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How To Use Powdered Detergent in Your Washing Machine

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Powdered detergent is often considered a controversial choice when it comes to using it in your washing machine, which has led to many wondering whether it’s okay to do so or not. Luckily, as long as you use a good quality powdered laundry detergent, you won’t have to worry about damaging your clothes or equipment.

Here are the steps on how to use powdered detergent in a front-loaded and top-loaded washing machine:

  1. Count and categorize the clothes.
  2. Add detergent to a top loader washing machine.
  3. Add detergent to a front loader washing machine.
  4. Wash the clothes as you usually would.

It would help if you kept in mind that regular use of harsh detergents can damage the parts of the washing machine over time, along with your clothes’ shelf life. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the steps you’ll need to follow to safely use powder detergent in front-loaded and top-loaded washing machines, along with some frequently asked questions regarding the topic.

Count and Categorize the Clothes

This step is crucial to ensure that the process will go as smoothly as possible. Unless you’ve sorted the clothes into proper categories, it’ll be challenging to determine the amount of detergent needed to wash them properly.

I highly recommend categorizing your clothes into different batches, including dark-colored clothes, light-colored clothes, jeans and denim, sweaters, etc. Fine fabric clothes will need lower amounts of detergent compared to garments like jeans and denim.

A wide range of tools can help you measure your detergent as precisely as you can. These tools often give you better results than your typical detergent scoop. For example, for every five pieces of soft fabric clothing, add 1 tbsp (15 g) of detergent. However, you’ll need to use 1 tbsp (15 g) of detergent for jeans and denim on every 2-3 items. 

Watch this YouTube video on how much detergent you should use for your laundry:

Washer Detergent - How Much?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to determine the amount of powder detergent you’ll need:

  1. Categorize clothes in different batches based on their fabric’s thickness.
  2. Count the clothes on every batch.
  3. Use a tablespoon (15 g) to measure detergent.
  4. Use 1 tbsp detergent for five pieces of thin fabric clothes.
  5. Use 1 tbsp detergent for two pieces of thick fabric clothes.

Adding too much detergent to the washer can damage the washing machine. This is because the refined suspension of the detergent accumulates in the washer and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria over time. 

On the other hand, using too little detergent can be ineffective in cleaning thicker or heavily soiled clothes. If you feel this is the case, you’ll want to increase the dose as needed. Knowing the right amounts of detergent will save your clothes, washing machine, and money spent on detergent.

Add Detergent to a Top Loader Washing Machine

Now that you’ve calculated the necessary amount of detergent, you’ll want to choose the right approach when it comes to adding detergent to the washer.

Mixing detergent in a drum full of clothes and then adding water is a recipe for disaster. Instead, mix water and detergent first, then put the clothes in the washer. This approach can save both your clothing and the machine from heavy damage.

You can also dissolve the desired amount of detergent in a mug and then pour it over the clothes in the washer if you have a top-load or semi-automatic washing machine.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add detergent to a top load washer:

  1. Add water to the drum.
  2. Add the calculated amount of detergent to the water.
  3. Give it a spin.
  4. Put the clothes in the drum.

When adding the detergent over clothes, sometimes it doesn’t get adequately mixed and sticks on them, damaging their colors and threads. 

Add Detergent to a Front Loader Washing Machine

Although it’s safe to use an adequate amount of powder detergent in the washing machine, you can face some issues of detergent residue stuck on your clothes. In addition, adding powder detergent directly to the washer sometimes doesn’t allow it to dissolve properly.

To tackle this issue, you can make a paste of powder detergent and then add it to the dispenser tray.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add detergent to a front load washer:

  1. Take a cup and a spoon.
  2. Add equal amounts of detergent and water to the cup.
  3. Stir the mixture with a spoon to make a paste.
  4. Pour this paste into the detergent tray.
  5. Wash the Clothes As You Normally Would

After calculating the necessary amount of detergent and adding it to the water in the washer, add a batch of clothes and select the cycles you want depending on how clean or dirty your clothes are. 

Using less detergent and running the machine for longer periods of time is the key to doing your laundry correctly. This technique will clean your clothes better without damaging them.

Does Powder Detergent Damage Washing Machine?

Powder detergents are suitable to clean dirty clothes in washing machines. They’re safe for both clothes and washing machines when used adequately. 

Powder detergent doesn’t usually damage a washing machine. However, using harsh or low-quality powder detergents in excessive amounts can damage the washing machine as well as your clothes. Chunks of the undissolved solution can accumulate inside the washing machine over time and damage it. 

Refined suspension of detergent can also get accumulated over time. Therefore, to avoid damaging your washing machine, you should use your detergent sparingly. 

Adding more water to the washer to clean the clothes will also help flush off the accumulated detergent from the hidden portions of the drum. 

Liquid detergents can also be a solution to this problem. However, liquid detergents are milder than their powder counterparts, and sometimes they don’t provide the same cleaning power.

I go into more detail in this article if you’re interested in learning more.

Should I Mix Powder Detergent With Water?

You should mix powdered detergent with water before putting clothes in the washer. Directly throwing detergent in a washer full of clothes is a recipe for disaster as it is bad for both your clothes and the machine.

In a top-loading washer, it’s best to add water to the drum first, then add the needed amount of detergent. When the detergent is completely dissolved, you can put the clothes into the drum to avoid lumps of detergent.

