Using too much soap in today's HD washing machines can lead to repairs!! Many times problems with washing machines are caused by using too much laundry detergent—not a manufacturer defect.
According to people who repair washers, a large number of the problems are caused by improper use of laundry soap. Why can too much soap leads to washer problems?
Over the last several years Federal regulations have required washing machine manufacturers to reduce the amount of water that is used per load. So, using the same amount of soap in a newer washer as was used in an older machine means the new machine won’t use enough water to break down the soap. The residual soap can cause huge problems in newer high efficiency washing machines.
Here are the top signs that you’re using too much laundry soap:
1) The washer boot feels slimy.
2) The washer has a nasty odor.
3) There are dark spots on the door boot.
If a washer fails to drain and stops mid-cycle with an error code (SUD or ND) then the problem may be the result of using too much soap. One unit (Whirlpool) actually has a "SUDS LOCK" warning which means it has detected too much detergent. How it works: The motor control unit sensed a suds lock condition by analyzing the current draw on the drive motor. Actually, this could also mean a bad pump, an extra heavy load, excessive detergent, or excessive suds.
If the washer is too old to detect an error code, it will likely just turn off.
Try running an extra load without soap to clean the machine.
Too much suds may damage the machine because washers have a water level pressure switch and when you use too much laundry soap, the foam travels up the hose and can come in contact with the switch. When this happens, the wet soap damages the switch which means a washer repair. Where I live they charge you $65 just to diagnose a problem. At least the $65 is applied to the repair bill which I assure you will be more than that.
As a rule of thumb, you should never use more than a tablespoon of soap! Always measure the detergent amount. The measuring cup that sometimes comes with some soap is 10 times the size of the actual amount needed.
These HD washers can also develop a foul odor. This can be for a couple of reasons. Using too much liquid fabric softener and soap over an extended period of time can result in odor because some laundry detergents and nearly all fabric softeners contain a small amount of animal fat. When you use too much, the fat congeals (yuck!) and gums up in areas where the customer can't reach it to clean.
Also, modern detergents made for these machines are not phosphate based; they are enzyme based. As you know, enzymes are a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. They can build up in the washer where they die and decay and, like all decaying organisms, they stink.
If the machine is leaving dark spots or rust on clothing, it's another telltale sign of using too much laundry soap. In most cases, the dark spots are caused by the mold growing on the washer’s door boot. If this happens, clean or replace the boot.
Also, be careful to never, ever, overload a washing machine. Three-quarters full is about right. You should also make sure the load consists of items that are similar in weight. That is, don't mix, say, underwear and blue jeans or shirts and towels. Doing so is a good way to throw the whole machine out of balance.
Most newer washing machines require high efficiency soaps (HE) that are specially formulated with suds suppressors, which prevent the machine from over-sudsing, but if you insist on using a soap that is not HE, always reduce the amount you use by at least 1/3 of the recommended amount.
You should also treat the machine regularly (once a month) with a product that is specially formulated to dissolve and remove odor-causing residue.
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