too much soap in your washer

Signs You’re Using Too Much Soap in Your Washer & What to Do Instead

If some is good, more is better, right? We’ve all heard it and done it at one point or another. But one of the most common problems we see is using too much soap in your washer. Excess soap creates a myriad of issues and is a common cause for washer repair. Even if your clothes are really dirty, using too much soap is not the way to get them clean.

Too Much Soap in Your Washer Can Lead to Problems…

We want to help you understand why too much soap in your washer is such a problem. Let’s discuss the problems that arise and how to avoid them in the future.

Washer Won’t Drain or Stops Mid Cycle

When you add too much soap in your washer, it can set off the SUD alert on your machine. If the washer has too many suds and cannot drain, it may even shut off the washer in the middle of the cycle. You may or may not see suds overflow when you’ve used too much soap.

Sometimes you can clear the code and the suds by running a fresh cycle with no added detergent. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

There is a water level pressure switch attached to a hose near the bottom of the washer tub. If there is too much lather from the suds, it can back up into the hose and reach the switch, which damages the switch. At this point, you need to call for washer repair.

To avoid this, never use more than a tablespoon of soap for regular loads. For extremely soiled clothes, use no more than 2 tablespoons.

Washing Machine Smells Like Mildew

In addition to potential damage to the washer, using too much laundry detergent causes soap buildup that attracts a ton of muck. Bacteria, mildew, and foul odors cling to the soap residue and generate a funky smell. When your washing machine smells bad, this smell will also penetrate your clothes if not removed from the washer after a cycle.

Use only 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent to help prevent soap scum buildup inside the washer, and clean your washer with Affresh tabs once a month.

washer smells like mildew
Image from Amazon

Washer Leaves Spots on Clothes

When there is too much soap in your washer it can leave spots on your clothes. Front-loading washers have a rubber door boot that seals the door when closed. Over time, excessive soap will build up inside the boot. Humidity and soap build up are a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

If you smell mildew from your washer or see spots on your clothes, check the door boot for signs of mildew. The door boot needs to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced to fix the issue. To prevent having a moldy washer in the future, reduce the amount of detergent to one tablespoon per load.

washing machine smells bad
Image from CBS Chicago


Tips to Avoid Using Too Much Soap in Your Washer

Tip #1: Fill your washer loosely to 3/4 full to avoid overstuffing.

Tip #2: Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended type of detergent for your specific washer.

Tip #3: Measure 1 tablespoon of detergent for regular loads, and up to 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.

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