Difference Between Top Load & Front Load Detergent

Many people believe that there is not much difference between top load detergent and front load detergent and that it is “just marketing”. Even I used to believe that before I had an unpleasant experience when I used a top load detergent in my Bosch front load washing machine.

top load detergent vs front load detergent

There is a significant difference between top load and front load detergents and there is a solid reason for this.

The main difference between the front load and top load detergent is that front load detergents produce less foam/lather, while top load detergents produce more lather. This is because front load washing machines use significantly less water as compared to top load washing machines. While top loaders use high amount of water, therefore, the detergents are designed to produce more foam.

Hence, front load detergents are designed for effectively removing dirt with less much water, energy and detergent.

Top Load Detergent Vs Front Load Detergent: Quick Snapshot

Top Load DetergentFront Load Detergent
Produces more foamProduces less foam
Ideal for fully automatic top load washing machines but can also be used with semi automatic washing machinesIdeal for fully automatic front load washing machines
More amount of detergent neededWorks well in lesser quantity
Should not be used in front load washing machinesCan be used in top load washing machines
InexpensiveAt least 10% costlier than top load detergent

Front Load vs Top Load Washing Machines

To understand why there is a difference between the two types of detergents, it’s important to understand the difference between front load and top load washing machines.

The main difference between front load and top load washing machines is the alignment of the drum.

Drum in front load machines is aligned horizontally, while it is vertically aligned in top load washing machines. Front loaders wash clothes in a manner that is similar to hand wash by dropping the clothes from a small height. This is called tumble action. On the other hand, in top load washing machines, the clothes float in the water. Hence, when the drum spins the clothes get cleansed by rubbing against each other and against the drum.

Why are Front-Load Detergent and Top-Loader Detergents Different?

As you can see, in top load washing machines the clothes have to submerged in water to clean them. This requires high volume of water (a typical top loader needs 140 litres of water). Hence, the detergent required for top load washing machines is built with high foam production as large amount of water will require large amount of foam for effective wash.

On the other hand a front load washing machine uses significantly lower amount of water (around 50 to 70% less water than a top load washing machine). Hence the front load detergent produces atleast 50% less foam when compared to top load detergent. This is because the front load washing mainly depends on tumble action, which will not be proper if quantity of water if high.

Can You Use Front Load Detergent in Top Load Washing Machine?

If you use front load detergent in top load washing machine, very less foam will form. Hence, you will have to add two times or three times the amount as compared to top load detergent.

This means that you can use front load detergent in top load washing machine. But since the front load detergents are costlier and the amount needed is also larger, its not a very smart thing to use front load detergent in top load washing machine.

Can You Use Top Load Detergent in Front Load Washing Machine?

It is not advised to use top load detergent in front load washing machine. This is because top load detergent produces more foam. However, in this case more foam does not lead to better cleaning.

In fact, there have been many instances when users have used top load detergent in front load washing machine and soapy water has leaked out of the door.

If you are unlucky, the foam may reach the internal machine circuitry. This can damage your washing machine. Hence, using top load detergent in front loader can lead to decrease in cleaning efficiency and in some cases can also hamper the functioning of the washing machine.

Can You Use a Regular Detergent in Fully Automatic Washing Machine?

Regular detergent powder is made keeping in mind hand wash or semi automatic washing machine wash in mind.

If you use regular detergent powder in a fully automatic washing machine, then you might find detergent residue on your clothing. This residue can also accumulate in your washing drum over time, which can be unhygienic and can decrease the washing machines performance.

Is there any solution?

Use liquid detergent. Using a regular liquid detergent in fully automatic top load should not be an issue. Hence, regular detergent powder should not be used in a fully automatic top washing machine, while liquid detergent can be used in both semi automatic and fully automatic top load washing machine. However, certain semi automatic washing machine manufacturers specifically instruct not to use liquid detergent hence, it’s important to read the manufacturer guideline before you use liquid detergent.

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