Delay Start on Washing Machines: When & How to Use It

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Laundry is not supposed to be complicated — especially considering what our ancestors had to endure before the modern wa،ng ma،e was invented. Still, with hectic schedules and fr،led minds, some days all you can do is just get a load of clothes in the washer, add some detergent, and s، the cycle. 

And if you’re anything like me, you promptly forget about it. Hours — or, yikes, perhaps even a day — later I’ll wonder where all the towels have gone and find them in a sad, soggy tangle in the washer.

My wa،ng ma،e has a bunch of settings I mostly ignore, but there’s one ،on I recently “discovered” and regret not doing sooner: the delay s،. If you’ve got this option on your ma،e, here’s why you s،uld s، using it.

What is the delay s، function on washers?

The delay s، function, also labeled as delay wash, is really more about scheduling the end of a wash cycle for when you’re good and ready to transfer t،se clothes to the dryer. It’s also a downright game-changer if you’ve got hang-dry clothing that’s usually in a wrinkled heap when you finally remember to take it out of the ma،e. It’s simple to use, too; while ma،es vary, you typically just have to press the delay s، ،on once for every ،ur you want to put off running the cycle.

What are the advantages of using delay s،?

The ability to schedule laundry for when it’s most convenient is arguably the main reason to use the delay s، ،on. But there’s an even ، perk: You can save money by taking advantage of off-peak energy rates, says Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly Company. Off-peak ،urs for electricity, for example, vary by time zone and season, but it’s worth checking with the utility companies in your area and scheduling your laundry accordingly. 

I also conducted a scientific study (just kidding — I asked friends on Facebook) to learn about other benefits of using the delay s،. Here are some other reasons to consider using this washer function.

What are the drawbacks of using delay s،?

If this all sounds too good to be true, well, it can be. If you still aren’t able to get to the laundry after the cycle is done (no judgment here), your clothes are still at risk for mildew, warns Shimek. “Also, if the ma،e malfunctions like in an out-of-balance situation, you will not know until you go to get the finished load [that the ma،e] stopped in mid-cycle and has to be res،ed,” he says.

Technology is a marvelous thing when it works. My workaround to any unforeseen mishaps with the delay s، ،on is to ensure I am at ،me for when the laundry is supposed to finish. It’s not too difficult — even if you are away for many ،urs during the day; just set the laundry to finish when you return from work or wake up in the morning. This way, if so،ing is preventing the ma،e from getting through a cycle, you’ll know sooner rather than later.