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What Does Soil Level Mean for Your Washing Machine?

by Joan Took

Hidden away behind a closet door or front-and-center in your home, the washing machine is a common and necessary appliance. It makes life easier, and our wardrobes rotate quicker. But have you ever asked yourself if all those settings and buttons on your washer are necessary? We’ve all seen the settings. We’ve (probably) all started our washer one time or another without knowing quite what and why we’re pressing the buttons. And maybe our clothes have come out smelling fresher and looking cleaner. But what if we told you, you might not be using your soil levels quite right? What if we told you that you could be doing your laundry more efficiently? That would be even better, right? But the true question is, what does soil level mean?

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about those subtle settings on your washing machine and let you know why soil levels are valuable with our comprehensive guide below.

At a Glance:

What Does Soil Level Mean?

Benefits of Soil Level Settings

Which Soil Level You Should Use

What Does Soil Level Mean?

How dirty are your clothes? How long has your kid been rolling in the mud outside? Are you constantly noticing dust around your home? These issues are resolved with a soil level washer function. Soil levels mean that you can indicate to your washing machine just how much work it will need to put in for you to get clean, cloud-smelling clothes. Your washing machine reads the buttons you choose and adjusts the cycle accordingly. We suggest this Frigidaire washing machine if you need to wash your clothes fast and save some time while still getting the best out of your soil level. Choose between five soil levels for your laundry and get the most out of each wash.

White top load washer and dryer set

Benefits of Soil Level Settings

What are the perks of choosing a soil level? And what does soil level mean on a washer? Pull up a chair and let’s discuss the nitty-gritty. The benefits of choosing the proper soil level for your laundry can be extensive. Still, we’ve broken it down to a few basic and essential benefits.


  • Washes your clothing thoroughly
  • Selecting the right soil level ensures a more exact time for washing
  • Save water and energy based on the soil level of clothing

This LG front load washer meets all your needs for a quick cycle and suitable soil level options. It also has a quiet operation just in case kids may be napping during laundry time.

white washer in a boho room

Which Soil Level You Should Use?

Most washers come with at least a few soil level options you can choose from, but only the best-of-the-best offer more. Your washer ranges from extra light soil levels to extra heavy, and everything in between is for your convenience. We’ll break down what each level means and what benefits you can have from each.

  • Light (or Extra Light): Extra light and light typically call for your delicate fabrics and clothing. Since the materials are lighter and don’t carry a lot of dust or dirt between the stitches, you’ll only need the most delicate settings to clean. In addition, the extra light and light setting take less time to wash a load and typically help with detangling and reducing wrinkles.
  • Normal (or Medium): The normal or medium settings are for your everyday clothes that don’t see much action, like your T-Shirts, socks, or sweatshirt. If you aren’t worried about tears or straining your clothes, but still desire to get those musky smells out, then we recommend the normal or medium soil level option for your washing. 
  • Heavy (or Extra Heavy): Heavy and extra heavy soil level settings are meant for the more rigid materials and fabrics you have. This could be your towels, blankets, or your children’s football uniforms. This GE 5.- Cu. Ft. front loading washer has everything you need. Try out this dynamic appliance for those pesky stains or for delicate fluffs for your lighter garments. Check out our guide on why you should use your heavy-duty washing cycle here.

man adding towels to washer

Why Trust Us?

We offer everyday low prices and a commitment to extraordinary customer care, which makes us a top-notch choice for you and your family’s needs. Our experts at East Coast Appliance have been serving and caring for our customers in the Virginia area since 1988.

Shop Your Washer Needs at East Coast Appliance

So, what does soil level mean, and how can you effectively use it for your washing needs? Just remember that the lighter the fabrics or stains, stick to the extra or light setting. On the other hand, if your children have been out climbing trees or hiking for your day, maybe give your clothing some extra love and press that heavy soil level setting.

Browse through our catalog to find the best fit for your home. Our experts at East Coast Appliance are more than happy to assist you with any questions or requests. Give us a call at 757-437-1100 or stop by one of our locations in Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or one of our three stores in Virginia Beach today. 

A new concept store has emerged, Builders Direct, for architects, designers, or anyone desiring high-end or built-in appliance solutions. So, come check us out at 2000 Virginia Beach Blvd today.