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A guide to washing machine symbols

Confused? Don't get in a spin!


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Most machines clearly label the dial settings so you know which one to use for every type of wash. With some, like Hotpoint, the dial settings are numbered with a list of settings printed onto the detergent drawer.

But there are often a few buttons or symbols that aren’t labelled. So instead of leaving you to scratch your head, we've gathered a few of them here! Here’s what some of the more common ones mean:


Lets you set the maximum water temperature for your wash cycle. This is useful if your wash includes a garment with a 30-degree symbol on the label for example.


Use this to choose how many times the cycle rinses your laundry. Adding extra rinse cycles to your wash can help with particularly dirty washes, to make sure the clothes are thoroughly rinsed through.


Press to change the maximum spin speed of the current cycle. A lower spin speed will be kinder to your delicates but won’t squeeze out as much water.


Most machines will have some sort of ‘options’ feature and the types of options available will depend on the cycle you’ve chosen.

Delay end

This is sometimes called Delay Start, but it’s essentially the same thing. It lets you choose the time your wash finishes or starts. If you’re setting the finish time, your machine will work out when it needs to start the wash. This is really handy if you’re out at work all day but need to put a wash on. Just set it to finish as you arrive home.

Easy Iron

This usually works by lowering the spin speed or running a shorted spin cycle. Reducing the number of creases in your clothes and making them easier to iron.

Pre wash

If you’re washing items that are heavily stained or soiled, it can help to add a Pre Wash. This simply adds a short wash cycle before the main wash to help remove any stubborn stains.

Intensive wash

This is a useful setting for washing baby clothes or sportswear. It lengthens each cycle, giving your clothes a much more thorough wash.

Hopefully, that’s given you a clearer understanding of what all those symbols mean. Time to give them a spin!

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