... just one tablespoon of detergent ? (cont'd)

sshrivastavaSeptember 22, 2011

I'm one of those people who feels that we are being too aggressive at underdosing laundry detergent to the point where soils are re-depositing onto our laundry and machines. Well, this past weekend I decided to shake things up a little. I washed a couple of large loads using only 2 TBSP of detergent.

So what happened? The laundry wasn't as clean, fabrics felt harsh even after using fabric softener, and most noticeable was an almost powdery residue stuck to the sides and bottom of my porthole glass. This residue had fabric fibers and hair embedded in it, and it would come off when rubbed with a wet finger. A load washed right after, using 4 TBSP, showed no evidence of this residue. The next load was washed with a 2 TBSP dose and the residue/powder came back. I was using Tide HE Total Care, which is a liquid. My machine is a Miele W4842, 4.0 cuft IEC capacity, and I have a whole house water softener using potassium instead of sodium.

I am satisfied after running the above "experiment" that underdosing does, in fact, leave stuff behind in your machine. Whether that "stuff" causes mold, mildew and smelly washer syndrome? I don't know - and I don't want to find out! I ran a clean machine cycle and all is well. However, it's not a big leap to imagine this residue building up wash after wash until you have a problem - especially if you wash in cold water or start to coat this residue with fabric softener.

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I think 1 tablespoon of detergent does work.

BUT it all depends on the load; e.g. I started to use about 1 1/4 tablespoon (eyeball guestimate of 1/2 the scoop which is 50 ml, ~2 1/2 TBS) on a load consisting of 1 polyester shower curtain liner, 4 13" square microfiber cloths, 1 2'x3' microfiber cloth that I use as a "dish rack drain board", 1 shower mat & sometimes another 2'x3 microfiber cloth used for drying after a car wash. I also have hard water. :-)

Now, a load of 2 sets of towels is entirely different as I don't use the 1 TBS; I do think that the absorbancy of a load should be taken into account as to how much detergent is needed as well as the hardness or water; especially regarding suds.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 12:58PM
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I understood that part of a laundry detergent's job was to hold/trap soil, to be eventually rinsed away from the fabric. It makes sense that under-dosing would result in the experience you witnessed -- on the contents and inside the machine. Without enough product to suspend soil, it could just relocate perhaps?

All things being equal, I agree that dosing might not be a good time to err on the conservative side. I haven't analyzed surfactants in years though!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:31PM
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@ vintage36

According to Google's measurement converter, 50 ml = 3.4 TBSP, not 2.5 TBSP. The actual amount you are using is 36% more than what you are stating in your message. That is a significant difference.

Convert 50 ml to Tablespoons

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:41AM
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@ vintage36

I just realized I may have misread your message. Are you saying that you are actually using 50 ml of detergent, or are you saying that your scoop is 50 ml and you are using HALF of that?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:43AM
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I believe they are using half the 50 ml scoop. 1 tbsp is 15 ml. So a 50 ml scoop holds 3.33 tbsp - the half being used is like ... 1.66 tbsp. Right?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 11:00AM
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@ livebetter

Yes. And how can 1.6 TBSP possibly clean a load of laundry in hard water? Inconceivable! :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:06PM
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@sshrivastava, @livebetter

Yes I am using approx 1/2 of the 50 ml scoop that I kept from the Sears detergent. So, by eyeball, it was maybe about 1.6 plus or minus; don't do it carefully so whatever looks in the current light is it.

I did keep the old 60 ml Sears cup, but don't know where it is. I did find that the 50 ml cup was a very small smidgen less than the line for a medium load with scoop that came with the Tide with bleach powder. 1st time I ever compared but the Sears scoop is much easier to use; just a full scoop instead of trying to see if the powder is at THE "line".

The thing is that 1 TBSP can do it provided the conditions are right & one can still see lots of suds with 1 TBSP. Oh, I have a Frigidaire Affinity of 3.5 cf IEF rating which looks to be considered & advertised as 3.1 cf now.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:09PM
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My Tide scoop shows medium load as line 1. I get approx. 4 tbsp to that line.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Hard to think about 1.6 TBSP can clean a load of laundry, normally.

Consider what I said consists of my "load". The small microfiber cloths were used for some dusting on the day of washing; except for 1 which I used to clean the mirror on the day of washing; the large microfiber was used as a "drain board" under the dish rack. How dirty can these microfiber cloths get?

The shower curtain liner was nearly "cleaned" each time I take a shower & washed once a week. The shower mat in the tub gets soaped & rinsed each time I shower & washed once a week along with all the microfiber cloths.

