Laundry detergent is expensive. One “debt free” blogger has taken the time to mark up a detergent cap to show you how much product you’re probably wasting with every load. [No Credit Needed] (Thanks to J.C.!)


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  1. Kat@Work says:

    Wow – you read the detergent bottle. Congrats. Why can’t people just read the instructions in the first place? Just because there’s a max fill line doesn’t mean you have to max everything out – unfortunately that’s American mentality though. Like when people drive on your ass because you’re not going the speed limit. Um, its a limit – as in maximum speed.

    I would hope this isn’t a surprise to many people…

    Reading is awesome kids!

  2. bustit22 says:

    Wow, what a useless article.

    Now, for the interesting part. I was able to save a ton of money on cough syrup because…..the ‘natural line’ – marked in green – and the point to where I’ve always filled the bottle cap in the past – is well above the ‘recommended line’.

  3. Quellman says:

    I used to think people knew not to fill it up all the way. Then I met my girlfriend. She like to fill it up 1.5 times with concentrated stuff. Yikes!

  4. JRock says:

    Article summary:

    “Follow directions on box.”

    …personally, unless my clothes are extremely dirty, I use less than recommended. They still get clean and I end up squeezing an extra few loads out of the bottle.

  5. GearheadGeek says:

    The article went into more depth than was strictly necessary, with the pictures and lines and such… but it’s probably useful both economically and ecologically to tell people they should read the instructions instead of just filling up the “convenient measuring cup” that’s designed specifically to make you use more of the stuff than you need so you come back for more sooner. I’d venture to say a huge number of people fill it up just like the packaging designers planned, and never get all the soap rinsed out of their clothes because of it. Never mind the cost…

  6. oakie says:

    i think i’m gonna start advertising sales of “common sense”. i’ll be a millionaire in weeks.

  7. samurailynn says:

    I’ve been using Dropps for a while now. It’s supposed to be better for the environment, and better for your clothes. The packaging is smaller, so there’s less waste. Each “serving” of soap comes in a little packet that dissolves in the water. So, there’s only one serving size, but it comes out to about 25 cents a load (if I remember correctly). Plus, my husband has sensitive skin and it doesn’t irritate him when I use it on his clothes.

    Just make sure not to get the little packets wet before you stick them in the wash!

  8. lapazlinda says:

    I found it helpful, but it doesn’ take into account very, very hard water, like I have. However, the bottles just got way smaller, and the price didn’t change, because the mfr’s are claimning a “super concentrated” formula, which I don’t notice-I’m adding as much as ever to get even a tiny bit of suds. So I think some might find this helpful-I don’t click into every thread, but I did this one.

  9. NCN says:

    Thanks for linking to my article…
    For those who are commenting – I realize that ‘reading the directions’ makes ‘common sense’. I was just trying to have a little fun and get people to think about the assumptions we make. As for the pictures and lines and stuff – I went OVER THE TOP on purpose. I could have written – Hey, spend less by being sure that you use the appropriate amount of laundry detergent, as per package guidelines. But, that would have been boring.

  10. Carencey says:

    Huh. I’ve always used the lines inside as a guide and not filled the whole cup. I have a teeny compact washer in my current apartment, so I rarely go above the “1” line, and use less if it isn’t full. I keep saying that one of these days I’ll experiment and see if I can go even lower than that, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, and my washer instructions don’t have any guidelines. I don’t really trust manufacturers to tell me how much of their product I need to use anyway, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that those lines have been creeping up lately.

  11. ElizabethD says:

    If you use dryer sheets (I use scent-free Bounce to kill static electricity in my clean laundry), tear each sheet in half. You don’t need a whole one for each load.

    You’re welcome!

  12. uberbucket says:

    How about saving money, the environment and lessen our dependency on oil? I use this stuff and it works great. Seventh Generation

  13. aka Cat says:

    Either his math or his proofreading is screwed up.

    If, as he claims, you only get 16 loads out of a bottle if you fill to the ‘Medium’ (aka red, aka 1) line, then you’ll only get four loads if you’re filling to the ‘green line’.

    If you get 16 large loads per bottle, *then* the ‘green’ line will get you 8. And if you always use the medium amount, you’ll get 32 washes per bottle.

