Can We Use Top Load Detergent in a Front Load Washing Machine?

Looking at the vast array of laundry detergents on the supermarket shelf, many people get curious if they can use top load detergent in a front load washing machine or not? With so many detergent products out there, it’s no wonder that there’s confusion.

The short answer to the question “Can we use top load detergent in a front load washing machine?” is very simple. No, you should not use top load detergents in a front-loading washer. Only HE (high efficiency) front loading detergents should be used in these washing machines. 

The above question first came to my mind when I made a mistake while buying the right detergent for my washing machine. Yes, I bought a top-loading washing machine detergent for my front-loader. And the result was that there was froth all over my floor and washing machine.

This made me a bit uncomfortable and I started thinking whether it is a problem with my washing machine or it was the wrong detergent that made this happen? So, I did a little bit of research and thought of sharing the same in this post.

It is always advisable to go through the proper guidance on what and how to use the right detergent for your machine.

And for your queries, you are provided with multiple options over the internet.

To make your task simpler I just wrote a few words that may help you to do your chores easily and get all your answers in the same place.

top load detergent in a front load washing machine

Besides using the wrong detergent, the other very common mistake that we generally make while doing our laundry is not using the right amount of water or the number of cycles required for the different fabrics. Among these things, the detergent does play a major role in giving the right wash to your clothes. 

So, it is very important to know your washing machine and the type of detergent to use in it. But before that, you have to know the difference between hand wash powder, machine washing powder, and liquid detergent. 

What are the different types of detergents available in the market?

Hand Wash Powder is mainly used for washing clothes by hand or for semi-automatic washing machines where you need more water and suds (foam) to remove stains with less agitation.

Machine Wash Powder is mainly used in a fully-automatic washing machine where you generally require less water and detergent to clean your laundry. 

Types of detergent

Liquid Detergent is also designed for a fully-automatic washing machine where you can pour the detergent onto the stain directly while loading your stained clothes into the machine. It also comes in the form of Pods.

If you want to learn more about this, you can check our article on different types of laundry detergents.

Thus, it matters a lot what washing machine you have at your home. It may be front loading fully automatic washing machine which needs less amount of water and suds to wash your clothes as it uses the ‘tumble’ action or it can be top loading fully automatic washing machine which needs more water and suds to get rid of stains and grease from your clothes which uses agitator for washing your clothes. 

So, it is quite important to use the right detergent for the right washing machine to get the desired result. 

Now, the question arises whether you can use a top-load detergent in a front load washing machine or not?

As discussed above, a top-loading washing machine needs a detergent that generates a lot of suds because it has an agitator or pulsator in the drum. It also needs more water and washing cycles for giving a clean wash to your clothes. 

However, your front-loading washing machine requires ‘HE’ marked detergent i.e. high-efficiency formula detergent. The front-loading washing machine works on tumble action where you need less water and suds for washing your laundry. And as it needs fewer suds you need a lesser number of washing cycles. The lesser the washing cycles lesser is energy consumption. 

Top Load Detergent in a Front Load Washing Machine

If you add any other kind of detergent in a high-efficiency washer, then it may create a lot of froth and hamper the machine.

Excessive foam in the machine prevents a good wash by reducing the friction or cushioning the clothes from rubbing against one another because it’s this rubbing that helps the clothes in getting it as clean as possible.

As the washing machine continuously senses water and suds levels within the wash, and may also have the ability to adjust the duration of the rinse cycles, too much suds can trigger more rinse cycles and can increase the wash cycle up to 25 minutes while wasting the extra water.

According to The American Cleaning Institute ® (ACI) [previously Soap and Detergent Association (SDA)], too many suds in a front loader can also reduce the cleaning power of your machine.

It can also stop the machine, confuse your washer cycle, and will certainly prevent the washer from rinsing thoroughly or washing properly. It gives a feeling that your clothes are still not clean enough as it creates a residue of detergent over the clothes and machine. 

Lastly, excessive forth can also block up the system, which can prevent the washer from draining out water from the washer and, in turn, cause more suds.

What to do if you have bought the wrong detergent

If you have bought the wrong detergent i.e. top loading detergent for a front-loading washing machine or vice versa, it doesn’t mean you cannot use it at all. Because we have heard from the people who did the same mistake but the thing you have to keep in mind is the right amount of detergent to use for the right machine. 

As the top-loading detergent gives a lot of suds, it is better to use it in a small quantity of it when you are using it for front-loading one. Otherwise, the front-loading machine cannot remove the froth with the little water it uses. 

