The truth about your laundry cap might shock you. Did you know that your laundry cap has been stealing money from you? Have you ever wondered why the front of the laundry detergent bottle says you should get 104 loads out of the container but you only get about 52 loads? The answer, previously elusive, is now apparent! It’s all in the measuring…
The Truth About Your Laundry Cap
Stop using the detergent cap to measure! If you are an average American, you’re putting too much laundry detergent in every load of laundry you put in your washing machine. No matter how frugal you are and diligent about saving money, if you’re using too much detergent, you’re throwing money right down the drain.
Today we’re going to use the current bottle of liquid laundry detergent I’m using, which is Purex, to figure our calculations of how much detergent is wasted when the measuring cap isn’t used correctly. The measuring misconceptions for laundry detergent apply to every brand of laundry detergent, so don’t skip this article if you aren’t using the same brand.
On the back of the laundry detergent bottle, the directions and diagram say to fill the cap to the line marked #1 (about 1.5 ounces) for a normal load of laundry. Use line 2 for a large load.
Unfortunately, the marks inside the cup are white, the same color as the cap, and so are the numbers. They are very hard to see. You have to use your superhuman powers of detection to find the marks and pour the detergent to right place! Because of this, many people don’t EVER see the numbers and marks inside the laundry cap and just guess how much laundry detergent they are supposed to use.
I drew the lines on my own laundry cap to illustrate the right and wrong measurements. You can see just how big of a difference it makes!
It turns out I was only getting about 18 loads of washing out of a 50 load bottle. Why was this happening?
The Right Amount of Laundry Detergent
Here are the correct amounts of laundry detergent to use, according to the package directions:
- Regular load: 1.5 ounces of detergent is just slightly less than 1/4 cup.
- Large load: Appx. 2 ounces of detergent is a full 1/4 cup.
The Wrong Amount of Laundry Detergent
I got out a liquid measuring cup and measured how much detergent I had actually been using in my washing machine based on where I thought the markings on the laundry cap were.
- What I thought was the mark for regular load: 3 ounces of detergent
- What I thought was the mark for large load: 4 ounces of detergent
Let’s Do the Math
The laundry detergent bottle contains 75 ounces and says it cleans 50 loads of laundry. This is exactly right, if you measure properly and use their recommended 1.5 ounces of detergent per load.
75 oz. ÷ 1.5 oz. = 50 loads
If you do only large loads, using their recommended 2 ounces of detergent per load, you’ll get 37 1/2 loads of washing done.
75 oz. ÷ 2 oz. = 37 1/2 loads
If you use the bottom of the cap ridge as a marker for normal (which many people, including me, mistake for a regular load), you’re using 3 ounces of detergent per load. That means you’re only getting 25 loads of laundry out of this bottle of laundry detergent.
75 oz. ÷ 3 oz. = 25 loads
If you use the top of the cap ridge as a marker for normal (which many people mistake for a large load), you’re using a whopping 4 ounces of detergent per load! That means you’re only getting 18 3/4 loads of laundry out of this bottle of laundry detergent.
75 oz. ÷ 4 oz. = 18 3/4 loads
Did you see how scary the equations get when you find out you haven’t been measuring your laundry detergent right? We just watched a 50 load bottle of laundry dwindle down to washing just over 18 loads! If you do a lot of laundry, this hit to your laundry budget can be significant. You’ll be buying more and more laundry detergent and wondering why it just doesn’t go very far.
How to Use the Right Amount of Laundry Detergent in Spite of Your Laundry Cap!
To simplify the laundry detergent measuring process and stop the steady waste of money, you need to stop using the laundry cap to measure your detergent. Switch to a measuring cup that holds only the right amount of laundry detergent you need to use.
Since I’ve already done the measurements for you, your job is to get a new 1/4 cup measuring cup used only for laundry detergent and keep it with your detergent.
- For a regular load, use just a little less than 1/4 cup.
- For a large load, use a full 1/4 cup of laundry detergent.
You can usually pick up inexpensive measuring cups at the dollar store if you don’t have an extra 1/4 cup measuring cup that you don’t need for the kitchen anymore.
At your next family meeting, let your spouse and older children who do laundry know that you’ve switched to measuring with the measuring cup so you can stop using too much laundry detergent. Make sure you remind them of what your frugal family goal is (saving up for vacation, buying new bicycles, etc.) so they remember why saving money on laundry is so important!
Home Ever After Challenge: I learned my lesson the hard way about how my laundry cap was sabotaging my frugal money-saving efforts. Don’t let this happen to you! Switch to a measuring cup today and get your laundry savings back on track!
Next, read 13 Ways to Save Money on Laundry Costs.