Laundry Day. If days were equivalent to bodily functions, laundry day would be a sigh. It’s the day where you can no longer bring yourself to put the same unwashed pair of jeans on for the 5th time in a row, or when the funkiness coming from your laundry basket is no longer an insult, but a full-on nostril assault. 

However, laundry day is as certain as death & taxes. So it’s best to make sure it’s handled the right way. Although loading clothes into a washing machine may seem like the easiest part of doing laundry, many people tend to get it wrong.

Properly loading your clothes can ensure you are getting the best results from your washing machine. Whether it’s by saving on the water bill or by achieving the desired cleanliness.  

How to properly load a top-load washing machine

1. Always add your detergent first

This helps the detergent spread evenly across your clothes and helps prevent excess “sudsing”. Whether you use liquid, powder, or single-dose packs; the soap should always go in first. Adding the detergent first also lowers the risk of fabric becoming damaged by excess detergent sitting on it for too long. Certain high-efficiency top load washers come with a dispenser drawer; using this will allow the machine to use the detergent at specific times through the cycle. Even if you have a high-efficiency model, you should still get in the habit of adding detergent first. 

2. Never add clothes above the central agitator

Instead, make sure all clothes are evenly dispersed around the sides. This ensures all clothes will be spread evenly enough to be individually washed. Overloading can prevent water and detergent from thoroughly washing clothes that are too tightly packed together. This also helps prevent wrinkles and makes it easier on your washing machine’s motor, lowering the chance that it might need a repair earlier than expected from normal wear and tear. 

3. Mix small and large clothing items

Although this may seem counterintuitive, it’s the way to go. Mixing small and large items ensures better movement inside the drum of the washing machine. This helps each individual clothing item receive a full clean.

How to properly load a front-load washing machine

1. Use the detergent dispenser tray

Most front load washers come equipped with a tray for detergent, using this will allow the machine to distribute the detergent at the appropriate times during the cycle. If you use single-dose packs, make sure they are put directly in the drum before the clothes to ensure they have enough contact with water to dissolve properly.

2. Don’t load too close to the door

Pile clothes high in the machine, but leave space between the load and the edge of the drum. This ensures that your clothes have enough room to move and will get full contact with the water and detergent. Clothing that is up against the washer door extends past the drum and may not get full contact with the water.

Always Avoid Overloading!!!

We all want to get laundry done in one load, but overloading your washer prevents clothing from being thoroughly clean. Water and detergent won’t be able to get to fabrics that are too tightly packed together. Overloading also causes fabric damage as it creates too much friction that can cause fabrics to pill. This can also cause washers to “walk” and shift out of position. Separating clothing into more exact loads is the best way to get the most out of your washer and prevent damage to your favorite fabrics.

If you are consistently loading your washing machine improperly, or if you’ve had the same machine for a while, you may notice a smell coming from the drum. To learn more about how to end the smell from your machine, click here.