How To Avoid Detergent Overdose

how to avoid detergent overload

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Method. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a measurer or a guesser when it comes to putting detergent in your washing machine? I admit, I’m more of a guesser, and according to Method Products Inc., I’m not alone! They found that 53% of liquid laundry detergent users don’t use the recommended amount of detergent per washload. The majority of people will just guess or simply fill the cap up to the top. Guilty! Or at least I USED to be, before I started making my own laundry detergent. But even with homemade detergent, I fear I am guilty of using more than is necessary.


how to avoid detergent overload

Did you know that if you use traditional liquid laundry detergent and simply fill the cap each time you do a load you are most likely using more than TWICE what you should be for a normal load? I’m embarrassed to admit I did not know this. So I decided to buy a bottle of inexpensive liquid laundry detergent (I felt quite conspicuous doing so since I haven’t PURCHASED laundry detergent in a very long time!) and check it out.


how to avoid detergent overload

Sure enough…even though the markings inside the cap are almost completely invisible to the human eye…if you look REALLY, REALLY, REALLY closely you can see that the amount for a normal load is NOT a capful, but roughly HALF a capful. (Kinda makes you wonder why they make the measurement lines so hard to read! You don’t think they WANT us to use more than we should do you???  Nahhhhhh.)

I measured it out into a clear, glass measuring cup, that you could actually see the markings on, to show you.


how to avoid detergent overload

The amount on the left is how much is recommended for a normal load, the amount on the right is a full cap, meant for a heavily-soiled load. I would almost bet my life that what Method says is true…more than half of laundry-doers are simply filling the cap each time.

So why is “overdosing” on laundry detergent such a big deal? Well, despite the fact that it’s like pouring our hard-earned $$ down the drain….overdosing also creates excess suds, which results in:

  • Residue on clothes that fades colors and attracts more dirt.
  • Odors in the washing machine because trapped residue.
  • Loads that haven’t been properly drained because extra suds slow down the spinning cycle.
  • Leaking, especially in front loader washers.
  • Decreased water savings because more water is used to rinse the load if excess suds are detected.
  • Extra wear and tear on the washing machine’s pump and motor because the suds act like a brake.


how to avoid detergent overload

Bottom line: a lot of us are overdosing on laundry detergent, so the folks at Method are working on a fix. They’ve come up with this compact, precision-dosing pump bottle that virtually eliminates overdosing, so you get the loads that you pay for…and it comes in a recyclable bottle made from 50% recycled plastic.


how to avoid detergent overload

Method’s detergent is so concentrated the dose for a normal load of clothes is 1/4th that of the leading brand.


how to avoid detergent overload

This entire load of whites only required 4 pumps and came out extremely clean.




I have done many posts on making your own laundry detergent and while I’m not backing away from what I believe to be the benefits of doing so…I also know that there are many people who simply aren’t going to do it. For those people I highly recommend this Method product. I believe Method is trying to make products that work for us and for the planet.

And since the average household does about 600 loads of wash per year…every LITTLE thing we do to reduce and reuse makes a BIG difference.


method-laundry-for-1-year-giveaway (1)


Method Laundry Detergent is anxious for you to give their product a try, so they are giving away A ONE-YEAR SUPPLY of laundry products! 

Make sure you CLICK HERE (or on the image above) to be taken to their Facebook page to enter!


And don’t forget…if your washing machine is in need of some cleaning due to buildup from overdosing…these two past posts could be very helpful! :-)

How To Clean Your {Top Loader} Washing Machine

How To Clean Your {Front Loader} Washing Machine



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  1. says

    I’ve been using Method laundry soap for about six months, and I’m sold. You carry home a smaller “jug”, and it’s so easy to pump the detergent in. Also, I’ve purchased the refill container and refilled my pump bottle (saving more plastic as the refill container is more bag-like than jug-like). Even though we do recycle, I appreciate that there’s much less plastic going out the door. And our clothes are clean. And they aren’t fragranced.

    • Judy says

      I too have used Method and I love the smaller container (more room on the shelf) and the pump idea. Just wondering if anyone else has had issue that since the tube doesn’t go all the way to the bottom – I end up having about a good 1-2 inches left of liquid but can’t pump it out – unless I hold the bottle *straight up. Holding the bottle “straight up – well – it doesn’t make it into the laundry tub —— but against the wall.

