You've seen the claims - 'Ultra,' '2X Double Concentrated,' and '3X Ultra.' The more concentrated the detergent, the less you're supposed to use but that's not what's happening.
According to an industry trade group - many people are using twice as much detergent as they need. That can make the rinse cycle longer and, of course, waste money.
First read the directions.
"It turns out there's no standard definition for what these concentrations mean. It's only twice as concentrated when you compare within the same brand," said Consumer Reports' Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman.
A sample of Era detergent says it's 2X concentrated and it can clean 32 loads. It's the same size as a sample of Tide, which says it can do 30 loads. The Tide is not concentrated.
"This All detergent says to fill to line three for large loads and line two for normal loads. But those lines are virtually impossible to see," said Lehrman.
The fill lines on Consumer Reports' top-rated detergent for top-loaders - Wisk Deep Clean - are tough to see, too.
So make a bold line with a permanent marker so you don't end up using more than you should.
If you have a front-loader, try Target's Up and Up HE Fresh Breeze, a Consumer Reports Best Buy. Just 11 cents a load if you use the right amount.
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