What Does Soil Level Mean on a Washer? And How to Use It?

What does soil level mean on a washer? With all those knobs and buttons, it’s easy to get confused. But this post will help you get out of this confusion.

You can be a veteran homemaker but you can still lose sight of those tiny options available on your washer’s interface.

Those settings that ask you to choose between soil levels are not used commonly. So, if you have missed them for years, you are not to blame.

After all, other settings were taking care of your laundry without fail. Do you really need to add another detail to the number of decisions you need to take on a laundry day?

Well, the answer depends on if you want to improve the result. And the cleaner look is not the only thing that is determined by soil level.

On the contrary, this setting also has a say in the time your washer will take to wash a load.

So, will you be interested in using this setting? If you do, here are the next questions you should be asking:

  • What does soil level mean on a washing machine?
  • Does it make the process cleaner?
  • Will it take more time if I change the soil level settings for my washer

Let’s get these answers below.

What Does Soil Level Mean on a Washing Machine?

Soil Level Mean on a Washing Machine
Source: feepik.com

Not every washing machine offers soil settings. But it is a must-have feature for automatic washers.

As you can imagine the name gives off the meaning without fail. It relates to the soil level in your clothes.

Your clothes can be dirtier with high soil and stains trapped in them. Or they can be cleaner with lower soil content.

The soil level indicated on your washing machine will respond to this need. If your clothes are heavily dirty, you will use a heavier soil level on your washer.

If they have mild levels of soil, you can do well with light or extra light intensity on your washer.

How Do You Use It?

If you haven’t yet used this feature, you might want to know if you can improve your washing routine with it. You can, all you have to do is to select the soil level.

First, determine if clothes have mild levels of dirt or stain. Sometimes, the clothes may appear clean but they have dust particles trapped in them.

You also have to consider this trapped dust to determine the best soil level for these clothes. You may touch them to feel the dust.

At the same time, if your home attracts lots of dust, it’s just natural for your beddings to have high soil content.

Unsurprisingly, beddings should be washed while keeping the soil level setting at high intensity.

Once you have determined how much soil is trapped in your clothes, you need to determine if the heavily soiled piece of clothing has tough or fragile fabric.

You don’t want to wash your fine clothes with a high soil level. This soil level is for tough fabrics that can bear the tough tumbling and washing that happens at this level.

Also, finer clothes usually shed soil more easily than tougher ones. So, you don’t need a higher intensity wash for them.

Now, you have determined the dirty level of your clothes as well as the toughness of the fabric.

Bearing these factors in mind, determine the intensity. Change the soil level to match clothes’ needs.


Everything you could do with soil level is already done. Proceed with other laundry steps as usual.

Benefits of Using Soil Level Setting

Benefits of Using Soil Level Setting
Source: maytag.com

The biggest advantage is the result. The soil level setting allows you to be in control of the process.

It allows you to set the timings and intensity of the wash cycle at your will depending on the work you think the clothes require from the machine.

Now, you don’t have to take out clothes from a light soil level washing cycle only to find that they need more cleaning.

At the same time, you don’t have to wait longer for the completion of the washing cycle even when you think the clothes are clean.

Efficiency is another defining benefit of this setting. You save time when the cleaner clothes take less time for washing. For dirtier clothes, you save time when they get clean in one go.

Not only the soil level selection enhances the efficiency of time for the washing process but it also makes it more material-efficient. With a heavier soil level, the washing machine consumes more water.

It is because a heavier soil level requires more intensive cleaning. It will indulge in the agitation of the clothes more intensely. This extra level of agitation needs extra water.

But if you assume that your clothes are cleaner, you can save this water by switching to a low soil level on its interface.

The same holds for detergent use. When your clothes have high soil and clay content and you use a high soil level setting for this, you use a heavy-duty detergent to complement the wash cycle.

It will use more water to dissolve but you can only get rid of the soil particles trapped within your clothes. You can switch to lighter – more fabric-friendly – detergents for a lighter soil level setting.

The soil level setting also ensures that your clothes are satisfactorily clean. By using this feature you enable the washing machine to apply the most appropriate intensity for cleaning these clothes.

In the end, this setting also takes care of the fiber of these outfits. You see, you can only use the high soil level setting for those clothes that are tough and can bear the higher intensity that comes with this setting level.

For finer clothes, you will use a light soil level setting allowing the machine to gently wash and rinse these fabrics. Your clothes will not be tangled much. And you will get them without lots of wrinkles.

At this level, you can be assured that the wash cycle will not ruin your clothes’ beauty and fiber.

Other Settings for Washer

Other Settings for Washer
Source: appliancefaqs.com

If your clothes usually get a high level of soil, you should ensure that the washer you buy should allow soil level settings.

But soil level is not the only rarely used setting on a washer. On the contrary, we’ve got loads of similar settings in advanced washers to make your life easier.

The hot and cold water setting is one of the most commonly used settings in a washing machine. You can get help from the washing instructions on your clothes to choose the temperature.

The water temperature will change as you go from one clothes to another and between different soil levels. As a rule of thumb, you use cold water if the clothes are mildly soiled and have dark colors.

Hot water is used when your clothes allow the use of high temperature and are soiled enough to warrant it.

Load size is another setting that you will have to make. It will determine the amount of water that is needed for washing. You can assess the load size by seeing how much is your washer tub filled with the clothes.

If its only quarter filled, select a small load. For a half-filled tub, you should select medium load. More than this and you go for a large load. You will select a super large load when you fill the tub with clothes.

Cycle selection is the most important part of laundry settings. These settings will determine how intense the washing will be. First, you get a delicate setting.

It is as gentle as hand wash and is used for fine and delicate clothes. It is accompanied by a shorter wash cycle. And usually, the washer only uses the rinsing process to wash the clothes.

A synthetic wash cycle is used when you want to wash synthetic clothes. This wash cycle excludes wringing and harsh agitation. The goal here is to keep the clothes from wrinkling.

The next cycle is normal and uses a moderate intensity. It includes all washing steps including tumbling, rinsing, and agitation. You use this setting for cotton clothes.

The heavy-duty washing cycle caters to those clothes which need intense stain cleaning. It can also treat high soil levels.

Bulky setting washes heavy clothes. The highlight of this wash cycle is the initial soak period that lets the liquid penetrate the fabric.

Beddings are another wash cycle. Its goal is to keep your cherished bedding, curtains and covers free from wrinkles.

After washing, you have to run them through clean water to get rid of detergent and take them out and shake them immediately at the cycle end.

Take Away

So, you want to improve your laundry routine and are wondering if using all the settings on your washer’s interface will help you achieve this goal. Your top questions are about the soil level and intensity of the wash cycles.

More specifically, you want to know what does soil level mean on your washer. While the answer to this question isn’t too difficult to guess, you want to know the technicalities.

How you are supposed to use this option. And before using this option how will you determine if your clothes are heavily soiled.

Luckily, this analysis doesn’t require guesswork or lots of calculations. Instead, you can understand the soil level of your clothes by some simple signs.

This post discusses everything you need to use in this setting and introduces other settings as well.

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