Believe It Or Not, This Is The Only Cycle On Your Washing Machine That You Should Ever Use

Have you ever wondered exactly how dirty your laundry needs to be to justify using your washing machine’s “heavy duty” cycle? Or when should you use the “delicates” cycle instead of the “hand wash/wool” cycle? And does the “jeans” cycle really clean your denim better than the “normal” cycle?

  HUIZENG HU via Getty Images
HUIZENG HU via Getty Images

With so many options in the laundry room, it can be hard to know what to pick and when. But we’ve got some good news for you.

According to Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, there’s actually only one cycle you ever need to use on your washing machine.

“I only use the ‘express’ cycle,” he recently told Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, the co-hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast. “It’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

When pushed to name an occasion where he might opt for a different cycle, Richardson, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” emphasized, “I’m saying always express.”

According to the lab studies that Richardson did while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” dirty items — even soiled diapers — will be completely cleaned and sanitized by using the “express” cycle, which may also be named some variation of “quick wash” or “30 minute wash” on some machines. Choosing a longer cycle causes more wear and tear on our clothes, towels and bedding, which means we have to replace them sooner (not to mention all of the water and energy we’re needlessly using).

So why are there so many cycles on our machines? Richardson said that because most of us have done laundry the same way for decades, we still think that’s the right — and only — way to do it.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he said. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”

Another (perhaps obvious) advantage of only using the “express” cycle? All that time you’ll save.

“The express cycle is 30 minutes or less, so you can do several loads of laundry quickly,” Richardson said. “If you do the ‘whitest whites’ cycle, it’s two hours and 20 minutes to two hours and 45 minutes. In that amount of time, I could watch an entire ‘Star Wars’ and I couldn’t do all of my laundry in one day that way.”

We also chatted about Richardson’s favorite laundry detergent, why he never uses bleach, how he fragrances his clothes in the dryer without using dryer sheets and much more here.

After you’ve had a listen above or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to score the best deals on airline tickets, how to apologize or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, online shopping tips for taking care of your teeth, pooping like a pro and secrets to booking and staying in a hotel.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.