You've seen the claims on laundry detergents - 'Ultra,' '2X Double Concentrated,' and '3X Ultra.' The more concentrated the detergent, the less you're supposed to use. But that's not what's happening. "I kind of just throw it in, do it, press the button, and leave." "Most of the time I eyeball it." "I just pour it straight in." Many people are using twice as much detergent as they need, according to an industry trade group. That can make the rinse cycle longer. It also wastes money. And if you think you could do twice as many loads with a two-times concentrated detergent, think again.

"It turns out there's no standard definition for what these concentrations mean. It's only twice as concentrated when you compare within the same brand." For example, this Era detergent says it's 2X concentrated and it can clean 32 loads. It's the same size as this Tide, which says it can do 30 loads. But the Tide's not concentrated. Figuring out how much detergent to use isn't easy either. Celia Lehrman, "This All detergent says to fill to line three for large loads and line two for normal loads. But those lines are virtually impossible to see." So you may need to get a bit creative. Take Consumer Reports' top-rated detergent for top-loaders - Wisk Deep Clean. The fill lines are really tough to see. So take a permanent marker and make a nice bold line. That way you won't end up wasting detergent.