How to Use a Washing Machine

For a quick guide on how to get started with your washing machine, read our tips and hints below:

Which temperature should I use when washing my clothes?

We recommend that you use cold or cool wash programmes for darker colours that may ‘bleed’ in the wash and cool to warm settings for items that could be prone to shrinking. Note that you will need to use slightly more detergent with a cool wash as it will not be able to foam up as well.

A warm wash, at around 40°C is perfect for most items and does not risk shrinking or damaging clothes too easily. This could be considered your everyday setting.

The hot wash should be reserved for when you want to remove germs and heavy dirt from clothes, towels and bedding. Be aware that hot wash settings could potentially shrink garments.

How do washing machines work?

People think washing machines spin and your clothes are clean, but there is a lot more to it. There are two main features of a machine, the drums and programmer. Unknown to many there are two drums, one where the clothes are held, and one that holds water whilst the other drum spins. The programmer is an electronic mechanism controlling variables such as temperature or speed. How a washing machine works isn’t that complicated and here’s why.

First place your dirty clothing into the drum, put the detergent in and select the programme you want. The AWT14S 7KG 1400 spin integrated washing machine has over 16 features, including a wool wash and intensive wash function, so you’re spoilt for choice.

  • Water then fills the drum and takes the detergent with it.
  • The thermostat tests the temperature and adjusts it if necessary, then the drum will rotate.
  • The dirt is trapped and drained ready for clean water to flow through.
  • Once the clothes are rinsed the drum will start spinning faster thanks to the programmer telling it to do so.
  • The clothes are almost dry and a pump magically drains any leftover water, job done!

Washing different fabric types


  • Try not to wash jeans too often as they quickly fade. When you do wash them, turn them inside out to protect the dye.

White sheets and bed linen

  • Bed linens can usually withstand higher temperatures, unless the labels states differently, which is great as they need to be washed at higher temperatures to remove bacteria and skin cells because we sleep in them. Polyester blends will need to be washed at a lower temperature than cottons.
  • Avoid mixing dark and light colours.
  • Hang bed sheets in sunlight to dry where possible. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and will bleach whites further.

Coats, pillows and duvets

  • An occasional wash can help to prolong the life of coats and duvets, while a regular wash of pillows is vital to help remove skin cells and any dust mites.
  • Be aware of the wash load of your machine as it can be easy to overfill when washing bulky items.
  • Use a warm, not hot, wash on these items and check the washing label for coats if they contain wool to avoid shrinking.
  • If suitable, tumble dry on a low setting as bulky items can be heavy and difficult to dry on a washing line.


  • Many silks are now washable in your machine, without having to take them to the dry cleaners.
  • Be aware of colour bleeding in your washing machine and wash with similar colours only.
  • You may need to dry clean silks with noticeable stains as spot cleaners will mark the garment.
  • A light soak in a sink with mild laundry detergent before running a delicate wash could get rid of stains on the silk.
  • Avoid tumble drying and lie flat to dry. Do not wring out the water and always use the hand wash or delicates setting.

Washing school uniforms

  • PE kits should be washed at a higher temperature than the rest of the uniform to get rid of bacteria and set in stains like grass.
  • Trousers, skirts and blazers can be washed together on a warm wash setting; unless the blazer is wool then wash this with the woollen jumpers.
  • Use a wool setting for sweaters and woollen blazers.
  • White shirts and polo shirts can be washed with similar colours on a setting recommended by the laundry label.


  • Clothes with elastane and lycra must not be washed on too hot a setting. Please also check the label to assess if they are suitable before tumble drying.
  • Using tumble dryer sheets can prevent this type of fabric from becoming static in the dryer.
  • Do not iron.


  • Cotton is the best fabric for withstanding high temperatures. Wash with similar colours.


  • Linen can be washed cold or hot but is susceptible to colour bleeding so only wash with similar colours.
  • Linen can crease easily in the wash. Use a fabric softener to limit this during the wash cycle and select the anti-crease setting on your washing machine or dryer to prevent creases from setting.
  • Avoid over drying as this can make linens ‘crispy’. Finish the dryer cycle slightly early and hang up linens to finish drying.


  • Do not tumble dry as this will shrink the wool.
  • Use the hand wash, delicates or wool setting on your washing machine and select a low temperature.
  • Select a lower spin speed to prevent stretching and damage to the woollen garment.
  • Lie flat to dry.

Removing difficult stains

Will washing machines remove blood?

Here are some top tips that you can try to remove this type of stain:

  • Soak the item for 30 minutes in white vinegar before washing.
  • Alternatively, use hydrogen peroxide to remove the stain. Please note that this may bleach the fabrics.
  • Lemon and table salt sprinkled onto the stain can lighten it. Please note that this may bleach the fabrics.
  • A paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water applied to the stain can be effective in removing it.

Can washing machines rip clothes?

The only way that a washing machine could rip or damage clothing is if the drum itself was damaged and had somehow developed a sharp or rough edge. Alternatively, check to see if other items in the laundry load have zips or eyelets with sharp edges that could have damaged the garment. An escapee bra underwire is a common culprit for washing machine damage!

Will a washing machine remove cat hair?

Washing machines will not naturally remove cat hair. A quick turn in the tumble dryer, with little or no heat, will get rid of pet hairs easily. The trapped hair can easily be cleaned away from the lint filter after the cycle has finished.

Will washing machines kill fleas, bed bugs, ticks, lice & spiders?

Using a hot temperature wash will kill any nasties that you have found on washable items in the home. Adult cat fleas die at temperatures lower than 8°C or higher than 35°C. A temperature of 50°C is required for lice while bed bugs will not be destroyed unless the wash temperature is above 60°C for around 20 minutes.

If you have an infestation, wash items in as high a temperature as the material will allow to ensure that you get rid of any resistant specimens. Remember to treat your home as well, so that they don’t return.

On the subject of spiders, why would you want to kill them in your home? They will take care of pesky flies in the summer and are far more afraid of you than you are of them. Save the spiders!

Will my washing machine kill mould?

Water and washing alone will not kill mould. Adding a cup or two of white vinegar to the wash will effectively kill and remove mould and mildew.

It is also worth noting that leaving your washing machine door ajar between washes will allow dry air to circulate into the damp drum, preventing mould from forming in the drum and around the seal of your appliance.

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