Save Money By Using Half The Laundry Detergent Recommended

Many of us may be pouring money down the drain by using too much laundry detergent. Even the recommended amount may be too much, according to financial blog DailyFinance. Here's how to stop laundry soap overdosing.

Photo by AICAD.

Robert Shelton, a retail and consumer packaged-goods consultant, says on DailyFinance that:

The fill line is twice the amount of detergent you need to clean effectively. Fill your cap up halfway to the fill line and your detergent will last twice as long.

Author and repairman Vernon Schmidt goes even farther in a previously mentioned New York TImes article, arguing that one-eighth to one-half of the recommended level should do.

Don't be afraid that your clothes won't get clean enough. Washing machines today are much more efficient than the ones your parents used to have and detergents are much more concentrated — so a little goes a long way. Using too much laundry detergent not only wastes money, it can shorten the life of your washing machine and make your clothes stiffer.

While Shelton has a cynical view of the manufacturer's recommended fill line on the laundry detergent cap ("Overdosing is a manufacturer trick to try to get you to use up your bottle faster. The cap they give you is designed to make you overdose."), it may pay to experiment by using less laundry detergent. You can try the Time's test by washing some towels on the hot water setting for five minutes without any detergent or softener. Any suds or residue you see means you had excess soap in the previous wash.

Check out the DailyFinance blog for more laundry expense savings or share your own tips with us in the comments.

5 Ways to Cut Your Laundry Costs [Daily Finance]


    Actually, either LH or Giz ran a more in depth story a year or more ago, and I've been doing this ever since! Plus, you don't need softener, it causes issues with that mouldy smell if used too often!

      Agreed, softener is bloody awful, and I sometimes wonder if it's a scam. It leaves a slimy film on things after a while (especially towels) and does smell after a while.

      It doesn't 'soften' anything. Just adds a layer of goo.

    Other means of saving money by using less than the recommended amount:

    - When servicing your car, only put in half the amount of oil; that way you can use the same bottle for two services.
    - Only pay half the due amount on your bills. Many service providers have large mark-ups on their own costs of providing you services; whose pocket do you want the money in; theirs or yours?
    - When cooking chicken, only cook it for half the recommended cooking time, why waste unnecessary power/gas?

    Seriously, this article is rediculous. While it does have a fair point in stating that detergent manufacturer's have a vested interest in you using their product faster; the article looses its credibility by claiming that using "half as much" is a static rule.

    There are too many variables in this scenario to apply any one-rule-to-fit-all; including different brands, and types of washing machines, different materials used in clothes, diffent levels of soiling/dirtiness, and whether you wash in cold, warm or hot water.

    By all means, use less detergent - but only trial and error will find the right balance.

      Sorry mate, but you're wrong! I've been doing this for well over a year and it cleans the clothes just the same as before,.. except the clothes don't turn to cardboard after awhile, due to the powder actually clogging up the fabric! When the fabric is over-clogged with powder it tends to hang on to any funky smells, which is similar to a mould smell! I use a front loader, and very seldom use the dryer. Fabric softener is also a big problem with smell after a while, and I actually have stopped using it altogether! I've saved a heap of money doing this, and the clothes are cleaner!

        I'm not saying the concept is flawed, and I'm not saying that using "half as much" doesn't work for anyone (obviously it works for you) - what I'm saying is using half as much won't work for everyone. As I said, there's too many variables, washer size, type, length of wash cycle, quality of water etc. You'd probably find that detergent manufacturer's specify the amount they do to cover ALL possible scenarios.

        Some people can probably get away using less than half the indicated amount, some might need to use more. There's no hard and fast rules on the topic.

          I agree Sam,
          Where does it mention anything about 'concentrates' vs. 'non-concentrates' ?
          Unless that is all a lie too, and they're just the same product....

            "Washing machines today are much more efficient than the ones your parents used to have and detergents are much more concentrated"

          Hey, it's friggin wash powder,... not like the worlds gonna stop one way or the other eh! #]

        Why is it ok for the manufacturers to put a one size fits all on the bottle, not accounting for fabric type, soil level,, brand of washing machine, and only occasionally load size but not ok to suggest that using less might work? And using less wah powder to get a job done and *maybe* having to rewash the clothes ONE TIME cannot possibly be compared to not using oil in your car or not paying your bills, by any logical person.... Could you not use less water and expect to pay less of a bill, or not drive your car so far and expect your oil change to last longer into the calendar year? It certainly hurts nothing to try.

    fabric softener is the devil, it used to stick to the fabric softener dispenser in the middle of the washer and grow mold and you had to scrape the gunk off, hot water wouldn't get it off, you couldn't dilute it, was worse than wax! All I could think of, this crap is on my clothes? yetch. I've also tried using less detergent and it works great. I still kind of get a bit paranoid and sometimes put too much but oh well.

    Actually the dose you need to use totally depends on your salt load of your water, the higher the salt load.. the more you need. Conversely the lower the salts in the water, the less you need. It has to do with the flocculation/dispersion effects of electrolytes in water. If you are using something like rainwater.. very soft.. you should only need a little.. conversely if you are using groundwater, you might actually need more that what is recomended

    Use vinegar instead of fabric softener. It does the same thing, but it's much cheaper. 1/4cup per load.

    White vinegar that is, don't use balsamic.

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