How to Soak Clothes in a Top Load Washing Machine (Soak Cycle)

Do you have a lot of laundries that’s been sitting in your hamper for weeks? Or maybe you have a stain on your favorite shirt that won’t come out no matter how often you wash it.

If you’re looking for a way to clean your clothes, you should try soaking them in your top-load washing machine! Fill the machine, add detergent, place your clothes, and start the soaking cycle.

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Top load washing machine. Credit: canva

So if you’re ready, keep reading, and let me walk you through everything you need to know!

top load washing machine
Credit: canva

How to Soak Clothes in a Top Load Washing Machine

Step 1: Fill Up the Washing Machine with Water

The water you’ll need will depend on your machine’s size and the clothing you’re trying to soak. But as a general rule, you’ll want to use about half as much water as you would for a regular load of laundry.

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Filling up the washing machine with water. Credit: Canva

Step 2: Add Detergent and Laundry Additive to the Water

You don’t need to use as much detergent as you would for a regular load of laundry, but you’ll still need enough to get the job done.

If you’re unsure how much to use, start with a quarter of the amount you typically use and adjust from there.

Step 3: Add Clothes to the Washing Machine

Place your clothes in the machine. You might want to sort your clothes by color and fabric type, so the colors don’t run.

Step 4: Start Soaking Cycle

Select your machine’s soaking setting. Most modern top-loading machines will have a “soak” or “pre-wash” setting.

If yours doesn’t have one, you can still soak clothes by selecting the “gentle wash” cycle and adjusting the temperature to its lowest setting.

You can also manually time the soak, but make sure you set the alarm, so you don’t forget to stop it.

Step 5: Let the Machine Soak

Let the machine run for at least 15 minutes. This should be enough time to loosen any dirt or stains on your clothes.

If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn stain, you may need to let the cycle run longer.

Step 6: Drain the Water and Refill

Once the cycle is complete, drain the water from the machine and refill it with warm, clean water. This will help remove any excess detergent residue from your clothes.

Step 7: Wash Your Clothes

Select a normal wash cycle and let the machine run through its entire cycle. And that’s it! You’ve now successfully soaked your clothes in a top-loading washing machine.

Soaking and the Benefits

Soaking clothes before washing them is a game changer. It can help remove tough stains, brighten colors, and even preserve the shape and color of your clothes. It’s like giving your clothes a pre-treatment before the actual wash.

Help Loosen Dirt and Grime

This helps to loosen dirt and grime from the fabric fibers, making it easier for your washing machine to do its job.

Plus, if you have any particularly stubborn stains, soaking can help to break them down before they even hit the wash cycle.

Brighten Colors

Another great benefit of soaking clothes is that they can help brighten colors and keep them looking newer for longer.

Soaking clothes in a solution with a color-safe bleach or brightener can help to revive dull or faded colors.

So, don’t skip the soak cycle next time you do laundry!

Always check the care label on your clothes and test any stains before soaking to avoid potential damage.

soaking clothes
Soaking clothes. Credit: canva

Tips for Soaking Clothes

  • Sort your clothes first: Before starting the soak cycle, sort your clothes by color and fabric type. This will prevent accidental dye transfer and ensure that your clothes are washed with the appropriate water temperature and detergent.
  • Test stains: Always test any stains on an inconspicuous area before soaking the entire garment. Some stains may require special treatment before soaking.
  • Use the right amount of detergent: Make sure to use the appropriate amount for the number of clothes you’re soaking. Too little detergent and your clothes may not come out as clean as you’d like, and too much can leave residue on your clothes and washing machine.
  • Don’t over-soak: Soaking clothes for too long can cause colors to fade and fabrics to weaken. It’s best to stick to the recommended soak time on the care label or the time recommended by the detergent manufacturer.
  • Don’t mix colors and whites: Soaking clothes with different colors together can cause dye transfer, especially with new or brightly colored clothes. Soaking whites and colors together can also lead to graying of whites.
  • Don’t forget to wash: Don’t forget to run the wash cycle after the soak cycle is complete. The soak cycle is only a pre-treatment and doesn’t do the actual cleaning of clothes.
  • Dry your clothes properly: After washing, dry them according to their fabric type. Hang dry, tumble dry, or air dry clothes according to the care label.

About Top Load Washing Machine

Top-load washing machines, also known as traditional washing machines, are the most common type in most households.


One of the biggest benefits is that they’re often more affordable than front-load washing machines. Plus, they’re also typically easier to load and unload, especially if you have mobility or physical limitations.

Efficient Agitator

This can be particularly useful if you have a lot of heavily soiled or stained clothes, as it can help to break down the dirt and grime better.


They are generally more durable than front-load washing machines. They are less complex and have fewer mechanical parts, which means fewer things can go wrong.

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Soaking clothes on a top-load washing machine. Credit: canva


Can a top-load washing machine wash large loads of laundry?

Yes, a top-load washing machine can wash large loads of laundry. You may also want to consider using a front-loading washing machine, which is better suited for large loads of laundry.

Can the machine wash delicates and hand-wash only items?

Yes, you can do that. However, I would not recommend it because the agitation caused by the top-loading machine will likely cause your delicates and hand-wash-only items to become less delicate and more soiled over time.

Does the top-load washing machine have multiple temperature settings?

Top-load washing machines generally have two or three temperature settings, which is usually enough for most people.

However, suppose you have special needs or requirements (perhaps you have susceptible skin or you’re trying to wash delicate fabrics). In that case, you may consider investing in a front-loading machine with more temperature settings.

Does this washing machine have customizable wash cycles?

Yes, most front-load washing machines have customizable wash cycles.

Are top-load products energy efficient?

Yes and no. Top-loading machines generally use more water than front-loading machines, which can lead to increased energy consumption.

However, top-loading machines also have a higher capacity than front-loading machines, so they may be more energy efficient overall if you do a lot of laundries.

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