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What is Delay on Your Washing Machine (+When to use it)

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Have you started to load your washer with the laundry only to find that you are needed somewhere urgently? Now, you’re stuck. You don’t want to start the washer because you won’t be around when it’s done and leaving damp laundry in the washer leads to mold and mildew buildup not just in the laundry but in the washer as well. But you won’t be back home for hours, and you want to have the laundry done by then. 

The delay on the washer is a feature that allows you to delay the start of the washing process according to your needs. Many washers let you delay the washing by anything from one hour to 24 hours. If you know the exact time when you’ll be free to take out the laundry, then load the washer and set it to start one or two hours before the time you’re free.

If you’re not familiar with the delay feature on your washer, this article is for you. You’ll learn how to use it effectively and how to prevent the washer from delaying the laundry if you accidentally set it.

What is the Delay on the Washer?

Delay Start on Washers: Perfect if you like to plan ahead
Here’s a video I made demonstrating how to use the delay start setting on my washer.

As the name implies, the delay feature on the washer lets you delay the start of the washing process. It’s a convenient way to start the washer at a time that is more suitable for you. Some washers allow you to delay the washing by up to 24 hours at a time. Once you have set the delay, the machine will stay put until the delay period has expired. Then it will start washing automatically.

You don’t need to interfere with the washer until the washing cycle is done and the machine has switched off on its own. Keep in mind that the machine becomes unavailable to use from the time you set the delay until the end of the washing. So before you set the delay time, make sure you won’t be needing the washer to do small loads or some other washing tasks.

Although the delay feature allows you to delay the washing in one-hour increments, the time displayed on the panel includes the delay time plus the time the machine will take to finish the washing. So if you set the delay to 5 hours, for example, and choose the regular cycle, which takes about one hour, then the time displayed on the panel will be 6 hours and not 5 hours.

How Do You Use the Delay on the Washer?

Different washer brands have different steps to set the delay feature. However, these steps are simple and intuitive enough that once you try it for the first time, it will be easy to remember and use on different washing machines. The tricky part, though, is to calculate the time accurately. I already said the delay period includes the time the washer takes to finish the wash.

So in order to get the timing right, you need to know how much time the washing will take, deduct it from the time you will be available to take out the laundry, and that gives you the delay time. Here’s an example to simplify this process. 

Let’s say you load the washer with the laundry at 10.00 in the morning. You select a program that will take 2 hours to finish. But you won’t be back home until 5.00 in the afternoon. So you have a 7-hour delay period ahead of you. Take out the two hours the washer needs to finish washing; that leaves you with a 5 hours delay. And that’s the amount of delay you need to set the washer.

Here is how I adjust the delay function on my washing machine.

Here’s how to set the Delay feature on the washer.

  1. Select the cycle you want.
  2. Press the Delay button. This will start the delay feature and set it to one hour delay automatically.
  3. Press the Delay button again to increase the delay by another hour and so on.
  4. When you have reached the right delay time, press and hold the Start button.
  5. The Delay button will flash, and the time will be displayed on the panel.
  6. The timer will start automatically, and you’re all set.

How do I Stop the Washer from Delaying?

Sometimes you have a change of mind or change of plans which means you want to start the washer now. If you had already set the delay feature, then the washer will not accept any input from you until the washing is done at the time you chose. So what can you do?

The only way to reset the delay feature and undo all the programming you had done is to press the power button. This will switch off the machine and reset all the changes you made. Press the power button again to turn on the washer, go through the usual steps of selecting the cycle, water temperature, water levels, and other settings, then press the Start button to start the washing cycle right away.

Why is the Washer Taking 3 hours?

There’s a difference between a washer that has been delayed intentionally and a washer that goes on and on, taking more time doing the laundry than it should. The first case is a washer you have triggered the delay feature on. This washer will finish the washing and power off at the exact time that is displayed on the panel. In the second case, the washer is malfunctioning, and a technician should be called to fix it.

The most common problems that cause the washer to take longer than usual to finish are a faulty control panel or a malfunctioning load sense system. If your washer takes longer than the usual time for the cycle, call a technician.


The delay feature on the washer is a convenient way to delay the laundry until you’re available to take it out. The washer will add the time it takes to finish the cycle to the delay time you set. 

I’ve created a comprehensive guide on how to use all the settings on your washing machine that may interest you to read next.


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