Why An Appliance Repair Tech Says You're Probably Loading Your Washing Machine All Wrong

Got a "top-loader"? Listen up!

Originally Published: 
Hands of young woman putting  clothe into washing machine at condominium. Laundry concept. Top view

You already obsess over how to load your dishwasher. But how do you load up your family’s laundry? Yep, there are apparently right and wrong ways to load your washing machine, too. Do you examine each piece, treat for stains, and then toss each shirt into the machine like you’re Stephen Curry? Or do you lug the entire basket of clothes to your machine, turn it upside down, and hope for the best? (PS: If you don’t know what you’re loading, how will you notice that the washer is eating your socks?) According to one appliance repair tech on TikTok, if you’re doing either of those, you’re probably loading your washing machine all wrong.

Don’t worry — in most cases, your current loading habit probably isn’t hurting that crazy expensive piece of machinery. It might, however, affect the cleanliness of your clothes. And it will definitely affect how fresh they smell. This only applies to top-loading washing machines without agitators, but it turns out that the correct way to load your machine is in a donut shape. TikToker Renae (@renduh) made a wildly informative video to explain why that donut shape is necessary.

While front-loading machines were all the rage for many years, many people have turned back to the top-loader — anything to avoid that gross mildew smell many people noticed around the seals. Plus, the older versions just seem to last longer — even though the agitator was always a hassle. Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost drawstrings or had to climb half into your machine to untangle a caught bra strap. (*Raises hand*) When top-loaders without agitators appeared on the market, it seemed like a dream come true. No more tangles! And way, way more room for clothes, right? Not quite.

Top-loading machines with no agitators have their own issues, many of which start with misuse. “If you are very frustrated with it because it doesn’t clean your clothes as well as your other washing machine or it damages your clothes, there’s a really good chance that it might be because you’re loading it incorrectly,” says Renae. “There is, unfortunately, a really common misconception that just because there’s no agitator in there, you can put more clothes in there. The agitator’s not there, so more room for clothes, right? No. You’re supposed to load your clothes in a donut. It even says it in your manual.”

You were supposed to read that thing? Whoops.

“Washing machines with an agitator will push the clothes from left to right to get them clean,” explains Renae. “Washing machines with that flat plate (which is called an impeller), they do this with the clothes to get them clean.” In the video, Renae illustrates an impeller machine’s motions, which move in more of an up-and-down or in-and-out maneuver around the center of the donut hole. “So if you don’t leave a hole in the center, it’s not gonna work,” says Renae.

Need a visual on how best to load in a donut shape? W Service has a few more tips to help get your clothes extra clean, too.

Still need help getting your clothes clean?

  • Don’t use homemade laundry soap.
  • Pre-treat stains.
  • Don’t overload your machine.
  • Separate your colors. Seriously. One black shirt with your whites will leave your lighter clothes looking dirty even when they’re clean.
  • Wash your dirtiest clothes separately.
  • Wash your washing machine.

Next week on “this is how you adult”: Don’t forget to clean out your dryer vents, friends!

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