Whether we're talking about natural cleaning products here or mainstream chemical based products, the answer to this question is the same, and it's one we get asked a lot. What is the difference between a Top Loader and Front Loader laundry powder or liquid? Can I use them in a different machine?

Front Load laundry powder and liquids are low sudsing

This is the main difference between the two. Because front load washing machines are a completely sealed unit and work on low water levels and tumbling action, regular laundry powder and liquid formulated for top load machines have the ability to fill your machine up with suds that will reduce the effectiveness of the wash and never rinse out with the regular cycle in the machine.

Can I use a Top Load powder or liquid in Front Load machine?

No. Top loader and front loader laundry powder are different. Top loader laundry powders are higher sudsing. If you put top load powder in a front load machine, you will end up with a machine full of suds that will be difficult to rinse out with the machines regular cycle. 

If you put top load powder or liquid in to your front load machine by accident, you will need to run a maintenance clean afterwards. See your machine's manufacturer for further details.

Can I use a Front Load powder or liquid in a Top Load machine?

Yes. The suds don't make the clean. The surfactants do. You will get just as an effective clean in a Top Load machine regardless of whether you choose a top load detergent or a front load detergent. Don't fall in to the trap of using more because you don't see the suds. Just follow the directions on the packaging to get your regular clean.

Why don't Abode make a Top Load Laundry Powder anymore?

Abode Cleaning Products originally created both a top load and a front load laundry powder. A lot of brands did. It's just not done anymore. With advances in washing machine technology, it just wasn't necessary for brands to create a separate powder for top load machines vs front load machines.

This statement was true when we originally wrote the blog several years ago. It has been updated now.
For around 12 months now, all natural laundry powders from Abode have been the front load / low-sudsing version, regardless of the labelling. The labelling used to say 'top load' or 'front load'. Now they all say Top or Front Load. Regardless of which powder you were buying in the past, when it's time to buy a new bucket, it's all the same powder, simply choose your scent.

UPDATE: As of February 2023 when this post was reviewed and updated, every natural brand of laundry powder and liquid in our store is suitable for both top and front load washing machines. Most mainstream brands are the same way. We are hard pressed to find a mainstream laundry detergent brand who make separate products anymore and we have also tried to find information from washing machine manufacturers where they specifically request that you look for a dedicated top loader and front loader laundry powder for their machines.

What machine washes clothes better?

According to CHOICE, they got the best results from the laundry detergents they tested and found that front loading machine generally wash clothes better, and their results showed that higher scores came from the front load machines in a survey you can read HERE.

One of the OMO dual purpose powders scored a 90% performance score in a front load machine and the same powder only scored 70% in a top load machine.