Do You Use Too Much Laundry Detergent?

Laundry is apart of life.  I ran across this interesting article entitled Do-It-Yourself Laundry Detergent where it talks about ways to save money on laundry detergent and questions the amount of laundry detergent Americans use.  It even throws out the idea of not using any laundry detergent! 

You might be surprised to learn that, while clothing has been around since the fig leaf, laundry detergent is relatively new. And yet, ancient people were presumably able to make their clothing at least somewhat clean. How?

As it turns out, something that may be even more effective than soap is agitation. Ancient people used rocks and rivers, but your modern washing machine can clean lightly soiled clothes by just pushing them around in water.

While most people aren’t going to go for washing clothes without soap.  It is an interesting read and an important reminder that you don’t have to use very much of the new ultra concentrated laundry soap to get clean clothes. 

As you’ve probably noticed, the latest twist in detergent is to sell us less product at a higher price with “ultra-new-and-improved” concentrates. “Use less soap, save the planet” is the basic idea. But smaller quantities mean more precise measuring is needed: fail to pay attention and you’ll pour too much, which doesn’t help the earth or your budget … but does benefit Proctor and other purveyors of these products.

In another article entitled, The Great American Soap Overdose, there is more on the overuse of laundry detergent. 

In the laundry room, Americans are prone to overkill. They pour too much detergent into their washing machines.

Generations of consumers have washed clothes with the idea that more soap means cleaner laundry. But the sudsy habits are creating messy problems from dingy clothing to worn machines.

Making matters worse, the latest generation of detergents are concentrated and so require users to use less product-per-washload than ever before. And more consumers are buying high-efficiency washers, which need far less water than older models. It’s a combination begging for more careful measuring—something Americans stubbornly resist.

Proctor and Gamble plans on introducing new easy to read pouring caps to make the lines more distinct and easy to read so consumers can easily dose the machine properly.  The article went on to say,

Laundry remains a time-consuming chore and one done largely by women. It was the primary household responsibility of 76% of women and 24% of men in a 2007 Whirlpool survey of 2,500 consumers; some 78% of those surveyed do approximately nine loads of laundry each week. The equivalent of 1,100 washloads are started every second of every day, P&G says.

These articles are a good reminder to remind your laundry-doing-age children how much soap they should be using!

So this week while I’m washing away, I going to experiment with the amount of soap I use.  I do way more than 9 loads a week and many of the loads are heavily soiled farm boy clothes.  I’m interested to test the soap amounts and see what I come up with!


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  1. Tracy says:

    I have always used less than what they called for even on the cap.  We recently made the switch to Charlie’s Soap and are loving it.  If you buy it by the 5 gallon bucket through Amazon it comes out to be really cheap and there is no shipping charges on it.  And the amazing thing is you can also use it in your dishwasher too.  I love the simplicity of only needing one product for both dishes and clothes.  It came out to 9 cents a load for clothes.  I am not sure about dishes as it only takes about a 1 1/2 tsp. per load.

  2. Jamie says:

    We make our own laundry soap and we love it! It is SO easy to make and SO cost effective too! I got the recipe off The Duggar’s website.

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