How much washing powder to use: a dosing guide

If you find yourself wondering how much washing powder to use when you’re doing laundry, you’re not alone! Read this dosing guide for top tips.

Updated 2 October 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Doing the laundry is something many of us first learned about as children. Whether it was watching our mothers and grandmothers hand washing clothes, or helping to load the washing machine, washing clothes is one of those things that we are naturally familiar with.

This is why we’re sometimes afraid to admit when there’s something we’re not quite sure about, such as how to use washing powder correctly. Understanding the correct dosage for your detergent is sometimes tricky. After all, there are different dosing recommendations for powders, liquids, capsules, and tablets, for different levels of water hardness, for varying levels of dirt, and so on. So how much powder should you be using?

Dosing Guidelines

  • It's recommended that around 110ml of powder is ideal for a single load of washing in the machine. Adding an extra 100ml of powder is advised, if your clothes are very heavily soiled, or if you’re planning to use the pre-wash setting on your washing machine. 

  • For liquid detergents, the recommended dose is only 35ml (rising to 52ml for heavily soiled clothing) because it is far more concentrated than powder.

  • For capsules, it’s one capsule per wash, and for washing tablets, it’s between one and four tablets depending on water hardness.

  • Getting the correct dosage of washing capsules and tablets is simple – the dosage is already pre-measured so all you have to do is pop the correct number into the washing machine. However, for laundry powders and washing detergents, a little more effort is required. The washing powder scoop perfectly measures out 110ml, while the dosing ball measures 35ml.

  • It’s important to remember that these dosing guidelines are just that – guidelines! Nothing is set in stone, and you may find that different manufacturers recommend different amounts of product. Use your initiative when it comes to your washing, but remember that the manufacturer’s recommendations are the best way to use these products safely and effectively. If your clothes are very heavily soiled or stained, or if you’re in an area that’s known for having particularly hard water, you may need to use a little more detergent.

Similarly, if you just want to give your clothes a quick refresh, you may be able to use less detergent.

You will need:

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  • How to use washing powder in a machine

    Not only can washing detergent dosage be a source of confusion, but knowing the best way to use detergent in a washing machine can also be tricky. Here’s how to use the powder in the machine.

    1. 1

      Add the clothing into the washing machine

      Pop your clothing into the washing machine. Make sure to add any delicate clothing into a laundry bag to prevent it being damaged by other clothing, or by the washing machine.

    2. 2

      Choose and select your washing programme

      Remember that if you’re opting for a pre-wash cycle, this will affect how much detergent you use (you’ll need around 100ml more).

    3. 3

      Measure out the correct dose of washing powder

      Measure out the correct dose of washing powder for your load of laundry, using more or less than recommended if you either have very dirty clothes or simply want to do a quick refresh.

    4. 4

      Pour the washing powder into the correct compartment

      Pour your washing powder into the correct compartment in the drawer of your machine. Pre-wash and main wash compartments are often labelled as ‘I’ and ‘II’ respectively.

    Think of washing tablets as compacted powder, and use these in the same way. Liquid detergent can either be used in the drawer or placed into the drum of the machine inside the dosing ball, while capsules should always be placed inside the drum – about halfway between the middle and the back.

Using too much or too little powder

Why is getting the correct dose important? Using too much detergent can mean that the water struggles to rinse off all the soap, leaving a residue on your clothing (if this happens, rinse your clothing under warm water). Using too little detergent means your clothes may not come out of the machine completely clean. It’s all about getting the right balance.

Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Dosage

Using washing powder in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner is not only good for your wallet but also for the environment. Here's how to strike that balance:

  1. 1

    Follow Manufacturer Recommendations: Start by reading the manufacturer's instructions on the detergent packaging. They often provide guidelines for the optimal amount to use in different washing machines and water conditions.

  2. 2

    Use a Measuring Cup: Invest in a measuring cup specifically for your detergent. This ensures you're using the recommended amount and prevents overpouring.

  3. 3

    Consider Load Size: Match the amount of detergent to the size of your laundry load. Smaller loads require less detergent. Most modern washing machines have load-sensing features that adjust water usage accordingly.

  4. 4

    Avoid Overloading: Overloading your washing machine can lead to inadequate detergent distribution and cleaning. This may tempt you to use more detergent than necessary. Follow the machine's load capacity recommendations.

  5. 5

    Choose Concentrated Detergents: Opt for concentrated washing powders, as they require smaller doses while offering the same cleaning power.

By being mindful of your detergent usage, you not only save money but also reduce the environmental impact associated with excessive detergent production and water consumption.

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