A Widespread and Very Ungreen Habit: Laundry Detergent Overdosing!

May 14th, 2010

Whatever your feelings on doing laundry, chances are you’re probably overusing detergent.

I don’t mind doing laundry at all, but I have noticed that an ultra-concentrated bottle of  detergent never lasts for 32 loads like the bottle says. It’s my fault. Sometimes I measure, and sometimes I guess.

Whether you make your own detergent or buy it, not overdosing on detergent is one way to green your household.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, we’re all pretty much overdosing on laundry soap. The article, “The Great American Soap Overdose,” explains how we’re pouring too much soap for today’s high-efficiency machines and ultra-concentrated detergent.

To solve the problem of over-soaping (and the resulting dingy clothes and smelly machines), you’ll need to carefully measure with your own device or take a closer look at the hard-to-read lines on many detergent caps.

Some companies have recently developed easier-to-read measuring caps with bigger, staggered (not stacked) numbers, but others are still offering faintly marked caps.

You may have also noticed that laundry detergent measuring caps often hold much more detergent than you need. In a report last summer, Consumer Reports blamed the poor design of laundry caps for measuring woes.

Whether caps are designed to intentionally dupe consumers is up for debate, but you can squash your detergent overdose habit and be more green simply by paying more attention or substituting your own measuring device. Oh, and you have to actually measure, not just pour!

To learn more about possible laundry errors you’re making, mouse around on the fun interactive illustration at WSJ.

(image via sxc)

2 Responses to “A Widespread and Very Ungreen Habit: Laundry Detergent Overdosing!”

  1. Diana on May 19, 2010 6:01 pm

    I agree with you totally. I try to put a little bit in, but my kids overload on the soap. Drives me nuts how fast it disappears when I know it should last a long while.

  2. Peggy on May 21, 2010 4:02 am

    Well, the good news is that your kids are doing laundry! 😉

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