Permanent press vs normal cycle [Compared]

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When doing your laundry, there is no room for mistakes. A slight mistake may completely ruin your favorite clothes.

As a result, you will want to make sure that you do it right the first time.

In this article, I will help you understand the difference between permanent press vs normal cycles including when to use each of these cycles.

Let us jump in…

Permanent press vs normal cycle [Compared]

Before we compare these two cycles, let us first look at what each cycle/program means on your washer or dryer.

What is permanent press setting on washer dryer

Also known as perm press, wrinkle control, or casual cycle, this cycle is used to wash and dry your clothes while minimizing their chances of getting wrinkles.

Tip: To prevent your clothes from wrinkling, promptly remove them from your washer/dryer once the cycle is complete. Be sure to fold or hang them soon after this.

What is normal cycle on washer and dryer

Before I tell you what the cycle is all about, keep in mind that this cycle is also known as regular cycle on some brands.

So, what is the cycle exactly about?

Well, on washers, this setting uses mediumly-heated water and uses fast agitation to wash your clothes.

On dryers, the normal cycle automatically stops your dryer once your clothes have reached their optimal dryness levels.

Now that understand the basics, let us look at how these cycles work in both washers and dryers.


Permanent press vs normal washer

On water temperatures and agitation speeds

 The normal cycle will use heated water to wash your clothes. The water’s temperature will range anywhere between 120 and 140⁰ F.

On the other hand, permanent press cycle uses medium heat water (85 to 105⁰ F) to wash your clothes. The medium heat temperature helps to soften the fabrics.

This, in turn, helps to smoothen any wrinkles that may form on your clothes.

Moving on, during washing under the normal setting cycle, there’s fast agitation. This helps to clean even tough stains.

On the other hand, permanent press cycle uses a mild agitation speed to wash your clothes.

Again the mild agitation is intended to help ward off any wrinkles from forming on your clothes.              


On what clothes to wash

The permanent press cycle is a great choice for many of your clothing items that wrinkle easily(button down shirts, pants, dresses etc.).

In short, use perm press when your goal is to wash something more gently because ironing it is a pain.

Don’t forget that as this setting uses mediumly-heated water for washing, it won’t fade your colored clothes.

So in summary, you can actually pretty much wash every item on permanent press as long as it is not very soiled(The temperature is perfect for most clothes- and colors won’t fade much).

The only downside of this setting is that it doesn’t agitate very aggressively so heavier or seriously soiled items may not get super clean.

On the other hand, the normal cycle is best for heavily clothes that won’t be affected by heat– we are speaking about more-soiled items(including cotton), towels, shirts, denims, and even mixed loads.

This begs the question, how can you be sure what cycle to use between these two cycles?

Well, before you begin laundry, always check the care label on your clothes…

Now, for clothes that need to be cleaned using perm press, you will see the following label:

permanent press vs normal dryer


Tip: Note that it has one line under the tub. If it has two lines, it implies you should use the delicates cycle(this is where lingerie, sweaters, bedding, underwear, and vintage fabrics).

On the contrary, if you see the following label on your clothes, then use the normal cycle:

what is permanent press on dryer


Permanent press vs normal dryer

On heating temperatures

During tumbling, there is a significant difference between the two cycles with respect to heat.

To start with, the regular setting uses the hottest temperature(135 to 160⁰ F) on your dryer to dry the clothes.

Meanwhile, the permanent press cycle uses medium heat(125 to 135⁰ F) for drying.

As previously mentioned, this middle temperature range is great for clothes that easily wrinkle.

In fact, during the final several minutes of drying, your dryer will stop heating and use low temperatures to ‘cool’ down your clothes- This helps relax any wrinkles that may be present.

On what clothes to dry

Now that your clothes are clean, you will need to dry them.

Here’s what you need to know:

When to use perm press

Use perm press for less-durable articles of clothing.

The idea is again to help you avoid ironing out wrinkles.

So clothes come out with far fewer wrinkles(if at all)-they also come out cool(instead of hot).

So to sum up:

Permanent press setting is designed to care for clothes that are prone to shrinking/wrinkling(and made to last).

Sure, it will probably take a longer time(than normal) to compensate but your fabrics won’t shrink.

When to use normal/regular dry

Use for cotton and linen and other regular items(it just dries your clothes normally) so you can use it for loads of mixed fabrics/items that are not wrinkle-prone.

And it is a faster drying setting than perm press thanks to the usually higher heat.


Which setting should I use?

To be safe, you need to again check care instructions-Your clothing items have tags with symbols/words that indicate the recommended cycle.

And if your clothes need to be washed under the permanent press cycle, you should see the following symbol:

permanent press cycle on washing machine

As regards clothes that should be dried with the normal cycle, they’ll have the following symbol on their label:

permanent press vs normal wash cycle

Permanent press cycle on washing machine vs normal washer/dryer cycles – how long each cycles take

When it comes to washing/drying your clothes, the time taken may vary between these two cycles because of two key factors:

  • The load size in your washer/dryer.
  • The material used to make your clothes.

But overall, perm press takes approx. 30 minutes to wash/dry while the normal setting takes anywhere from 45 minutes- 1 hour.

However, either cycle can take shorter (or longer) to wash/dry your clothes- it all comes down to proper loading and the type of fabrics you’re washing/drying.

Normal vs Permanent press -Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is permanent press the hottest dryer setting

Short answer, NO.

In dryers, the hottest settings are the normal (regular) and heavy cycles-These cycles dry your clothes at maximum temperatures which are anywhere between 150 and 160⁰ F.

Final words

As we have seen, these cycles have their own unique use cases so there is no better or worse cycle.

So the best way to be sure is to first read the care labels on your clothes as they describe which cycle to use.


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