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Cleaning experts urge people to stop using so much laundry detergent
How much laundry detergent do you use? You'd be surprised to learn you're doing it wrong.
Jaclyn Abergas
10.17.22

How much laundry detergent do you use with every cycle?

Do you use 1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons, or do you use the premeasured detergent packs?

Any laundry detergent label will always have a “recommended amount” to use depending on the weight of your load. But is it really the right amount of detergent needed? Or is it the amount the companies “recommend” so that the detergent will run out faster and encourage you to buy detergent more often?

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
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Pexels - RODNAE Productions

“Some detergent manufacturers are going to lie on the label,” Sarah Bodgan, staff writer for NY Times’ Wirecutter, warned. “But remember, they’re selling a product, and they want you to buy more of it.”

Pexel - Anna Shvets
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Pexel - Anna Shvets

So what is the right amount of laundry detergent that we should use with every load?

According to this article by Elissa Sanci for NY Times’ Wirecutter, you only need around 1 tbsp of laundry detergent for an average load of up to 8lbs. If your load goes beyond 12lbs, you can use up to 2 tbsps of laundry detergent.

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
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Pexels - RODNAE Productions

That’s it. That’s all you need.

“When it comes to laundry detergent, a little will go a long way,” Sarah Bodgan shared.

And you don’t need a lot of the additional products to do your load.

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Pexels - RODNAE Productions

“We just make the process really hard,” Patric Richardson, the Laundry Evangelist, said. “But the truth is, the less you do, the cleaner your clothes.”

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
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Pexels - RODNAE Productions

The Wirecutter recommends using big bottles of liquid detergent only.

Stop using the premeasured pods because you have no control over the amount of detergent used. Plus it leads to a buildup of chemicals and cleaning agents that will leave your laundry stiffer than it shouldn’t be.

And powder detergents are a no-no as well because they don’t fully dissolve and can leave clumps in your machine.

Now, you may ask, isn’t more laundry detergent okay? It’ll really clean the clothes, right?

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
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Pexels - RODNAE Productions

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The excess detergent will do two things, 1) it’ll leave detergent residue because it wasn’t fully rinsed out, and 2) it’ll create an excess of suds and prevent clothes from rubbing against each other to remove the dirt.

The excess detergent may not make your clothes dirtier but it won’t remove all the dirt from your clothes as well.

Pexels - Sarah Chai
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Pexels - Sarah Chai

How do you know when you use too much laundry detergent?

Mary Marlowe Leverette asked a few questions on The Spruce to help you find out for sure.

  • Are there traces of detergent residue left on your clothes?
  • Does your laundry feel soapy or sticky?
  • Do the clothes feel stiff and scratchy?
  • Are your colored clothes looking dull and your white clothes looking grey?
  • Does your high-efficiency washer smell musty or really, really bad?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then you are using too much laundry detergent. Adjust your measurements next time.

Pexels - Andrea Piacquadio
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Pexels - Andrea Piacquadio

But what if your clothes are really dirty, should you use more detergent then?

You can pre-soak your clothes in white vinegar and water for an hour. Depending on how much water you’ll need, use around 1 cup of vinegar to about 1 quart of water. Adjust the measurements if you need more water.

When you load the clothes in your washing machine, just run it like a normal washing cycle.

Pexels - Tima Miroshnichenko
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Pexels - Tima Miroshnichenko

So what do you think? Are you using the right amount of detergent or are you using too much?

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Jaclyn Abergas
hi@sbly.com
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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