Less Detergent Washes As Well, Saves You A Lot Of Money

Less Detergent Washes As Well, Saves You A Lot Of Money

Modern dishwashers and washing machines are designed to use much less water and detergent than their predecessors, but most people haven’t adjusted their detergent-filling technique to match. The New York Times says you’re wasting a lot of money.

Photo by Clean Wal-Mart.

The financial section of the New York Times highlights a small but frequent way you can save money. Go easy on the detergent you’re pouring into your washing machine and dishwasher. A little gets the job done and a lot just goes down the drain. They write:

“Nobody thinks they use too much soap,” said Vernon Schmidt, who has been a repairman for almost 35 years and is the author of a self-published book, “Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even a Man Can Understand.” But apparently most of us are in denial.

Washing machines and dishwashers are made to use far less water now than older models and, therefore, need less soap. And detergents have also become increasingly concentrated. So a little goes a long way.

“Most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of soap they need, and they’re pouring money down the drain,” Mr. Schmidt said.

All that extra soap isn’t just a waste of money, it gunks up your machine, can cause mould growth inside your washer, and shortens the life of the appliance.

Last year I noticed the towels never seemed to come out perfectly clean and when they got damp after you got out of the shower they smelled dirty immediately. It turns out I was using too much washing detergent, the irony is that “too much” was how much the manufacturer recommended. One of the side effects of using too much detergent, especially on things like towels is that the detergent coats the fibres of the towel and it never gets a chance to fully dry and become fully clean — you get stuck in an endless cycle of towels that smell like they’ve never been washed. I reduced the amount of detergent I was using until I was using a mere 1/8th of the recommended amount. Everything from towels to t-shirts came out smelling fresher and more comfortable.

Check out the full article for additional information, including how to load your dish washer efficiently and why you shouldn’t freak out if utensils aren’t bone dry when they come out. Have a money saving tip or trick related to household chores? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

When a Capful of Soap is Not a Good Thing [The New York Times]


  • Your towel prob’ could be fixed if you didn’t wash in cold water – nothing ever should be done in cold water since it doesn’t open up the fibres to release any grease, which holds in all the odour etc.

    Learnt this because I kept replacing high thread count sheets every 2 years. Store drone selling Sheridan sheets solved this for me, saying they were sent to their testing labs. Using microscopes to view the differences between hot & cold washing. Water heated to 55 degrees(although the drone suggested no more than 45 degrees). Also, don’t use stain remover’s anymore.

  • I’d like to know what size washing machine laundry detergent manufacturers have in mind when they state how much detergent to use for a full/whatever load. They never say on the box of washing detergent. Are they talking abt 10 kg washing machine? Smaller machine? Larger machine? It would make it easier to gauge how much to adjust the amount for my (smaller) w/machine if they did.

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