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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Do You Read Your Detergent Bottles?

I have always tried to be careful with my money, but the last few years I have done so even more. One of the things that I started doing was paying careful attention to how fast I go through consumable things. Laundry detergent was one of these things.

When I first read the label on the detergent bottle, I was surprised at how little detergent I actually needed to use compared to the cup provided. I'm sure that is their plan though - to have you feel like you need to use more than is needed.

I took a picture of two measuring cups for laundry detergent. The clear cup on the right is the one I have been using the last few years. I have marked in red three different levels. The bottom level, level 1, is where you are to fill for medium-normal loads of laundry. It isn't even half way up. Level 2 is for large loads, and level 3 is for heavily soiled loads. There isn't even a level marked for small loads. I started using level 1 with this measuring cup, but noticed that when I started my next load, there were suds that appeared before I even added the soap. So I ended up filling the detergent under the first red mark, and my clothes always came out clean and smelling fresh - even with large loads and cloth diapers.

Last month I went to the store to buy detergent since I was out, and I found out that the size of bottle that I normally buy was no longer to be found. It was replaced by a smaller bottle that cost the same. I was a little upset at first at the inflation on laundry detergent, but I found out after reading the bottle that it was concentrated even more. The green cap is from this new bottle. I marked in black the new level 1, which is again not even half way up. I also marked on the old clear cup (in black) where this level comes to. As you can see, it is quite a bit less - which is to be expected since it is concentrated. But unless I was aware of the change, I would be filling that green cup way too high if I had in mind I needed to use the same amount of detergent as before.

So next time you go to do laundry, take a peek at how much detergent is recommended. (Dishwasher detergent does the same thing.) You may find it helpful to just draw a line on your measuring cup so you can easily see when you have enough. I know without my line, I mindlessly fill my cup too high!

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Tools of My Trade 

This soap was recommended in the comments of this post.  For those who are interested in a more natural laundry detergent but aren't completely sold on making their own, this soap looks like an economical product with great reviews.  I think I just might have to give it a try myself!


Anonymous said...

Can definately say we are all feeling the pinch on the price of things lately.
I too am guilty of filling the detergent cup up way to much. Good idea to draw a line on the cup. It will help my daughter learn better too:) Thanks

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

You are so right.

I only put "the size of a quarter" of dish detergent in. SMALL amount... but it works. I'm counting on the VERY HOT WATER to sanitize my dishes...

and the clotehs... I hardly use ANY soap, becuase I use a front loader that "requires" HE detergent. But I still use the regular detergent and just use a very small amount. You can tell by the smell of the clothes that they are getting clean. Too much soap actually makes them dirty... the dirt clings to the residue left behind if you use too much.

GREAT post! So very true.

Amy said...

Great tip! I never thought about doing this but am going to check mine out this weekend. Laundry detergent is so expensive!


Amy said...

I use Charlies soap and it is SO economical! I started using it when we started cloth diapering a while back (we are on baby #4 now!) but realized it was way better for the envirnment, our septic, our health and our budget. You have to get it online but it is only 11 or 12 dollars and it does 80 LOADS! You only use a tablespoon of it. We really like the stuff. I know you can make your own detergent (I prefer the powdered stuff cause it isn't as messy) and it is really easy. Just google "making your own laundry detergent" and you will get tons of entrys for both powdered and liquid and it is super cheap to make it. Anyway, I just stumbled on your site (from Good luck and God bless you and your family with the new land! "And the Lord will be your guide at all times; in dry places he will give you water in full measure, and will make strong your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like an ever-flowing spring." Isiah 58:11

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for the great information on laundry detergent. I haven't ever heard of that brand before. Sounds like a good one.

I have heard about making laundry soap at home, and almost did it once. There were a few things I heard about that stopped me. One was that it is hard on a septic system or washing machine. I can't remember which. The other was that it didn't keep whites white. Another concern is that our kids have very sensitive skin, and I'm not sure how it would effect them.

I'm not sure if there is any truth to any of those claims, but wanted to research them a bit more before I went ahead with it. Do you know anything about any of that?

I would love to hear comments from someone who does make their own.

Thanks again for your great info! said...

I know that homemade laundry detergent uses true soap which some are sensitive to. And I am not sure about the septic system thing - that is definately an issue when you are living in the country (like we are). I can't use it because soaps don't rinse as well with the cloth diapers (not sure if you guys use those, so may not be an issue). I really like the Charlies Soap though. It seems like you love it or you hate it - most love it (at least the ones I have talked to) Make sure if you use it you "strip" your washing machine first. I couldn't believe the amount of detergent build up in the washing machine AND on the clothes! Our clothes are now really clean and don't smell like they have been soaked in perfume (just clean smelling) I don't use fabric softener and the come out softer than before! For 12 bucks a bag (and that bag lasts us a while) it is worth a try. I am starting to sound like a commercial now! LOL! God Bless!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Mclain-Thanks for the extra info on soap. We do use cloth diapers, so that helps solve one of my questions. :) I'm glad that the planting pots were helpful for you too!

Anonymous said...

I often felt the exact same way when using detergents. I also follow your method when using dishwasher detergent, using less than the suggested amount and the dishes come out just fine.

I cannot tell you how much money I have saved making my own laundry detergent. I have adjusted a recipe to my liking and it is super simple. Some recipes I have read take many steps. We are on a septic system and live in the country and have had no issues. My recipe is simply borax, washing soda, and dawn dish soap. My children have not had any sensitivity issues and we've been using it two years. I do always keep a bottle of Tide on hand for the super tough stains and my husbands dress clothes. It truly is a money saver.

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