Avoiding Soap Build-Up

alldaylaundrySeptember 8, 2008

I purchased an all-natural "soap" yesterday to give it a try in my FL Maytag Epic. It is an actual soap that contains borax. I thought I would test it out as it is cheap ($10 for 60 loads, and I'm using less than recommended so I'll get more), has a very light fragrance and they advertise that you don't need a FS with it. I've done one load so far with 1/4 cup of soap and my towels came out soft, fluffy and fresh smelling, much nicer than with the Tide and 1/2 natural FS sheet I've been using.

My only concern is that this soap will build-up in the machine and the sheets and towels I'm using it in. Has anyone had this problem with their homemade soaps at all? I will still be using liquid Cheer HE for darks in cold water, and powder Tide HE for whites/colours in hot/warm water (but only till the Tide gets used up) so will that help cut build-up in the machine? I just loved the way those towels felt and would love to use if for my sheets/towels only, as I'm not sure it would handle our clothing (lots of stains from 1-year-old, military DH and large black lab).

I'm still trying to find the perfect laundry regimem as I've only had the machines for a month. I may end up ordering Charlie's soap to give it a try eventually once I use up what I have, but I'm in Canada so it works out to be more expensive with shipping. We'll see what happens, comments are appreciated.

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I use to use Homemade detergent back when I had my top loader on occasion. Worked great back then and vinegar in the rinse kept it from building up.

I tried some in my front loader but it didn't clean as well, so I haven't tried it again. I have been using CS for most of my laundry, and liquid cheer he ot tide he for my newer, colored clothes, but it is starting to build up so I am having to look for an alternative to the liquids.

However, vinegar in the rinse should remove and prevent build up of any soap in your soap based detergent.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 10:17AM
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The best way to avoid soap/detergent buildup is to quit using too much soap/detergent! I still maintain that overdosing is the major cause of "buildup". Use the correct amount or even a bit less. Too much does not improve cleaning. It causes trouble and costs more. Especially when most peoples' clothes are probably not that dirty anyway, you can use a lot less detergent.

Now I will say that some detergents clean better than others. I now use Tide Free Liquid 2x (and have some 1x left) and I'm using 1/2 the recommended amount and even a bit less for most loads. My clothes don't get covered with mud, grease and oil anymore so they just don't need excessive amounts of detergent. My towels are clean, soft and fluffy and I don't use fabric softener - haven't for at least 10 years. Occasional vinegar rinse but that's it. Hot wash with bleach, empty if necessary, on occasion to clean it out. And I don't itch from the clothes either.

This is why I'm skeptical about machines that sense the water levels. You can't truly dose correctly if you don't know how much water will be in there! But again, best to use too little than to use too much. Worst case is that you would have to wash it again.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 6:52PM
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Cynic, the LG 2455 has a load size display. According to the online manual, the machine tumbles the load to weigh it, and then shows the size in the display for 10 seconds. You can pause it and add the appropriate amount of detergent at that time. The manual also offers the option of adding detergent before starting the cycle, and ignoring the load size display.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 9:55PM
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"Micro-dosing" detergent only works well if you KNOW the clothing doesn't have any missed stains.

When I had a front loader I had to "micro-dose" detergent so the loads would rinse decently.

Unfortunately, if an item had a stain that I missed and didn't pretreat there wasn't much chance of it coming out in the wash.

Now I'm back to a top loader and can use the normal amount of detergent in every load. Everything comes clean and is rinsed decently. It's so much less hassle.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:49AM
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I am not using too much, the packaging calls for 1/3 to 1/2 cup per load, and I am using 1/4 cup, plus our water is a bit on the hard side. I've done two loads with this soap and have seen hardly any bubbles, no bubbles left in gasket when load is done. So I think my dosing is right.

I don't think this soap will handle stains either, expecially at this dose, so that's why I'm only using it for towels/sheets which don't get stained at my house. I don't think this is the perfect detergent for me, so I'll keep trying to find one. Tide is not rinsing, Cheer isn't great for cleaning, Kirkland is too soapy, so I guess SA8 and Charlie's are next on my list. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:57AM
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I wish you good luck. I know how ya feel. It can be very difficult to find something to wash your clothes the way you want, especially when you have a front loader.

I just got some of Sears powder detergent yesturday afternoon after a suggestion by another poster. I tried it and am extremely happy with it. So I will be using the Sears and the CS from now on.

I happen to have the type of FL that has the "add a garment" feature, so it uses way less water than some FL's that I have seen. That is why the liquids are a prob for me. No matter how little I use, I still see suds in the final rinse and suds accumulate on my door in the final spin. The little water amount is also most likely the reason my homemade stuff didn't work as the homemade stuff really needs ample amount of water to push it through the clothes to get them clean.

In any event, just hang in there. You will find something that makes you happy. Just don't give up.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 10:12AM
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While obviously Cynic would be right about using too much, if they read any amount of the posts, they would see that MANY people are saying they HAVE cut way back on detergent and are still having the same problem.

Happymom I seem to have about the same problem,(also have the add a garment feature) I'm using liquid, and hardly using any at all, yet I still see suds in the rinse. However, when I do a clean washer cycle with nothing in it, I do see a small amount of suds. So it's entirely possible that is why there are suds always showing up in my rinse cycles. Maybe only the first two or three times did I use almost as much as the bottle recommends, but then cut back right away, because I had been online and had been reading about problems with this.

alldaylaundry, I did a load of my husbands work clothes. There was no bubbles left on the lip of the gasket, or underneath... but I put it through another rinse cycle and when it was spinning there was still a small amount of suds being spun out against the door and again when it was done, there were none left on the lip of the gasket or underneath.

