Image of the soil level dial on a washer

Soil level meaning: what is this washer setting?

The soil level setting on a washing machine can help you determine the wash time that is needed to effectively clean your clothes. Whether washing a muddy uniform from your daughter’s latest soccer game or a formal blouse from yesterday’s work presentation, knowing which soil level to choose can help streamline the laundering process and get you an optimal clean. 

Washer control panel with "Quick" being selected Washer control panel with "Quick" being selected

What does “soil level” mean on a washing machine?

The soil level on a washing machine indicates the level of dirt or soil that is found on garments. Soil level selection will adjust the amount of wash time as well as the amount of detergent used (on models with bulk dispensers).

Typical units include a “Light,” “Normal” and “Heavy” option that provides a preset wash time that increases or decreases between selections.

What’s the most common soil level setting for doing laundry?

The Normal soil level setting is programmed to handle everyday garments with normal amounts of soil. It is the most commonly used soil level to best accommodate your most commonly worn items including t-shirts, sweatshirts and socks.

An open front load washer with a load of laundry inside An open front load washer with a load of laundry inside

How do I determine the soil level of my laundry?

The soil level of your laundry can be easily determined by the visibility of stains. Clothing that has been lightly worn can be thoroughly washed using the Light soil setting, while items with visible food stains and noticeable scents may require a higher soil level setting.

How do I choose the right soil level based on fabric type?

Wash cycles such as “Delicates,” “Normal” and “Heavy Duty” are selected based on fabric type. Once a cycle has been chosen, the soil level can be determined based on the stains or how dirty the garment is. The more soiled an item is, the higher the soil level setting will need to be.

The inside of a washer with a load of laundry in the middle of a wash cycle The inside of a washer with a load of laundry in the middle of a wash cycle

How can I reduce my laundry’s soil level?

Shaking out dust, lint rolling and pretreating your garments before laundering can help to break down soils and stains to help your washing machine clean your clothes more effectively. To pretreat an item, simply apply a stain treatment to any areas that require extra care.

Find the right Whirlpool® washing machine for your home

If you’re ready to streamline the laundering process by purchasing a new appliance for your home, Whirlpool brand offers a variety of washers and dryers to best suit your needs.

Learn more about Whirlpool® washing machines

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