How much clothes powder is too much?

We replaced our old washing machine nearly a year ago, with a new and fancy electronic model (it is not all but impossible to find non-electronic washing machines, and those that are available are extremely expensive).

In recent weeks, the machine has been leaking and it took some time to figure out why and where. It turns out that the amount of powder recommended by the supplier is way too much, and so our machine is being overwhelmed with suds. This is something Mrs Postulative learned through investigation online.

It makes sense that the clothes powder maker would recommend using more of its product, but this is something that could dramatically reduce the life of the machine - in the same way the low tyre pressures recommended by tyre companies result in reduced tyre life and greater use of petrol.

Do others have similar problems with cleaning products, whether dish washing, clothes washing or other consumables of this nature?


None here. We use less powder than the box recommends and it works fine. One relatively recent problem is with the prevalence of cold water washing scum builds up and needs to be addressed. This Choice article is germane,

and for amount, ‘Depending on which laundry detergent you choose, you may be able to use half (yes, half!) the recommended dose and still get a great wash’

Most of us use tabs in the dishwasher so it is or it is not - no measuring possible, just a selection of brand. As with washing machines a periodic clean of the filter and a dishwasher cleaner needs to be done to keep them functioning.

For hand washing, we put a bit in a bowl and top up whenever it stops working. Not sure if we ever read the ‘how much to use’.


With a smallish 5.5kg by today’s standards we use approx half the recommended quantity of powder, no fabric conditioner and typically a warm wash cycle. No problems.

Earth Choice DW tablets work great for us, but we do hold out until the DW has no spare room. For the drawer and compact upright models DW’s, tablets would seem a waste. We found with our previous drawer style DW’s only half the amount of powder was more than sufficient.

With car washing detergent it appears to vary with brand. Trial and error, one bucket does the Ute but it is twice what the Barina needed.

If we all followed instructions as directed where would we all end up? :wink:


Laundry: Cold wash always, one third to half a scoop (OMO Sensitive) depending on load size, more aggressive cycle (except for sensitives, which are rarely found in my house).

Kitchen: I use the cheapest tabs on special and buy a heap. Rinse aid always supermarket brand/cheapest. Pot scrub cycle always (it never runs without being completely packed with dishes - I have multiple sets of plates/cutlery etc).


Also, using a top-load detergent in a front-load can cause problems as front load blends have suds suppressants added to reduce the level of suds caused.

We have a commercial LG machine which we have triggered the suds clearing function due to excessive suds being generated. This was because we added the usual scoop of detergent and Sards laundry soaker which caused suds overload. We now do half and half of each.


Our 7yo LG 10kg top loader suddenly decided it was washed up and threw in the towel.

As a replacement we selected a F&P 12kg front loader. It seems to have as much electronics as Pine Gap, including auto liquid detergent dispensing based on load size and cycle. I reverted to the manual powder option very quickly as it seemed to be dosing itself more heavily than a body builder on steroids.

Using a cold water cycle, my rule of thumb is to use less than ½ the dosage recommended by the detergent manufacturer. The clothes still come out clean and smelling of the perfume in the detergent. At least I assume it’s from the detergent and not from what was on my wife’s clothing. Anyway it still smells very nice.


Aside from feeling a little inadequate here,

Have washing machines genuinely grown by 50%. Our previous long lived (20+years) 8kg Hoover heavy duty washer was as big as they came? It did duty for a family of 5 which included 3 growing boys/young men.

We wash by weight, and by water level for part loads. The dosing instructions on the laundry detergent make no such assumptions. Rather than the ‘shonky’ or ‘misleading’ advice of one capful per load, should they offer a graduated cap, per kg of washing? Separate scales for everyday vs dirty and top load vs front load.


Just to reiterate what’s already been said, we’ve found you can get great results using as little as a quarter of the recommended dose of detergent (that is - a quarter of a scoop). Bearing in mind too that for most of us we’re washing pretty clean clothes, and at an average 3.5kg of laundry per load, we’re not even beginning to approach full capacity for today’s modern washing machines. It does pay to choose a detergent that performs well, but we’ve also found that some of the cheapest detergents on the market are some of the best - price is not necessarily an indicator of performance.


