What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Laundry Detergent for Front Loading Washers

I must say how impressed I am with my Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer. Yesterday alone, I did up all our laundry (1 1/2 extra deep hampers), every comforter and sheet in the house, 8 king size pillows, 5 large afghans, 2 thow pillows and 3 door mats. My husband refused to strip so I could do more laundry. I started about 10 am and was done and in completely finished by 3 pm and that is taking into consideration my folding time as well as going at a slower pace. I could never have done that with my old top loading washer. I am very impressed with this set.

With the new front loading washing maching a High Efficiency (HE) is needed. This is a type of detergent specifically formatted for use in front loading washers. We knew this before we bought the washer so it was no surprise. While some have said they use regular laundry soap in their front loading washers this is not recommended. The front loading washers use 1/3 to 2/3 less water than top loading washers. That means regular laundry soap will not dissolve easily and may leave a soap residue on the clothes. Regular soap also causes more suds in front loading washers because of the tumbling action something that will make your washer work harder, creates an overflow problem and cause components on your washer to breakdown prematurely. Considering that a front loading washing machine will set you back about $1000 you really need to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. While it may on the surface be frugal to save on laundry soap, it will not be frugal when you have a high repair bill on a relatively new washer.

There are several sites that outline making your own laundry soap. Sorry this is not suitable for front load washers. Remember you are saving a great deal on electricity, water, detergent, time and the wear and tear on your clothes. You are also saving on the cost of drying the clothes so spending a little more on laundry detergent is more than covered. Consider too that less soap residue in your clothes is a good thing! It lessens clothes going dingy and reduces allegic reactions. Clothes do not need to smell the latest, greatest scent put out by the manufacturers in order to be clean. While there are powdered versions of HE laundry detergent, the liquid HE has a better reputation.

Our washer came with a sample of Tide HE however due to allergies and asthma we cannot use that brand. There are other brands available so let's do the math. As always break it down into cost per load. We bought a bottle of Sunlight Multi-Action HE Fresh Rain. Honestly, I do wish the manufacturers would give it a rest on the scenting of everything! Surprisingly the scent, something I cannot tolerate, wasn't too strong. This is 3X concentrated and formulated for front loading washers. A 946 ml bottle cost $8.99 for 32 loads working out to a cost of 28¢ per load. The appliance store where we bought our set sells a 120 load liquid HE detergent for $29.99. That works out to 24.9¢ per load. Neither price is overly expensive and more than reasonable per load. But I decided to check around. Amazon.com is selling a 9 pack of All Small & Mighty for $47.99. It does 288 loads at 16¢ per load however you do have to factor in shipping costs that will increase the cost per load. The best deal I have found was at Sam's Club who is selling a 3 pack of All Small & Mighty for $11.74 so I will be buying that our next trip. That works out to 12¢ per load with no shipping costs. All these figures are based on if you are using the amount of detergent the manufacturer recommends but quite often less detergent will get the clothes just as clean. So if you want to save even more shop around. Just remember to use only HE detergent in front loading washers!

Garden Gnome
© 2007


She-Ra said...

Have you tried Charlie's Soap? There is a website. I have been using it and love it. The price for a bag is high but if I remember correctly, the price per load is low. It takes 2 TBSP or less of powder in each load. Highly biodegradable/environmentally friendly and no fragrances, etc.

Garden Gnome said...

No I haven't tried it but will do some research. Thanks for the tip! The installers said that liquid worked better than power. All makes a fragrance free, allergen reducing HE liquid detergent that might be a possibility to.