How Much Detergent to Use in Your Washing Machine

How Much Detergent to Use in Your Washing Machine

With the many changes in washing machines and laundry detergent, knowing how much detergent to use on your clothes can be a bit tricky. Newer washing machines like high-efficiency (HE) washers require far less detergent, and if you’re using pods or more potent detergents, you’ll be using far less detergent than you otherwise would. To know if you’re using too much laundry detergent — or not enough — follow these simple guidelines.

Are You Using too Much Detergent?

If you’re wondering if you’re using too much laundry detergent, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your washed clothes feel sticky or soapy? Or does your washing bin feel slimy?
  • Are there traces of detergent residue on your clothes?
  • Does your HE washer smell bad or musty?
  • Are your clothes scratchy or feel stiff
  • Do your white clothes look grey or your colored clothes look dull?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are probably using too much laundry detergent.

How Much Detergent to Use

To figure out how much detergent you should use, take these things into consideration: your water hardness, the size of the load, and how dirty the clothes are. You should also consider the type of washing machine you use, along with the concentration of the detergent (2X, 4X, or 10X).

It’s incorrect to believe that more soap will help clean your clothes better or get rid of stainers more easily. Too much soap can actually make it harder for your washer to break down the soap. This can also lead to the problems above, like sticky clothes.

Follow this chart for a quick guide on determining how much laundry detergent to use:


Standard WasherHE Washer
2X Liquid Detergent2 tbsp2 tsp
Powder Detergent1/4 – 1/3 cup2 tbsp
Premeasured Pack1 pack1 pack
Soft Water1 1/2 tbsp1 1/2 tsp

For stained clothing: If your clothes are heavily stained (like sports uniforms or athletic wear) and you’re presoaking them, you will use the same amount of detergent for this load as you would for a full load of clothes. If it’s just one garment that you are presoaking, use just one teaspoon of powdered or liquid detergent per gallon of water.

For hard water: If you don’t have soft water or live in an area with hard water, you will need to use slightly more detergent.

How to Fill Your Detergent Drawer

Most newer washing machines have a detergent drawer that you can put the detergent into. Generally, they will have a max fill line that you will use for a full load. The best way to know how to fill your detergent drawer is to follow your machine’s owner’s manual so you don’t have to actually use a measuring cup or measuring spoon. Don’t go by the measuring cup that comes with your liquid detergent. This cup can be about 10 times larger than the actual amount of laundry soap you need (after all, if detergent manufacturers can get you to use more, then they’ll sell more).

Also note that if you have a HE washing machine, it may require high-efficiency laundry soap to get the best results. HE soaps are formulated specially to prevent too many suds from being created. If you don’t use HE soap, you will just need to reduce the amount of detergent you use by about a third.

How to Load a Washing Machine

It’s important to know how to load a washing machine along with knowing how much detergent to use. Overfilling a washing machine can make it harder for your machine to work efficiently and for your clothes to get really clean. Try to fill your machine only about 3/4 full of clothing if you can. If you have a newer washing model, you can generally still run smaller loads without your machine filling up completely. These newer models can detect load sizes and will only use as much water as necessary.

As you load your machine, try to distribute clothes evenly and loosely inside the machine; don’t pack them in. If you don’t have a detergent drawer, load your detergent before loading the clothes. This goes for liquid, powder or detergent pods. Putting them in first allows for the soap to dissolve in the water fully as it fills up with water.

Toilet Backing Up Into Tub/Shower? Here’s How to Handle It

Toilet Backing Up Into Tub/Shower? Here’s How to Handle It

If you have sewage from your toilet backing up into tub or shower, you’ll obviously want to fix this immediately. Most often, this type of backup is caused by a clog in the main sewer line. If it’s not a clog in the main line, then it could be a clog in the shared drain pipe that’s connected to both the shower drains and toilet. If this is the case, then the problem is specific to just the toilet and shower.

Local Clog

If the clog is local — as in it’s in the shared drain pipe — you’ll basically just need to unclog the toilet. To clear the clog, you can use a plunger on the toilet to break it loose. To make this step more effective, seal off the drain in the shower and then plunge the toilet up and down several times. Then quickly break the seal by yanking the plunger up. You may need to repeat this process several times to break the clog loose. Make sure to wear gloves.

If plunging doesn’t work, use a plumbing auger. Follow the instructions on the packaging to effectively clear the clog.

You can clear a shower clog using a simple solution of salt and vinegar. Start by combining equal parts salt and white vinegar. Stir the solution until the salt has completely dissolved and the liquid is smooth. Pour this solution directly down the drain and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. If the clog is pretty far down your shower drain, you can add lemon juice to the mixture to make it a bit more powerful. Once the 15 minutes have passed, pour boiling hot water directly down the drain to rinse it out. Be careful to not pour the water into the bathtub basin as it can splash and you’ll waste a lot of hot water. Alternatively, you can use a plumber’s snake.

