How to Use Laundry Detergent: The Ultimate Guide

If you look for laundry detergent in any supermarket these days, you’ll see an array of liquids, pods, powders, high-efficiency (HE) formulas, and more. With so many detergent products out there, it's no wonder that there’s confusion about how to use laundry detergent correctly. At Reno’s Appliance, we’re washing machine experts and wanted to give you these quick tips on how to use laundry detergent to get the best results.

  1. Determine Your Detergent Preference.
    Liquid detergents are easy to pour and work great for pre-treating stains like grease, grass, and ground-in dirt. Powder detergents are good for consistent, everyday washing, but using too much can leave a residue on your clothes. Finally, there’s the newest detergent product, the laundry pod. These are super convenient and take the guesswork out of properly measuring detergent. Just make sure you keep these stored away from pets and children. Their bright colors make them look like toys or candy.

    No matter what type of detergent you choose, make sure you are using an HE formula detergent if you have an HE appliance. HE detergents produce fewer suds and make it easier for HE machines to rinse out the soap. Using standard detergent in an HE machine will create far too many suds and can damage the machine over time. If you have a standard washing machine, then you can use any type of detergent, including HE formulas.
  2. Consider Load Size.
    It makes sense that you should use less detergent on smaller loads and more detergent on larger loads. Here’s how to determine load size: If your machine looks about one-quarter full once all the clothes are inside, then that’s considered a small load. If it looks about half-full, it’s a medium load, and if it’s close to full, then it’s a large load. Washing large loads is fine, but don’t cram too many clothes in at once—you’ll likely wind up with wrinkled, not-so-clean clothes.
  3. Use the Right Amount of Detergent.
    A large part of knowing how to use laundry detergent is knowing how much to use. Most people think a full capful of liquid detergent or a full scoop of powder is the perfect amount every time. But you should be a bit more careful when measuring out your laundry detergent. Detergents today tend to be much more concentrated than they were in the past, so a full cap or scoop is likely not necessary. Check the recommended amounts on the detergent packaging and double-check the cap’s measuring lines before you pour. And remember: Using too much detergent won’t make your clothes cleaner—in fact, your clothes won’t get as clean and they’ll wear out more quickly.
  4. Figure Out What Goes in First.
    Should you pour in the detergent after your clothes? Or pour in the detergent first? If you have a regular top-loading machine, it’s best to fill your washer with a bit of water first, then add your detergent, then add your clothes. This helps the detergent get evenly distributed in the water before it hits your clothes. You definitely never want to pour powder or liquid directly on top of your clothes because it may not dissolve completely and will leave a film on your clothes. If you have an HE washer or a standard front-loading washer, then it should have a special compartment for detergent. Simply pour in the recommended amount of detergent, then add your clothes and start the wash.

Knowing how to use laundry detergent properly will not only result in cleaner clothes, but your washing machine will last longer as well. Of course, the best laundry detergent in the world won’t help if you’ve got an old or defective washing machine.

Come to Reno’s Appliance and speak to any member of our friendly and knowledgeable sales staff. They’ll listen to your needs and recommend a product from our extensive inventory of washing machine brands that are known for dependability and durability like Whirlpool, Electrolux, Samsung, and GE.

Reno’s Appliance was founded in 1951 as Reno’s Radio & TV. Since then, the shop has grown to become the one-stop home appliance source trusted by thousands. Reno’s sons continue to carry on the tradition set forth by their father and exhibit exceptional customer service. Stop by our showroom in Paterson, NJ to view our wide selection of appliances.