How Much Laundry Detergent to Use – What Everybody Ought to Know

how much detergent should you use

Most people don’t think about how much laundry detergent to use during a typical wash cycle. If you’re guilty of just pouring laundry detergent into the cup WITHOUT MEASURING, rest assured that you’re not alone. We see many repair problems that are caused by excess soap use.

The first sign of using too much laundry detergent is the smell of mildew in your washer. This indicates that there are excess suds that are not being removed during the rinse cycle.

Because laundry detergent contains fats, the accumulated suds can be a favorable breeding ground for mold and nasty odors. If not addressed, it can progress to a situation where you need to replace your door boot, pump, or even the entire tub. To avoid this unwanted washer repair, use a washing machine cleaner that removes the mildew monthly (e.g. Affresh).

NOTE: Your washing machine should never be loaded more than 3/4 full or packed in tightly. Properly loading the washer will ensure your clothes are clean (not to mention help prevent costly washer repairs). With this in mind, the amount of laundry soap you should use depends on whether you have a high-efficiency (HE) or standard load washer…

Tips to Know How Much Laundry Detergent to Use

Detergent for HE Washers

While it’s important to know how much laundry detergent to use regardless of your washer type, it’s particularly important with HE washers. High-efficiency washers are designed to complete the load using less water than a standard washer, meaning that there is less water to rinse the detergent away. This is why it’s recommended that you use high-efficiency detergents with HE washers, as they help reduce excess suds. Here are our guidelines (per regular load size):

  • HE liquid detergent= Use one tablespoon.
  • Regular detergent= Use only two teaspoons.
  • Powder detergent= Use two tablespoons.



When the load is exceptionally soiled, your best option is to pre-soak the clothes with the proper dosage. In any case, don’t add more than an additional 50 percent per load.

Detergent for Standard Load Washers

The general rule for standard load washers is to use one-half of what the manufacturer recommends. This will typically be about a half-inch in your liquid measuring cup but can vary. You have to pay close attention because a full measuring cup can be up to ten times more than what you actually need! Like with HE detergents, it’s highly recommended that you pre-soak heavily soiled laundry, rather than adding more detergent. This will give the detergent more time to break down the stains.

Liquid vs. Powder Detergent

While there are liquid and powder detergent options that will do the job when used in the right amounts, we recommend using powder detergents. This is because liquid detergents have more of a tendency to cause mildew build-up. The only caveat is to make sure to use HE powder detergents with HE washers, otherwise, it can leave residue on the clothes.

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