I did forget to say I also added borax in about the same amount as the 1.5 TBSP of detergent. Everything comes out clean & it works even if there is a "ton" of suds.

Do people use the same amount of detergent to wash 1 shirt as for a full load of laundry? maybe the same amount of detergent for 2 new shirts as for a "medium" load?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:07PM
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"Do people use the same amount of detergent to wash 1 shirt as for a full load of laundry? maybe the same amount of detergent for 2 new shirts as for a "medium" load?"

@vintage36 - I am finding, with my FL, that the amount of detergent I need to use depends on the size of my load. A "ton" of suds in my FL means too much detergent was used for that load. Items that don't absorb, like certain fabrics or plastics, will need less detergent based on my own experience. Everyone's water and washer are different, though.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 10:31AM
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A follow-up to my previous post that was a response to the question quoted in same response ...

Yesterday's load of clothing had no suds in the final rinses. Ran a Sanitize (not "clean machine") cycle right after that, with no detergent or bleach, for routine cleaning.

~Today, I washed a small load of clothes, in our Miele W4842 FL washer, that consisted of: my husband's microfiber travel blazer size Large or XL (it has been washed a few times previously, in our old top-load); three pairs of nylon soccer shorts; one size Med. cotton tee shirt; one pair wicking fiber athletic socks, two medium tote bags made of nylon woven with either a plastic or vinyl laminated to fabric.

I mostly tossed in the other items with the blazer in order to give it a fuller load. I did not think washing *just* a blazer would be a good idea, but what do I know....I'm still on the FL learning curve.
I used the cold water setting and one Tablespoon (15ml) of Persil Color Gel (liquid) on the Wrinkle-Free setting. Our water is moderately hard (right in the middle of the hard/soft water scale) and moderate in pH. Package directions suggest 40ml for soft water, so I went with approx. one-third (1/3) of that due to the smaller size load.

Suds; almost two inches of suds in and around the laundry and on the door. Suds in all the rinses. When the cycle finished, there were still suds in the gasket fold and on the gasket.
Next, I ran the entire load thru a Delicate/Cold cycle and NO detergent. Still had suds in the water, including all three rinses in that cycle, so I next ran it all thru the Rinse/Spin cycle twice.

Either that blazer was retaining a lot of detergent from its two or three previous washes in either Charlies Soap or All F&C, or one Tablespoon was too much for the size load and synthetic type fibers. Or maybe both theories are right? Now that I've had this machine for a few months, I am able to use more than 1/4 of the suggested dose of any brand. If there was indeed detergent build-up/residue from the old TL washer, it is finally all gone by now. It would appear that way, since now I can use more detergent.

Possibly the synthetic fabrics don't absorb the water/detergent mix, and I needed less than 1 Tbsp. for today's load? Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 5:16PM
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Ok folks; I've done a little testing as well here in the foothills of NC. Current water condition coming out of the tap is 53mg/L (slightly hard water). I too have tried the 1Tbsp and 2 Tbsp and they didn't seem to get the clothes clean and just as sshrivastava had found; there was a mild residue left over. This was using Tide 2X Ultra HE liquid.

I did contact P&G about where they got the idea of using Line 1 for medium loads, Line 2 for large, etc... The rep told me that it was based on moderate water conditions such as what we have here where we are in NC.

In conclusion; I have to say that following the recommended amount does just fine and leaves not detergent residue or anything and our clothes come out clean and soft. I do use Downy Free but even for large larges, I fill the cap to the bottom line.

Oh yes; the machine: I have a new Electrolux IQ Touch and it rinses incredibly well. I used to hate front-loaders cause I didn't think they cleaned well- now I love them but only certain ones. The machine makes all the difference in the world.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:00AM
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ALSO; if you are measuring powdered detergents by volume instead of weight that makes a difference. Some detergents are more dense than others; compare the weight of 1 Tbsp of Tide to 1 Tbsp of Sears (very dense); whereas liquid detergents are more likely to weigh close to the same. Measurement by weight and measurement by volume are too different things ;-)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:08AM
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I tried the whole cut back dosing there for a while. My clothes got dingy and didn't smell fresh. I think it may have to do with water quality. I have hard water between 8 to 10 grains. I always use the recommended amount now if not a little more depending on soiling. Dingy and lack of freshness went away. Even with the sears powder I used a full scoop and a scoop and a half for seriously soiled clothes. I think it all depends on a persons specific needs. I always recommend people to use the recommended amount first and then gradually cut back on the amount if they need to for sudsing reasons.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 9:38AM
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