Most people spend a lot of money on things like laundry detergent, dish soap, and other consumables. If you save money, you don’t necessarily have to switch brands or wait for a sale. You can just use a lot fewer products and still get the same results, if not better. Here’s how much it actually takes to get the job done.


No matter what type of toothpaste you buyThere’s a good chance you’re using way too much. Dentists will tell you that a pea-sized drop of toothpaste is enough for most adults Children need less than half that amount. If your toothbrush looks like a commercial or the picture on the box before you brush it, you’ll need to cut it back.

This is not just about saving money. With too much toothpaste you can actually more harm than goodespecially if it contains abrasive ingredients like baking soda. Over time, excessive toothpaste use and aggressive tooth brushing weaken tooth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity and toothache.

laundry detergent

It’s a longstanding wisdom that most of us have Use way too much detergent. And it’s not just a little extra – using a full cap for each load can save you 10 or 20 times more detergent than you need.

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Using so much detergent is completely counterproductive. Washing machines use much less water than they used to, so any extra detergent you add won’t completely rinse out. If you make it a habit, simply coat your clothes (and the parts of your washing machine) with a layer of construction that will never actually wash out. To avoid this, use as little detergent as possible. Start with half your usual amount and choose it back from there. You will be pleasantly surprised at what a tablespoon of laundry detergent can do.

Washing-up liquid

The detergent is in the same boat as the detergent, except that Using too much can seriously damage your dishwasher. A quick way to tell if you’ve been using too much is to check the inside of the dishwasher door near the detergent bowl for soap buildup and debris.

Most of us don’t think much about how much detergent we actually use – we just fill up the detergent cup and close it. But even with heavy laundry, our dishes probably only need a fraction of the full detergent bowl. Everything else will encrust the inside of the dishwasher, making it less effective overall and potentially damaging your dishes. It’s much more important too Load your dishwasher properly and keep it clean than to use a ton of laundry detergent.


You might think that it is not possible to use “too much” of something that gets in your mouth, washed around, and then spat down the drain, but it is. If you take the cap off your mouthwash and blindly fill it to the brim before throwing it back, you are using way too much.

Most over-the-counter mouthwashes recommend using only about 20 to 30 milliliters (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) at a time. That’s more than enough to get the job done. Plus, your mouth shouldn’t be completely filled with mouthwash anyway – wiping around inside is part of what makes it effective. Filling up your mouth reduces its usefulness. To make measuring easier, choose a brand of mouthwash with a self-filling cap and a distinctive filling line. They are often marketed to children, but more and more manufacturers are including them in all bottles. Unlike toothpaste or detergents, there is little harm in using more mouthwash than you should (at least up to a point), but the money you save by using less on those expensive bottles of the material is the change value.

If you had no idea that you were using too much of these products, it really isn’t your fault – often their containers are designed to obscure how much is actually needed for the job, or they are just too big for the job at hand Task. After all, the only way the makers of most of these products can make more money is by either tricking you into switching from another brand, reducing their container size so that you buy them more often, or tricking you into using more than you do might need. If you’re looking to save some cash at the grocery store (and want to keep your equipment – and your teeth – in good shape), keep track of how much of each it really takes to get the job done.

This article was originally published on February 27, 2014. It was updated on April 22, 2021 to reflect Lifehacker’s current style guidelines.