You can also stop your toilet backing up into tub by rinsing the drain with a solution of baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda directly down your shower drain and then follow it up with a cup of vinegar. The solution will bubble slightly, but once it subsides, close the drain or seal it off. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it with boiling hot water. 

Once you’ve tried either the salt or baking soda solutions, plunge your toilet to break up any remaining blockages.

Clog in the Main Line

If plunging the toilet doesn’t stop the sewage from backing up into bathtub, then the clog is most likely in the main sewer line. First, you’ll need to determine the best place to access the pipe. As this can be a very messy and unsanitary job, it’s best to start at the outside cleanout. If you don’t have an outdoor accessible cleanout, then you will need to find the floor or basement cleanout inside the house. Otherwise, you will need to pull a toilet to access the lines.

To clear the clogged drain, you’ll need the proper drain snaking equipment (the afore mentioned auger). Just be careful that it’s not too short. At the same time, if it’s too long and you let too much out, it can become entangled in the sewer system or septic tank. Grab a pair of gloves that are coated with a hard plastic so you can easily feed the cable into the pipe.

Once you have the correct equipment and have found the right access point, start by turning on the rotating snake and carefully feed the cable into the access point. You will feel resistance once the cable reaches the clog. Allow the snake to penetrate and then move past the clog, then stop the machine and reverse it. If you continue to feel resistance, repeat this process as many times as needed. Once the pipe feels clear, reverse the snake cable and feed it back onto the spool.

Once you’ve cleared the main drain, your shower and toilet should start draining properly without any sewage backup in the water.

If you are unable to clear the blockage using this method and the toilet backing up into tub is still happening, there’s a chance that the clog is being caused by tree roots that have grown into the pipes. At this point, it’s best to call a professional to come in as you’ll need to replace the pipes. You can also call in a pro to unclog a toilet if you don’t want to deal with the mess in the first place or are worried about making matters worse.

How to Unclog a Drain with Salt (And Other Blocked-Drain Solutions)

How to Unclog a Drain with Salt (And Other Blocked-Drain Solutions)

Did you know that unclogging a drain can be as easy as throwing some salt or baking soda down it? If you have a sink draining slowly in a bathroom or kitchen, you can learn how to unclog it with our top clogged drain hacks below. Check them out for some cool and simple ways to clear a clog without having to hire a plumber — including how to unclog a drain with salt. These hacks are super easy to add to any cleaning routine.

Using Salt

For this top clogged drain hack, all you need is iodized salt and vinegar. In a small bowl combine 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup salt and stir together until it’s no longer grainy. For a little bit of extra cleaning power, add a half cup of lemon juice. If the clog is pretty bad or located far down in the pipes, you can add more vinegar to help the mixture travel more easily to hit the clog and bust it out.

Before pouring the mixture into the drain, remove the drain stopper. You can then pour everything directly down the drain. Try to coat the entire drain so every bit of the clog can absorb the salt and vinegar mixture.

Let everything sit for about 15 minutes. If it’s a really stubborn clog, let it sit for 30 minutes. Now, rinse the drain with boiling water by boiling about 2 cups of water in a pan on the stove. Remember to always rinse the clog after using vinegar as vinegar is a very corrosive material and can degrade your pipes over time. Don’t ever let the mixture sit for longer than 30 minutes.

Make sure to pour the boiling water slowing to avoid splash-back, and pour it directly down the drain instead of splashing it into the basin.

Going with Baking Soda

This hack is very similar to the tips for how to unclog a drain with salt. This time, you just switch the salt out for baking soda. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda directly into the clogged drain. Follow this up with a cup of white or apple cider vinegar. Again, pour directly down the drain. The solution will bubble up, but will then subside. As it subsides, put the stopper in and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

While the solution is sitting, boil some water on the stove. Once the 15 minutes is up, pour the boiling water directly down the drain. If the clog hasn’t completely cleared up, repeat this process.

Using a Plumber’s Snake

A plumber’s snake is a nifty little tool that can help clear a clogged drain from your plumbing, especially if clumps of hair are causing the clog. A snake is also super effective if the clog is located really far down the drain. You can pick up a plumber’s snake from any home store or online. You can use a plumber’s snake in two ways.

