Read this. Your clothes and your washing machine will thank you.

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You might think that adding more detergent to your laundry means cleaner clothes, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

As Mary Gagliardi, a.k.a. Dr. Laundry, a scientist at The Clorox Company, explained to Taste of Home, the opposite is true. Going too heavy on the detergent can actually create problems, including stains and/or residue on clothes. Too many suds can also result in residue that prevents your washing machine from draining properly. This can cause lingering odors and wetter clothes. Yuck.

And that’s not all. Too much detergent can also do a number on your washing machine’s pump and motor. Because your washer automatically adds extra rinses and pauses to deal with excess suds, extra detergent can slow it down and cause it to use more energy.

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Gagliardi’s best advice is to check the instructions on the detergent bottle or box. It should tell you the minimum amount you need for an average size load with average soil. If you still find suds hanging out after the wash cycle is over, the instructions could be leading you astray.

“In this situation, re-check the package instructions and make sure the lowest level of detergent recommended (usually ‘line 1’ on a cap or scoop) is clearly marked so it’s easy to measure the correct amount,” Gagliardi tells Taste of Home. “And please do measure—pouring detergent directly from the bottle into the washer without measuring is a great way to make sure you use the wrong amount—either too much or too little!”

You heard the lady!

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