Blue fabric conditioner being poured into the dispenser drawer of a washing machine.

How Much Detergent to Use in My Washing Machine?

Washing clothes in the machine is a great way to save time and get good results with less effort, but how can you make sure that you’re doing it correctly? Washing your clothes in the washing machine requires you to learn a few basic things – such as what new laundry symbols mean, how and where to load detergent into the machine, and of course, how much detergent to use in the first place. The amount of detergent you use will depend on three main things:

  • How dirty the clothes are – heavily soiled items might need a little more detergent than those that have just had everyday use
  • How big the washing load is – remember, you should never overload the machine as this can reduce the wash quality
  • What sort of washing detergent you’re using – capsules, washing powder, and liquid detergents all have different dosage instructions

If you’re not sure on which is the right detergent for you, or how much of it you should use, then this guide can help.  

Choosing the right detergent

To know how much detergent to put in a washing machine you need to make sure you’re using the right one. Should you use liquid or powder? What about fabric softener? Or capsules? First things first, make sure the detergent you want to use is suitable for your particular machine. You’ll need to consider whether your machine is a front loader or a top loader to help you decide. Next, you need to make sure your choice is also appropriate for the items you want to wash. To make this easier it is often worth separating loads by colour and fabric type. Delicate fabrics like silk require a little extra care so you might want to consider those separately.  

Learning how much detergent to use

Once you’ve chosen your detergent, it’s time to learn how to use it correctly.

  • How much detergent powder to use: this depends on your detergent but most washing powders will give clear dosing guidance and may even provide a scoop for you to measure it out. Using too much powder detergent could leave residue on your clothes or even cause problems inside your machine due to un-dissolved detergent.
  • How much liquid detergent to use in a washing machine: like washing powder, liquid detergents normally come with a cap or dosing ball to help you measure the correct amount. Sometimes this is loaded direct in the drum, after the clothes, but it may also be able to go in the detergent drawer so make sure you check first. As well as standard liquid detergents – like OMO Auto Liquid – you can also get high concentration options – like OMO Ultra Capsules – which pack a stronger stain-busting punch.
  • How many capsules to use: laundry capsules contain a pre-measured dose of detergent so all you need to do is simply pop one into your drum before loading your clothes on top. OMO Ultra Capsules are packed with four times more concentrated washing powder than powder detergent so you get plenty of cleaning powder inside a small package.

Remember: always read the packaging on your detergent to check the correct dosage and usage instructions for your needs.  

How much detergent to use in a top loader versus a front loader?

As mentioned above, the amount of detergent you use can differ depending on the type of machine you have. If you’re not sure how much powder detergent to use for a top loader instead of a front loader then you can always check the washing machine manual. Detergents such as OMO Auto Powder are suitable for use with all machine types so you don’t need to worry about buying a specialist product.  

Measuring your detergent: top tips

To help ensure you use the right amount of detergent every time, don’t forget these top tips:

  • Read the packaging instructions and guidance in full before doing anything
  • Learn what is meant be small, medium, and large washing loads – as a general guide, a small load is 1-2 kg, a medium load is around 3kg, and a large load is 4-5kg
  • Remember to increase the amount of detergent you use for heavily soiled clothes
  • Never overload the machine or use more than the recommended amount of detergent. It can affect the wash quality and even damage your machine
  • Keep on top of regular washing machine maintenance by cleaning your machine. This will help prevent un-dissolved detergent from building up, and help keep your clothes even fresher

So, those are just a few quick tips on getting the detergent right when washing clothes in the machine. Always follow manufacturer and product guidelines to avoid waste, and remember to store your detergents and cleaning products out of reach of little hands.