Reduce the amount of detergent you use in each load and save money. Most Americans use too much detergent, wasting money and getting their clothes less clean in the process, says Mary Marlowe Leverette, laundry guide writer for About.com and a former Clemson University extension agent. She taught classes on laundry and stain removal.
"We all tend to think if a little bit works, a little bit more will be better," says Leverette. "But in fact, adding excessive amounts of laundry detergent can be detrimental."
Using too much detergent prevents the water in your washing machine from doing its part to release dirt and stains from your garments, Leverette says.
So why do people use so much detergent when it doesn't get their clothes any cleaner? Hard-to-see lines on detergent measuring caps are partly to blame, Leverette says.
If you're having trouble seeing them, she recommends using a permanent marker to outline the different gradations, especially the lowest one. Unless your clothes are heavily soiled, you should use the lowest gradation for most loads, she says.
If you end up cutting your detergent usage in half, you'll save around $80 annually.