How Long Does a Washing Machine Take to Wash and Dry clothes?

If you’ve recently had a new washing machine mounted or have moved into a brand-new home with one you’re unfamiliar with, you may be starting to wonder why your cycles are taking so much time. Knowing your washer cycle time can save you from so much disappointment and also going late for some appointments.

While it can be inconvenient, it is now common for washing machines to have cycles that last a couple of hours. The length of the cycle, however, will be determined by your specific machine and the cycle you are using. 

How Long Does a Washing Machine Take to Wash and Dry clothes?
How Long Does a Washing Machine Take to Wash and Dry clothes?

Why are washing cycles so long?

Many washers now have overall cycles that take more than two hours, if not closer to three for some models.

This shift has occurred as a result of manufacturers’ need to create appliances that are ever more efficient and comply with new efficiency legislation.

By lengthening a washing machine cycle, you can reduce the amount of water and energy used by the cycle, making it more efficient. 

Numerous machines will need to use significantly more water and energy to achieve the same cleaning results if the cycle time is reduced.

This longer cycle time saves money on both water and electricity costs, but it does mean that many standard washing machine cycles will take around two hours.

The length of time the washing machine takes will, however, be determined by the cycle selected. 

How Much Time Does It Take To Do Laundry?

Laundry is the process of washing, drying, and/or folding clothing and other textiles.

Laundry can take anywhere from 0 minutes to hours per week, depending on your living situation, access to machines, and financial situation.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the laundry process, assuming a weekly laundry schedule of two loads:

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Time to do the laundry

If doing laundry was as simple as throwing dirty clothes in the washing machine, the task would be completed much faster.

When it comes to cleaning your favorite t-shirt, it must first be placed in a hamper or bag.

It can also take some time to gather your bedding and towels. Having got it all in one place (the laundry room) can be a time-consuming task.

Total time per week: 30 minutes.


This is entirely dependent on how filthy your clothes are. Most modern washing machines have a standard run time of 40 minutes, but if the soil level is high, it could take up to an hour.

Total weekly time: 80 minutes. 


Modern synthetic cycles frequently use low spin speeds and run at 40 degrees.

These cycles typically last up to two hours, with the average time falling between one hour thirty and one hour forty-five.


For fabrics that require vigorous washing, like bed sheets or towels, cotton washing machine cycles are created.

This is accompanied by a rapid spin and frequently warmer water temperatures.

A cotton washing machine cycle typically lasts between 1 hour 45 and 2 hours 30. 


Even if your machine has a convenient white-clothing-only cycle, you might find that it takes a while to complete. These cycles typically last much longer, frequently between 1.5 and 3 hours, to avoid using extremely hot water to remove tough stains from white clothing.

Wool, Gentle, and Handwash

Delicate cycles are very gentle by nature.

Typically, they carefully wash the clothing at low temperatures with slow spin speeds.

These are therefore relatively brief cycles, with average sitting times of between 45 and 1.5 hours. 

Temperature Control Programs

A regular temperature-based program’s length will vary depending on the manufacturer, with many general use 40-degree programs taking up to an hour and a half.

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Many modern washing machines, on the other hand, can adjust the exact wash time to account for heavy, tightly packed, or unbalanced loads.

Some washing machines also have very long, hot cycles for soiled but long-lasting items like towels. 


A typical load of laundry takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.

While some items, such as towels and jeans, take longer to dry, most items are dry in about 40 minutes.

Total weekly time: 80 minutes.


Many people consider this stage to be the most difficult part of doing laundry.

The last thing you want to do after your clothes have dried and smelled nice is sorted through them and fold them neatly.

Folding clothes takes about 20 minutes for an average load of laundry.

This may vary depending on the size of the load and your folding speed. Total weekly time: 40 minutes. 


How Much Time Does It Take To Wash Clothes?

Fortunately for most of us, the modernization of laundry means we no longer have to scrub and wash our clothes by hand.

Over half of all American homes with electricity had an electric washing machine by the 1940s.

The washing machine is now as American as it gets.

Many of our customers inquire, “How long does a washing machine take?” It’s difficult to provide an exact answer because washers vary by brand.

So, how long does a wash cycle last? That is determined by the settings on your washing machine.

Most washers take 32 to 38 minutes to clean your clothes, though some offer an extra-long wash and/or rinse cycle. As an alternative, some washers are so effective that you can wash your clothes in less than 30 minutes.

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How Much Time Does a Dryer Need?

In a contemporary residential washing machine, the majority of items dry in between 30 and 45 minutes.

At 32 minutes, the majority of items are dry.

How Long Does It Take To Do A Load Of Laundry?

You might be shocked by how long it takes to complete a load of laundry from beginning to end.

You are looking at close to two hours once you account for preparation time (15 minutes), washing and drying (80 minutes), as well as folding and put away time (25 minutes). 

What Does A Load Of Laundry Cost?

Laundry has been referred to as a “load” throughout this article. The amount of laundry needed to fill a “full load” depends on your washing machine’s capacity. Many of the smaller washers found in apartment buildings have a low capacity and can only hold 6 pounds of laundry. A washer with a medium capacity can manage 7-8 pounds. Top-loading washers with high capacity can hold 12 to 15 pounds.

Lastly, front-loading washers have a maximum capacity of 18 pounds for clothing. You might now be wondering how many pieces of clothing there are in a pound. The simplest method is to weigh yourself on a scale both with and without a full laundry basket, then subtract the weight of the laundry/basket to get the weight of your clothing. Add up the number of items you have to get an easy idea of how much laundry you have.

The following laundry items add up to about 10 pounds:

Seven pairs of socks, seven pairs of underwear, five t-shirts, two long-sleeve shirts, one sweatshirt, two pairs or four shorts, a set of sheets, and one towel. 

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