I have washed the load of towels the last two times with no detergent and they are still not even half as soft and fluffy as with my old toploader. The problem mostly seems to be with towels/kitchen towels. With other loads I have cut back the amount by more than half most of the time and to about half for husbands very dirty work clothes.... and I'm all for cutting back, but how much can you cut back and still have enough to clean your clothes. It's frustrating to say the least

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:53PM
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"how much can you cut back and still have enough to clean your clothes"

This is my concern too.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:57PM
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Hi everybody, I stumbled on this site by searching for low suds Persil. I have LG TROMM, stackable and load sensing about 2 years old.My boyfriend has dermatitis so we ususaly use hot or sanitary cycles. I tried warm and cold water but laundry doesn't smell as fresh. I use prewash for every load(the manual recommends this for most of the laundry),water plus and extra rinse and always full load and landry is perfect. Somehow I have problem figuring out the smaller loads and dosing so the full loads are fine w/ me. I don't have any odor in drum yet and I think it is because of the hot washing.I also use baking soda in each load and I put it all ususally straight inside the drum.I am from europe and used FL long time ago before coming to USA and before we didn't have HE products either, which I must admit I sometimes mix HE and regular detergents together and have no problems w// suds or build up yet. I thing hot water usage and cutting back on soap does the trick.I also clean the bottom strainer ever 2 months, sometimes threads get caught in there.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 5:19AM
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curiousshopper, does the top loader you went back to have an agitator or is it one of the HE toploaders?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 11:53AM
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I ended up purchasing STPP to add to my laundry because I just can't get the stains out without it. When I had my TL, I just used the mexican Ariel which contains phosphates. The Ariel creates a lot of suds in the FL if I'm not careful, so I decided to try the STPP and use it with all my detergents. I must say that it's helped tremendously with stain control. I have two young boys in sports and I live in an area with red clay in the dirt so our clothes are about as dirty as they come. The STPP has also helped me to reduce the amount of detergent I use.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 3:42PM
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On the weekend I did a "clean Washer" cycle. I was amazed to see how many suds there were. I ran a 2nd clean washer cycle right away and there were still some suds. I had been wondering before I started the clean washer cycles, if left over residue in the drum itself, could be part of the problem with suds still showing up in the rinse cycles, even when cutting way back on detertgent and using one or two extra rinse cycles. I think the amount of suds I saw would confirm that it is part of the problem. I ended up running 4 clean washer cycles that day and kept checking back to see for suds.

Gain Liquid HE detergent... I washed a large load of my husbands very dirty, workclothes. I used almost as much as the bottle recommends... I used the Sanitary cycle... halfway through, approx. I went to look, it was solid white suds, couldn't see into the washer at all. Won't be buying that one again

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 4:54PM
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From your posts, laino, I'm not the least bit surprised you have a ton of suds in your cleaning cycle.

On a different subject, there's been times people say they use 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of detergent in a FL as compared to a TL. Without knowing the water capacities, it should be stated that each will vary, so let's use the following examples for illustrative purposes. Some folks here have stated the capacities of 5 gallons for a front load and 40 gal for a top load. OK, wouldn't common sense say 1/8 the amount of a topload as being your starting point for a FL rather than 1/2 or 1/3? Then couple with the oft-alleged superior cleaning of a FL, it's logical to assume you could use less detergent yet. Some things don't add up. I'm probably using a matter of tablespoons in my wash with fine results so if I went to a FL I'd probably need an eyedropper! :) But there's far more to it than just detergent. People seem to overlook water, temp and other variables.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:49AM
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"5 gallons for a front load and 40 gal for a top load" -- Not the right comparison. An FL might use 5 gallons for each wash or rinse step. A TL might use 40 gallons total for a complete cycle.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:49AM
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suburbanmd is correct,
the wash cycle of a FL uses approx. 5 gallons compared to 20 to 25 gallons for a traditional TL. One of the reasons a FL gets good cleaning results with so little water is the fact that the wash water has a higher concentration of detergent compared to a TL. One half to one third of the amount used in a TL is about right. You should of course just compare the exact same type of detergent and not mix up HE and non HE even if it is the same brand.

IMO, powdered detergent seem to rinse MUCH better than liquid detergents. The liquid HE Tide Total Care creates a lot more suds and leaves behind a much stronger smell than the Sears HE powder that I normally use. One or two TBS of powder don't give me any suds and the cleaning results are very good.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:19PM
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In figuring out how much detergent to use, I think it's wise to try and find the best balance between using enough to clean the clothes and not too much so as to cause the problems stated so eloquently here. Of course, as many have pointed out, this will vary depending on so many factors. Having said that, I don't think one can completely avoid soap buildup in the washer (the main concern of the original poster), unless you use no soap at all. Eventually, there will be some buildup. It may take much longer for some than for others, but it will happen.

Our approach has been to use the least amount of detergent we think will clean the clothes and to accept the fact that some buildup in the washer will eventually occur. Then we deal with the buildup by running the tub clean cycle (available as an option on many FL) with WhirlOut. We learned about this product on the website of our washer (LG). They recommend WhirlOut to deal with this very issue. We found it at Home Depot and have used it only once in six months. It was originally made to clean spas but has been found to work well with washers. (I add all this to explain that I have nothing to do with WhirlOut other than as a user).

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 1:09PM
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curiousshopper, I'm with you. When shopping for a new washer this past spring, I couldn't see spending so much money on a frontloader only to risk the problems so many people here and elsewhere have had.

I bought an HE toploader (Maytag Bravos MTW6700), and I couldn't be happier. I don't have to worry about micro-'dosing'; I can use the amount of detergent that is reasonable for the size and soil level of the load of laundry I'm using. I've had zero problems with suds, odor, mildew, etc. ZERO.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 1:00AM
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