The soil level setting on your washing machine can be used to better clean different types of clothes with different levels of soilage. 

Most washers come with 3 basic soil levels: light soil, normal soil, and heavy soil. 

The light soil setting should be used for lightly worn garments just as t-shirts, socks, and undergarments. 

The normal soil setting should be used with more frequently worn garments that may need to have sweat, dust, or light dirt removed. 

The heavy soil setting is used with thick fabrics such as towels, robes, hoodies, and jeans. This setting should be used when these items have a high amount of dirt or grime on them.

Continue reading to learn more about the meaning of soil, and how the setting should be used.

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What Does Soil Mean on a Washer

What Does Soil Mean On A Washer?

Soil level on a washing machine means that you can adjust the washing cycle based on how dirty your clothes are. Choosing between light, normal, and heavy soil levels depends on how much dirt or soilage is on your clothes, as well as the type of fabric that the clothes are made from. 

For example, lightly worn garments can will be washed on the light soil setting, while heavier items such as jeans or towels, can be washed using the high soil setting.

Which Soil Level Should I Use?

Most washing machines come with 3 different soil level options to choose from, and some of the high end washers come with even more. 

Washing machines have options ranging from extra light soil levels to extra heavy soil levels, with the most common settings being light soil, normal soil, and heavy soil. 

Continue reading to find out which setting to use depending on the situation and type of fabric. 

1. Light soil setting

Use the light soil setting for lightly worn garments with no stains or visible dirt. 

The setting is good for use with delicate clothing items. The light soil setting helps to remove wrinkles from clothing and takes a short amount of time to complete a wash cycle. 

2. Normal soil setting

The normal soil setting should be used with staple clothes that are worn frequently but are not too dirty. This would include jeans, t-shirts, undergarments, and socks. 

The normal soil setting will clean sweat and dirt from your clothing, while leaving your clothes looking and smelling refreshed.

3. Heavy soil setting

The heavy soil setting should be used with thicker fabrics, as well as with garments that are covered in stains or dirt. 

Use the heavy soil setting with robes, towels, hoodies, sweaters, and garment’s that have had high exposure to dirt, dust, and stains. 


No, water level refers to the exact amount of water in the washing machine, while soil level refers to the amount of dirt on clothes. 

Shake dirty clothes out before washing them to remove excess debris, and then adjust the washing machine’s soil level setting to “high soil” in order to wash the garments effectively.