Hence you will not get the desired wash and at the same time, the performance of your washing machine will degrade. Similarly, when you are using a front-loading detergent for top loading one you need to add more of it to get the result you want.

But this is recommended only for those who have bought it by mistake. If you want suggestions then I will definitely tell you to use the right detergent for the right washing machine not only to save your energy consumption but also to increase the life span of your washer. Because when you treat your washer good it treats your laundry good. 

How to Control Suds When the Wrong Detergent is Used in Large Quantity?

There can be an uncomfortable situation when you’ve mistakenly used a large quantity of regular detergent in a High-efficiency front load washing machine. The non-HE laundry detergents create tons of bubbles in washing machines which may lead to a sudsing problem that can cause detergent bubbles to fill the washer tub and start to overflow from the detergent drawer or the door itself.

how to reduce suds,bubble,foam in a washing machine step by step guide
Follow these steps to control or reduce suds

In this case, allowing the washing cycle to continue will not only create more bubbles but also it can confuse the washer and the clothing will not likely rinse properly either.

In this excessive foam situation, the very first thing we recommend you to do is cancel the washing cycle, restart the washing machine and then select the spin cycle. After that follow with another cycle that is a rinse/spin only with cold water, to remove the suds from the wash load. 

If you find that detergent is remaining in the washing machine then we recommend you proceed with regular washing with cold water.

You can also reduce the amount of foam by adding a cap of fabric conditioner to your dispenser drawer. It is advised to add it when the machine takes in water for a rinse.

The Amount of Detergent to Use

The wash quality of your laundry is not only dependent upon the type of detergent you use but also on the amount of right detergent your machine required.

If you add too much detergent to your washer, it may create unwanted white residues on your clothes and can also cause problems for your machine. Remember, more is not always better.

However, if you add less than the required amount of detergent, then it can result in poor cleaning and stain removal.

So again, a new question arises that How much Detergent should you use?

The amount of detergent required is dependent on five key factors:

How much Detergent should you use?
  1. Dirt Levels: You’ll certainly need to use more detergent in a load, if your laundry consists of heavily soiled clothes, like a sports uniform or clothes from a construction job.
  2. Size of The Load You’re Washing: Detergent dosage is also dependent upon the load size of the laundry. Larger wash loads bring in more dirt, so to get great results on every wash you need more detergent. If you’re washing a small load of clothes, you’ll need less detergent.
  3. Water Hardness: Water hardness is directly proportional to the amount of detergent needed. If you have hard water, you’ll need to use extra detergent.
  4. Washing Machine Type: Different types of washing machines work on a different principle, and therefore you have to use different washing detergents too.
  5. The stated concentration of the detergent (2X, 4X, or 10X): Lower the concentration level of the detergent, higher is its requirement in a wash cycle and vice versa. For instance, 2x concentrated detergent is needed in a larger quantity than 4x or 10x.

Most people think that a full scoop of powder or a full capful of liquid detergent is the perfect amount every time. It is not the case, you should be a bit more careful when measuring out your laundry detergent. As nowadays, detergents tend to be much more concentrated than they were in the past, so a full scoop or cap is most likely not necessary. 

Generally, two tablespoons(tbsp) of detergent are sufficient to produce a clean wash. However, for heavily soiled garments, you need to experiment with soap levels.

Detergents and Additive Usage Tips

Don’t use more than the recommended levels of bleach, detergent, and softener; You must keep in mind the recommended amounts on the detergent packaging and double-check the cap’s measuring lines before you pour.

For your help, there are guides marked on the drawer of the washing machine that shows maximum levels for each of the products.

While doing your laundry you need to take care of efficiently loading your washing machine

Loading your Front Loader

While loading a front load washing machine, you need to place the garments inside the tub one by one starting with the more heavily soiled clothes first, and also need to make sure that the laundries are not tangled.

For the best possible results, make sure that there is enough water for the detergent to dissolve completely and enough space for your clothes to smoothly move around the tub.

Avoid overloading your washing machine by using the 1-hand rule i.e. place your hand into your washing machine’s drum.

If you can’t get your hand into the drum, then the machine is overloaded. The perfectly loaded condition is if you can fit nothing else in the drum, just your hand and your wash.

1-Hand Rule for Loading a washing machine
1-Hand Rule

If the machine is overloaded then it will soak up all the water so there isn’t enough to completely dissolve the detergent. To prevent this from happening you need to leave a gap about the width of your hand between the top of the drum and the laundry. As you know that your more delicate fibers and faster wash cycles require a smaller load to give the garments more space to move around.

