A few years ago, I threw a load of towels into the wash and then realized after a few minutes that I had forgotten to put the soap into the dispenser, so back to the washer I went. I was surprised that my towels were soapy and foaming up like crazy and then I realized that it was all of the old soapy residue caught in the towels fibres. Yuck.
I didn’t put in any additional soap, just washed them as is and they came out beautifully, no more mildewy smell after they got wet. I’ve also heard that you can wash your towels in hot water with vinegar and have the same effect.
I had problems with my old dishwasher not getting my dishes clean, and while the dishwasher itself was definitely part of the problem, the dishwasher repair guy told me that he often sees customers using way too much soap which is hard on the dishwasher and doesn’t do much to get the dishes clean, they end up filmy, and gross. He also told me that the plastic covered soaps are much harder for the dishwasher to break down and recommended the powder based dishwasher detergents. I’ve switched and I’ve noticed that my dishes come out much nicer. The same repair guy recommended that I run my dishwasher empty once in awhile with a cup of vinegar and nothing else to keep the pipes cleared out. It works a treat, and then I just run a paper towel around the door seal & into the little crannies at the bottom of the door, and voila! Pretty dishwasher.
Overall, what I’ve learned is that while soap is good, less is more and better for cleaning 🙂