Am I just using these laundry detergent bottles incorrectly?
February 18, 2011 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Why are these push-button laundry detergent bottles so messy? Is there some secret to dealing with push-button nozzle laundry detergent bottles that I'm just missing?

Laundry detergent bottles like Tide or whatever have these push button dispense nozzle like a big gatorade sideline container. But it's crazy messy whenever I try to use it. The little cup has an outer lining of liquid detergent after you pour it in because it sticks to the sides. The little nozzle has a couple drips too. When you put the little cup back on the bottle, it will leak down all over the place if you leave it on its side or if you stand it back up unless you wash it out. When you go to wash out the little cup it makes loads of suds and is a pain.

This is supposed to be more convenient I imagine. Am I missing something?
posted by cmm to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Unscrew the top so it can flow out more easily.

Fill up the cup, and throw it in the washer with the clothes.
posted by bensherman at 12:49 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used to think so too; then I realized I was doing it wrong.

After you've measured the soap into the little cup, just toss it into the washer with your clothes. It'll survive just fine and come out clean; as a bonus, nothing is wasted! In the meantime, just store the detergent with the nozzle upright, so no drips escape.
posted by samthemander at 12:49 PM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I throw in the messy cup with the laundry and take it out before I move the clothes to the dryer.
posted by halogen at 12:49 PM on February 18, 2011

I have a hard time with these too. Replacing the little cup onto the container just makes a bigger mess, so I just leave it sitting upright next to the container. Also, I put the container back in its upright position when I'm done.
posted by exogenous at 12:49 PM on February 18, 2011

You're not missing anything. You can rinse the measuring cup with the water in the machine, though, and then it doesn't get as sudsy.

Or just use powdered detergent.
posted by jrockway at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We, too, throw the cup in the washer with the laundry.
posted by cabingirl at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2011

Best answer: I tend to do a couple of loads of laundry at once and I never put the cup back on the nozzle. I set it on the shelf, and throw it in the last load of the day (and it often goes into the dryer too, with no ill effects). I do suffer little drops of detergent on my floor though, because I can't set the detergent upright on my shelf.
posted by Sukey Says at 12:54 PM on February 18, 2011

I just skip the cup and eyeball some detergent straight into the washer but I'm probably doing it wrong.
posted by ghharr at 12:56 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Can I just say thank you to all of you who've answered (and the OP for asking, for that matter)? I've had this problem too and never once thought of just rinsing the damn thing out in the water from the washer as it's filling up. It's so simple!
posted by ashirys at 1:04 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I rinse it off in the water coming out before I replace it. I have a shelf directly over the washer, and keep the washer open between loads, so any drips go into the washer. I just set the cup next to the bottle.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:07 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sometimes I hold the cup under the waterfall that fills the washing machine, until it's rinsed. It takes a lot longer than you would think to get it completely soap-free, but what else am I going to do while waiting for the water to fill up so I can put clothes in? Then I set it upside-down on top of the detergent bottle so any leftover water will drain/evaporate. Or if I don't feel like doing that, I throw it in with the laundry like everybody else said. It won't be the end of the world if you throw it in the dryer by accident, either -- it just comes out marginally softer than usual until it cools off. You'll probably hear it rattling around in there after a minute and remember anyway.

We also keep our detergent pulled up to the edge of the counter, so the spout hangs over the garbage can where our dryer lint and fabric softener sheets get thrown away. I honestly don't think it drips very often, but any drips that do happen go in the garbage.
posted by vytae at 1:10 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

My washer (a high-efficiency front loader) has a little detergent dispenser thing, a little drawer that pulls out for detergent and bleach and whatnot. I keep the detergent on top of the washer, right above the dispenser, and eyeball it, like ghharr does.

Since it's a front loader, I try to err on the side of "less is more."
posted by ambrosia at 1:14 PM on February 18, 2011

We tried the dispenser bottles for a brief, messy, inconvenient time. Hated them. And you definitely don't get everything out of the dispensers just by using the pump. And pump solution that requires you to take it apart and use it like a normal pour bottle is poor engineering, for sure.

We went back to the good old dependable bottles.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:31 PM on February 18, 2011

Yup to what everyone said...Immediately after I fill the little cup I flip the bottle/dispenser to an upright position (no drips!). I wash out the little cup with the washer water as it's filling up, shake out some extra water drops over the clothes, and then put it back over the nozzle (but not so it clicks tight!) so it can dry...much like hooking plastic bags over upright objects (if you do wash your plastic bags).
posted by sprezzy at 2:03 PM on February 18, 2011

Slightly off the push-button topic: a few years ago Tide announced a new, stronger formula. This came along with new, smaller caps to show you that you could use less detergent for the same cleaning power. Nowadays the caps are back to the original size but the Tide is still "extra strength". Meaning, if you're used to filling up the cap all the way, you're now using twice the fluid needed so they can sell you more bottles.

The cap has a fill line in it. Make sure you're only filling it to "1" for most washes.
posted by davextreme at 2:12 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I rinse it in the filling water, and then dry it with the last piece of clothing that I toss into the load. (I'm one of those who puts soap and water in first, then adds clothes at about half-full. I don't like pouring straight detergent directly onto the fabrics.)
posted by pineapple at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2011

I have an old regular sized bottle that I refill from the giant bottle when I need to.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:37 PM on February 18, 2011

Best answer: You don't have to rinse it in water... Just chuck it in with the wash. Seriously! I do it every time. Works well.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:10 PM on February 18, 2011

I'm not alone!
posted by feelinggood at 7:51 AM on February 19, 2011

Best answer: bensherman speaks the truth. You just toss the cap in with the wash. A word of advice, though: don't run it through the dryer, especially not on hot. I did that once, and it molded itself into an oval shape; it never fit back on the bottle again.
posted by phunniemee at 10:24 AM on February 19, 2011

We kept the cap from an old detergent bottle so that we could throw the cap we use to measure the detergent in the wash and then pop the other cap on the detergent bottle while the first one is in the wash.
posted by whatideserve at 7:23 AM on February 20, 2011

vytae, you are doing it wrong. You put the clothes in first and then let the water run in. If you fill the washer first and then add the clothes, the excess water just goes down the drain, wasted.
posted by Lone_Wolf at 9:56 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Lone_Wolf, I don't let it fill all the way, just maybe halfway up so the detergent is diluted in the water before I add my clothes. It usually keeps filling for a minute or so after I add the clothes, so I know I'm not just wasting water. I don't like pouring detergent directly on my clothes because sometimes it leaves marks.

I might just be scarred by history... Picture showing up to your first ever black-lighted college party and everyone can see glowing splatters on your clothes. Tide is not the first thing people think of.
posted by vytae at 12:10 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I had never thought to throw the thing in the washer. It's a front loader so I can't wash it out while the washer fills. Tossing it in the washer is a revelation!
posted by cmm at 7:27 AM on February 22, 2011

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