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What is a prewash?


Lady switching on the washing machine in the utility room

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A prewash is exactly what it says on the tin – a wash you do before the main wash cycle. This can be particularly useful for families where there are lots of spills and muddy clothes on a regular basis! Most washing machines have a prewash setting – either as a separate cycle or one that you can “add-on” to your main wash. Some settings, such as delicates or speed cycles, won’t allow a prewash. Check your machine to see if you have this setting available to you. It can be very useful in lots of different situations. Let’s review these, and then look at how to do a prewash.

When do you need a prewash?

A prewash can be an ideal option for really dirty clothes. Football uniforms that have lots of mud and sweat on them can often do with a prewash as this will get out the majority of the dirt before you move on to the regular wash. However, if your clothes have had a spill that is likely to stain, such as coffee or tomato sauce, a prewash can be an efficient way to immediately treat the soiled clothing.

If you’re washing delicates or wool, you won’t need the prewash setting. This is because these fabrics are sensitive and require the specific settings of the delicates and wool settings on your machine. If these garments are especially soiled, we’d recommend a hand wash.

How to do a prewash

If you’ve got clothes that are suited to a prewash, then you’ll want to know how to do a prewash, and what kind of prewash detergent to use. Here’s how:

  1. Place the clothes you want to wash in your washing machine. It will help the longevity of your machine if you remove as much physical dirt such as mud and grass from your garment as possible.
  2. Add your detergent to the compartment of the washing machine. In order to calculate the correct dosage of washing powder for heavy soiling, check the information on the washing powder itself. Heavy soiling requires a good prewash detergent.
  3. Select the wash cycle you need, and one that is appropriate for the material of the clothes you have put in the machine.
  4. Add the “prewash” setting to your wash cycle. 
  5. Start your wash! That’s it. It really is just like doing an ordinary wash but including a few extra steps and bearing the level of soiling in mind. 

That’s it! We hope that this guide on how and when to do a prewash has been helpful for you and that you’ve got all the tips you needed. If you want more laundry tips and tricks, check out other articles such as how to wash a wool jumper, how to wash silk, or how to wash jeans.