How to Dose your Front Loader

To get the maximum out of your detergent, make sure to use it correctly. In your front loader, there is a special compartment for detergent. You just need to pour in the recommended amount of detergent in that compartment and start the wash cycle.

You can use both the form of detergents i.e. liquid and powder, into the same compartment, although which one to use is dependent upon your laundry requirements and the type of machine you’re using.

dosing your front-load washing machine

If you are using liquid detergent then take the help of a detergent cap as a dosing device to measure the amount and pour it into the drawer of your washing machine. The dose amount should be as per the instructions on the pack.

If you are using powder detergent then you can measure the correct dose using the scoop provided with the detergent. In this case, also you need to dose the detergent into the drawer. You always need to check the dosing instructions on the pack and use the right amount of detergent for your laundry.

Powder Vs Liquid Detergent

If you ask me which detergent is better for your washing machine, the powder one or the liquid one. Then, of course, I will always recommend the liquid one. The liquid ones dissolve easily in water and even work well with a few years old washing machine.

Liquid vs Powder Laundry Detergent Options

An old washing machine cannot dissolve the powder detergents well and hence leaves a residue over the clothes and the drum which lowers the efficiency of the machine. 

You can put liquid detergent directly onto the stain then put it inside the washing machine. This removes the stain faster. Whereas you cannot do the same with the powder detergent. 

There are also liquid detergents for baby’s clothes which kills bacteria and has fewer chemicals that keep the clothes soft for your young ones. They are also environmentally friendly as there are no fillers in them. They are neutral in nature, thus keeping your hands smooth and safe from chemicals. 

On the other hand, powder detergents have more unnecessary fillers and chemicals. They are alkaline in nature which dries both your hand and clothes. They also take away the original color and softness of your clothes.

As you always have to pay more for better benefits. So, the only downside with liquid detergents is that they are much costlier than powder ones.

What to look while buying detergent 

While buying the laundry detergent for your front-load washing machine, you need to make sure that the bottle contains the HE logo on it. Generally, the retailers mix different types of detergents on the shelf or consumers rearrange the product while choosing and you may likely buy the wrong one. 

What to look while buying detergent

You can buy in bulk to save extra and to ensure that you have proper stock at the time of need. The price of regular detergent and HE detergents are almost similar.

Our Recommendation of the Best Detergents

For your convenience, we have listed down some of the best detergents that are easily available on the Amazon for both front and top-loading washing machines. 

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Top Load Detergents 

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Front Load Detergents 

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Detergents for Both Types of Washing Machine (HE Detergents)

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Other Do’s and Don’ts       

  • According to the ACI when you mix liquid and powder detergents in a single part of the drawer of the washing machine, it can cause the dispenser to clog. So, don’t mix detergents.
  • If you have mistakenly added liquid or powder detergent directly to the wash load, do use one or two extra rinse cycles to clean the soap residue from your laundry.
  • You should not add bleach directly to your laundry load as it can damage your clothes’ fiber because it won’t be diluted before coming in contact with the wash load.
  • According to the ACI, the low volume of water used in a front-load washing machine can occasionally dye transfer problems. To avoid this do separate clothes according to color. 
sort the clothes

☣️A word of CAUTION: Keep detergent safe

Remember that laundry detergents are chemicals, so they must be kept out of reach of children and pets, preferably somewhere in a dark and dry place. You can put them in a drawer that they can’t open easily, or store them on a shelf that they can’t reach.

I hope this post was helpful to you in clearing all your doubts regarding the types of detergent to be used with different types of washing machines and also which one not to use. It depends upon you how you want your clothes and washing machine to be treated.

You can also check our “11 Washing Machine Accessories “Must-Haves” for a New Washer” section for the things to buy that will make your laundry routine much more productive and efficient. If you are thinking to buy a new washing machine and not able to decide which one to buy, you can check our complete buyer’s guide here in our “How to Choose a Washing Machine – A Complete Guide” section.

You can also go through our list of the 11 best washing machines available in the market and see the different features and latest technology in various brands.

However, if you need any other help or have suggestions for us, then please do comment below and we will get back to you with the best possible information and details. Your advice, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.

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  1. Thank you for sharing.

  2. […] using a top load washing machine then you can use a soft and gentle top load detergent. Never use top load detergent in your front load washing machine. You can use the front load washing detergent is your top load washing machine but the efficiency […]

  3. […] the proper amount of detergent is not only cost-effective but also advisable for clothes. Most of us think that more detergent […]

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