Trinket Talk The business of trinkets and the work that goes on behind the scenes.


Time for Laundry Detergent Brands to Change Laundry Cups

One of the immediate results of the dramatic rise in oil prices during 2008 was an equal rise in shipping and transportation costs.  We all saw increases at the pumps and as well we all noticed the gradually but steady increase in prices for almost all goods and services.  But did you all also notice that many of your favorite products particularly the heavier ones were downsized during the same period?  After running a two week test over 20 loads of laundry it is pretty clear there is one big winner in the laundry downsizing game.

Take a look at your favorite laundry brand.  Three years ago the shelves were lined with large containers that got anywhere from 32 to 64 loads of laundry done depending on the container.  There were a few bottles marked for high efficiency washers and a few that were labeled as two times strength and as a result were thin bottles.  It wasn't until oil prices hit record highs that all manufacturers switched to the double strength bottles which strangely cost the same for the same number of loads but certainly cost a lot less to transport.  One unfortunate aspect of the new bottles is that the accompanying caps were also about half the size.  Trying to read the line on the measuring cup was difficult with the larger caps and is now impossible with the smaller cups.  The tone on tone coloring makes it no easier.  The fact that our largest detergent companies are unable to produce a cap with a contrasting measuring line is troubling as it has two effects that are both bad for consumers.  First a majority almost certainly end up putting in way too much solution.  In almost every case the cap only needs to be about one quarter filled.  The top two lines which you are actually able to see are for double or triple loads.  Second we are dumping all sorts of nutrients into either septic tanks or the sewer system which ends up getting dumped into local waters.  Clearly there is no benefit to consumers but you can almost bet for sure detergent sales are up proportionally to what they were a few years ago as we all use more of the double strength solution than we need and as a result are probably going through the average 32 or 64 use bottle 25 or 40 percent faster than we were previously.  After digging up and old bottle of normal size and running a two week test it was pretty clear that pouring and measuring in the new cup was prone to over indulging on the amount of detergent.   This was not a scientific test but common sense and the human eye clearly demonstrate it is nearly impossible to read the measuring caps in modern detergents.   At the very least manufacturers should be using contrasting lines - if they are using a dark blue cap make the measuring lines white and the letters large in white.  Better yet make the caps transparent so that light gets through and make the lines and printing in bold colors.

If this bothers you take a moment to write a letter to the big producers.  They should be aware that their practice of either accidentally or deliberately making it difficult to read the caps should be changed.  It is better for consumers and better for the environment.   Tide can be reached by email or phone at the Tide Contact Us Page.  You can contact Dwight & Church via their comment page.  They make a lot of the off brands you see in CVS and other stores in addition to the Arm & Hammer line.  To round out the list of larger selling brands we have the page to contact All Detergent.  In the past many of these manufacturers have been responsive to change.  If enough people contact them there is a very good chance we will see a positive change which will help our bank accounts and in turn will help the environment.

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