Product Pick of the Week : Washer & Dryer Control Knobs & Settings

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The Selector, Timer, or Control Knobs on your Washer and Dryer make it possible to choose different cycles for different types of loads.  But have you wondered what the difference is between each of those cycles?  Most of us just check the tag on our clothes and set our washer and dryer to the recommended settings without actually knowing what changes we’re making.

In this Product Pick of the Week, we’ll be going over how to replace the Selector or Control Knobs on your Washer or Dryer and highlight the differences between some of the most common cycles found on each appliance.


Although some washers and dryers have switched over to buttons, most still come with a large dial or knob to select the different wash and drying cycles.  The Knob is used to set the Timer (powered by the Timer Motor), which in turn controls the different cycles.

If the Knob on your washer or dryer is cracked, broken, or damaged it’s typically simple to replace it.  After shutting off the appliance and disconnecting the power, make sure the knob is switched to the “off” position.

On most most models  you can usually pull the knob straight off of the timer motor shaft and slide on a new one.  However, on certain models the timer knob may be secured with a clip that will have to first be removed or the entire control panel will need to be removed to access the knob, so be sure to consult your owners manual before attempting to repair your appliance.

Now that we’ve talked about the knobs, let take a look at what you can select with them…


So, what do the different Washer Cycles do?

  • Normal – ideal for cottons and certain sturdier blended fabrics (this cycle can be harsh on clothes), typically featuring an average length cycle of high speeds and spins.
  • Permanent Press – good for washing synthetic or blended fabrics, colors, or permanent press clothes, this cycle is usually medium speed with a low spin
  • Delicate – for delicate or “hand-wash” items like dress shirts, thin blouses, and lace items. This is a shorter wash cycle at a low speed with a gentle or no spin.
  • Heavy Duty/Bulky – for heavily soiled and bulky items like jeans or towels.  Usually starts with a pre-soak with a medium wash and spin to avoid unbalancing the washer.
  • Rinse and Spin – a no detergent cycle, simply rinsing and then spinning out the moisture.  Good for removing dust or after dyeing clothes, minimal cleaning.
  • *Specialty Cycles – many new washers feature special cycles for denim, whites, towels, sports uniforms, wool… and more to most effectively clean specific fabrics.

What about the Dryer Cycles?

  • Air Dry, Fluff, or No Heat – a cycle without added heat that tumbles the clothes to fluff them or remove dust.
  • Delicate – a gentler and shorter, low heat cycle ideal for thin or sheer fabrics, items with embellishments, or specialty clothing.
  • Permanent Press/Wrinkle Resistant – medium heat cycle with cool down,  ideal for most fabrics, particularly synthetic fabrics and lightweight cottons.
  • Regular (Automatic or Timed Dry) – high heat cycle for heavier fabrics like denim and towels.  Some models will use a moisture sensor to adjust the time of the cycle, while others are manual.
  • *Steam – a gentle cycle with bursts of steam to refresh clothes or release wrinkles, available on some newer models.

In addition to the different cycles available on your washer or dryer, you typically can also select different water temperatures or load sizes.   Your washer or dryer may also have different names for the various cycles on the unit, which should all be explained in the owner’s manual.

If you need a replacement for your washer or dryer’s selector or control knobs you can find many genuine manufacturer replacements on our website here: Washer Control Knobs, Dryer Knobs.  You can also find many other Washer Parts and Dryer Parts including timer motors, dispensers,  hoses, latches and more.


We hope you found this post helpful!  If you missed our last Product Pick of the Week you can find all of our past picks here: Product Pick of the Week.  Be sure to like and share this post with a friend, and of course to subscribe to the 1st Source Servall Blog to receive regular updates.  Feel free to leave any questions, comments, tips, or suggestions in the comment section below!

Written by: Sarah Walker

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