Are you using too much laundry detergent?

So, are you using too much laundry detergent? According to a 2020 study from Samsung… you could well be. Join us as we explore the issue and how much you should actually be using. 

Turns out we could be spending nearly double what we need to with over 35% of us stating we know we use too much. 

The problem arises with confusion around how much loose powder or liquid detergent to use. 58% of people were confused as to how much laundry detergent they should be using and only 24% changed the amount they were using according to the actual amount of clothing they were washing. 

And because two thirds of people in the UK are still using bottled liquid or powder detergent, the opportunity for overdosing is vast. In fact 87% are guessing how much to use. 

But more detergent just means cleaner clothes surely?


Overdosing on detergent brings many issues…

  • Stiff, starchy, scratchy clothes are a common sign you are using too much detergent. The excess amount of bubbles will start to trap detergent residue in your clothes because they cushion your clothing from rubbing up against each other during the cycle (which is one way detergent is released from fibres).
  • Too much detergent will cause more bubbles, preventing the machine from draining completely and leaving clothing still wet and needing another spin cycle or longer drying times.
  • Machines can sense a SUDS LOCK when too many bubbles put a strain on the drive motor and you may find your machine just switches off mid cycle.
  • Detergent stains and residues are often left on laundry (especially the case with powder).
  • A nasty smell can develop in your machine. This can come from bacteria and mould that begins to grow on the leftover liquid or softener. These liquids often contain animal fat which is perfect for this growth.  NB. smol detergent and softnener do NOT contain animal fat. 
  • Your washing machine will be working overtime to clear the suds and this increases wear and tear over time as extra rinse and spin cycles are needed. 
  • Rust or dark spots can appear on your laundry due to mould within the machine. This can also ruin your door seal with mould that is incredibly hard to remove.  

What’s to be done? How much laundry detergent should we use?

Many of us find measuring from big bottles of laundry detergent extremely tricky - with the oversized bottle necks and large caps included, you would almost be forgiven for thinking the manufacturers wanted you to use too much…

So if you’re still using bottles of laundry liquid it’s time to find a tablespoon.


For a 7kg washing machine drum that’s doing a full load of laundry, you probably only need 2 tablespoons of standard liquid detergent to get that clothing clean.

Of course the amounts recommended by most liquid detergent manufacturers will vary from brand to brand but all of them are going to suggest more than 2 tablespoons. At the end of the day, they want you to buy more of it. For example Ariel recommends 55ml of liquid for a full load of laundry. That’s much more than 34 ml (which is 2 tbs worth). 

Alternatively why not swap to capsules?

Our smol capsules are even more concentrated than just a single tablespoon for one laundry load at just 14ml. You’ll never use more than you should as they are precisely measured for a full load. No mess, no spills and no mould in your detergent drawer. Just place a capsule in the back of your empty drum, add your laundry on top and you’re good to go. 

And with our FREE TRIAL on bio, non-bio and fragrance-free there’s really nothing to lose. 

Removing detergent build up. 

If you do find your clothing starts to suffer from all that powder and liquid you can remove the build-up with a method recommended by Whirlpool.

Soak your items in a sink of vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 1 litre of water). If there are any visible detergent stains, rub the stained bit of the garment against itself to loosen the buildup. Whirlpool recommends soaking for up to an hour and then running the clothes through the washing machine in a normal wash cycle.

* Cost per wash based on the average price of six brands/own brand pods, liquid and powder detergent in Tesco as of September 2020, including mix promo/off promo pricing.  Usage based on 284 cycles per year, source Energy Saving Trust.