  14. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @bustit22: Wow what a useless post.
    No one’s holding a gun to your head forcing you to read them, butt part.
    Also, if you don’t worry about saving money, you can send me your excess.

  15. Amelie says:

    This guy in his “Oh I am so smart” tip, forget a crucial factor: the softness of you local water.

    I can use half the detergent here than I used when I lived in another part of the country.

    Personally, I think following the instructions is not the best advice – trial and error is. Most products still encourage you to use too much. I don’t like my clothes not to be full of excess detergent.

  16. Amelie says:

    @doctor_cos: Uh, how can you tell the article is useless, unless you’ve read it. I found it
    a waste of time as it not only told me something I already knew, but that I knew more about the subject than the author.

  17. Amelie says:

    @ElizabethD: Using half of a non-scented Bounty has been standard practice in my home too. (Interesting, how difficult it is too find non-scented softener.)

    To any of you who think dryer sheets are not necessary to control static, make sure your familiar with living in the Great White North.

  18. Shannon says:

    Wow- I feel like I want to say something really smart ass-ish… but nothing comes to mind… yet.

  19. TPK says:

    I still can’t figure out why my local store stocks 8 times more liquid detergent than powder… the powder is cheaper to use.

  20. Whtthfgg says:

    Just bought a new Bosch front loader. It only uses 3 tablespoons of detergent. The sensors in the washer will actually make the cycle take longer if you put in too much, because it senses when the soap is rinsed out.

  21. _catlike_ says:

    I think you just answered your own question.

    I’ve started making my own detergent (do a search for homemade laundry detergent and you’ll find variations on a basic recipe). Powder detergent is ridiculously easy to make if you have a food processor with a shredding disc, and has no nasty additives and potentially no fragrance, depending on what kind of soap you use.

  22. larry_y says:

    Instructions or not, the problem is that your intuition is working against you. Or another way of putting it, the design of the cap isn’t human friendly. Sort of like the door that you keep pulling on, until you see the sign that says push.

  23. @Amelie: You know, I live in a winter-dry place too, and I quit using fabric softener sheets one really humid summer, forgot to start again, and never noticed the difference. And what I wonder is if this is related to having a newer-model dryer that I switched to over that summer, because I used to have TERRIBLE static problems, and I just don’t anymore. Ever.

    On a side note, if you line dry, no static problems!

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    Less useless of an article than you think.
    I’ve done the same demo to my roomie and several friends. During lulls between more fun conversations, obviously. Each time after casually mentioning it, they wouldn’t accept my word for it until I read the back of the detergent package, with accompanying finger-pointing to each of the lines.
    I gave up on one that insisted that the company wouldn’t print the bright (2x the correct amount) line unless it was a hidden “turbo-clean” option that they were making us privy to. Being so, y’know, Elite.

    Yeah, we’re guys.

  25. Heresy Of Truth says:


    You can’t take the grim negative folks around here seriously. I am not sure why so many super negative folks read this site, but some of them seem to have no purpose but to claim random articles are useless, and play the blame the victim game.

    I thought your article was thought provoking, as I was just going to do my laundry. I looked at the lids, and realized I was using way more than the amount of soap I needed. I got my sharpy out, and made a line like you did, and I suppose I will be using half the soap I was. That will help my thin finances a lot. Thanks for the great article.

  26. bohemian says:

    I started using half of the suggested amount of the super concentrated liquid laundry soap we use. The clothes look cleaner and those you hang to dry are no longer crunchy stiff.

  27. Ragman says:

    @Amelie: I get the target brand non scented sheets, since they’re the only store brand I could find in non-scented.

    We went scent free on the laundry when our daughter was born. Can’t stand the perfumes now. We loaned some baby thing to a friend who washed it in scented detergent before giving it back – we couldn’t get the scent washed out of it, so we got rid of it.

    Dreft isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – it reeks of baby powder.

  28. strathmeyer says:

    My cap has three lines labeled 1, 2, and 3. My washing machine has three setting, Small, Medium, and Large. Next time I’m in the laundry room I shall check to see if I am doing it correctly.

  29. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Amelie: At least you offered some insight into why you thought it was a ‘useless’ article. But remember that ‘useless’ is in the eye of the beholder (be’reader’?) as well.

  30. captainleah says:

    this article is for my dumb roommates who steal my purex :(