If you're like most people, you spend a fair amount on laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and other cleaning products. Saving money on them doesn't have to be just about finding a sale or switching to cheaper brands -- the chances are you're simply using too much. Let's take a look at how much most people actually use, versus how much is needed to get the job done.
You're not going to save an enormous amount of money by paying closer attention to how much toothpaste you use, or how much shampoo you squeeze into your hands -- but you should be able to cut your weekly shopping bill, and over time, those dollars add up. Not wasting stuff is also kinder to the planet.
It's highly likely you're using too much toothpaste. Dentists will tell you that a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste is enough for most adults, and half as much is needed for children children. In short, if your toothbrush looks like the image above, it's far too much.
This isn't just about saving money and not wasting toothpaste though. Too much toothpaste can actually cause more harm than good, not to mention make it more difficult to actually brush for the recommended two minutes due to all of the foam in your mouth.
"Nobody thinks they use too much [detergent]," 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. And detergents have also become increasingly concentrated. So a little goes a long way.
"Most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of [detergent] they need, and they're pouring money down the drain," Mr. Schmidt said
A full cap is way more than most loads of laundry really require . We've even mentioned that you could get away with half the usual amount, and it will do the job just fine. Some of the more concentrated formulas need even less.
If you're using dishwashing powder in your dishwasher, it's easy to use too much. This is less of an issue if you use tablets, since that's a fixed dosage. Not only is using too much powder wasteful, it can actually seriously damage your dishwasher. A quick way to tell if you've been using too much is to check for deposits and build-up on the inside of the dishwasher door, near the detergent tray.
You might think it's not possible to use "too much" of something that goes into your mouth, is swished around, and then goes down the drain, but it is. If you take the cap off of your mouthwash and blindly fill it up to the top before tossing it back, you're probably using way too much. Most commercial mouthwashes suggest using only about 20-30ml at once. It's more than enough to get the job done, and your mouth shouldn't be completely full of mouthwash anyway -- the act of swishing it around inside your mouth is part of what makes it effective, so filling up your mouth diminishes its utility.