Maytag Washer Soak Cycle (How to Use it Correctly)

The Maytag washer soak cycle is a useful feature. It’s highly effective in tackling heavily soiled items and troublesome clothing stains. 

A good example of its use is a school kids’ sports day where their clothing returns home muddy, with grass stains, and more. Then you need all the help you can get to pre-treat the soiled items to give them the best chance of coming out clean. 

Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing feature!

How the Maytag Washer Soak Cycle Works

The Maytag washer soak cycle is optional for use before the main wash. Not all models include the feature, but it’s worth considering if your model has it.  

When activating the soak cycle, it first fills the drum with water. The water flows through the detergent drawer, picking up the detergent as it goes, to create soapy water inside the drum. 

From there, it soaks the garments in the soapy water for anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours.

The time is dependent on a few factors, including the washer model, set duration, fabric type, and soiling level.

The drum is moderately agitated to gently move the garments around. This ensures all items get wet enough and have ample detergent to reach inside the fabric. 

After the time has elapsed, the soapy water is drained from the drum. There is no spin cycle after completing the soak cycle. It is a self-contained cycle. 

Selecting washer cycle

How to Use the Soak Cycle on a Maytag Washer

For heavily soiled loads, give the soak cycle options a try.

Here is how to use the soak or pre-soak feature in a Maytag washer that supports it:

  1. Add the items to the washing machine.
  2. Load laundry detergent into the detergent drawer.
  3. Close the washer’s door.
  4. Select either the Pre-soak or soak cycle on the control pad.
  5. Adjust the timer for the desired duration. Approximately 15 minutes is enough unless major soiling is present. 
  6. Hold down the Start button to proceed.

My Maytag Has No Soak Feature: What Can I Do Instead?

With Maytag washing appliances that do not provide a soak cycle, there is a clever workaround.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Load your items in the washer.
  2. Add detergent in the usual manner.
  3. Select the normal wash cycle.
  4. Close the washing machine’s door securely.
  5. Let the washer fill up with sufficient water to begin its wash cycle.
  6. Just as it’s starting the wash cycle, pause the program at that stage.
  7. Now set a timer on your smartphone or use a voice assistant reminder set for 30 minutes to let the garments sit and soak.
  8. Continue with the program. Most modern washers include a pause and resume feature to assist you.

How Long is the Soak Cycle on a Maytag washer?

Maytag washing machines vary with their soak cycles. Some models include them; others do not. 

For models that offer a soak cycle, it is sometimes a short duration. A quarter of an hour is the most common. Ten minutes is the shortest I’ve seen. 

Some soak cycles are considerably longer, such as 1-2 hours. With more sophisticated Maytag front-loading or top-loading washers, the duration reflects the soiling level, fabric type, the features of the model, and if the soak cycle duration is user-configurable (it sometimes is, but not too often). 

When Should I Use the Soak Cycle on My Maytag Washer?

When to use the soak cycle? The obvious candidates are dirty clothes left sitting in the basket for too long. Majorly soiled or grimy items need soaking to stand a better chance of getting them clean and fresh with a single wash. 

Extra dirt, including heavily embedded particles in fabrics, responds well to soaking in soapy water. Stains are a little easier to remove too, but professional stain remover products are better. 

Pre-soaking is useful for repeated use of items between washes, e.g. bed sheets, duvets, or towels. 

The Benefits of Soak Cycle in Maytag Washer

Soaking loosens embedded dirt and begins encouraging fabric stains to fade away. The subsequent wash cycle is more successful than it otherwise would be. 

Color vibrancy and the whiteness of white fabrics respond better to a soak cycle, followed by a wash cycle, rather than a wash cycle alone. Subsequently, fabrics get refreshed, and garments stay usable for longer. 

The Drawbacks of Soak Cycle in Maytag Washer

There are potential negatives to using a soak cycle with a Maytag washing machine. These mostly apply when regularly soaking an entire load before washing it:

The drawbacks include higher water usage, longer total washing time (including the soak cycle time), and additional detergent usage, too.

When soaking for too long, it risks damaging fabrics, potential color mixing between garments, and introducing mildew or mold. Keeping to a sub-30-minute soak duration avoids these serious concerns. 

Only soak heavily soiled or odorous items that need it. These offer the advantages while sidestepping the disadvantages. 

Note: Always check the clothing care label because some garments say, “Do not soak.”

Maytag Washer Stuck on Soak Cycle

A Maytag washer sometimes fixates on the soak cycle and won’t progress beyond it. 

When it’s stuck like this, it’s usually caused by one of 3 reasons:

Sediment Collection

Water sediment from a well or other slightly contaminated water sources eventually blocks the water inlet valve.

This type of water causes issues with a Maytag washer because it never seems to give the clothes a good enough soak to move beyond this stage. 

How to Fix: Clear the sediment from the rear intake hoses, valves, and filters. Then reconnect them. Look into filtering your water source before the H2O reaches the washer. 

Timer Faulty

The timer is set for the duration of each step in a programmed cycle. When the timer is faulty, but still technically hasn’t failed, it may periodically lose the plot! As a result, the soak cycle never ends.

How to Fix: If the timer is faulty, it won’t resolve with time. Replace it yourself, or check if your appliance is still under warranty, and book an appointment with an appliance repair technician. 

Control board is confused

The control board is not infallible. Sometimes, it just needs a quick restart to clear the confusion.

How to Fix: Power off for 5 seconds to fix it. However, if this does not resolve the issue, then disconnect the appliance from the power for 5-10 minutes. This performs a reset of the washing machine and usually does the trick!


What happens if you soak clothes for too long?

Soaking clothes too long is ill-advised. Fabrics suffer from earlier color fading with repeated long-duration soaking.

Colors dyes are likelier to run between garments leading to odd-looking results! Also, the color bonding with the fabrics begins to break down too. 

Does the soak cycle wash clothes?

A soak cycle does not wash clothes. The idea behind it is to soak the items in soapy water (water + washer detergent). The suds get inside the fabric earlier before the washing cycle. This delivers better results on heavily soiled loads.  

Agitation of the washing load – the rotating of the drum to toss the clothes around inside for a cleaner wash – mostly occurs in a later cycle. Soak cycles utilize only minimal drum movement to ensure all items soak evenly.  

When soaking for an excess amount of time, a washer sometimes purposely drains the water from the drum to prevent fabric damage. 

Can I soak clothes in the washing machine overnight?

Do not leave clothes in the washer for more than 8 hours. It is okay to wash items overnight, then retrieve them in the morning to hang them out to dry.

However, always keep the washer’s door closed before removing the washed items. This prevents moisture and ambient air from entering the drum while items are still damp. Doing so potentially introduces a damp or mildew problem inside the drum. 

Why do clothes say do not soak?

Some clothes say “Do not soak” on their fabric care label. The reason is that the clothing is more delicate, with color dyes that travel between garments in a mixed load when soaked in water. 

Do not wash “Do not soak” items in water. Follow the care instructions carefully. Also, avoid rubbing these fabrics to remove a stain or wringing them out to expel excess water.  Instead, hang “rain wet” garments to line dry naturally and follow garment guidance on safe stain removal methods.

To Wrap Up

Both the pre-soak and soak features of some Maytag washing machines make it possible to get cleaner results. For repeated use and medium to heavy soiled items, give the soak options a try.

Also, if your Maytag washing machine lacks soak options, try our trick for soaking garments by pausing the program just before the wash cycle commences. It works great!

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