Using too much laundry detergent can cost you more money and may make it more difficult to get your clothes clean. It could even damage your washing machine. When it comes to how much laundry detergent to use, less is more.
Too much detergent is actually harmful to your garments, but we'll get to that in a second. Per the usual 8 pound load of laundry, the amount of detergent needed to clean clothes is only one tablespoon. Double that for loads weighing in at 12 pounds or more. Reduce it for the days when you're hand washing.
5 ounces of laundry detergent for high-efficiency machines and 1 ounce for traditional machines. If you're using a pre-measured detergent pod or pack, these are already optimized to standard laundry loads, so just use one per load and follow the instructions on the product label.
Here are our experts' opinions. The right amount: It's typically 1½ ounces for a normal load of laundry. Instead of going by the faint lines of a detergent measuring cup, you can use a shot glass, which is about 1½ ounces, to be more precise. For larger loads or very soiled clothing, use twice as much detergent.
Washing machine smells bad: too many suds can leave a residue in the washer that breeds smelly bacteria and mold. Clothing is dull and spotted: excess detergent won't properly rinse out of clothing, leaving behind spots and making clothes appear dull. Clothes may also feel itchy when you wear them.
Signs you're using too much laundry detergent
If you think you may be getting a little detergent-happy with your laundry, take a look at a just-washed load. If your wet clothes feel a little slimy, sticky, or soapy, you're probably sensing detergent residue. It's a telltale sign you're using too much product.
On the other hand, adding too little detergent can also be problematic. As a result, your clothes may not come out as clean as you'd like, especially if you're dealing with stubborn stains or heavily soiled items.
The washers actually offer better performance if you use less detergent. If you use too much detergent and must add a second rinse, you are using lots of extra water and might as well have a standard machine.
Some of the signs that you've used too much detergent in a load of laundry include: When the laundry comes out of the washer, it feels slimy or sticky. “Clean” and dried laundry feels crunchy or scratchy and is uncomfortable to wear. Colored clothes or linens are dull or faded.
A pre-wash is normally a cycle that is selected in addition to the main wash cycle. Think of it as its own separate starter wash. The washing machine will fill with cold water, add the detergent present in the I - 'Pre wash' compartment, tumble and then drain, ready for the main wash.
So, how much detergent are you actually supposed to be using? This may come as a shock, but just 1 to 2 tablespoons is more than enough for your entire load.
Too much detergent
It makes sense that not using enough detergent won't sufficiently rid your clothes of odor-causing bacteria, but going overboard could have an equally pungent result. More soap means more bubbles, and that buildup of suds can actually trap the bacteria in the fabric.
Medium/Regular load: If you're washing on a medium load, then your load could be made up of approximately: 6 men's t-shirts, a pair of socks, 2 skirts, 1 women's sweater, 1 men's sweater, 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of underwear.
Using less doesn't just save money; it's also gentler on the planet. It uses less natural resources to make the stuff, package it, and ship it to you; it exposes you to a smaller dose of the chemicals involved, and dumps less of them into the environment.
Even though Tide Laundry Pods recommend to use between 1 to up to 3 depending on your load size, most loads of laundry actually get a decent clean with just 1 pod. Using more than that is just overkill.
“Softeners run the risk of making clothes less breathable by removing the ability for a garment to pull moisture from the skin,” notes laundry expert Rechelle Balanzat of Juliette Cleaners. For a safer alternative, you can use distilled vinegar to soften these fabrics instead.
How much HE detergent should you use? When using HE detergent in a regular washer, you'll need about 1/4 cup for a normal-sized load. There might be fewer suds, but you'll still get a good clean. For a normal-sized load in a high-efficiency washing machine, the recommended HE detergent amount is usually 2 tablespoons.
Using too much detergent can leave residue on clothes. This is particularly true in high-efficiency washers. These washers use much less water than a standard washer during the wash and rinse cycles. Using more than two teaspoons—yes, two teaspoons—of HE detergent will leave residue on your clothes.
Use Less Detergent – Using too much laundry detergent can cause your towels to get stiff. It is a good idea to use about half of the suggested amount of laundry detergent you would typically use for best results. Most detergents are fine for washing towels, so your favorite should work just fine.
The laundry detergent you use can affect your clothes in many ways. For instance, if too much is used it could stain or mark up the clothing which may have an effect on how they look and smell.
Wet clothes are left in the washing machine for too long. You used too much laundry detergent. Detergent residue will smell over time.
Liquid detergent requires the highest amount – usually two tablespoons, give or take, per load, or two teaspoons if you have a high-efficiency washing machine. With many powder formulas, the recommended amount is about a quarter of a cup.
The short wash time won't be enough to clean heavily soiled fabrics like underwear, bedding, and towels. Increase the dose of your detergent to quick wash for garments with tougher stains.