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How Much Detergent Should You Use?


Clean clothes are important. No one wants to walk around with visible stains – or worse, clothes that don’t smell as fresh and clean as they could. 

You may think you know the answer to getting cleaner clothes – more soap. After all, if a little soap is good, more must be better, right? The truth is, many people are using too much detergent, and it’s not the solution that many believe that it is. Take a look at what you need to know about how much detergent is enough, and how much is too much. 

Signs That You’re Using Too Much Detergent.

If you’re overdoing it on the laundry detergent, there may be some telltale signs left behind on your clothes or in your washer that can let you know that something isn’t right. Your colored clothes may look dull, and your whites may come out of the laundry looking dingy and grey. Your clothes might also feel stiff, sticky, or scratchy. There may be traces of detergent residue left behind on your clothing. Additionally, your washing machine may have an unpleasant, musty smell. 

None of these problems can be fixed by adding more detergent to your loads. Too much detergent tends to clog up the washer and prevent clothes from getting fully clean. This is especially true for high-efficiency washers. They use less water, which means that there isn’t as much liquid to dissolve, distribute, and wash away the laundry detergent. Therefore, you’re more likely to end up with leftover detergent on your clothes and in your washer.

What to Consider When Measuring Detergent

There are several factors that you need to take into account when deciding how much detergent to use. The type of washer that you have, the hardness or softness of your water, the size of the load, and how soiled the laundry is are some of the most important factors.

The optimum amount of laundry detergent is often even less than the manufacturer’s recommendation, especially when dealing with high-efficiency washers. When you use 2X concentrated liquid laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer, you should use two teaspoons, for instance. When you use 4X concentrated liquid laundry detergent, you only need one teaspoon. If you have soft water, you can even less laundry detergent, but if you have untreated hard water, you might need a little more. 

How heavily soiled your clothes are is probably the least important factor to consider when determining how much detergent to use. As a general rule, if your clothes are very dirty, your best bet is to presoak the clothing before washing, or pre-treat stains with liquid laundry detergent before washing.