You can follow this step-by-step process:

  1. Add water into the washer drum.
  2. Add detergent with the help of a measuring tool.
  3. Give it a spin to dissolve the detergent in the water.
  4. Put clothes in the solution.
  5. Follow the normal washing process.

Adding powder detergent in a front load washer isn’t very convenient. Although you can directly put it in the dispenser tray, I’d advise you to make a paste first to avoid lumps of detergent. 

To do so, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Put the necessary amount of detergent in a cup.
  2. Mix an equal amount of water into it.
  3. Stir the mixture with a spoon to make a paste.
  4. Pour the paste into the detergent tray in the washing machine.
  5. Follow the normal washing process.

Can You Put Powder Detergent Directly in the Drum of a Washing Machine?

You can add powder detergent directly in the drum of a washing machine. However, you should keep in mind that mixing water with the detergent first can help you avoid any undissolved lumps of detergent. 

If you have a front load washing machine, you can’t add water first and then detergent. In that case, you would want to add water to the detergent in a separate cup and make a paste. You can pour this paste into the detergent tray.

Powder Detergent vs. Liquid Detergent

Powdered detergents and liquid detergents serve different purposes. Therefore, it’s best to keep both at hand and use them whenever necessary. 

If you prefer using liquid detergent, you’ll need to add larger amounts to your machine to clean thicker fabric clothes properly. On the other hand, if you prefer using only powder detergent, use smaller amounts when washing light fabric clothes not to damage them.

The main difference between the two is that powder detergent is a bit harsher than its liquid counterpart. Nevertheless, they both serve their purpose well. However, if you’re confused about choosing one out of both, I’ll advise you to analyze your situation and decide accordingly.

Powder detergent is a good choice for dirty or oily clothes. Liquid detergent is milder; hence it’s the best choice for those looking to clean more delicate clothing. 

For example, I would wash my one-time-worn party dress in liquid detergent and my day-to-day jeans in powder detergent. Moreover, I’d like to look at the label attached to the clothes to see if they have any washing recommendations or warnings. 

I made a more comprehensive comparison between pods, liquid, and powder detergent that may interest you.

How To Choose the Best Powder Detergent for Your Washing Machine

Suppose you have decided to use powder detergent and are searching for the best possible option in the market. In that case, you’ll want to take a look at these excellent options that keep both your garments and your machine clean and safe.

Always look at the manual guide of your washing machine. The manufacturer primarily recommends a detergent that is suitable for its design. Not following the manufacturer’s recommendations can harm the appliance in the long run.

Suppose your manufacturer hasn’t recommended a specific type of detergent. In that case, you’ll always want to go for a powder detergent that has very fine particles and dissolves easily, even in cold water. 

Here’s a Youtube video explaining why it’s advisable to wash your clothes in cold water:

Should You Wash Clothes in Hot Water? | Consumer Reports

Heavy and oversized grains of detergent doesn’t get dissolved and stick to the fabric. Additionally, they can get stuck inside the tiny pores of the machine and accumulate over time. 

Many brands on the market sell detergents formulated explicitly for washing machines. They also mention whether the product is made for a top load or front load washer, making your choice much more straightforward.

I highly urge you to avoid cheap products as they can cost much more in the long run. A good quality detergent is crucial in the longevity of your clothes and the machine itself.

What To Keep in Mind When Using Powder Detergent in Your Washing Machine

There are a few factors you’ll want to consider before using powder detergent on your washing machine. Keeping these elements in mind can help you optimize your equipment’s performance.

Use Minimal Amounts of Detergent

It’s evident from the whole article that you should use minimal amounts of detergent to ensure long-lasting shine to your clothes as well as your washing machine. 

Moreover, washing machines aren’t designed for heavy foam. Using too much detergent will create large amounts of foam inside the drum, which builds pressure and can harm the washing machine

Always opt for detergents that are effective while also being gentle at the same time.

Keep a Cleaning Routine

Washing machines clean your clothes, but they also need cleaning themselves from time to time. Little pieces of fabrics and detergent residue can accumulate inside the washer over time. So it’s necessary to clean them to ensure the machine’s proper functioning in the long run. 

Some advanced machines also have a reminder setting to notify you when the appliance needs cleaning. Using a brush or a cloth piece will be sufficient to clean it inside out.

Baking soda or vinegar can effectively clean the drum along with deodorizing it. Take a tablespoon (15 g) of baking soda, mix it with water and apply it inside the drum. Clean with a water-soaked microfiber towel afterward, and you’re done. 

Here’s a YouTube video on how to clean your washing machine:

How to Clean Your Washing Machine (Cleaning Motivation)
Check out my detailed guide on washing machine care here.

Clean With Water After Every Use

After using your machine, ideally, you’d want to run an empty cycle with just water. Put some water in the drum and spin it for a few minutes. The liquid will collect all the dirt stuck inside the drum and flush it out. 

This is a time-sensitive task, as you’ll want to flush out the detergent residue as long as it’s still fresh. Otherwise, once the detergent dries out, it becomes much harder to clean it. 

Next, you can check out the top 13 laundry detergent alternatives list, or how to fold your clothes fast.


Thursday 13th of July 2023

Thanks for sharing such an informative article.


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