Where to Put Detergent in a Whirlpool Washer? (Solved)

Whether you’ve just purchased a Whirlpool washing machine, or thinking of moving away from pods to liquid or powder detergent.

It’s important that you know what goes where for optimal results.

In this article, I explain the Whirlpool compartment drawer, so you know exactly what goes where and how to use the drawer to maximize your machine performance.

Plus, I give you 7 laundry detergent mistakes that I often see people do that you wanna avoid at all costs!

Whirlpool Washing Machine Compartment Drawer

As with any brand, there are multiple different types of detergent drawers, which are all laid out slightly differently. I’ll list the main ones below, or you can skip to the next section if you’ve got a Whirlpool top-load washer with no detergent drawer.

Related: How to Reset Whirlpool Washing Machine

Type I

If you have a standard rectangle-shaped detergent drawer, which is wider than it is deep, it is likely to have the detergent section on the left [2], the softener in the middle [3], and the pre-wash section on the right [1].

Type II

If your machine has a compartment drawer that looks like a quarter-slice of pie, it’s likely to be in the layout below, with a blue softener section on the left [3], a pre-wash section next to that [1], and the regular detergent section on the right [2].  

Type III 

Some Whirlpool washers have space for liquid chlorine bleach instead of a pre-wash. This can be added behind the softener and is automatically diluted by the machine before being added into the wash during the first rinse cycle.

It’s important to only use this as a stain remover when you’re running a load of white washing, as it’ll pull color from anything else.

Also be sure not to use powdered stain remover, as it’s incompatible with this style of dispensing drawer and may clog up the machine.

Load & Go Dispenser

Another dispenser option your machine may have is the ‘Load & Go’ which only needs to be refilled every 20 loads and will automatically dispense the right amount of detergent.

You can either let the machine decide on the right cycle, or you can choose one yourself, but it’ll automatically calculate how much detergent is needed depending on the cycle, load size, and level of dirtiness. 

The ’Load & Go XL’ increases the capacity to 40 loads of detergent, and if you have a ‘Load & Go XL Plus’ that’ll auto-dose your softener too!

Where to Put Detergent in a Whirlpool Top Load Washing Machine?

If you use a top-load machine, you might have a dispensing drawer (Type I, II, or III) in which case you can add your detergent directly to that.

They all have different layouts, but generally, the compartments will be numbered [1] for pre-wash, [2] for detergent, and [3] for softener.

If you don’t have a specified detergent drawer, just put the detergent straight into the main drum, with the softener in the central agitator.

7 Laundry Detergent Mistakes to Avoid

Now you know where to put detergent in your Whirlpool washing machine, but there’s more…

When it comes to buying, storing, and using detergent there are many mistakes I see people make that you wanna avoid.

Here are 8 laundry detergent mistakes you wanna avoid.


The easiest thing to do wrong with detergent is to overdose. Not only can this cause errors on your machine, but it can also mean the soap isn’t fully washed out of the clothes during the cycle which requires an extra rinse cycle to fix – costing you time and money.  

Not Cleaning the Machine & Detergent Drawer

While it is rational to think that washing clothes in the machine should clean the machine – unfortunately this isn’t the case and machines are a perfect damp space, perfect for bacteria to fester.

There are many home remedies or shop-bought solutions that can help, and I usually try to clean the detergent drawer and filter out once a month, after running a Dettol Lemon cleaner through the machine – with an empty load at 90 degrees.

If you’re in the U.S. then you can try the equivalent made by Tide. Instructions will vary depending on what you use, but that’s what works for me!

Assuming Expensive Detergent = Better Cleaning

The most expensive detergent doesn’t always clean the best – this is particularly the case with eco-detergents, which are often branded as ‘premium’ but are not as effective at general cleaning or stain removal.

Always pick what fits your household best; if cost is the most important – buy the cheapest, if you have kids – get the best for stain removal. 

There’s no judgment here, just get what best suits your family’s needs.

Not Using the Water Hardness Settings 

Hard water can reduce the effectiveness of detergent, meaning you need to use more detergent to get your clothes clean in hard water areas (compared to soft).

Some machines have a water hardness setting built-in, where you select the type of water you have. If you don’t have this, you might consider adding about a quarter more (10-25%) detergent than is usually recommended.

Using the Detergent Incorrectly

While most detergents are designed to be put directly into the detergent drawer, some are meant to go in the drum – either on top of or under the clothes.

Since this can affect how well the clothes are cleaned, you should read the packaging when changing brands to be sure you’re using it in the right way. 

If it’s to go in the detergent drawer – make sure the little flap is open for powders and closed for liquids. 

Storing the Detergent Wrong

You need to keep an eye on the conditions for storing detergent, particularly if you love a bulk Costco haul! Safety first – make sure it’s out of reach for curious hands, as most detergents are poisonous to humans.

Once that’s sorted, you want to make sure it’s stored in a sealed container, stored in a cool dry place, and used before the use-by date (or within 6 months of opening).  

Using the Wrong Detergent

While this may be dictated by allergies, it’s worth bearing in mind that different detergents are designed with different primary purposes in mind.

For example, powders are cheaper but don’t do well in colder temperatures, whereas liquids can be better for cold washes and stain removal. If you have lots of delicate items, or hand-wash regularly, you might consider a detergent that’s designed to protect these items. 

Essentially, there is no ‘wrong’ detergent generally, but you need to pick the detergent that’s right for you and your household. 

Recommended Detergents

Firstly, if you have a history of allergies (of any kind) I recommend that you stick with what you know. The machine can deal with any, and in my experience, I know there are certain brands that I need to avoid so I don’t end up with a rash.

Beyond personal preference, there are certain brands that are designed to better handle stain removal, or that provide a gentler wash for delicate items. 

For Stain Removal

If your laundry frequently has grass, red wine, or spaghetti bolognese stains, I’d recommend ‘Tide Ultra Stain Release’. This was recently voted best by the New York Times, and for good reason – it works to consistently get rid of hard-to-remove stains like blood and chocolate, and strong odors. 

For Sensitive Skin

If you need to consider sensitive skin, you might opt for ‘Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin’ instead.

It offers strong stain removal capabilities whilst being mindful of sensitive skin – but does still contain some irritants. If you want to be ultra careful, ‘Charlie’s Soap Laundry Liquid’ is eco-friendly and hypoallergenic, but doesn’t compete with Persil for stain removal. 

For Delicates

If you wash lots of delicate items, it’s best to get a detergent tailored to them like the ‘Soak Soakwash’. It’s mild but versatile, and perfect for washing delicates by hand, or in a gentle machine wash – and can be used for wool, silk, and cashmere.

Best Pod

For those who want an easy life (no judgment, this is me) Tide’s Hygienic Clean Power Pods will do the trick. Just throw one in the machine with your wash and think no more of it – no dosing needed.

Best Powder

If you prefer powder to liquid detergent – first make sure your machine is compatible, then you might like the ‘Tide Plus with Bleach Powder Laundry Detergent’.

This will make your whites whiter, and colors brighter, and works particularly well on colder cycles if you’re shifting towards eco-friendly washing. 

To Wrap Up

Knowing where to put detergent in a Whirlpool washing machine is not everything. To maximize the machine’s performance you must avoid the common pitfalls mentioned earlier.

Which detergent you use will likely be down to personal preference. All Whirlpool machines will work with liquid or pod detergents, but you’ll need to check the specific user guide for your model before using powder.

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