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What Is Permanent Press and When Should I Be Using It?

You’re a grown-ass woman, and you’ve been doing your own laundry for a long-ass time. Still, when it comes to your washer’s settings, you remain a teeny-tiny bit confused.

Never fear: We put together this handy guide so your laundry will come out clean and fresh and snuggly every single time. But firstly...

What is a Permanent Press?

a Permanent Press is the setting that will remove wrinkles by washing clothes in warm water with a slow spin to dry. Warm water relaxes the creases while a slow spin helps keep new ones away. The milder temperature is also ideal for keeping colors nice and bright (since hot water can cause fading).

Normal Wash:

Best for when you’re washing basics and linens (T-shirts, jeans, underwear, socks, towels and sheets). Uses hot water and strong tumbling speeds to give clothes a deep clean and remove dirt and grime.

Quick Wash:

Best for when you’re in a hurry, but need to squeeze in a small load (you completely forgot your fave pair of jeans was dirty). A shorter cycle (typically about 15 to 30 minutes) means the clothes get spun faster—which also means less drying time.


Best for clothes that have stains. Selecting this setting means you’ll add a soak to the start of your cycle (just be sure you put detergent in both the detergent and the pre-wash trays).

Heavy Duty:

Best for casual clothes that are really dirty. Uses hot water, an extra-long cycle and high-speed tumbling to really give clothes a scrub.


Best for washing sweaters and nighties (save your bra for the salad spinner). Uses cold water and a short, slow cycle.

Delay Start:

Best for when you know you won’t be home in time to rotate your wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. Set the timer and bada-bing, your clothes will be clean right when you walk in the door.


A good rule of thumb is that hot is best for whites and cold is best for colors. Just remember that hot water can cause clothes to shrink and cold water doesn’t always get deep-set stains out. Warm is a happy medium (but you should still separate your clothes).

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