      • Tara says

        Hi Judy…I’m a little late on reading this post. I use Method detergent. love it! Have you ever looked at the bottom of your bottle of detergent? The tube is angled so you can twist the top and make sure the tube is angled the way the spout is facing. that way when you squirt your detergent into the washer, the tube is ALL the way at the bottom of the bottle. I think there is also a picture on the side of the bottle that might explain it better than I can. Hope that helps!!

  2. Sue Schaff says

    It’s the same thing with powdered detergent……the measuring cup that comes with it is also too big. So I threw out the one that came with the detergent, bought a set of inexpensive kitchen measuring cups and put the correct size it the box..

  3. says

    I am one of the 47% that measures. We have a septic system and excess suds from using too much laundry detergent (or household cleaners in general) can play havoc with how waste materials settle in the system and eventually cause the leaching fields to collapse. I have also found that too much detergent leaves your clothing dingy and causes them to wear out faster.

  4. Tina Kaye says

    We’ve been using Method Free and Clear for a couple years now, and it works great! Not only does it remove stains better than more pretreaters (when squirted directly on the problem), it’s really easy to handle and measure. For us, though, the most important feature is being the only detergent we all can use! I have 3 children with asthma, and I have allergies to many products as well. None of us have rashes or trouble breathing with Method Free and Clear!

  5. Kristy says

    When we bought our 1st washer 20 years ago, the sales person told us about people using to much detergent. She also said that every 4 or 5th load could be done with out detergent because of all the soap residue left on our clothes. I have followed her instructions and I think that is the reason I still don’t have a NEW high efficiency washer!!! :) I was still an estimator but I estimated at the half way mark. Now I make my own detergent and I measure accurately every time. I have to admit when I made the no boil method I tended to use more because it was so thin, but I will be more careful now.

  6. Penguinlady says

    I have used Method laundry for a few years now and love it. Method Baby is wonderful, too, with a lovely, light scent. I just wish my local stores carried more than just one scent!

  7. CTY says

    I am one of the 47%. To make the measure line easier to see I put a piece of electrical tape on the outside of the measuring cap (you can see the black through the cap). When starting a new bottle I would toss the new cap & keep the taped one.
    However, thanks to Jillee I have been making my own for quite some time now (I make the powder version).
    Even so I’m with Bekah; what’s wrong with free?

  8. Mikele says

    I love Method. We’ve been using it for a few years now. At times I even use less detergent then they recommend because our cloths aren’t that dirty. Method may appear to be expensive but a bottle lasts a long time for 2 of us – 5 months and about a 3rd of a bottle left.
    I am going to try making my own next time – and see how that goes……

    • says

      Kristen, that is actually my homemade bleach gel in the squeeze bottle…but that is actually a great idea to put homemade “shout” in a squeeze bottle to avoid the clogging issues! hmmmm…I sense a blog post coming on! :-)

      • Michelle says

        I first tried the spray bottle, then a squeeze bottle but, ultimately, settled on putting the homemade Shout in a Dawn Direct foaming bottle. It is so easy to pump it right onto stains and I don’t have issues with it clogging or dripping all over when I apply it.

      • flerbiejean says

        Kristen and Jillee, I keep my “shout” in an empty Dawn bottle. I have one or two of the smaller (standard size) bottles before I bought the super economy size. The flip cap on the top is great! I give a few squeezes and then go!

  9. purrna2go says

    My washer is a Maytag HE. I’m supposed to put the detergent in first. HE uses less water and less soap. I’m wondering if using less is going to get mixed in with the low amounts of water. I still cannot get accustomed to the whirrs, spins, many long pauses, and grinding noises in the HE washer that make it so efficient.

    • Karol says

      I have been married over 50 years and have always measured. When we had to replace our top loader a year or so ago, we got the top loader HE. I really don’t like the HE. I use the ‘bulky items’ setting a lot. It forces more water. I use the 10 min. presoak too. A complete cycle takes nearly half again as long as the old one. Supposed to be the biggest one but holds about 3/4 as much. :-( Nor do I think it gets things cleaner than the old one. I’ve been using 7th generation free and clear for awhile. Did try method a year or so ago and was not impressed. I am definitely allergic to something in detergents and have tried most of them.

  10. Darlene says

    Why, oh why must we always go to Facebook to enter one of these giveaways? I left Facebbok over a year ago because I lost all trust in it. Couldn’t there be another way for non-Facebook users to enter these contests? Please!

