How to Make Laundry Detergent Last Longer: Tips and Tricks

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byPenny
How to Make Laundry Detergent Last Longer: Tips and Tricks

Are you constantly having to buy more laundry detergent?

Does it seem like you’re always running out and having to make a trip to the store?

Well, what if I told you there are ways to make your laundry detergent much, much longer?

One of the most important factors in making your laundry detergent last longer is understanding the softness or hardness of your water.

Hard water can reduce the effectiveness of washing detergents, meaning you’ll need to use more of it to get the same results.

One thing you can do to soften hard water is to add some washing soda crystals to your wash. Then you can use the amount recommended for soft water, and you will immediately use less.

There is much more you can do to make your laundry last an eternity. So read on to find out more!

Want to make your detergent last even longer and save a ton of money too? Don't forget to check out this post - how I do my laundry (almost for free).

I sometimes use affiliate links. When you click these links and make a purchase, I may get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything but it helps me to run this site.

How to make your laundry detergent last longer

When it comes to doing laundry, using the right amount of detergent is important.

Not only does it affect the effectiveness of the wash, but it can also impact how long your detergent lasts.

The softness or hardness of your washing water matters

water streaming from a tap

You may not realize it, but the softness or hardness of your water can have a big impact on how long your laundry detergent lasts.

Hard water contains a lot of minerals and can make it difficult for detergent to do its job effectively. On the other hand, soft water is much easier on detergent and can help it last longer.

If you’re not sure whether you have hard or soft water, there are a few ways to find out.

You can purchase a water hardness test kit at your local hardware store, or you can contact your local water authority and ask for a water hardness report.

If you discover that you have hard water, don’t worry! There are a few things you can do to help soften it.

One option is to add washing soda crystals or baking soda to your wash.

Another option is to install a water softener in your home. This can be a more expensive solution, but it can help to improve the quality of your water overall and make it easier on your laundry detergent.

It can be tempting to use more detergent than recommended, especially if you have a particularly dirty load of laundry.

However, using too much detergent can actually be counterproductive.

Not only does it not make your clothes any cleaner, but it can also leave residue on your clothes and in your washing machine.

Stick to the recommended amount, or experiment with using less. You might be surprised at how little you actually need to get your clothes clean!

Pro tip: If you have a particularly dirty load to wash, (or you just want to use less) add some washing soda crystals to make your regular detergent work much harder without needing to add more.

Add detergent directly to the drum

I always add my detergent direct to the drum. That way it gets to work immediately, and I don’t waste any as it travels down to the pipes.

Pretreat Stains

stained laundry

Pretreating stains before washing means you can use a regular amount of detergent.

Here’s a handy list of stains and how to remove them:

Type of Stain Recommended Removal Method
Grass Stains Pretreat with detergent and water before washing.
Grease Stains Apply a small amount of dish soap or detergent directly to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash as usual.
Wine Stains Blot with a clean cloth to absorb excess liquid, then soak in cold water with detergent before washing.
Blood Stains Soak the fabric in cold water with detergent, then wash using the appropriate water temperature.
Ink Stains Apply rubbing alcohol or a stain remover directly to the stain, then wash as usual.
Coffee Stains Rinse the stain with cold water, then pretreat with detergent before washing.
Mud Stains Allow the mud to dry, then brush off excess dirt before pretreating with detergent and water.
Tomato Sauce Stains Rinse with cold water, then pretreat with detergent or a stain remover before washing.

Pro tip: Keep a spray bottle handy containing your favorite detergent dliuted with water (a couple of tablespoons is all that's needed). Then spray directly on the stain before tossing into a regular wash.

Select the right water temperature

Check the recommended water temperature for your detergent. Using the correct temperature can help the detergent work more effectively, reducing the need for extra product.

Avoid overloading the machine

Overloading your washing machine can cause your clothes to not get as clean as they should, which can lead to having to rewash items.

It can also put extra strain on your washing machine, which can cause it to break down sooner than it should.

Stick to the recommended load size for your washing machine to help make your detergent last longer.

Store detergent properly

laundry room storage

Storing your detergent properly can also help make it last longer.

Keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. This can help prevent the detergent from clumping or drying out.

Add washing soda or baking soda to your wash

If you have hard water, adding washing soda or baking soda to your wash can help make your detergent more effective. These products can help soften the water, which can make it easier for the detergent to do its job.

If you have a particularly dirty load to wash, add a tablespoon of washing soda crystals or baking soda instead of more detergent.

Make your own laundry detergent

homemade laundry detergent

Making your own laundry detergent can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to store-bought options.

Here’s a simple recipe to create your own homemade laundry detergent:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar of soap (such as Fels-Naptha, Castile, or any other soap of your choice)
  • 1 cup of washing soda crystals
  • 1 cup of borax (or 2 cups of washing soda crystals if you don’t have borax)

Instructions:

  1. Grate the bar of soap using a cheese grater or food processor to create fine shavings.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the grated soap, washing soda, and borax together until well combined.
  3. Store the homemade detergent in an airtight container.

Usage:

  • Use approximately 2-3 tablespoons of the homemade detergent per load of laundry, adjusting the amount based on the size of the load and soil level.

Read this next:

Why adding vinegar won’t make your laundry detergent last longer

laundry and bottle of vinegar

You may have heard that adding vinegar to your laundry can help make your detergent last longer. However, this is a common misconception.

While vinegar can be a useful addition to your laundry routine, it won’t actually extend the life of your detergent.

In fact, adding vinegar to your main wash cycle can actually have the opposite effect. According to The Spruce, the acid in vinegar can interfere with the cleaning ingredients in laundry detergent and make them less effective.

Vinegar is great as a laundry softener. Add some distilled white vinegar instead of fabric softener to your wash, and your clothes will be naturally soft. Vinegar is also antibacterial, so it will keep your machine nice and clean too.

Frequently asked questions

How long does dry laundry detergent last?

Dry laundry detergent has a pretty long shelf life, typically lasting for about 9 months to a year. However, this can vary depending on the brand and storage conditions.

If you want to make your dry laundry detergent last longer, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent moisture from getting into the detergent, which can cause it to clump.

How many washes does a bottle of detergent last for?

The number of washes per detergent bottle can vary depending on the brand and type of detergent.

To make your detergent last longer, try using less than the recommended amount. You might be surprised at how little you actually need to get your clothes clean.

Does powder or liquid detergent last longer?

Powdered detergents typically have a longer shelf life compared to liquid detergents.

When stored in a cool, dry place away from moisture and humidity, powdered detergents can remain effective for an extended period.

Proper storage in a cool, dark place with a tightly sealed container is crucial to maintain the effectiveness of all laundry detergents.

Sparkling Penny

Penny | Sparkling Penny

Penny’s expert cleaning advice has been featured repeatedly by Homes and Gardens Magazine, and also at wikiHow, The Daily Express Newspaper, and Glam Magazine to name a few! SparklingPenny.com was founded in 2019 and has since helped millions of people achieve a cleaner living space.


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Make your laundry detergent last longer with these tips on softening your water, pretreating stains, and never using more than you need, and much more.Make your laundry detergent last longer with these tips on softening your water, pretreating stains, and never using more than you need, and much more.Make your laundry detergent last longer with these tips on softening your water, pretreating stains, and never using more than you need, and much more.