10 Laundromat Etiquette Rules

Don't Overload Machines with Detergent
You may not be having soap disasters, but odds are good you’re using too much detergent. © BernardaSv/iStockphoto

The two most common laundry headaches both involve overloading the washer, either with too many clothes or with too much detergent. We just covered clothing overload, so now let's talk about suds.

Method Products Inc. found more than half (53 percent) of us aren't using the right amount of laundry detergent per load. While some pour until the liquid reaches the fill line and others just eyeball it, we're more likely to err on a surplus measurement than a scant one [source: Byron]. It seems so obvious: The more soap you use, the cleaner your clothes will be. Except that's not actually the truth. As it turns out, you need water but you don't necessarily need laundry detergent. The washer's agitation is often powerful enough to clean your clothes [source: Byron]. Too much laundry detergent in a washer load can actually lead to soapy residue on your clothing. The problem arises because too much soap makes too much foamy water, and any bacteria and dirt that is washed out of the clothes as they're cleaned ends up suspended in the suds, and then coating your clothes as they're rinsed.