Wash Day Laundry

Not just Another Laundromat

Suds 101

on June 8, 2012

Our customers become upset if they don’t see lots of suds in their wash, and believe that adding more detergent is the solution.  Here is expert advise about suds — do suds equal cleaning power?

The right detergent makes a difference.

About 85 percent of people with front-loading washers use the wrong detergent, according to a study by Procter & Gamble. All front-loading washers are considered high-efficiency (HE) machines because they use less water and electricity, so they require a special HE detergent that generates less suds. (The major detergent brands now offer HE versions.) According to the Soap and Detergent Association, “HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing and quick-dispersing to get the best cleaning performance with HE washers.”

Our laundromats have only front-loading high efficiency equipment.  Use the correct detergent, not larger quantities of the wrong detergent.

ImageLess suds equals better cleaning.

“There’s a common misconception that suds do the cleaning,” says Lucinda Ottusch, senior home economist for the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science. But excess suds actually inhibit proper cleaning because they hold the soil in the water and redeposit it on clothes, rather than help it rinse away. Don’t use more than soap manufacturers recommend, and if you have a lightly soiled load, use less.

We have six smaller (2 load) Maytag washers called Neptunes at our Oak Hill store.  The “normal” wash cycle takes 36 minutes, but if too much detergent is used, the machine continues to rinse.  The cycle often lasts an additional 20 minutes, while showing 1 minute left on the display.  They are quirky machines, but the point is that almost everyone overuses detergent.

Even if you are a skeptic, try changing to the correct type of detergent for the machine you will be using; follow the instruction on the bottle, and don’t equate suds with cleaning power.


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