When it comes to laundry detergent:
Less is more.
How many times do we fill the laundry cap completely full? Even when we are doing a smaller load?
And why do we do that?
I think it is because in America, we believe that a lot is great…and even more is better. And that translates to laundry detergent as well.
But there are definite disadvantages to using too much detergent:
- It leads to soap build-up on your clothes. And over time, that residue makes your clothes look dingy and old.
- If you have a high-efficiency washer, it will probably cause it to go into the SUD cycle. The washing machine senses that there is too much detergent, so it goes into over-drive trying to rid itself of all of the suds. Your washer can take up to double the programmed time to complete the wash cycle. A waste of energy and water.
- It leads to build-up inside of your washing machine. When there is residue inside the washer, clothes are never as clean. Your washer, just like any other appliance needs to be cleaned regularly. But that is a post for another day.
- It’s a huge waste of money! Detergents, especially premium detergents (think Tide, Gain, etc) are expensive! Why would you want to literally wash money down the drain? If you are paying the high price of nice detergents, you don’t want to waste your money by using an unnecessary amount.
- It’s also not very green. Everybody wants to be green these days, so using more detergent just isn’t the thing to do. The more you use, the quicker you go through those plastic bottles. And then they go to a landfill or recycling plant. If you SUD your machine, it goes through many extra gallons of water trying to rid itself of the extra soap. Not to mention the energy that takes.
So what do you do?
Read the label on your detergent carefully. And better yet: Look for the fill line on the cap, and follow it to a tee.
If you really only have a medium load of clothes, then by all means only use a medium cup of detergent. There is no need to fill the cup completely full. Keep in mind that it is not only the detergent that cleans clothes – it is also the temperature of the water and the agitation of the clothes. So give those three aspects an opportunity to work together to clean your clothes before adding more detergent.
This is a great blog post on carefully reading the inside of the detergent cup from a frugality standpoint.
And this article from Consumer Reports offers interesting insight on the design of the laundry cap. I love the way All’s small & mighty cap is well… small, so it discourages you from using too much. Great design technique.
So on your next load, make sure you check for the line on your detergent cap and don’t overdose!