Consumer Reports Finds Laundry Detergent Dosing ‘Confusing’


laundry detergent
Photo: ©iStockphoto/SchulteProductions

Staff Writer |

YONKERS, N.Y. — Using too much concentrated laundry detergent can wash its benefits away, says Consumer Reports, which recently looked closely at products from All, Era, Purex, Tide and Xtra and uncovered unclear instructions and inconsistent cap measurements that can drive up laundry costs.

The independent, non-profit organization says it found that it’s often unclear how much detergent is needed to get the job done right, and it can be easy to use too much. It blamed cap fill lines that testers found were difficult to see or too close together to produce accurate dosing.

Concentrated laundry detergents—2X, 3X and even 8X—have less water and other nonessential ingredients than conventional products, Consumer Reports says. Most consumers don’t realize that the “X” is often tied to a previous formulation of the same detergent, so 2X would give equal performance as the previous detergent while using half the dose.

Also, the “X” does not apply to different models of the same brand or for comparisons across brands. For example, a 50-ounce bottle from one maker doses 32 loads while 32 ounces from another does 28 loads.

Consumer Reports recommends following label directions until the measuring lines on laundry detergent caps are well defined. Also, it recommends using HE detergents in a front loader or high-efficiency top loader, because other detergents may produce too much suds.

The full report on concentrated laundry detergents can be found here.



The amount of soap needed cannot be determined by a seller of the soap in a far off laboratory. The amount needed for dirt is negligible since sand needs mainly enough to lubricate and suspend. Remember grand ma used to throw her dishwater into the backyard and didn't disolve the dirt, but she did get green grass. Soap is needed mostly for the body oils, lotion oils, grease, cooking oils, break down of food stains, change of surface tension, and higher Ph. Ph is somewhat determined by the volume of water and that is another veriable. Seventy five percent of stains are water soluble and need little or no soap. The marks on a dispenser are immaterial.

Agreed, it is impossible for

Agreed, it is impossible for sellers of detergent to accurately predict the amount of detergent needed for ANY single load. For example, 25 lbs. of sweaty socks and underwear is going to need 10 times the detergent needed for 25 lbs. of sweaters that don't even touch your skin. Hard water vs. soft water will double the detergent needed. Hot water vs. cold will also change the amount of detergent needed, never mind what they advertise. So the best possible they can do is approximate, and the consumer will have to see for themselves if they need more or less.

My advise to all laundry customers: "Use half the amount you think will be necessary, wait 2 minutes till all the water is in, then add soap or not until you have 1 inch of suds on top of the water when the drum stops to reverse. This amount of suds will pretty much be all used up by the end of a 10 min. wash, but more will not wash any cleaner and is wasted.

This method is useless for home machines that use a few cups of water and an hour of time to try to clean clothes......



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