The first way is to remove the stopper from the sink and then slide the snake down the drain until you feel resistance, this is most likely the clog. Push gently into the clog and then carefully begin to pull the snake out. As you pull the snake up, you should have the clog attached to the little teeth on the end, especially if it’s a hairball. However, if nothing is attached, it may be a different kind of clog that you need to gently prod with the snake to break it up.

If the clog is in your kitchen sink, another way to clear it is to disassemble the drainpipe and P-trap that runs beneath the sink to expose the stub out or stub pipe. With these two pieces removed, you can insert the plumber’s snake in here until you feel resistance to break up the clog.

If you don’t have a plumber’s snake, you can grab a wire coat hanger, pull it apart and turn it into a long piece of wire, similar to a lumber’s snake and use that to break up the clog.

Or a Plunger

One easy tool that you most likely already have in your arsenal is your plunger! If you have a double sink in your kitchen, start by sealing off the side without the clog with a stopper then fill the side with the clog with enough water so that it covers the bell of the plunger. You can now place the plunger directly and firmly over the clogged drain and plunge it vigorously several times — just like you would a clogged toilet. Once you hear the suction clear the clog, you can remove the plunger. Remember to rinse the drain out with hot water.

Whether you are going to unclog a drain with salt, soda, or use a plunger, all of these awesome hacks can be done with items you already have in your home.

Happy unclogging!

Now You’re Cooking with Gas: How to Install a Gas Stove

Now You’re Cooking with Gas: How to Install a Gas Stove

With a few basic tools and the right supplies, installing a gas stove is a relatively easy job to do yourself. Following a good how-to guide with the right materials, you will be able to effectively and safely do the job in a short duration of time, and without having to hire a professional. We’ll show you how to install a gas stove using a flexible, corrugated connector.

Note: Before you begin installing your gas stove or gas range, check local codes and ordinances to ensure homeowner installing is permitted. If it isn’t then you’ll probably need to hire someone.

Also, if you feel at all uncomfortable handling this project yourself, hire a professional. Gas can be very dangerous, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Still interested? Then read on!

Supplies Needed:

  • Wrench
  • Flexible corrugated gas connector
  • Teflon pipe-joint tape
  • Gas leak detector or liquid soap

1. Buy the correct gas connector

The first step in installing a gas stove (or gas range) is buying a new, correct gas connector. You never want to reuse a connector. Check for these things when buying a new connector:

  • It’s clearly marked “range.”
  • It has the right end connector fittings. Generally, the gas line is a half-inch black threaded pipe with a connection to the stove as a male or female with a half-inch fitting. If you’re unable to find a connector with the right fittings, you can use a black gas pipe fitting on the line to accommodate the end fittings.
  • It’s long enough to work between the stove and the wall.

2. Pull out your range

With the right gas connector purchased, you can now head home to pull out the range to shut off the gas cock. You can locate the shutoff behind the range or sometimes in the basement. You know it’s off when the lever is at a right angle to the pipe. If you find that you don’t have a shutoff, take this opportunity to add one for safety issues.

3. Wrap the pipe threads

Grab your Teflon pipe-joint tape and wrap it around the threads twice clockwise.

Note: A half-inch or 3/4-inch coupling will work with the 3/4-inch end connector fitting.

4. Attach the connector to the gas line

To attach the connector to the gas line, you need to start by removing the end connector fitting. Wrap the unbeveled end with your Teflon tape and then screw it to the gas line.

Safety tip: Never screw the connector nuts to a black gas pipe or fitting and always use both of the end fittings otherwise you will for sure end up with a leak. Also, never kink or force the connector into sharp bends.

5. Install a street elbow

Next in our guide to installing a gas stove is to install a street elbow. To do this, screw a half-inch by half-inch street elbow into the range gas port. Next, screw the connector’s other end fitting into the street elbow. You can use Teflon tape on each fitting just be careful to not overtighten.

6. Tighten the nuts

Now you can tighten the connector nuts to the two end connector fittings. Be sure to hold the tube straight against the fitting as you tighten them.

Safety tip: Never use Teflon tape on these threads as it can interfere with the seal and cause a leak.

7. Check for leaks

Before pushing your stove back into place, it is always recommended that you check for any leaks. To do this, turn your gas cock back on and light a burner for about a minute to allow any air in the gas line to release. Then, spray every joint with a gas leak detector (this can be found at any home center). If you don’t want to purchase this, you can easily use warm water with a bit of liquid soap in it. If you notice any bubbles around a joint, this means there is a leak. If you want to go the extra mile, you can call your local gas company to check your work.

8. Push your new stove in place

After checking for leaks and fixing any that pop up, you can now push the new stove into place. Ensure that the stove is level and adjust as needed. If everything looks great, then it’s time to start cooking!

