detergent and cycles

phrogMarch 1, 2014

Two questions:

When the use of 1 or 2 TBSP of powder detergent is mentioned, does that usually mean level tablespoons, or rounded?

Do you use the prewash cycle only for very dirty loads? In the past I've used it for every load, just because I thought it would help prevent dirt from redepositing on the clothes. Maybe I should stop that habit?

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Are you experiencing a problem with your current method?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:42PM
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No, but I've learned so much here that I'm rethinking my old habits. Just got a new FL washer, and based on my learning, tried a rounded TBSP of powdered detergent, no FS, and no prewash. (Before it was about 1/3 cup each of liquid detergent in wash and pre-wash, and about that amount of FS)

The results in new machine's first load were great -- clothes seemed soft and clean. So I guess my NEW current method may be a good one.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:54PM
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whatever works. don't overthink it

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:49PM
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You don't really need a prewash unless you're dealing with heavy amounts of soil. Another reason would be protein/organic stains. If you put such a load on a hot wash and your washer is programmed to fill with all-hot water, then these stains can set - as you know - and a cool prewash is good for such loads.

Have also had surprisingly good results when washing two loads of stinky kitchen towels and prewashing them before the washer went into the 203F main wash. The load without the prewash still smelled a little (even though the Miele started its boil wash from cold) but the prewashed load smelled fine as, I suppose, the gunk wasn't baked into the fibers.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:32AM
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As in cooking and baking, they mean level Tablespoons. If you are getting good results with rounded ones, then in reality you're probably using 1.5 or 2.5 level Tbsp., and that's the right amount for your laundry.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:09AM
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The rounded tablespoon seemed about right for this machine, as it holds a lot more than our old one. I was surprised at how soft things felt after drying, even though I'd excluded fabric softener. I wonder if my old habit of using too much detergent could have made the fabrics stiff.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:30AM
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In my limited experience straightening out friend/neighbors/family' machines, over-dosing has been a consistent observation. For the most part, these folks know nothing about their water quality, actual temps, or much else. They fill the scoop that comes with the product and toss it in. Paying attention to that component alone has solved many problems.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:58AM
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4 (level) tablespoons = 1/4 cup (standard 8 oz. measuring cup).

Ultra Tide HE powder ... Line 1 on the included scoop measures right at 1/4 cup.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 12:07PM
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At most I'm using 1/8 cup, too little for me to measure in the included scoop. I stole a tablespoon from the kitchen for the purpose.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Clothing that's not "dirty," only needs refreshing, likely will do OK. There may not be sufficient concentration of enzymes and other cleaning agents to deal with heavier soiling, stains, and/or large loads. Your experience with the results over a longer time is your best guide.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:20PM
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When I specify one tablespoon, I mean one level tablespoon, the same as i would for a cooking recipe.

When I use pre-wash, I add another half a detergent dose to the prewash product slot as my machines (Mieles and Askos) do a complete drain of the pre-wash water before adding the water for the main wash. They don't do a full extracting spin however, so I expect at least some of the pre-wash detergent dose remains in the fabrics.

Currently I use a little plastic scoop (can't remember where it came from) that's a scootch more than one and a half tablespoons. I used a measured tablespoon, for years, but when I started a newer box of Cheer powder, i found I needed to add more (50% more! though still a tiny quantity) to get the same results. It takes me a couple of years to go through a giant box of Cheer, so when this one is finally done, I will recheck the dosing as perhaps this box is somehow faulty and I can go back to my regular dosing.

Whatever you do, settle on a set amount, which perferably completely fills a scoop of some size so you can just scoop and dump, while still maintaining the chosen dosing rate. It's one thing to consciously add a bit more for especially soiled items (think garden dirt on the knees of your jeans), but for most loads I think you'll have the least trouble and best results with a standard dose, whatever you decide it is for your water, machine and typical soil loads.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:27AM
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a cold pre wash is the very best thing to remove blood and other protein stains.....additionally, I have found it is absolutely the best thing ever to keep deodorant stains off of white t-shirts (which I can't stand) least this has been my experience.....

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:55AM
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The standard "dirt" in our laundry is what you'd get on clothes from working at a desk, commuting, shopping, etc. No gardening or rolling in the mud. And our house has a water softener. So probably a minimal dose of detergent is enough.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 1:40PM
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