, this guide is for you. 


What Is Pre-Wash In Washing Machines?

What Is Pre-Wash In Washing Machines

In layman terms, the pre-wash is an additional washing cycle available in most washing machines. You can simply add it at the start of almost every kind of wash cycle. 

Prior to the beginning of the regular cycle, the pre-wash fills water into your machine’s inner drum. Thereby, the agitating and spinning processes begin. The washer starts running the regular cycle immediately after the pre-wash cycle gets completed.

NOTE: Most washing machines do not have the utility to select the pre-wash feature for the speed wash mode and wool cycles.


Why Is The Pre-Wash Cycle Used? 

Why Is The Pre-Wash Cycle Used If by the weekend your family ends up gathering a huge pile of heavily soiled garments, then the pre-wash cycle is a must-have. The pre-wash feature does an amazing job in preventing stains as well as removing dirt and odor.

The pre-wash cycle is particularly beneficial when you are dealing with the following kinds of clothing:

  • Clothes soiled after construction jobs, sports games, and mud runs
  • Clothes filled with dirt 
  • Clothes with food stains and urine smells


What Is The Function Of Pre-Wash?

What Is The Function Of Pre-Wash

You can turn the pre-wash cycle on and off as per your requirement. Moreover, you can combine it with the main program for better results. The following are some prominent functions of the pre-wash cycle:


  • During the pre-wash cycle, the heating element of the washing machine heats the water to 30 degrees. This degree of temperature efficiently removes stains due to juice, coffee, and even wounds.
  • Afterward, the detergent powder remains intact in the main container for the preliminary cycle.
  • The washing machine’s drum slowly rotates for 30 minutes to nearly 2 hours to do the actual laundry. Subsequently, the water is drained out to make way for the main wash. 


What Sort Of Garments Should You Put In A Pre-Wash Cycle?

What Sort Of Garments Should You Put In A Pre-Wash Cycle

You do not have to worry about your dirty washables getting mixed with the clean ones. Modern detergents are potent enough to get rid of the toughest of stains and dirt. 

By now, you must’ve figured out that the pre-wash is used for cleaning dirty clothes before the main wash cycle. It would be best if you put the following types of garments in the pre-wash cycle:

  • Soiled boots and shoes
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pillow covers, bedsheets, and quilts
  • Sweaty tank tops and workout clothes 

ADVICE: A washing machine with the feature of the pre-wash cycle is a must-have for any family with children or animals. It works wonders with cloth diapers to remove stains and smells.


How To Use The Pre-Wash Cycle?

If you had been washing your clothes with bare hands, you are in for a laundry treat. The pre-wash cycle will surprise you with its awesome results. 

Depending on your washing machine, it would be best always thoroughly to read its user’s manual for proper instructions.  However, the steps mentioned underneath are common for most of the washing machines:

  • Firstly, you have to put all the washable garments inside the washer.
  • Then, you will have to put an appropriate amount of powder/liquid detergent into the detergent tray.
  • Select the wash cycle of your choice. It would help if you did not forget that the pre-wash cycle is unavailable for delicates and express wash cycle.
  • Now, you have to simply press the pre-wash button, shut your washing machine’s lid, and hit the start button.


What Should You Keep In Mind While Doing Pre-Wash?

It would be best to keep the following things in mind while using the pre-wash cycle in your washing machine:

  • Always use only dry detergent powder. You must never put the liquid detergent into the tray compartment during the pre-wash cycle.
  • Do not forget that the pre-wash feature is not compatible with the quick wash modes. Logically speaking, if you want to do your laundry quickly, it implies that the laundry is not heavily covered with dirt and stains.
  • Washing machine manufacturers do not allow putting anything else apart from the detergent powder into the pre-wash compartment.



Q. How long is the pre-wash cycle in washing machines?

The pre-wash cycle lasts for not more than 5-6 minutes. However, these 5-6 minutes are miraculous for cleaning your soiled towels, linens, and other clothing. The pre-wash cycle is quite similar to the additional rinse cycle and makes way for a more effective washing by thoroughly cleansing all heavy clothing.


Q. How much detergent should I use for pre-wash?

Suppose you are about to pre-soak a pile of heavily soiled or stained garments. In this case, you should have a similar quantity of detergent that you would use for a full load of washables. 

However, only one teaspoon of powder/liquid detergent per gallon of water is enough if you are soaking a single garment.



The pre-wash feature is the stepping stone for making your soiled clothes clean and fresh. However, like mentioned earlier, you should only put specific items like dirty towels and pet beddings. It is not necessary to put socks and underwear into the pre-wash cycle.

In this article, we have outlined in detail the utility, requirements, and functioning of the pre-wash cycle in washing machines.

We hope you have now understood the pre-wash feature in washing machines & how one should use it. Feel free to use the comments section below for sharing doubts, queries, and opinions. Stay tuned for more interesting guides about washing machines. 


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