Is It Ok To Pour Detergent Directly On Clothes?

When it comes to doing laundry, we all want to make sure our clothes come out clean and smell great. There are so many questions on the right way to wash clothes and it often involves detergent, such as whether putting it straight on the clothes will clean them better. 

Will it be okay to just use detergent directly on your clothes? Short answer: We do not recommend pouring detergent directly on your garments, as it will be too concentrated, causing them to stain, get stiff, damage their fibres, and also, affect the efficiency of your washing machine. 

Let’s have a closer look into how you can maximise the effects of your detergent, without damaging your clothes and appliance in this article!

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pour Detergent Directly on Clothes

If you: don’t have a detergent dispenser in your washing machine, have one that’s faulty, or if you just want to know a hack to make your clothes cleaner – it’s normal to wonder whether applying detergent directly on them will be a good option. Let us tell you now that it isn’t. 

In fact, there are many disadvantages to doing so, such as:

It Will Cause Clothes To Stain

Have you ever noticed odd marks on your clothes after washing them? That could be because of pouring detergent right onto the fabric. After all, detergent is meant to be mixed with water first so it can spread out evenly. 

When detergent isn’t properly diluted, it’s possible that you might get spots or streaks on your clothes where the detergent was too strong and didn’t rinse out properly.

TIP: This also applies to fabric softeners! Avoid pouring them directly on your garments or don’t be surprised to see streaks once the cycle is done. 

It Can Be Too Strong For Some Fabrics

Delicate materials like silk or lace don’t take kindly to strong cleaning agents being dumped on them. Direct contact with concentrated detergent can weaken these fabrics, cause them to lose colour, or even damage them beyond repair!

faded jeans

If you want to apply detergent directly on your fabrics, use the liquid variants. They will be much easier to dissolve and will cause less residue compared to powders. 

It Will Not Get Your Clothes As Clean

Ironically, trying to make your clothes cleaner by using more detergent directly on them can do more harm than good. 

If the detergent is not evenly distributed in the water, some parts of your garments will get too much soap, while others not enough. The result? Clothes that aren’t as clean as they should be. This will just make the entire process a waste of your time and resources. 

NOTE: What about detergent pods? Depending on the product, some can actually be put directly in the drum with your laundry. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to avoid accidents. 

It Could Cause Residue Build Up On Garments And Machine

When detergent doesn’t rinse out properly, it leaves a residue on both your clothes and in your washing machine. This gunk can make your clothes look dingy, smell bad, and even make your washing machine less effective over time.

person smelling clothes

If you notice that there’s a weird smell in your washer’s drum, detergent buildup is the likely culprit. Make sure to clean your washing machine thoroughly, as the smell may also transfer to your fabrics. 

SEE ALSO: Washing Machine Smells Like Sewage? (here’s why & what to do)

The Proper Ways Of Using Detergent 

Using detergent to clean your clothes doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the simplest ways to use them, whether you’re using a front-loader, top-loader, or even when handwashing your clothes: 

When Using A Front Loader Washing Machine

Most front-loading washing machines have a designated detergent drawer that will have different compartments for specific laundry products. 

Make sure to always put your detergent in the compartment, as doing so will allow the detergent to dispense at the right time during the laundry cycle, allowing it to mix with water evenly. The result? Clean and fresh laundry. 

When Using A Top Loader Washing Machine

Are you using a top-loading washing machine that does not have a detergent compartment? This doesn’t mean that you can just dump your detergent on your clothing. 

top loading washing machine drum

Depending on the type of washer you have and your preference, choose what’s possible between the following options:

  1. To dilute the detergent, let the machine fill the drum with water first. Then, add detergent to the water. Once the detergent is mixed with the water, add your clothes and start the cycle. 
  2. Put the right amount of detergent in the drum, then allow the washing machine to fill it with water which will dissolve the detergent. Add your clothes and start the cycle. 
  3. Dilute the detergent with water in a small container. Once it’s dissolved, pour it into the drum, fill it with water, and add your clothes. Start the cycle. 

When Handwashing Clothes

When washing clothes by hand, dissolve the detergent in the bucket or basin of water before you add your clothes. This protects delicate items and makes sure the cleaning power of the detergent is spread evenly.

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How To Use Detergent For Pre-Treating Stains

We said earlier that there are too many disadvantages to applying detergent directly on your clothes. Except for one situation: which is when you need to treat stubborn stains. 

chocolate stain

If you don’t want to use pricy shop-bought stain removers, the detergent you already have in your home is often enough to get rid of nasty stains for good. All you need to do is apply a small amount of detergent directly to the stain, then let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the area then rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary. 

TIP: Aside from laundry detergent, white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda also works great for treating stains on your clothing!

SEE ALSO: How To Pre-Treat Stains Before You Wash Them

Additional Laundry Tips – Just For You

To prevent problems and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your laundry sessions, here are some bonus tips before you go: 

  • Read The Packaging
    Always look at what the detergent bottle says about how much to use. Using too much can leave residue on your clothes and in the machine, while using too little might not get your clothes clean.
  • Spot Treat Stains First
    If you have a tough stain, apply a small amount of detergent directly to the stain and rub gently before washing. This pre-treatment can help remove stains more effectively.
  • Measure Your Detergent
    Always use the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer, adjusting for the size of your load and your water. Too much or too little detergent can both be problematic.
  • Sort Your Laundry Properly
    Don’t just sort laundry by colour; also consider the type of fabric. Different materials have different needs, and sorting them correctly can help you wash each item in the best way possible.
  • Keep Your Washing Machine Clean
    Regularly cleaning your washing machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions helps prevent odour, residue build-up, and keeps it working efficiently.

Pouring detergent directly onto clothes might seem like a quick fix, but it’s not worth the potential damage to your fabrics or the effectiveness of your washing machine. 

Make sure to follow our tips above and you’ll help extend the lifespan of your favourite clothing! 

Do you have questions? Ask away!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put detergent directly on clothes?

No, it’s not advisable to put detergent directly on clothes. Doing so can lead to detergent stains, damage the fabric, and affect the efficiency of your washing machine.

Does too much detergent make clothes smell?

Yes, using too much detergent can leave a residue on your clothes, which can trap odours and make your clothes smell.

What happens if I add too much detergent?

If you add too much detergent, it can lead to residue buildup on your clothes and in your washing machine, making clothes look dingy and potentially leading to a musty smell in the machine.

Can you use liquid and powder detergent together?

While you can use liquid and powder detergent together, it’s not generally recommended as they are formulated differently and might not mix well, leading to ineffective cleaning and potential residue issues.

What are the advantages of liquid laundry detergent?

The advantages of liquid laundry detergent include its ability to dissolve more easily in water, making it great for pre-treating stains, and its suitability for use at lower temperatures, offering a more versatile cleaning solution for delicate fabrics and colours.

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