Walmart Wants To Cut 25% More Water From Laundry Detergents

While incorrect or misleading directions really don’t help, studies and real-life experience show that people tend to pour laundry detergent with a heavy hand. That’s why a new eco-friendly initiative from Walmart seems like a good thing, but will be really beneficial to detergent-makers.

Most people overdose on detergent–it’s not a nefarious plot or stupidity on consumers’ part; just how we are. Companies can count on selling us a little bit extra, and sales are actually falling slightly due to the growing popularity of pre-measured detergent pods. They might contain too much soap for a small load, but also remove entirely the ability to over-estimate the amount needed.

In this scenario, everyone wins. Walmart gets to stock its shelves with smaller bottles, giving them more shelf space to cram more merchandise on. They also get a little bit of enviromnental cred: using less plastic to move more detergent is a good thing. Consumers get to carry lighter bottles to their homes and/or cars, but there’s a disadvantage for us, too.

When detergent is more concentrated, that means that when we pour with a heavy hand, we use even more. The Wall Street Journal notes that overall detergent sales went up the last time major brands went through a “round of compaction” in 2008.

How Wal-Mart May Give Detergent Overdosing — And Sales — A Boost

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  1. lmbrown says:

    It is mostly the consumer’s fault. If you read the measuring instructions and use the measuring cap – you won’t over use. Most people are too lazy to actually use the measuring cap. I use mine and fill it to one under the size of my load – small line for medium loads, medium line for large loads, etc. The clothes still get clean.

    • MathManv2point0 says:

      I’m with you on this. I took a marketing class where they talked about the “real” purpose of the concentrated detergents is to sell more since as the professor said, “you never actually measure detergent when using it – you just use a cap-full.” The professor didn’t mean us specifically but was making the point that business rely on uninformed consumers “misusing” products so they can sell more.

  2. Liberal says:

    I recently took this to heart and measured the very hard to read lines on my liquid tide cap and found that 1.5oz,2oz,2.5oz met the appropriate mark in the cap. Just understanding how much i was using and how many ounces was in that bottle made me a better consumer. the stuff works and using extra is no help. oh yeah and its not cheap.

  3. oomingmak says:

    If you have a high efficiency washer you should either be using HE-specifc detergent or using only 1/2 to 1/3 of the prescribed amount.

    I use the Trader Joe’s detergent which advertises “60 Loads” on the front but if you read the fine print it says “120 Loads for High Efficiency Machines” on the back. I always wondered why they didn’t make a bigger deal of this higher number.

  4. Airwave says:

    What about having refills in paper cartons you can then pour into your empty (plastic) bottle?

  5. furiousd says:

    I have a shelf above my washer that I place a bulk detergent from Sam’s so that I use no cap at all for measuring. I just wing it and try to err on the conservative side when measuring. What I’d like to see is a metered spout for these types of bottles to get the same effect. Or have a reservoir built into newer machines so that the load size I select will take the appropriate amount of detergent.