Are You Using Too Much Detergent?

Are You Using Too Much Detergent?

When it comes to doing laundry, less is probably just fine. 👍🏼 The fact is, we’re generally using too much laundry soap on our clothes.

Most people just slug it into the machine without reading the directions and hope for the best. It might seem ok for a while but by over-sudsing on the regular, we’re wasting money and ruining our clothes (not to mention the environment). If your clothes are staining easily, look slightly shiny (or dull) they may be sporting a layer of laundry soap residue, which will eventually break down and harm the fibers. 

Here’s how to get the balance right:

Check in with your machine.

Is your machine a front or top loader? Front loading machines are generally HE (High Efficiency) and those don’t require as much soap as traditional top loading machines. There’s usually a decal/sticker on the machine with general guidelines. Find it, read it, believe it!  

How big is your load?

One universal truth you already know: the bigger your load, the more soap you probably need. But before you start glugging soap willy-nilly into the machine, READ THE LABEL. Modern Laundry Liquids are super concentrated, and a little goes a long way!

As a general rule of thumb, you only need 1 tablespoon or 15ml of detergent per smaller-regular load of laundry?  That's dramatically less than those plastic cups that come with traditional powder detergents. I recommend 1 tablespoon for a smaller load, 2 tablespoons for a true medium-sized one, and then near 3.5 tables spoons for those larger washes. This charming ceramic measuring cup takes the guesswork out of everything. Use it!

How dirty are your clothes?

There’s a big difference between stinky, grass-stained soccer shorts and your casual Friday work wear. Take a second to eyeball your laundry and if only one or two things have visible stains, you should scrub them with a little more Laundry Soap, or Garment Groom and then wash them with the rest of the pile. Make sure you check the stain is gone before throwing it into the dryer. Heat will not improve the situation! Repeat the pre-treat scrub and wash again.

How to remove excess laundry detergent from clothes?

If you suspect you’ve been using too much soap, or even worse, you’ve managed to pull a full-on Bobby Brady, you’ll need to take some steps to reset your machine.

 Step 1: 

Wipe the inside of the washing machine with clean, dry cloths to remove any visible soap residue or bubbles.

Step 2:

Spray the drum with Glass Cleaner. The water + alcohol formula will help cut through any remaining residual soap scum clinging to the drum. BTW: This is a great thing to do if you use a public or shared machine, or after you wash anything particularly dirty like rags or dog beds!

Step 3:

Add white vinegar to the MAX line where you would normally put the detergent, then run the machine on a full cycle with hot water. Your machine will smell like a jar of pickles, but this is a necessary step to break down the sudsy residue. 

Step 4:

Now run your machine on a Rinse Only cycle (hot water again).

Step 5:

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until the soap residue is completely removed from your washing machine. 

Your machine drum should look bright and be legitimately “squeaky” clean. If you want to lose the vinegar smell (and I know you do) now is a great time to do a load of towels with hot water. Easy on the soap!


Happy Washing!


Xx, mlk