On my detergent's instructions it says to use x amount of powder per (x)KG of clothes.

While there are a bunch of clothes that will be going into the load, how can i determine the right amount of detergent to use for the load if the instructions indicate a detergent amount per load weight? or can i just use roughly amount of whatever i think is ok?

  • 1
    I believe the quality of washing depends on the quality of the detergent. This is a variable and I feel benchmark cannot be set for this parameter. It varies for the seasons, climate, temperature, soaking time, earlier packed date of the detergent, pH and salt content of the water, etc. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 2:03
  • It also depends on the amount and the quality / type of the "dirty", e.g. simple dust vs. fats / greases, pigmented stuff, whether the color of the clothes needs to be preserved (usually yes)...
    – virolino
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 9:19

4 Answers 4


Frankly, I'm surprised your brand expects you to know the weight of your laundry to use their product. Every brand I use specifies a fraction of a cap-full based on the volume of the load.

For example:

Large load: use a capful
Medium load: use 2/3 capful
Small load: use 1/3 capful

My suggestion is to use volume instead of weight to estimate the amount of detergent you need.

Estimating the amounts needed by volume

First, fill your washing machine to capacity to determine an average weight1 of a "full load". Using the cap or measuring cup for your detergent, add the amount of detergent suggested for that weight. Use a permanent marker to place a mark on the measuring cup at that level and label it "full load". Then mark off whatever increments are convenient for that fraction of a load (see the example above).

That will provide a convenient reference so you don't have to weigh your laundry each time. If your laundry is not coming out clean, you can add a bit more. Stained or dirtier laundry may also need a bit more detergent while less soiled loads may need a bit less. Measurements are not typically that precise.

(1) To determine the weight of an item without a dedicated freight scale: Weigh yourself with common household body-weight scale while holding the item (e.g. the bag of laundry). Your weight holding the item minus your normal weight (without the item) equals the weight of the item itself.

  • Great, but without a scale how will i know my weight with holding the laundry basket.
    – localhost
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:06
  • 1
    @Nofel You only need to do this once ever. I would either borrow a scale or go to a friend's house or somewhere where they have one. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:09
  • Thanks, and by load. what would it mean, when we say full load, medium or small?
    – localhost
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:19
  • 2
    A "full load" is the most laundry you would add to your washing machine before you feel it would no longer do a good job. A "medium load" is about 2/3rds of that, and a "small load" about 1/3. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:23
  • 1
    Load is only a part of the math needed; water hardness can halve or double the required dose. Additionally, a few shirts with a bit of collar grime is a totally different proposition to half a team's football kit after a rainy match. [& btw, I still don't think this needs a life hack, it's pure learning curve/experience/how-to]
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:23
  1. Weigh yourself holding the laundry basket full of clothes.
  2. Put the clothes in the washing machine.
  3. Weigh yourself holding the empty laundry basket.
  4. Subtract the second weight from the first weight.

That will tell you how many kg of clothes you are washing.

(But personally, I would just estimate how much detergent you think it needs, based on how full the washing machine is and how much water you are filling it with.)

  • 1
    Given the OP's question this is the correct answer! The other questions assume liquid soap (not the case) or what the right instructions should be (they are what they are, right or wrong) I would also add that not all washing machines are created equal. Some handle larger loads, some are compact and only handle light loads. The approximate weight of a full load should be clearly indicated somewhere in the machine, most likely near the control knobs or the cover.
    – hlecuanda
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 6:56

Laundry Load Size Infographics by Rajshreeenter image description here


It's easy to do weigh your bag with travel scales ie suitcase. Then you get it right every time.

  • 3
    Hi Roger, and welcome to Lifehacks! I'm confused by the phrase "travel scales ie suitcase". Could you edit your question to clarify what you mean? How would the person asking the question be able to weigh each load of laundry, presumably several times a week, using your method? Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 14:18
  • Travel scales tend to be very inaccurate for weights below about 10kg. Very few washing machines can cope with more than about 5kg.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 15:37

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