Where to Put Washing Powder

Where to Put Washing Powder and Laundry Detergent

Whether you have just moved out of home for the first time, or have purchased a new washing machine, many people have found themselves wondering exactly where they should be putting the washing powder in their machine.

If you are pondering the answer to this question, this article is for you.

Type of Washing Machine

There are two types of washing machines: front loading and top loading. Front-loading type washing machines are most common in the UK, and they have the door in the front with a detergent drawer usually above this.

The rest of this guide is focused on this type of washing machine.

front-loading vs top-loading washing machine

Top-loading washing machines have a door at the top of the machine. With most top-loading washing machines, the detergent is usually added directly to the drum underneath the clothing and does not always have a detergent drawer.


Drawer Compartments

Open the detergent drawer in the washing machine, and you will have separate compartments. Usually, there are three, but sometimes only two depending on the machine’s manufacturer and model.

Drawers with three compartments have a section for pre-wash detergent, regular detergent, and one for fabric softener.

Washing Machine Drawer

In most machines, the compartment for washing powder (or other detergents) is marked “II” or “2”. This is likely to be the compartment you use the most.

If you are using a pre-wash cycle, any pre-wash detergent you are using will go in the compartment marked “I” or “1”.

The last compartment in the detergent drawer is for fabric softener. In many washing machines, this compartment usually looks visibly different from the others, and it will usually have a maximum level marker.

This compartment is usually also marked with either a flower or a “*”. 


Using Powdered Detergent

Usually, washing powder is placed directly into the main cycle compartment in the detergent drawer. This is the compartment marked “II” or “2”. Simply measure out the correct dose, and tip it into the appropriate compartment in the drawer.

You can also put the washing powder in a mesh bag that is then added to the drum along with the laundry. This technique can help the washing powder to dissolve quicker.

Always make sure you check the detergent’s instructions before using it in this way to ensure that it is suitable.


Getting the Most From the Detergent

Now you know how to fill the detergent drawer, here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of it:

  • Don’t overfill the machine – make sure you leave space for clothes to move
  • Don’t underfill the machine – use a shorter cycle instead
  • Consider the spin cycle, duration, and speed, and choose the appropriate option for your laundry load
  • Use the correct temperature – check the care labels on the clothing and the detergent’s instructions to determine the best temperature


Other Types of Detergent

There are four main types of detergent, with the main difference being their form and how they are used. The most common types are powder, liquid detergents, laundry pods, and laundry tablets.

Laundry pods

Laundry pods are a popular choice because they are just so convenient. These pods are pre-measured, and many contain dedicated stain or odour removers alongside the regular detergent. These pods simply go in the drum with the laundry.

Liquid laundry detergent

Liquid laundry detergent is available in a range of types, depending on whether you are washing colours, whites, or dark clothing. 

Liquid detergents work in all cycle temperatures and tend to be effective on nasty stains, such as grease.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

Like washing powder, this type of detergent usually goes in the main cycle compartment in the drawer but can sometimes be used directly in the drum too.


Tablets aren’t as popular, and these are essentially pre-measured washing powder. They usually do not have a protective coat like pods, and instead, feel more like a dishwasher tablet.

This type of tablet is usually designed to go in the detergent drawer, where it will dissolve in the same way as washing powder during the cycle.