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It’s time to come clean about household products: from laundry detergent to toothpaste, using more than recommended pours money down the drain and can be bad for your appliances, your belongings, and the environment.

Here are some tips that are good for both your wallet and the planet.

Too much laundry detergent can make your clothes stiff and cause a buildup of mold and mildew in your machine that can shorten its life. How so? Detergent "overpouring" creates a high, foamy tide that lifts soil and lint above the water level so it isn’t rinsed away. That leaves residue on clothing that fades colors and attracts more dirt. Detergent buildup inside the machine promotes odor and bacteria growth.

What to do: Consider load size, and measure before you pour. Most detergent measuring caps tell you how much to use for different size loads. If you have a hard time reading the fill lines, look at the bottle cap in good light, then use permanent markers in different colors to highlight the fill lines. If your laundry fills a quarter of the drum, that's a small load. If it looks about half-full, it’s a medium load, and if it’s close to full, it’s a full load.

Remember: detergents have become concentrated, so a little goes a long way. If you use a high-efficiency washer or dishwasher, use detergents specifically made for them, and use no more than directed.

Dryer sheets may make your laundry soft and static-free, but they have a waxy layer that melts in the dryer. Use one sheet per load. Using more can clog the lint filter and gum up the machine.

Put a cap on the dishwasher detergent. Using too much, or the wrong detergent, can leave dishes with a soapy residue. You don’t have to fill up the entire soap container in the dishwasher. Use the right detergent and use the recommended amount.

When it comes to personal hygiene, your teeth aren’t going to get any cleaner or whiter by fully loading your toothbrush with toothpaste. Dentists say a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste is enough for most adults, and children should use half as much.

For more money-saving and eco-friendly tips, visit Shopping & Saving and Going Green. Have some tips of your own to share? We’d like to hear from you – please leave a comment!

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Money & Credit


Must have stumbled upon the Good Housekeeping's website instead of the FTC.

Great tips!

Sounds good thanks for the information

Good advice! I will try another product with zero degrentens. I've know lemon could be used. No artificial hormone-enchanher. Unless the lemons are lazed with mosquito killers.

Thanks for the helpful info. I plan to share tips with my clients. I'm convinced the new-fangled soap pods are a good thing--can't over pour. Also, I don't use dryer sheets anymore. I had a terrible experience ruining a dryer for the very reason the article cites: too much waxy buildup. Lastly, I always knew the toothpaste commercials were over-selling us on the amount of toothpaste needed to brush your teeth. Thanks for the confirmation.

A word to the wise is enough.

To Andy from Sept. 12 comment: This is consumer help, whether it be detergent or banking product is intended for us consumers to become INFORMED consumers,to be aware of any future or present purchases, whether it be detergent or banking services; it is meant to inform us of even in your opinion of a housekeeping website, it is called making an informed product/service choice and there are lots of places outside of US that do not have any of this consumer assistance we in the US have the benefit of.Be grateful we have this access; we are fortunate to have this protection and people employed to look out for our welfare in every aspect of purchasing goods and services.

Those were my thoughts also.

Thanks for the info on detergents...did not know about the buildups that can occur in the washer and dryer!

I appreciate the info re: dryer sheets leave waxy build-up that can damage dryer. Did not know about this!

I see I am one the if a little helps more is better! But now I hope to save a lot in cleaning products by using 1/3 of what I am now.
If you can use the info - great! If it doesn't apply to you, please disregard it.
I always look for tips for doing things better with less expense! Have a great day all!!

Thanks for the good info. I think most laundry detergents are mostly filler ingredients anyway. Sodium percarbonate and hydrogen peroxide with tetraacetylethylenediamine are what gets the job done. Hint: go to the dollar store and look for somethng totally awesome.

Just to clarify, sodium carbonate (washing soda) is the main ingredient. The tetra acetyl ethylenediamine only facilitates the generation and release of hydrogen peroxide from sodium percarbonate at lower temperatures. The old skool traditional laundry powders are made of these ingredients, as are some of the newer general purpose cleaner powders.

a recent problem came about when I went to my local pharmacy to refill a RX. prescription, cost should be based entirely on the RX it self and the mg not on the dosage. in other words 1 pill 3 times a day should not change the cost if it is 2 pills 3 times a day. the same number of pills and dosage should not change cost. my example is 50 pills of a RX is one cost and ninety pills of the same RX should be a little less than twice the cost. dosage should not determine cost!

I have been using a half dryer sheet per load for years with perfect results. The only thing lost is some of the extra fragrance.

Great ideas!

Two common and cheap kitchen ingredients that can be used in food, kill odors, catch fruit flies, freshen laundry, and cleaning things up are vinegar, and baking soda. No fancy expensive chemicals needed. These uses for each are listed on the side of the box for each.

Thank really,this is great post our help

Thank you for sharing this post

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