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Your Laundry Detergent Might be Ruining Your Clothes

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 11, 2022

If you're unimpressed with the way your laundry detergent is performing, there's a chance that the amount you use might be the culprit. As reported by The New York Times, using too much laundry detergent leaves a residue on your clothing that can make your clothes crunchy, scratchy, and just plain uncomfortable. In addition, too many suds can prevent your clothes from rubbing together in the wash, which is useful for releasing trapped dirt from your garments. In essence, the more detergent you use, the dirtier your clothes will become over time.

According to The Times, a maximum of two tablespoons per load will get the job done, and that amount is requested for loads 12 pounds or more, far beyond what a standard load of laundry would weight. In most cases, one tablespoon is enough to get the job done for an average load. And if you're handwashing, Times writer Sarah Bodgan recommends that you use even less.

Of course, the exact amounts vary by brand, and you can't always trust what the labels say. According to a video posted to Wirecutter, some manufacturers blatantly lie on the labels. "Remember," Bodgan advised, "they're selling a product, and they want you to buy more of it."

And when it comes to high-efficiency detergent, they can be at least double the concentration of traditional detergents. This is further complicated by high-efficiency washers, which use less water than a traditional washing machine and therefore has less water with which to dilute the detergent.

But all is not lost, according to The Times. To restore your laundry to its previous condition, you'll need to get all that residue out. Whirlpool advises soaking your laundry in a mixture of vinegar and water. In a sink or a bathtub, mix one cup vinegar into one quart of water and toss in your dirty clothes. Soak them for up to an hour and then run the clothes through the washing machine in a normal wash cycle.

As far as laundry stripping goes, which has surged in popularity following a series of vital videos on TikTok, The Times advises that it's a perfectly safe practice that can absolutely remove residue from your clothes, although it won't make your clothes noticeable softer. If you want to strip all the trapped material from your clothes, "go for it," Bodgan said. "I have a feeling you're not going to notice your towels being softer. You're just going to know how disgusting you are — which is fine. We all are!"