While many believe that more is better, sometimes it’s just…more. This is especially true in the case of laundry detergent, where using too much can actually harm your clothes and washer. How much laundry detergent should I use? It largely depends on the size of your wash load and your type of washing machine. We’ll answer how much laundry detergent to use for each type of washer so the only outcome is years of clean clothes.

Your Questions, Answered: How Much
Laundry Detergent to Use

While large or heavily soiled loads may require more detergent, generally only a small amount is required to clean and remove stains. We’ll specify how much laundry detergent to use but, first, here’s how to know if you’re using too much.

FAQ #1. Am I Using Too Much Soap in My Washer?

Most of us are guilty of using too much detergent at least occasionally. This is largely because detergent companies often recommend large amounts and the measuring caps provided typically overdose the detergent. Fortunately, it doesn’t require an in-depth investigation to determine if you’re using too much detergent; your clothes and washer usually provide specific evidence.

These signs are indicative of too much soap in washing machine:

  • Washer smells bad: An accumulation of detergent residue and suds often collect on inaccessible areas of the wash tub, resulting in a foul odor that worsens over time.
  • Draining problems: Too many suds can clog the drain hose or even harm components, preventing the washer from draining or requiring a professional part replacement.
  • Dark spots on clothing: These marks are likely due to moldy overgrowth on the door boot from an excess of suds. The mold can transfer to clothing during a wash cycle and leave a lasting stain.
  • Clothes have a stiff, sticky residue: Too much detergent can make clothes feel stiff and scratchy and appear dull.

how much laundry detergent to use

FAQ #2. How Much Soap Should I Use in an HE Washer?

HE washers use less water than their regular counterparts, requiring HE detergent that’s specially formulated to create minimal suds. However, too much of this detergent can still cause oversudsing that won’t be rinsed away in smaller amounts of water. When washing a standard wash load and adding regular-strength detergent in front-load washer, use 2 teaspoons per load

The following detergent amounts are recommended for HE washers with certain products and conditions:

  • Hard water: Use ¼ teaspoon more detergent.
  • Detergent packets: Use one packet per wash load
  • Powdered detergent: Add 2 Tablespoons directly to the washer drum before loading clothes.
  • Heavily-soiled loads: Instead of adding more detergent, pre-soak the load before washing. If you must use more detergent, only add 50% more.

FAQ #3. How Much Soap Should I Use in a Regular Washer?

Regular washers use almost twice the amount of water as HE models, making soap residue and suds less of a concern. However, knowing how much laundry detergent to use is still important to save on cost and eliminate any concern for detergent buildup. For these reasons, it’s recommended to use 2 Tablespoons of standard liquid detergent with each wash load. When pouring detergent, use a standard measuring device or mark the correct amount on your detergent’s measuring cap.

Follow these recommendations when adding detergent in top-load washer with specific products and situations:

  • Soft water: Decrease detergent amount to 1 ½ Tablespoons. Homes with hard water can use the standard recommended amount.
  • Detergent packets: Use one packet per wash load.
  • Powdered detergent: Add ¼-⅓ cups to each wash load.
  • Heavily-soiled loads: Pretreat specific spots or presoak garments with a small amount of detergent and water.

Knowing how much laundry detergent to use can go a long way in prolonging the life of your washer. But when the inevitable repair needs arise, call on the experts at Sloan Appliance Service for fast and professional care!