Figuring out how much laundry detergent you need to put in each wash can sometimes be confusing. Assessing how much is too much and how little is not enough for different-sized loads makes the difference between clean and dirty clothes.
The worst thing is that you can’t really count on the measuring cup on the laundry detergent bottle. Most cups are at least four times bigger than what you actually need.
So, let’s go over everything you need to know before pouring the laundry detergent into your washer.
How Much Laundry Detergent to Use: Factors to Consider
You need to be careful because if you use too little laundry detergent, your clothes won’t get clean. But, if you use too much of it, it can lead to detergent residue, stains, and damage to your clothes.
Therefore, the amount of detergent you use is one of the key factors in the successful machine washing of clothing. However, you also have to take into account how much laundry detergent boosters like borax you will add.
So, how much laundry detergent should you use? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.
Here are the essential factors that you need to take into account.
1. Front-loading washing machines are more detergent-efficient than top loaders.
Front-loading washers have a shorter cycle, use less water, and therefore require less detergent.
Top loaders, on the other hand, have a drum agitator, which requires more water to clean off dirt and more detergent.
To run a full load, you’ll need two tablespoons of laundry detergent for both.
However, the type should be different. For a front-loader, a HE detergent with low suds fits best because it’s designed to quickly remove dirt with less water and less lather.
2. HE washers need less detergent compared to the regular ones.
Therefore, if you’d like to save some cash, you should opt for a high efficient (HE) washer, which uses less detergent than a regular washing machine.
For example, when using an efficient washer, you’ll need two to three teaspoons of liquid laundry detergent per an eight-pound load. On the other hand, you’ll need about two tablespoons of liquid detergent per load for a regular washer, which translates to six teaspoons of detergent.
3. Hard water requires more laundry detergent than soft water.
Usually, you can use the regular amount of detergent — two tablespoons — for medium and hard water.
Soft water, however, will save you half a tablespoon of laundry detergent. So, you can use one and a half tablespoons of detergent.
4. Use more detergent for heavier loads.
Load size plays the biggest role in how much laundry detergent you’ll use. Medium-size loads of four to six pounds need about one and a half tablespoons of regular-concentration detergent.
On the other hand, large-size loads of around eight pounds need two tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent.
5. The type of detergent you use matters.
Some laundering products are more concentrated than others. Therefore, if you buy a highly concentrated detergent, you’ll need to use a smaller amount of this product than non-concentrated detergent.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how much to use.
6. Pre-treating stains requires less detergent.
If you’re pre-treating stains, you’ll need to use less detergent in the actual wash.
7. Dirtier clothes can use more detergent.
Finally, if you’re doing a load of lightly soiled laundry, you can get away with using less detergent.
Conversely, if you’re washing a load of very dirty, food-stained clothes, you’ll need to use more.
Optimizing your use of detergent will not only save you money but also provide proper care for your washing machine.
So, keep all of these factors in mind when you’re trying to figure out how much laundry detergent to use.
If you’re still not sure, start with the lower amount and add more if needed.
What happens if I use too much laundry detergent?
If you go overboard with your laundry detergent, your clothes will likely end up having detergent residue. This will make your clothes feel scratchy and uncomfortable.
What’s more, if your skin is sensitive to detergents, it can lead to contact dermatitis (red, itchy rashes).
How do you know if you use too much laundry detergent?
Too much laundry detergent usually means your washer and your garments won’t be entirely rinsed off.
There are a few signs for this, including detergent stains on your shirts, a strong detergent smell, and stiff and crunchy clothes with dull colors.
How many cups of detergent do I need for a heavy load?
If you’re washing a heavy load of around 12 pounds in a standard washer, use two tablespoons of detergent.
For loads of up to eight pounds, a single teaspoon of the detergent will be enough. In high-efficiency washers, one teaspoon of laundry detergent will be enough.
Is liquid detergent better than pods?
In terms of efficiency, both can do a pretty good job washing your clothes. However, liquid detergents are cheaper than pods, sometimes by a lot!
They also give you the choice of adjusting the dosage you need for loads of different weights.
On the other hand, pods are more practical. Since pods are premeasured, one thing is sure — if your washing machine is full, you’ll have just the amount of detergent you need.