I read a quote in the Wall Street Journal last week that rocked my world. And it wasn’t about the size of the national deficit.

It was concerning a subject much closer to home: laundry. Here’s what the cofounder of Seventh Generation which manufactures environmentally safe household products had to say about laundry detergent, “You don’t even need soap to wash most loads” because the agitation of the washing machine is generally enough to get most clothes clean.

No detergent? That’s a pretty radical statement. Saying that you don’t need detergent to do the wash is like saying you don’t need sugar to make cookies. It brings everything I know about being a mom into question. Isn’t finding a detergent that will get our whites whiter, removes stains better, and keep colors brighter the holy grail for this most basic of household chores?

As I thought more about the idea of doing wash without soap, I had to agree that it probably works. Images from National Geographic specials of women standing knee-deep water slapping their clothes on rocks comes to mind. They seem to get their clothes clean and soft yet there isn’t a bottle of “Tide with a Touch of Downey Liquid Laundry Detergent” anywhere in sight.

But you won’t find me on the bank of the Petaluma River. I believe I speak for most women when I say that I’m not ready to go back-to-nature when it comes to doing the wash. I’m firmly committed to using detergent and a washing machine.

However, the article had some really good advice about doing laundry that I would like to pass on. It turns out that when using today’s concentrated detergents, more isn’t better.

Every time I measure out the detergent, I look at the small amount in the measuring cup and think to myself that that amount can’t possibly be enough to get the load really clean. So I always top it off just to be sure.

However, according to a consumer scientist for Whirlpool, “you have to be much more precise in dosing detergent” because the result of adding too much Tide, Gain or Kirkland is that instead of getting our clothes cleaner, it actually makes them dingier and makes the machine wear out faster.

Then why don’t they make the little lines on the measuring cups easier to read? I’ve read the instructions on the package numerous times and I’m still not sure which line to fill the cup for large loads and which line is for heavily soiled loads. This isn’t supposed to be rocket science.

Help is on the way. Procter & Gamble is changing the cups so they are easier-to-read. The new ones will have more defined measurement lines and bigger numbers that are staggered, not stacked.

Amazing…a company is actually encouraging us to use less of their product.