Laundry may have been one of the first things you learned to do when you moved out of your parent’s place. But even seasoned launderers can still learn a few new tricks in savvy sudsing.
“Laundry detergent can be expensive and it’s a product just about everyone values,” says Anderson, president of Country Save Corp, maker of all-natural laundry and dish detergents.
Almost every brand of detergent has a declaration of loads per box on its packaging, he says. And for almost every brand, the number on the box does not match the scooper size provided in the box.
Anderson, whose environmentally safe Country Save laundry detergent is also distributed by the Department of Defense to all soldiers in the field, offers these facts about using your detergent prudently and economically.
• Don’t just fill up the scoop and dump it in the washer. “You definitely won’t get the maximum number of loads from the box,” Anderson says. “For instance, if you use Ultra Tide’s 40-load box and fill the scoop for every load, you’ll get just 15 scoops per box.” Instead, he says, put on your glasses, if necessary, and look at the lines on the side of the scoop. The top line, for a full load, is usually well below the lip of the scoop. Highlight the lines with a dark-colored marker to help you avoid the problem in the future. If you have soft water, using half the recommended amount is sufficient.
• Too much soap causes clothes to fade faster. Over-use of detergent is actually the leading cause of fading. Clothing may also acquire a thin, filmy layer of soap because your washer can’t thoroughly rinse the fabric. Do you tend to be itchy? It could be you’re wearing your detergent!
• Too much soap’s not good for your washing machine, either. Excess soap can gum up the works as soap deposits and lint form in your washing machine. These can contribute to mold – and its accompanying stench; they can plug up filters and other openings; and they can lead to mechanical breakdowns. In some machines, you may also end up wasting (and spending more for) water as the machine spins into extended cycles in an effort to remove the soap.
• Run a test load to see if you’re over-soaping. Run a load with clothes only – no detergent. Do you see suds? That’s an indication of how much detergent you are wearing.
• Reduce pollutants by using an all-natural detergent. While Country Save had the first phosphate-free detergent on the market back in 1977, many companies have now removed the additive because of its harmful effects on rivers, lakes and other fresh water. However, most companies continue to use other additives, such as optic brighteners, fragrances and dyes, Anderson says. “The more often consumers choose the most natural products, the better off our environment will be – even if some people still use too much!