I cut my dishwasher tablets in half and they still clean beautifully.


I grade by the type of clothing (around there that’s generally a question of who!). Husband’s filthy construction work clothes, and the kid’s grotty play clothes get a full scoop. Kid’s moderately dirty school uniforms, which are all synthetic sportswear, get a bit less than a full scoop. My not-even-sweaty corporate wear gets half a scoop or less depending on the load size, with fabric softener. Gym clothes, or beach clothes that aren’t actually dirty but just need a really good rinse go in with no powder (and get the occasional powder wash). Linens usually get a half scoop. I have a 7kg Beko Front loader, and I use Omo with built in pre treaters (what a name, but how else do you distinguish from the others?)

Dishwasher I use tablets, usually Earth Choice. Although if I happen to go to Aldi (about once every couple of months or so) I’ll grab a box of their Platinum tablets. Currently using Coles Ultra Advanced or something because I went to Coles for coffee beans. They aren’t great.
I have noticed on a couple of occasions when the tablet has only half dissolved the dishes do still appear clean enough, so maybe I’ll give the chop it in half trick a go!


Some are amenable to that (Finish and most others), that roughly look like
image or image

but Fairy much less so since they are asymmetric or fluid filled (messy if cut).

image or image


I use Aldi’s Logix 10-in-1 which don’t seem to have any rinse aid, so they divide easily.


I use half a scoop for a full load in the front loader, never what is recommended, that is way too much. I’d like to say I use Earth Choice in the dishwasher, but the dishwasher is me, so… um… ~@|@~


In addition to the answers from others, I’m wondering if you are using top loading washing powder in a front loading machine? Front loading powder makes a lot less suds than top loading powder.

You can use front loading powder in a top loader, but not top loading powder in a front loader.


Welcome to the community, jezz.

Increasingly there is one powder for both front and top loaders. Presumably this means that the manufacturers are trying to balance the different needs of the two kinds of machine - something that will often not turn out well.


I have switched to TruEarth Eco Strips. No more powder! They are amazing. No big plastic bottles, no powder mess, no plastic scoops, friendly to the environment. They do a great job. I bought a large quantity so cruise right past the washing powders/liquids in the supermarket with a slight air of superiority.

1 Like

Thanks Postulative.

I think you will find that washing powder labelled “top and front loader” is just powder which used to be called “front loader”. There is no reason why any front loader washing powder could not be used in top loaders, except that the quantity of powder may differ as top loaders use more water so the detergent will be more dilute.


I always use less powder than the manufacturers recommendations. These days, with people changing their clothes every day, clothes are not really dirty so don’t need a lot of powder, or a hot or a long wash. I also dissolve the powder in warm water before pouring it into the machine as I find the powder doesn’t really dissolve during the wash, leaving residue in the clothes. I also ALWAYS wash with warm water, (40 degrees C), and towels at 60 degrees C.


We use EarthChoice brand powder as we have no sewage. Just a grease trap and grey water trench. As the concrete rainwater tank delivers ice cold water for most of the year we always use the warm wash cycle, or occasionally hot for genuinely dirty outdoor work clothes.

We’ve had similar issues previously with powders not dissolving properly in very cold water.


Another aspect is that some washers connect to hot and cold taps, and some just to cold and heat their own water.

For those that have both hot and cold connections it can be frustrating because it usually takes a few litres of water before the hot makes it to the washer, and the newer high efficiency water savers often do not use even that much water, let alone mixed hot water. Some but not all machines heat water internally. My LG for example only heats water on certain cycles, not all cycles, if the incoming is not sufficiently hot.

So what to do with powder when incoming water can be almost random - house dependent. Did someone just take a hot shower or do dishes that primed the pipes, or did someone flush at a critical time (shower takers might relate to how that goes)? Despite the setting on the machine the reality of wash temperature and thus powder requirements will vary. 20C is ‘cold’ but in some parts hot needs to be added to get even up to that ‘hot’ temperature, not counting when one needs a hotter one.