As a final note, gas leaks can be extremely harmful and damaging and you want to make sure that you follow these guidelines to a T. If you ever have any doubts, hire a professional. 

What to Know When Considering a Compact Washer and Dryer Solution

What to Know When Considering a Compact Washer and Dryer Solution

In recent years, we’ve seen an influx of stackable laundry appliances that are more modern and convenient than those of yesteryear. These compact washers and dryers have become the perfect solution for those living in smaller spaces (like urban apartments) or those who have started downsizing now that they’re empty nesters. These chic appliances offer many advantages — as well as a few drawbacks.

So, to help you decide for yourself whether a compact washer and dryer are right for you, here’s everything you need to know when considering a compact washer and dryer.

Expense

A compact washer dryer combo definitely has a smaller carbon footprint, which means that if you’re downsizing or there’s a smaller number of you in the home, it’s wise to grab a compact combo to match the smaller amount of laundry you do.

However, a compact washer dryer combo doesn’t necessarily mean a more compact price tag. Unfortunately, since these stackable combos are so specialized and fewer brands carry them, they can be quite expensive to buy. In some cases, they could be even double the price of a standard washer and dryer. Remember, although the upfront cost may make it seem not worth it, your utility bills could be smaller to run these smaller units.

Size

A compact washer and dryer are, of course, smaller than your standard unit. Standard washer and dryers are about 26 inches wide, whereas compact units are a couple of inches more narrow. Although it seems minute, those couple of inches could mean everything for you. Especially if you’re comparing to a unit that is even wider than 26 inches.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that the loss of a couple of inches could mean a smaller basket for laundry loads. So if you are use to rather large laundry loads, you may have to convert to more loads just to get everything done.

Ventilation

Standard dryer units must be vented outside. If you’ve ever noticed that light hint of a Bounce sheet scent in the air as you wander past your dryer’s vent outside, you know what we’re talking about. However, compact dryers are more often electric rather than gas, so they are actually ventless. Because of this, a compact dryer can be the perfect option if you can’t vent outside, like if you live in an apartment. Instead, you can get a compact dryer and a special indoor venting kit to bypass this obstacle.

Heat

Because compact dryers don’t require outside ventilation, this can result in the heat from your dryer entering your home or apartment, rather than escaping outdoors. Although for some this may not be a huge deal, if you live in a very small apartment or condo in a warmer region, that space can get really hot, really fast when drying your clothes. As a result, your cooling system may end up running longer just to keep your space cooler. You can get around this by hang drying as many clothes as you can or doing laundry in the cooler hours of the evening.

Time

Standard washers and compact washers will take about the same amount of time to run a load. However, while a standard dryer typically runs a drying cycle anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes, a compact dryer can take up to an hour and 40 minutes to get clothes completely dry. And of course, if you have bulkier items like a blanket or lots of towels, it could take even longer.

Along with this, if you tend to have large loads of laundry and are now using a smaller compact washer and dryer, you may have to split your loads up into smaller loads, making laundry a longer ordeal overall. If you live alone or if there’s only a couple of you in the home, this may never even be an issue. Or you could always take those larger items to a laundry mat or dry cleaner’s to use their industrial-sized appliances.

Options

Compact washers and dryers are considered specialty appliances, which means they don’t have a large category, or that many options to pick from. In fact, many popular brands may even not offer a compact option to pick from. If you prefer to not be overwhelmed by endless options though, this pick of a stackable washer and dryer could be the right thing for you.

A Few Final Thoughts

Here are a few more things to note as you consider a compact washer and dryer:

  • The washers vibrate a lot more to help extract more water and cut down drying time. But this high-speed spinning can cause issues if your units aren’t properly balanced on top of each other.
  • Some combo packs may not come with stacking kits, so if you’re needing an apartment washer dryer combo and need to save space, you may need to buy a separate stacking kit. These can range from $32 to $200 depending on the model of units that you’ve purchased.
  • Some units cannot be used with bleach. The chlorine bleach can degrade the plastic parts and internal rubber of the washer. However, you can use color-safe bleach or other specialized bleaching agents. be sure to research which options are safe before you try bleaching.
How Home Service Club Stacks Up: A Comparison of Top Warranty Companies

How Home Service Club Stacks Up: A Comparison of Top Warranty Companies

When it comes to protecting your home, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best of the best from your home warranty company, and not simply going with what your real estate agent suggests. There are several home warranty companies to choose from, but which one really is the best? To help you compare and contrast, we’ve rounded up a few of the best home warranty companies and looked at what each has to offer and, of course, what each warranty company will cover.

Check out what these warranty companies to make sure that they cover everything you want to protect and to see how Home Service Club stacks up to the competition.

