I read an interesting article at our local Ecology Centre that describes how you can save money if you know the category your city’s water falls into: Soft, Medium, or Hard. If your water is soft, you can use 1/2 the recommended amount of laundry detergent and still have your clothes clean.
Why? The target water category that detergent is developed for is medium to hard water. The water in our city (Vancouver’s Lower Mainland) is categorized as ‘very soft’. A few Canadian cities marked as having moderate to hard water are Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. Regina is listed as having very hard water. Because cleaning product manufacturers’ typically recommend amounts based on moderate hardness, we having ‘soft’ water can use much less detergents, starting at 1/2 the recommended amount and adjusting from there.
The chemical that produces a ‘sudsy’ action in cleaners is called surfactants. All detergents, personal/home care cleaning products, even toothpaste contain surfactants…they can be found in anything that produces suds and they increase the level of cleaning power. Laundry detergents contain the highest level of surfactants. When the amount of laundry detergent is overused to wash clothes, excess surfactants get released after treatment. This can have a negative impact on fish and other aquatic life. While saving money for your family is a bonus with reducing your amount of detergent, think of this action as one more way to help our local ecosystem.