In some situations, the best way to fight big messes is by using more cleaning supplies. That's not the case with laundry. Even when the recommended amount of laundry detergent seems inadequate, it's best to follow the instructions on the container. Adding too much soap to your washing machine can prevent your clothes from getting clean, or worse: leave them dirtier than they were initially.

As Apartment Therapy reports, detergent makers warn against using more than the recommended amount of their product per load. According to Tide, excessive detergent leads to excessive bubbles, which can do the opposite of what the soap was formulated to do. Suds sometimes act as a cushion between clothes. When there are too many of them, they stop clothes from scrubbing against each other in the washing machine and getting as clean as they could be.

These bubbles are also capable of collecting the dirt that comes off your laundry. If the suds get trapped in a hard-to-reach fold of your garment—like a pocket or the underside of a shirt collar—any bacteria they carry will be left there to fester.

Modern washing machines are designed to rinse detergent away, so if you notice extra soap on your clothes, it could be a sign that you're using too much of it. Your machine may also be working harder to wash away the excess suds, resulting in the pump and motor wearing down faster.

The best way to avoid over-soaping your laundry is to pay attention to the fill lines on the inside of the detergent cap. If you come within the recommended amount and still notice leftover bubbles, try adding even less detergent next time—and check that your machine is functioning properly.

Tough-to-clean stains are best dealt with before you toss your clothes in the washing machine. Grease-stained fabric, for example, can benefit from being pre-treated with a dab of dish soap. Here are more tips for cleaning tricky laundry messes that don't involve using too much detergent.

[h/t Apartment Therapy]