  11. Maggie says

    I have used Method, 7th Generation, Biokleen and homemade detergent. Homemade is definitely best, and so, so much cheaper. If I had to buy I’d buy 7th Generation or Biokleen since they do NOT use artificial fragrances or dyes. If you are trying to be greener and eco-conscious, Method is ok, but not great. They have artificial color and fragrance in their products, so I don’t get why they don’t just go all out and be 100% eco-friendly and safe instead of just half way. If you’re branding your product as such, just go for it and stop being a poser is my thought on it.

  12. ~Lynn says

    I agree with Darlene. I would LOVE to enter contests to win but never can because of the above issue. I know its convenient for bloggers to use FB but hopefully someone will start including email users only, also.

    By the way, I love your site and have shared it with others.

  13. Elaine S says

    I used to be guilty of using too much detergent, bleach, and fabric softener until I got a front loading washing machine and started using “he” detergent. I saw all the suds that were made during a washing cycle. Then, when I saw how many suds were in the rinse cycle I started measuring and I can’t believe how long my laundry products last. I also could tell a difference in my laundry. I can’t remember the last time I used bleach on my clothes and can tell that my “whites” last so much longer. I was killing my towels and linens with excess bleach. I’m sure the environment is happier now that I am not adding all that chlorine into the water system, I started using some Method products several years ago and love them. I started with the lavender all purpose surface cleaner and loved what clean smelled like. I have started using their hand soap and love that I can refill the dispensers. I like using products that are kind to the earth.

  14. Mags says

    Thank You Jillee! I had no idea that using the incorrect amount of detergent causes all of the things you listed above to happen! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I think my husband thanks you too! I have had my new front loading machine leak a few times and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I’ve also had the odor too! I really appreciate all of the information you provide! BTW, I also am a fan of Method laundry detergent and fabric softener as well as the hand soap. I love the refill bags. So easy to stock up and not use up a lot of space and less clutter in the laundry area as well!

  15. Comet says

    I agree–I am extremely hesitant to enter something using FB as a lot of my “friends” are thru my husbands work and I do NOT want them to think I am giving out personal info. And–the METHOD entry DEMANDS that you GIVE them this “All access pass”—-or you CANNOT enter.

    Hardly fair–or friendly!

    • says

      I also will be glad when this face book thing runs it’s course. I could care less about what’s happening to most of these people. They probably wouldn’t acknowledge me if they saw me in the grocery store. It makes a great place for people who need to brag and feel that they are important.
      Big Deal… I wont be entering any contests either,

  16. Darlene says

    Lynn and Comet, thanks for stating good reasons why it is wise not to belong to FB. Many people do not understand or bury their heads in the sand because they don’t want to believe FB can be very bad or they believe they are immune to the dangers. Thanks for backing me up on this topic. Am wondering whether or not Jillee will address this. Waiting for a reply from her. :)

  17. Liz says

    My mother-in-law uses the Method pump bottle up at their cabin, and in their HE front loaders, you don’t even need 1 full pump to get stuff clean. The cabin is in an area that has extremely hard water, too! The best thing to look for is suds…if you have a lot, you’ve used too much!

  18. Anne H says

    A water conditioner salesman told me to take an ordinary washcloth out of my linen closet and put it into a cup of warm water. Leave it there for maybe an hour. Then, stir the cup and washcloth together with a spoon. If you have detergent left in that washcloth, you will get suds!!! And I did! That changed my laundry habits forever.

  19. Lisa says


    I stumbled across your website by accident one day when I was looking online for instructions on how to make a portable raised bed garden. I read some of your posts and subscribed that day. I enjoy all of your tips, projects, and ideas. Thank you for such an informative website. I am really big on saving money any time I can and I loved your post about laundry detergent and freezing different kinds of foods. I nearly always learn something new from you.

  20. krista says

    I started to by the purex ultra packs because the guys in my house would probably use 3x’s the recommended amount… men with more is better attitude! LOL I have noticed that the clothes are cleaner with less detergent and there isn’t all the wasted spill all down the front of the machine.

  21. Jody says

    I remember the day I figured out that filling to the top of my tide scoop was not the proper amount of detergent. Now I have a quarter cup scoop in my homemade dry laundry soap. It’s amazing how much soap went down the drain. I’ve never tried Method, but I’ve heard good things about it.

  22. Donna says

    I read an article some time ago about Windex and how the product was going to be discontinued because it lasted so long. The inventor changed the directions to read “2 pumps” instead of one. Doubled the usage and we still have Windex on the shelves. Same goes for laundry soap… The more we use, the more they sell…

  23. Anita says

    Add me to the list of those who do not use Facebook-yes, I find it frustrating also that for so many things online one must go through their portal. I don’t text either, scandalous!
    Jillee do you have a list of ingredients for the Method laundry soap? I’m trying to go toxin free in my house, and, at this point feel that soap nuts are the best route.

