Traditional Top Loader Wash Routine

Top loaders provide a faster wash using more water than a front loader. Getting the right ratio of water to fabric is fundamental to optimal cleaning.

General Wash Routine


Choose a short cycle with agitation (not just rinse and spin). Use the quantity of detergent and water temperature listed in the Detergent Index, highest spin speed and deep 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 deep rinse setting. See Hot vs Cold Water for information on water temp.


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.

How To Properly Load Your Traditional Top Loader

The aim in a Top Loader is to achieve a ‘stew/casserole’ consistency, where the nappies can agitate against each other. Too little laundry/too much water results in inadequate friction. Too much laundry/too little water results in inadequate friction where the items move as a block.
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.
A ‘stew/casserole’ can technically be achieved with any level of laundry, as long as the items are being pulled down periodically. Although it has been found that 1/2- 2/3 full works best for most machines, some work well at 3/4 full.

Unsure of how to achieve a good ‘nappy stew’ consistency, or what it should look like when agitating? This video shows how to test your load to make sure you have great agitation every time you wash.

The machine in the video is ½ full, set to a medium water level.


Fisher And Paykel Top Loader Machines Routine And Additional Information

1. Double Heavy Duty cycle: Heavy Duty for prewash, Heavy Duty for main wash.
2. Ensure Eco option is OFF for appropriate rinse settings
3. Load machine to 1/2-2/3 full
4. Add the Soak option if available or create a soak by pausing the wash during the Heavy Duty cycle
5. Heavy Duty + Soak + Quick option for your Main Wash (Options button x 5), is another option
6. Use a high quality detergent
7. Use hot water in Main Wash

The standard rinse is not adequate for this machine, check the manual for directions to include two deep rinses, or use an additional rinse and spin at the end of the main wash cycle. This removes as much soiling as possible.

Best cycles to use to wash cloth nappies in an Intuitive Eco, and how to set a favourite cycle.

This shows an example of ‘nappy chilli’ – a load with too many nappies and not enough water. The nappies all move together in a solid clump and don’t have enough room to rub against each other and get clean. To fix it, either remove some of the laundry, or set a higher water level, and check again.


This shows an example of ‘nappy soup’ – a load with not enough nappies and too much water. The nappies float quite freely around in the water and don’t rub together with enough friction to get clean. To fix it, add more laundry, or choose a lower water level, and check again.