Home » Soap News » How Much Detergent to Use

How Much Detergent to Use

How much detergent to use? To answer the question, “Am I using too much laundry detergent?” take a look at your freshly washed laundry:

Are there traces of detergent residue left on your clothes?

Does your laundry feel soapy or sticky?

Do the clothes feel stiff and scratchy?

Are your colored clothes looking dull and your white clothes looking grey?

Does your high-efficiency washer smell musty or really, really bad?

If any of these problems relate to your laundry, then the answer is to the question is, “Yes”!


The amount of laundry detergent you should use per a load of laundry depends upon the type of washing machine you use, the size of the load, the level of soil on the clothes, the hardness of your water supply, and the stated concentration of the detergent (2X, 4X, or 10X).

If you are presoaking a load of clothes that are heavily stained, use the same amount of detergent you would use for a full load of clothes. If you are soaking only one garment, use one teaspoon of liquid or powdered detergent per gallon of water.

Now that you know the exact amount of detergent you really need to use, there is one thing you need to understand up front: detergent manufacturers wish you would use more. Why? All of the big companies are experiencing limited growth or declining sales of laundry detergent.

With the increased sales of larger high-efficiency washing machines (about 44% of United States households have one), consumers are, rightfully so, using less detergent than they once did. Lower water levels used in this type of washer require less laundry detergent. The washers actually offer better performance if you use less detergent. If you use too much detergent and must add a second rinse, you are using lots of extra water and might as well have a standard machine.

A second blow was dealt as home washers have increased in load size capacity. Consumers can now efficiently and effectively wash huge loads. Fewer loads = less detergent used.

The final hit to free-flowing detergent sales was the introduction of single-dose detergents. Premeasured packets now make up about 13 percent of liquid-detergent sales allowing even those most inept at the laundry to get the amount of detergent used per load correctly. Thus, there is no waste and no need to replenish detergent supplies as often.