Doing laundry is one of those chores that’s rather easy, but I find myself avoiding it as much as possible. As a result, I end up doing large loads every seven to ten days. Even for these full loads of clothing, I usually only fill the detergent cup about half way. Even at that point, I may be using too much soap, wasting money, and decreasing the life of my washing machine.
I have noticed that the texture of my clothing, towels, and linens changes considerably even after just a few washes. I don’t use dryer sheets, so I am certain that is not the problem. My new plan after reading an article in the New York Times (linked below) is to use as little detergent as possible. It can’t hurt to start with a small amount of soap and increase only if necessary.
As suggested in the article, I took one of my towels that has not been used since being washed, and placed it in the washing machine without any detergent. After running the machine for five minutes, it was full of suds. I used so much detergent that it was still embedded in the fabric after normal rinsing and drying. This is not normal. I’ll probably need to run my towels through several times without new soap just to remove all that is still on the fabric.
I may have to run my towels through the washing machine as many as eight times before all the leftover soap comes out. While that’s not a good idea for saving money on electricity, I’ve learned a lesson. Even though I thought I was making a smart choice by filling the detergent cup only halfway, the soap stays with the material.
How much detergent do you use?
Updated September 8, 2011 and originally published March 17, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.