How Much Laundry Detergent Do I Actually Need to Use

Doing laundry? We've got you covered. Here's how to know how much detergent to use

The lowdown on how much detergent you need in your laundry

You've got an extra-dirty, smelly load of laundry. Do you dump more detergent in, assuming that the extra suds will  get your clothes looking cleaner and smelling fresher?

The answer would vary. If you make use of a bit too much laundry detergent, it will not only cost you money, but your clothes might be more challenging to clean next time. Since detergents sometimes contain environmentally damaging ingredients, it's also wise to use only the minimum to avoid putting too much of these chemicals into our environment.

Something else to think about is the potential damage to your washing machine.

Many are surprised to hear from their repair person that many of the problems with the washing machine stem from using an overdose of laundry detergent. Therefore, the saying  holds true, less is more.

Another factor to bear in mind is that federal regulations led to washing machine manufacturers rethinking their designs in that most machines nowadays uses a lot less water than before. The mere fact that your machine now uses less water is in itself an indication that one should use less laundry soap or liquid.

Sometimes, one has to add a bit more detergent in cases where your clothing or bedding are heavily soiled. This leads us to our next discussion.

How Do You Know You’re Using Too Much Laundry Detergent?

The moment you start experiencing any of the following issues with your washer, then you know too much laundry detergent is being used:

  • The basin or drum of your machine feels slimy, which is a sure indication the detergent is not breaking up as it should. To remedy the situation, you can run your washing machine with water only to get rid of the excess soap or liquid.
  • A foul odor can be detected. When you use excessive laundry detergent, it will result in a soap scum buildup and lead to mildew growth, bringing about the foul smell inside your washer.
  • The washing machine stops mid-cycle or doesn’t drain the water. When you add too much detergent, it can prevent the water from draining or could even bring the washer to a sudden halt. Furthermore, excessive liquid or soap gets into the hose and may eventually result in damage to the water level pressure switch.
  • Your washer may leave rust spots on your clothing. This could be a sign of soap scum buildup inside the rubber seal that is situated in between the drum and the door to prevent leaking. Many times the boot ends up being moldy and needs replacement.

So, how do you know how much laundry detergent is enough?

The three key factors to consider are:

  1. How soiled your clothes are
  2. The size or extent of your load
  3. How hard the water is in your area

It is important to get your detergent dosage right as too much or too little may lead to inferior cleaning results.

Pay attention to the following:

  • The hardness of the water - If you know you are living in an area where this is an issue, make use of more detergent.
  • Size of your drum - Dosages have a lot to do with the size of the washer drum. Besides, many of the later models are increasing in size, meaning you have a bigger drum to consider. As a result, you will require more laundry detergent to deal with the larger wash load.
  • Dirt levels - No doubt, heavier soiled clothing will mean you must add more detergent to get rid of the excess dirt.

What Dosage to Use?

Life can be so much easier and more convenient when you opt for pre-dosed laundry pods. All you need to do is add the right number of pods that is recommended for the relevant load size and turn your washer on.

The recommended dosage guidelines for pods:

  • Insert one laundry pod for a medium-sized load.
  • Use two pods when the wash is heavily soiled or heavier than usual.
  • Drop in three pods in cases of an extra-large size load.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you are concerned about stain removal, then making use of a liquid laundry detergent such as Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid is your best bet. These are excellent for getting rid of oil or grease stains as well as spot treating.

Liquid detergents typically have a cap with measurement markers, so it doubles as a measuring cup for your detergent.

The recommended dosages are as follows:

  • Fill your cap to level one or two for medium loads
  • Fill the cap to level three or four when dealing with a large load.
  • Go up to level five for full loads.

Laundry Detergent in Powder Form

Powder detergent is ideal when dealing with everyday smells and stains. Ensure the dosage is right by measuring the powder using the included scoop and by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Fill your scoop to the first or second level for medium loads.
  • Top up your scoop to the third or fourth level for larger loads.
  • Fill your scoop to the fifth level for a full load.

Whether you choose to make use of laundry pods, liquid or powder, do your best to adhere to the dosages recommended by your detergent brand to ensure your clothing turns out clean and fresh while your washing machine gives you many years of service.

Resources — Tide, American Home Shield