Front Loader Wash Routine

Front loaders use less water than a traditional top loader, and compensate for the lack of water by providing longer agitation time. There is no need to attempt to trick a front loader into using additional water, it won’t work.

General Wash Routine


Choose a short cycle with agitation (not just rinse and spin). Ideally cycle of around 30-40 minutes (eg. Quick Wash). Use the quantity of detergent and water temperature listed in the Detergent Index, highest spin speed and automatic rinse setting.

Main Wash 

Choose the longest cycle the machine has (eg. Cottons or Heavy Duty), the addition of extra agitation is optional (eg. Intensive option).  Use the quantity of detergent and water temperature listed in the Detergent Index, choose spin speed and automatic rinse settings. See Hot vs Cold water for info on water temp.

Correct Machine Loading

Sufficient surface area and friction, along with detergent and water are the factors that remove soiling. Correct machine loading for the main wash is important because the surface area influences the amount of friction that occurs.

Too little in the machine results in inadequate surface area and excess suds which means the surfaces of the items don’t hit each other, therefore not enough friction occurs to remove soiling. Too much in the machine and the items don’t move around freely, again the surfaces don’t hit each other, therefore soiling isn’t removed.

See Why am I getting excess suds in my Front Loader? for more information on preventing excess suds. Having excess suds in pre wash is fine, but excess suds in main wash is not, as they prevent agitation.

How To Properly Load Your Front Loader

Front loaders use minimal water and rely on agitation between items, along with detergent to loosen soiling. The soiling binds to the surfactant in the detergent, is rinsed and spun away. Load the machine to be between 2/3- 3/4 full wet for optimum agitation, for the main wash cycle (see the photo below), which equals to be loosely full dry.
To increase the quantity in the machine, small items that are ideally light in colour to prevent colour run, can be added to the main wash cycle. Large items such as towels will wrap around the nappies preventing them from being washed.
To little in the machine results in little agitation and creates excess suds (which creates a cushioning effect). Too much in the machine will prevent the items from moving freely, which also prevents the items from being washed properly. Both result in the items not being washed properly

Half Full Wet

The washing machine is under loaded at half full. The nappies do not get sufficient agitation as they flip around in the machine rather than rubbing against the other nappies in the process.

Two Thirds Full Wet

This is the minimum level required for optimum agitation.

Three Quarters Full Wet

This is the maximum level recommended for optimal agitation. A load fuller than this is an overloaded washing machine. Overloading your machine will reduce agitation as the nappies can’t move freely.


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On the line, clothes airer, clothes dryer or a combination. If drying shells or AIOs allow them to cool in the dryer before stretching the elastics. When line drying avoid putting shells in direct sunlight, UV can eventually degrade PUL.