  24. MsKat says

    I had been using Method for years before I tried making my own, and now I alternate between the two. I love Method still but the cost for the homemade detergent wins out sometimes. I read a long time ago that we don’t need to use the amount of laundry detergent they call for even with the line guides. As a result I was using 1/3 to 1/2 the detergent the company called for and my clothes still came out clean and fresh. On the rare occasion that I had something actually dirty instead of washing out regular air and body pollution I just used a little more. I noticed I had no more itchy episodes or irritations. Sometimes people think they are allergic to a detergent when that may not be the case, they may just have too much residue on their skin irritating them. (I did say some not all, as I know contact allergies are a legitimate problem, I have some myself). As consumers, we sometimes place far too much trust in what these companies tell us, how can they tell use we ‘must’ use a certain amount of their product, when they have no idea what our cleaning needs are? This is the same as the shampoo industry’s instructions to ‘lather, rinse, repeat’. I followed that all the time until I went to cosmetology school and learned that most of the time we did not need to shampoo but once, and those instructions were solely from the shampoo companies, not from professional hairstylists or even dermatologists. Thanks Jillee for posting this to help make the public aware that they are possibly using too much.

  25. says

    I make my own detergent for environmental reasons but I bought Method for my son when he went away to college because the pump makes for a quick, accurate measure -every time, the small bottle is light and easy for him to tote to the laundromat (and uses less plastic/recycled plastic).

    It worked so great I’m sending my twin daughters off to college in the fall with a Method bottle also.

  26. Tamara says

    Hi Jillee! I have a question on your powdered homemade detergent. We have been using it for months and love how economical it is. But we have been experiencing soap residue like crazy and it has faded several of our dark shirts. I only use the small scoop out of the generic oxiclean tub, like recommended. What are we doing wrong? After reading this post on detergent overload, I am worried about our top loading (he) washing machine. Thanks!

    • Trena says

      Tamara, I had the same problem with buildup & fading, so I now make my detergent with just Fels-Naptha, Borax & washing soda. I add oxygen cleaner only to my light colored loads & use vinegar in my fabric softener dispenser. Even with my hard water, I no longer have any issues. Hope that helps!

      • Tamara says

        Thanks Trena:) I have already made the entire years worth of laundry soap with the oxi clean :( I guess to save my clothes tho I better make a new batch. Did your clothes look like they had flakes all over them?

  27. Susan Cary says

    I’m just about ready to make my own detergent for the first time. I still have a portion of SA8 left, I have used for 26 years. I do not and never have sold amway, but I have faithfully used this detergent, because I use so little, and with 3 teenagers in thee house, I still only use one box in about 8 months.

    My question concerns TSP. about a year ago, I started adding it to both my laundry and dishwasher for every load. When I make my own detergent I wondered if I can add it to the recipe or if I should continue to add on its own? Or does the homemade version contain phosphates in one of the ingredients??

    Tanks love the blog and often forward stories to my friends.


  28. Jamie O says

    I love their products but didn’t enter their giveaway. I wanted to drop a line to say people just need to read instructions, simple as that. Instructions are clearly written on the bottle. As far as Method’s pump product-love the idea (I’d love it even more if they would stop discontinuing my faves!) but not every pump is a full pump so it’s usually either right under or right over four pumps, haha!

  29. LeAnn says

    Favorite Movie Quote,” Laundry, I don’t do his laundry! Do they say I do his laundry? I don’t do his laundry!”
    The Holiday!
    I say this every time I do laundry. It is the only I can smile about this fun little (HUGE) chore!

    Guilty! Guilty!
    I thought the more you use the cleaner things get! And I can’t smell so the more I use than I can some times smell the stuff!
    Now I am done doing laundry for the week, I will be watching more of what I am doing!

    Thanks for the info!!!!

    Love our blog!!


  30. Jean Nielsen says

    Oh my Goodness! Just this past Thursday, I was complaining to my husband that our washing machine stunk to high heaven. It is ten years old, and after some persuasion, I convinced my husband to take apart the washing machine, so I could clean out the drum. It looks gunky and it smells moldy. I recently borrowed someones pressurized water hose, and tomorrow we’re gonna spray the gunk out of the barrel! (apparently, no one does this…everyone I’ve talked to has laughed at this). I’m so sure now, after reading this blog, that too much laundry detergent is the culprit. Thanks!