American Home Shield

Coverage under American Home Shield goes into effect 30 days after purchase and premiums range from $29.99 to $34.99 per month. Deductible options range from $75 to $125.

There are three different plans available with a range of what they cover:

  • Systems Plan: eleven major home systems are covered including electrical, AC, plumbing, and more.
  • Appliances Plan: ten appliances covered including refrigerators, washers and dryers, cooktops, ovens, and more.
  • Combo Plan: this plan combines both the systems and appliances plans for a more comprehensive package. This plan comes at a discounted price.

You can also build your own plan to cover the appliances and systems that are important to you, rather than covering all of them.

Choice Home Warranty

Established in 2008, Choice Home Warranty is rated among the top choices in home warranty companies. That said, their pricing options can be somewhat confusing. Possibly best way to gauge the cost of their plans is to get a quote online as they take several things into account including the place of residence, dwelling size, type of home, and of course, the desired level of protection.

  • Standard Plan: this plan covers your heating system and ducts, plumbing system, electrical system, garbage disposal, kitchen appliances, water heaters, plumbing stoppage, garage door opener, exhaust fans, and ceiling fans.
  • Total Plan: includes all of the above along with air conditioning, refrigerator, washer, and dryer.
  • Optional items to add to either plan: sump pump, pool and spa, central vac system, septic system and septic tank pumping, well pump, roof leaks, second refrigerator or stand-alone freezer.

TotalProtect

TotalProtect is a line of products by Country Home Services, Inc., and is one of the largest warranty companies in the country. They offer a 24/7365 service line and will use local service providers to make repairs in your home. They have annual premiums startings at $230.

Plans include:

  • Appliances Plan: Homeowners can get coverage of the following under this plan — refrigerator with built-in ice and water dispenser, wall oven, cooktop/range, range exhaust hood, built-in microwave, built-in trash compactor, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. This plan can also have optional coverage added for pools and spas and it will also cover rust and corrosion along with unknown pre-existing conditions.
  • Systems Plan: Homeowners will get coverage of air conditioning and heating systems, water heaters, toilets, plumbing lines and stoppages, sump pump, whirlpool bath, attic/whole house exhaust fan, central vacuum, doorbells and chimes, garage door opener, smoke detectors, fuse panel/main breaker box, interior electrical lines, and  interior gas line. Homeowners can also add optional coverage for pools and spas. This plan will also cover rust and corrosion and unknown pre-existing conditions.
  • Combo Plan: this plan will cover everything in the appliances and systems plans. It also comes with a deductible reimbursement.

America’s 1st Choice Home Club

Another option for home warranties, America’s 1st Choice Home Club (AFC) was established in 2009.. Their monthly premiums range from $39.58 to $78.75.

Their available plan options are:

  • Systems: major systems are covered including electrical, plumbing, water heater, and cooling/heating systems
  • Silver: basic coverage that protects refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, ovens and ranges, stoves and cooktops, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and garage door openers.
  • Gold: same basic coverage but also includes cooling/heating systems or built-in wall units, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and ductwork.
  • Platinum: most extensive contract from AFC Home Club. It covers all of the above along with built-in microwave and plumbing stoppages.

Home Service Club

Topping the list of best home warranty companies, is our very own Home Service Club. Home Service Club makes it extremely easy to get a home warranty plan quote online. We’ve received national recognition along with multiple awards for our home warranty service. You can view sample contracts online and even receive one month free. Our comprehensive plan is one of the most extensive in the industry covering 33 systems and appliances.

There are two home warranty plans to pick from, but you can also expand either of these to cover any other custom home needs.

  • Standard Coverage: This contract covers both appliances and systems including refrigerators, ovens/ranges/cooktops, dishwashers, washer & dryers, icemakers, built-in microwaves, trash compactors, food centers, heating/cooling systems, electrical and plumbing systems, water heaters, garbage disposals, ceiling fans, central vacs, and garage door openers.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Under this plan, all of the above is covered along with plumbing storage, ductwork, gas leaks, pest control, Whirlpool coverage, alarm warning, telephone wiring, smoke detectors, exhaust/attic fans, sump pump, doorbells, hot water pump and hot/cold water dispenser.

Home Service Club also boasts a 15,000+ list of certified and pre-screened contractors to cover repairs and replacements. Plan deductibles range from $65 to $125. As a bonus, Home Service Club is the only home warranty company that offers a 10-day waiting period for a plan to go into effect, unlike the 30-day waiting period of all other warranty companies. Online assistance is available 24/7.

Click here for a more an in-depth guide to home warranties.

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a Home Warranty company. Contact Home Service Club today, and let us show you how we outpace the competition.