MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Washing Machine Timers Are Wrong So Often

Whenever you set a washing machine for a specific load type, the machine will usually tell you how much time it’ll take to complete the wash cycle. Yet, while it may say 50 minutes, an hour on & the washer will still be spinning out before finally signaling that it’s done about five minutes later. Why does this happen? Where’s the disconnect?

Well, washing machine timers sometimes conflict with the high-efficiency features like load sensing, which is supposed to gauge the size of the load so that it uses only as much water as necessary. And that amount may ultimately affect how much time the cycle needs, so that it makes the timer seem overly optimistic.

There are some other reasons why timers may not be able to keep their promise. Washing machines can have to use more water to balance out a lighter or uneven load. For instance, when you wash heavy items like jeans with lighter items like shirts, the weight & distribution of the load can confuse the washer a bit. The adjustments it has to make take both water & extra time to complete. Then, when the spin cycle attempts to flush water so that your clothes are ready for the dryer, the machine might go longer if its senses that the load is still too wet.

Thankfully, though, all these reasons for the washer taking more time are so that your clothes get as clean as possible. Now, if you want to help the washer along, try to wash similar items together & not mix & match light apparel with heavy-duty clothing. Overloading the washer can also cause extended wash times.

So, with all that said, it’s probably better to think of a washing machine’s cycle timer as more of an estimate than a solemn vow.

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