EM NEWS 2010

The Wall Street Journal published the following article on how consumers incorrectly do their wash.

Originally published by the Wall Street Journal, written by Rachel Emma Silverman. Link here.


The Dirt on Laundry: We’re Doing It All Wrong

By Rachel Emma Silverman (Jan. 29, 2010) – We’ve previously discussed the challenges of fitting laundry into the juggle (a topic regularly requested by our readers.) Now, according to my WSJ colleague Ellen Byron, it seems that in our haste to get the laundry done, we’re actually doing it all wrong.

For one, we’re pouring too much detergent into our washing machines. This sudsy habit can create such problems as dingy clothing and worn-out machines, the article explains. One detergent-maker’s survey found that 53% of people don’t use the recommended amount of detergent per washload, preferring instead to guess or, worse, to simply fill the cap up to the top—a practice that wastes more than half the loads a detergent bottle could wash. (To make measuring easier, Procter & Gamble will soon introduce easier-to-read plastic measuring caps featuring more-defined measurement lines inside and bigger numbers, for its liquid detergent brands, including Tide, Gain, Era and Cheer.)

In a nifty interactive graphic, Ellen’s piece highlights some other laundry errors common to busy families. Among these: poor sorting, which can lead to dingy whites and dull colors; forgetting to close zippers and hooks or check pockets for hazards like lipstick or tissues; overstuffing machines, which can lead to dirtier clothes (and in my family’s case, a broken washer); and using stain remover too late. (The heat of the dryer can permanently set stains.)

Ellen also includes some interesting facts about laundry, a chore that is both time-consuming and done largely by women. It was the primary household responsibility of 76% of women and 24% of men in a 2007 Whirlpool survey of 2,500 consumers; some 78% of those surveyed do approximately nine loads of laundry each week.

Readers, please share your tips for getting the laundry done efficiently—and cleanly. Do you make common laundry mistakes, like overpouring or poor sorting? And who does the bulk of the laundry-related chores (washing, folding, putting it away) in your household?