When using cleaners and other household products, it’s important to use the amount recommended. Using more pours money down the drain and can be bad for your appliances, your belongings, and the environment.
Colleen Tressler, consumer education specialist for the Federal Trade Commission, offers these tips that are good for your wallet and the planet:
Too much can make your clothes stiff and cause a buildup of mold and mildew in your machine that can shorten its life. Detergent "overpouring" creates a high, foamy tide that lifts soil and lint above the water level so it isn’t rinsed away. That leaves residue on clothing that fades colors and attracts more dirt. Detergent buildup inside the machine promotes odor and bacteria growth.
What to do: Consider load size, and measure before you pour. Most detergent measuring caps tell you how much to use for different size loads. If you have a hard time reading the fill lines, look at the bottle cap in good light, then use permanent markers in different colors to highlight the fill lines. If your laundry fills a quarter of the drum, that's a small load. If it looks about half-full, it’s a medium load, and if it’s close to full, it’s a full load.
Remember: detergents have become concentrated, so a little goes a long way. If you use a high-efficiency washer or dishwasher, use detergents specifically made for them, and use no more than directed.
They may make your laundry soft and static-free, but they have a waxy layer that melts in the dryer. Use one sheet per load. Using more can clog the lint filter and gum up the machine.
Using too much, or the wrong detergent, can leave dishes with a soapy residue. You don’t have to fill up the entire soap container in the dishwasher. Use the right detergent and use the recommended amount.
When it comes to personal hygiene, your teeth aren’t going to get any cleaner or whiter by fully loading your toothbrush with toothpaste. Dentists say a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste is enough for most adults, and children should use half as much.