  31. Jacalyn says

    Good information! Something I did know.. same with fabric softener if you use the recommended fill line the clothes feel like they have a residue on them when coming out of the washer. I use lowest fill line ( I admit I like to see suds though…so sometimes a splash more) I fill my fabric softener dispenser only half full and add water from where the washer is filling.
    I have been making my own for months..currently using your super concentrated no grate recipe. LOVE it, but feel like I do add more than needed. I mostly just use vinegar rather than fabric softener now.
    I have never used Method just think it’s a bit pricey when I can make my own.
    Thanks for your fabulous site

  32. says

    Oh my, I am guilty of not measuring. I made my own detergent for awhile and hubby complained it was cleaning well so I went back to my brand. But I still have never measured. Thanks for the post. I know I’m often using too much.

  33. MARCIA says

    I always look forward to learning something new on your blog Jillee, and the negative feedback regarding the HE washers is good to hear. It sounds like such a good thing, less water, detergent etc., but not so much it seems! I am so glad to know this, next time I need a new washer, I want an “old school” agitating top loader! The Method detergent sounds good, I will give it a try next time.

  34. Jessica says

    Oh my! How are we supposed to know how much is the right amount if we make our own and have tinkered with the original recipe? I got my recipe from tipnut(same basic ingredients I’ve seen with many others: washing soda, borax, soap). I add way more water because it was just too gelatinous to pour. I put it in an old detergent bottle and use a whole capful. The recommended 1/4 cup was half a capful, but I figure the extra water makes a whole capful about right?

    Also, I’ve noticed that my whites have become sortof waterproof. I have to run water over a washcloth and squeeze to make it get wet. Could that be because I often use baking soda as a scrub cleaner? That’s my theory, anyway. I do rinse the washcloth well before throwing it in the laundry, but maybe the stove grease(or whatever else I cleaned) has ruined any absorbancy in anything white. I don’t care at the moment because all my towels are old, but once I buy new ones, I will want them to actually absorb rather than wipe the water off us after a shower. It is strange. Has anyone else had that problem?

  35. says

    I have to admit I used to fill my laundry detergent all the way to the top of cap, but I stopped once I broke my wash machine because of it! The maintenance man said it broke due to detergent overuse and having too many suds per load. Now I use less than the recommended dosage and my clothes come out even cleaner than when I used the normal amount or more. The more the suds, the less room the clothes have to get cleaned!

  36. Devorah Moone says

    Environmentally friendly (also eco-friendly, nature friendly, and green) are ambiguous terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict reduced, minimal, or no harm at all, upon ecosystems or the environment.;^

    Look over our own webpage too

  37. Stacey Q says

    I have 2 friends that share a place and one had a bad stroke. The one with the stroke complained of her clothes feeling wet, but the other said she couldn’t feel it so it must be from the stroke. Well, I felt her shirt and it was like it was saturated with oil….I knew right away that it was because they use too much detergent and there is no way to get it out of clothes… Just an FYI

  38. lisa says

    I have found that the people who OVERdose their clothes on laundry detergent end up having clothes that reek without them knowing it. The most obvious stink comes out when kids at a pool are drying off on towels that have been washed with way too much detergent and fabric softener over and over. That stuff DOES NOT ever rinse out, it just adds more gunk to the fabric :/
    Years ago, we used to have musty smelling blue jeans that smelled like they had been soured in the washer, even if immediately dried. I read up on it, and found the suggestion to switch from liquid detergent (LD) to powdered detergent. Believe it or not, powdered rinses out better! Who’d have thought?
    I have not used any liquid detergent (LD) for about 8 years now. LDs like Method do sound like they would work well, too, though – just haven’t tried any yet.

  39. Nichole says

    yeah, i don’t buy it for a second. I always use extra detergent. if u saw my husband’s clothing you would too. lol i want clean clean clean. my HE washer doen’t really clean unless i add the extra. i did clean it w bleach recently (before i read your article) because my clothing smelled the whole house up like garbage.

  40. Katie says

    I know I’m quite a bit late to the party here, but after reading this, I thought I would share my tip. I have never tried Method, and on a severe budget crunch I went looking for ways to save on laundry soap. Found a 1 oz pump at a kitchen supply store, put it on an old ranch dressing bottle(the one gallon bulk size), and now each pump measures out exactly 1 oz of laundry soap. Started doing this with homemade laundry soap, but had to go back to the store-bought kind due to some cleaning problems (still working out what went wrong). Have saved so much in soap it’s not funny.


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