Monday, June 29, 2009

Too much soap can be hazardous to your washer

Welcome to Monday, or as it's come to be called Blue Monday, but not for the reason you might think. During the 19th and the early part of the 20th century Monday was known as washday and without the luxuries of washers and dryers laundry was an arduous task. Much of the focus of Monday was bluing the white laundry, kind of like bleaching. In those days laundry detergents were made at home not bought in stores.

Okay Monday probably isn't your washing day, and we've long surpassed the days of hauling dirty clothes to the river, but you still might not be doing your laundry correctly. It may seem a small worry, but you could be using too much laundry soap.

"Oh, gasp!" you say, or more likely your thinking, "big deal."

Using too much laundry soap could cause:
  • you to spend to much on the stuff
  • leave a soapy film on your wash
  • increase lint levels
  • and even....damage high-efficiency machines.
According to Consumer Reports the most common reason we OD on laundry soap is unclear caps:

During the testing for our latest report on laundry detergents (available to subscribers), technicians and other staffers noted how hard it was to decipher the fill lines on several caps.

If the lines aren't clear or are hard to see, it's easy to overdose and use too much detergent," says Pat Slaven, a program leader in our Technical department who conducted the detergent testing. "Plus, for all the products we tested, the line for a medium load—the most commonly done load—is less than a full cap, which makes it easier to use too much detergent. The line for a maximum load is also typically less than a full cap.

The article also states that too much soap can cause soap deposits and lint to form inside your washing machine, which, say some manufacturers, might contribute to mold and odors. It could also plug or restrict ports or filters which can result in mechanical failures. High-efficiency machines are sensitive to soap overuse.

Laundry soap manufacturers are trying to overcome the problem by printing directions on the bottle about how much to use and how to use the cap. But most of us think we already know how to do laundry and never bother to read the bottle. But still the finger has to go back to the manufacturers who don't label their caps correctly.

Take the blue out of your laundry day by reading the instructions carefully. If you find the cap's fill lines are hard to see, mark them on the outside of the cup with a waterproof marker. That way you won't have to think about it the next time.

1 comment:

  1. Also, along with cleaning out clogs on dishwashers, it's important (especially for HE washers) to clean out their lint trap and inlet/outlet filters occasionally and run empty cycles every now and then, as since the water level is so low, many particles from washing and other small amounts of dirt and lint can contribute to mold growth and improper cleaning, even with the right amount of soap.

    Love these tips, by the way. Helps us normal people learn how to prevent financial mishaps, not just how to fix them :)