How much laundry detergent is needed to get clothes clean? When using a high efficiency (he) washing machine you don’t need much laundry detergent. We’ll go into why you can use less and still get your clothes just as clean. We’ll also offer recommendations on how much laundry detergent to use on different size washing machines.
The Myth – Laundry detergent alone is what gets my clothes clean
Laundry detergent isn’t the only component to getting your clothes clean. The water and agitation does most of the work to clean your clothes but this alone cannot dissolve oily items. That’s where the detergent comes into play. The detergent dissolves the oily items and allows the grime to stay suspended in the water. When the water gets drained from the machine you want the dirt and oils to go with it.
The Problem – Too much laundry detergent
Using too much laundry detergent in a high efficiency washer will not get your clothes cleaner. It will actually make it harder to get your clothes clean because there is less water used in a high efficiency washer and too much detergent will cause over-sudsing problems. When you have too much suds it keeps your clothes from agitating properly by providing a cushion. When there is a cushion the agitators can’t properly move the clothes around.
The second problem with using too much detergent is that the machine can’t rinse it off. Using less water, high efficiency machines can’t rinse away large amounts of detergent. When the rinse cycles on the machine can’t dilute all the detergent and it comes out on your clothes. So while you may have gotten rid of the dirt and grime, you likely end up with a soap residue on your clothes.
Use the right laundry detergent
The laundry detergents that are labeled for HE use are formulated to produce fewer suds and to hold more grime. These detergents have been specially designed to work with less water and still be effective.
Most newer front load washers at a laundromat will be using high efficiency washers. It is usually safe to assume you can purchase a HE detergent for use at a laundromat.
The right amount of detergent
It’s important to use the proper amount of detergent at all times. When using a high efficiency washer this becomes even more critical.
When using HE soap you need 1-2 tablespoons of soap per load. How much is a load you might ask? Generally the smallest washing machine at a laundromat will be considered “1 load”. Many washers will say how many loads they can handle. A “Quadruple loader” will hold 4 normal loads of laundry, this is the same as a 40lb machine. On these larger machines use no more than 4 tablespoons of detergent.
Does it look right?
How do you know if you have the right amount of detergent? When the load is running the wash cycle there should be a small amount of suds during the whole wash. The machine does not need to be full of white fluffy suds. We’ve been trained by soap commercials to think that this is correct, but lots of white fluffy suds indicate too much soap has been used. If you try the recommended amounts of soap in this article and find it’s too little or too much, adjust slowly until you find the right balance.