I noticed, that washing machines usually start with flushing the detergent from the dispenser drawer into the drum. So I wonder, what is the difference if I put the detergent

  • into the dispenser, or
  • into the drum?

3 Answers 3


Putting the detergent into the dispenser drawer allows the washing machine to make sure that the detergent is mixed with water before starting the cycle.

If you just throw the detergent into the drum it can get caught up in the clothing and some of it can end up never getting fully distributed throughout the wash water.

This is more of a problem with dry powdered detergent but can also be an issue using the concentrated HE type liquid detergent with the newest washers that purport to be high efficiency through the use of minimal water.

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In the olden days I can remember my mother mixing the powered detergent in water before introducing it into the old style wringer washing machine she used in our basement. She did that for the same reasons as the washers at the time only had agitate on/off and no automatically controlled water fill and spin cycles.

  • I forgot to mention, that there are two cases. Case 1: When the detergent is in powder. Thanks for your answer. Case 2: When it is liquid. Could you elaborate on that?
    – Dr. Gut
    Nov 23, 2019 at 11:27
  • @Dr.Gut - Added clarification.....I actually had left a phrase out of my answer.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 23, 2019 at 11:32
  • Thanks. I just note, that HE = High Efficiency. Someone may not know. Here is an article about HE washers and HE detergents.
    – Dr. Gut
    Nov 23, 2019 at 11:58
  • My Mom had one of those too. If I was good, she'd let me wring out the clothes..
    – JACK
    Nov 23, 2019 at 12:34

Mine starts with pumping any remaining liquids out of the drum, then flushes in the detergent. If the detergent is absorbed in the clothes, not poured in the bottom of the drum, there's no difference.


I'm guessing you don't use bleach, and always pick the same cycle for the most part.

The problem with bleach, and even detergent in some cases, is if you just splash a cup of bleach into the filling drum, you get a huge white splotch on your clothes whereever the bleach landed. Detergents can also have this effect.

Also, some cycles may do something before they want the detergent. An example is a pre-soak; you can get a headstart on tough dirt if the clothing is wetted for awhile before the soap arrives.

  • I am using a washing cycle that starts by flushing the detergent from the dispenser drawer into the drum (it does not pump any remaining liquid out of the drum, I suppose there is no remaining liquid to pump). The alternative (to pouring the liquid detergent to the drawer) I have come up with is pouring it into the drum. Directly into the drum, so that it does not even touch the clothes. It drips down through the holes. And indeed I do not use a bleach.
    – Dr. Gut
    Nov 26, 2019 at 21:19

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