Most people don’t think about how much laundry detergent to use during a typical wash cycle. If you’re guilty of just pouring laundry detergent into the cup without measuring, rest assured that you’re not alone. We see many repair problems that are caused by excess soap use.
The first sign of using too much laundry detergent is the smell of mildew in your washer. This indicates that there are excess suds that are not being removed during the rinse cycle.
Because laundry detergent contains fats, the accumulated suds can be a favorable breeding ground for mold and nasty odors. If not addressed, it can progress to a situation where you need to replace your door boot, pump, or even the entire tub. To avoid this unwanted washing machine repair, use a washing machine cleaner that removes the mildew monthly (e.g. Affresh).
NOTE: Your washing machine should never be loaded more than 3/4 full or packed in tightly. Properly loading the washer will ensure your clothes are clean (not to mention help prevent costly washer repairs). With this in mind, the amount of laundry soap you should use depends on whether you have a high-efficiency (HE) or standard load washer…
Tips to Know How Much Laundry Detergent to Use
Detergent for HE Washers
While it’s important to know how much laundry detergent to use regardless of your washer type, it’s particularly important with HE washers. High-efficiency washers are designed to complete the load using less water than a standard washer, meaning that there is less water to rinse the detergent away. This is why it’s recommended that you use high-efficiency detergents with HE washers, as they help reduce excess suds. Here are our guidelines (per regular load size):
- HE liquid detergent= Use one tablespoon.
- Regular detergent= Use only two teaspoons.
- Powder detergent= Use two tablespoons.
When the load is exceptionally soiled, your best option is to pre-soak the clothes with the proper dosage. In any case, don’t add more than an additional 50 percent per load.
Detergent for Standard Load Washers
The general rule for standard load washers is to use one-half of what the manufacturer recommends. This will typically be about a half-inch in your liquid measuring cup but can vary.
You have to pay close attention because a full measuring cup can be up to ten times more than what you actually need! Like with HE detergents, it’s highly recommended that you pre-soak heavily soiled laundry, rather than adding more detergent. This will give the detergent more time to break down the stains.
Pods vs. Liquid Detergent
Laundry detergent pods are pre-measured and individually wrapped, making them convenient to use. Simply toss a pod into the washer, and it dissolves during the wash cycle. However, the downside is that they can be more expensive than liquid detergent.
On the other hand, liquid detergent allows for more control over the amount used, which can be beneficial for those with sensitive skin or specific laundry needs. Liquid detergent is also more cost-effective in the long run. However, using liquid detergent can be messy, and it’s essential to measure the correct amount to avoid overusing it.
Liquid vs. Powder Detergent
While there are liquid and powder detergent options that will do the job when used in the right amounts, we recommend using powder detergents. This is because liquid detergents have more of a tendency to cause mildew build-up. The only caveat is to make sure to use HE powder detergents with HE washers, otherwise, it can leave residue on the clothes.
Essential Laundry Tips
Everyone wants their clothes to come out of the washer looking and smelling fresh. However, achieving the best results isn’t just about using the right detergent; it also involves following some essential laundry tips.
- Don’t overstuff the washer: Ensure that clothes have enough space to move around for effective cleaning. Overstuffing can lead to poor washing results and may damage the washer.
- Balance the load: Distribute clothes evenly in the washer to ensure proper washing and spinning. Unbalanced loads can cause excessive vibration and noise, leading to potential damage to the washer.
- Wash like colors together: Separate whites, lights, and darks to avoid color bleeding and maintain the brightness of your clothes.
- Choose the right water temperature: Follow the care labels on your clothes and choose the appropriate water temperature for each fabric type. This will help preserve the fabric and ensure effective cleaning.
- Clean your washer regularly: Regular maintenance prevents odors, residue, and mildew buildup in your washing machine. Use a washer cleaner, such as Affresh, to keep your machine in top shape.
Effects of Using Too Much Laundry Detergent
Using too much laundry detergent can create a host of problems. Excess suds can make it difficult for the washer to rinse away detergent properly, leading to washer draining issues, and a mildew smell and potential mold growth inside the washer.
This can also cause residue buildup on your clothes and the washer components, which may require costly repairs or replacements. To avoid these issues, always measure the correct amount of detergent and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your washer type.
Keeping these detergent tips in mind can help you not only achieve cleaner and fresher clothes but also prolong the life of your washing machine. Remember, taking care of your appliances and using them correctly can save you money in the long run. By following these simple laundry tips, you can enjoy cleaner and more efficient laundry days for years to come.