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.

General Wash Routine

Prewash

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 video 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.

This video is an example of what level of laundry loading will provide sufficient friction to remove soiling. As the cycle continues, the laundry in the machine will compress, and suds will increase with agitation over time. Check the loading approximately a third of the way into the cycle to see if loading is accurate.

This video is an example of what level of laundry loading will provide sufficient friction to remove soiling (same video as above), in slow motion.

This video is an example of under loading in a front loader washing machine, and what level of suds is excessive. There isn’t enough laundry to provide sufficient friction to remove soiling. As the cycle continues, the laundry in the machine will further compress, and suds will further increase with agitation over time. Excess suds cushion and prevent friction, which further prevents the removal of soiling.

This video is an example of overloading the machine. There is too much laundry in the machine, there is not enough space for the items to move around to create sufficient friction for soiling removal. There are items which are getting pushed into the door seal and get periodically stuck, that is a sign there is too much in the machine. The items in the center are not making their way out, they remain in the center. There isn’t a sufficient level of suds in the cycle.

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Dry

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.