Why is Laundry Detergent So Hard to Measure?

Why is Laundry Detergent So Hard to Measure

Life is full of little joys — and little aggravations. One of the latter is measuring laundry detergent.

Why is Laundry Detergent So Hard to Measure?

Check out the photo above, of the cap of a bottle of one of my favorite detergents, Purex. How full would you fill it for a load of laundry?

Looking at the cap, there are 3 levels, followed by 5 levels. Each is difficult to see, even in the bright south-side-of-the-house sunshine in which I took this photo. When I put on my reading glasses and stand in the light, AND put my finger behind the lines, I can see them labeled “0, 1, 2” and “A, B, C, D, E.”

Why is Laundry Detergent So Hard to Measure

How much does the bottle itself recommend using? Well, the top of the label is an ad for a totally different product, Purex PowerShot. That product features “No Measuring” and “No Guesswork.” Looking at this bottle, I can see how that would be an advantage.

When I look near the bottom of the label, in small print, just before reaching the Spanish, “For regular loads, fill cap to level 1.” It’s by no means easy to locate level 1. And, I’m totally flummoxed as to why several levels are labeled A-E. What is the significance of that? When I find level 1, it’s about a half-inch of liquid. How many people do you think use only that much? I’m betting, very few. I would expect most people to probably fill the cap halfway (which would easily be twice what is recommended), or even worse, all the way to the top.

Gain laundry detergent measuring

Let’s look at another detergent; this time, another of my favorites: Gain.

You can see right away that the markings in the measuring cup are much easier to see here.

Gain laundry detergent measuring

The directions are clearer as well — although I still have to wonder if most people don’t “overuse” detergent, thereby making detergent companies happy (as you know if you’ve ever poured out detergent — or any liquid — it’s very easy for more to pour out even after you intend to have stopped).

Have you noticed ambiguity in measuring laundry detergent? Run and look at your bottle. Is it clear how much to use?

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4 thoughts on “Why is Laundry Detergent So Hard to Measure?

  1. I use Purex and have had the same problems you have. I just bought a new bottle of OxiClean HD. The inside of the cap is easy to read and the directions on the back are short and clear but only mention what three of the measurements are for. That leaves measurements A and 2! Confusing. I always try not to use too much because I read in a magazine if you do, clothes will come out stiff

  2. My son uses tons of laundry soap. I almost switched to those uber expensive pods. I also thought of going back to making homemade laundry soap. Finally I just said “I’ll do your wash!” lol…. I use a very small amount. They want you to be confused so you’ll buy more!! I also use white vinegar in the rinse–it softens and gets out smells, though nothing seems to take french-fry grease smell out.

  3. I usually use much less than they recommend. I feel like their recommendations are a gimmick to get you to buy more detergent. Besides that, I’m not involved in a line of work that would make my clothes really dirty. I do pretreat stains, however.

  4. I recently got a deal on two containers of Tide pods…a $5 Target gift card to boot. But I usually make my own dry detergent out of Borax, baking soda, washing soda and Fels Naptha bars. Someone told me that since companies have been making pods, they’ve sold less detergent overall because most people put too much in their machines when they measure themselves. Interesting~ I’m just glad we don’t have to use the old wringer washers like our grandmothers.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.