What Exactly Do the Codes and Symbols on my Washing Machine Mean?

Have you ever looked at your washing machine and wondered what all those symbols on its front actually mean? With so many different brands using different icons, and so many different models sporting different functions, deciphering each symbol can be a tricky task.

washing machine symbols

Different strokes

Although there tends to be a number of consistencies across the different brands, most washing machines will come with their own unique set of symbols. But how do you find out what they mean? Firstly, check your manual. Somewhere within its folded paper booklet (or more commonly these days – downloaded pdf file) will be a table explaining what each icon represents and what that setting is used for.  If you can’t find your manual head online and download a copy from the manufacturer’s website

General rules for washing machine settings

Again, checking the manual is the best way to familiarise yourself with your appliance, but if you want a general overview of washing machine codes, read on.

The first thing you’ll notice when unpacking a new machine is that there will be several dials on the control panel of the appliance. Normally, the largest dial will be for setting the wash type. This will allow you to set options for different types of clothing like cotton, fabrics, colours, synthetics, etc. A secondary dial (or button) will allow you to set the temperature of the wash, usually within the range of 30°C to 90°C. You may have a third dial for controlling the speed of the spin cycle that will dictate how dry your clothes come out of the machine.

Composition with laundry and washing symbols in a shape of washing machine.

General washing machine codes

With so many controls and symbols littered across your appliance, it can quickly become confusing. To help you out, here is a list of some general symbols that most washing machines use: 


Or any other temperature for that matter. This is the easiest control to understand as it sets the maximum temperature for the wash. Check your clothes labels and choose a temperature that suits.

Rinse washing machine symbol

This symbol usually represents the rinse cycle. The higher this setting is, the more times the appliance will rinse your laundry. 

Spin washing machine symbol

This symbol represents the spin cycle options of your washing machine, normally given as a spin speed. The higher you choose, the faster the machine will spin your clothes and the dryer they will come out of the machine. Be wary of choosing a high setting for delicate clothing.

Delay end washing machine symbol

Delay timer symbol. This setting allows you to set the machine to start a wash at a particular time.  

Easy iron washing machine symbol

Easy iron option.  This setting reduces the spin speed and length of wash cycle to make clothes easier to iron.  

Pre wash washing machine symbol

Pre-wash setting. If your clothes are particularly dirty, then choosing this setting will add a pre-wash to the wash cycle.


We understand how confusing washing machine codes can be. Hopefully, the information above will help give you a clearer understanding of what some of the most common ones mean. See washing machine insurance for more information on washing machine protection.