How Much Laundry Detergent Do You Need With Soft Water?

Hard water, as opposed to soft water, is high in minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.

Generally

You will use less detergent when washing with soft water.You will use less detergent when washing with soft water.
Hard water interferes with the effectiveness of many cleaning products. For example, soaps lather far easier in soft water than in hard water. Hard water corrodes pipes and plumbing fixtures and leaves rings on tubs and toilets. When you soften your home's water, you can reduce the amount of laundry detergent needed to wash a load of laundry.

The amount of laundry detergent required to wash a load of clothes depends on the size of the load, the type of detergent and the hardness of the water. Some detergents are concentrated forms, meaning the consumer uses far less per load than when using an unconcentrated type. Detergent manufacturers typically include a recommended usage amount on the detergent packaging for which the consumer refers to when estimating the necessary amount of determent to use per load. Generally, the consumer uses half the recommended amount of laundry detergent if washing in soft water.

Experiment

While the consumer generally uses half the amount of recommended laundry detergent when washing in soft water, this is not an absolute conversion amount. The consumer may need to do a bit of experimenting to calculate how much detergent to use. Adding a little too much detergent creates too many suds while using too little produces inferior results.

Softening Water

Another factor to consider when estimating the necessary amount of laundry detergent is the softness level of the water. In some homes, the water might be naturally on the soft side and not treated. In this case, the consumer might use slightly less than the recommended amount yet not cut the portion in half. Some consumers treat their water by adding a salt, magnetizer or other type of water softening system to their homes, with each softening the water to varying degrees. The consumer needs to adjust the detergent amount according to the actual degree of his water's softness.

Additives

Not all consumers soften water by adding a softener system to their homes. Some opt to add a softening agent to the water of each laundry load. In this case, the consumer should refer to the softener manufacturer's recommendations when calculating detergent amounts.

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.