No one wants to admit they don’t really know how to use their washing machine, but it’s something that’s shockingly common. While many of us can get by without knowing the ‘rules’, we may not be doing what’s right for our clothes, or for our bank balance. Knowing how to use the washing machine properly – including understanding how, when, and why to use detergent – can keep our clothes looking their best, and also save us money in the long term. Here’s your ultimate detergent guide:
Where Do You Put Laundry Detergent in a Washing Machine?
You’ve sorted your laundry into different piles, you’ve put the clothes into the machine, you’ve selected the right cycle, and you’ve closed the door. Great! There’s just one problem – while you may have mastered the washing machine, do you know where to put detergent? Don’t be embarrassed; this can be a tricky one. With so many nooks and crannies in the machine, it’s difficult to know whether there’s a hidden drawer somewhere, or whether you put the detergent straight into the drum with the clothes. So which is it?
How to Use Automatic Washing Machines: Powders
Powdered laundry detergent can either be put into a detergent drawer, or directly into the washer in a mesh bag – the choice is yours. Many people prefer to put powdered detergent straight into the drum because powder takes a little longer to work than liquid detergent as it needs to dissolve first – the powder has longer to dissolve when it comes into contact with the water earlier on (the drawer may not dispense the powder until later in the wash cycle). Make sure to follow the directions on the label of your washing powder – this way, you will get the best results.
Where to Put Liquid Detergent in a Washing Machine
Most liquid detergents, like OMO Liquid, need placing into the detergent drawer, which is usually separated into three compartments labelled like this: I / II / *. The first compartment is for pre-washing, and should be used when you’re washing heavily soiled clothing. The second compartment is where you should put your detergent, unless otherwise instructed by your product’s packaging. Finally, the third compartment is for fabric softener, which you can use as and when appropriate
How Much Laundry Detergent Should I Use?
If you have to ask how much liquid detergent to use in a washing machine, then chances are you’re using too much. Don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s very easy to do, and most of us have this deeply embedded idea that using more detergent will produce better results. It doesn’t. In fact, using too much detergent is not only a waste of money, but it can leave your clothes feeling rather unpleasant. Using too much detergent means that the soap – whether it be liquid or powder – cannot dissolve or be rinsed properly in the amount of water used for a standard wash cycle. Soap remains on the clothes, eventually drying and leaving the clothing stiff and crisp, almost like cardboard.
Detergent manufacturers have conducted many tests to find the optimal amount of laundry detergent to use in each wash, and this information should be on the back of all detergent packaging. Generally speaking, this will be between two and four ‘scoops’ (a scoop is a measuring device that many boxes of detergent come with) per wash, depending on how dirty your clothes are, and whether you’ve got hard or soft water in your home. You’ll need to use more if you’ve got hard water as soaps do not foam as well when they’re contending with the natural minerals found in hard water.