Washing powder or liquid detergent?

When it comes to doing your laundry, one important question might emerge: is liquid detergent actually better than washing powder? Perhaps, you have a preference without having done much research. Yet, is the chosen detergent the best choice for your needs and those of your clothes? Who performs better: liquid detergent or washing powder? In the following article, we will get to the bottom of clean laundry piles.

Washing machine

The agony of choosing a detergent or washing powder

Standing in front of the shelves in the grocery store which are filled with detergents, you have a sheer choice of all sorts of liquid detergents and washing powders; they come in all sorts of colors and fragrances. Likewise, you can choose whether you need a detergent for white, black, or colored laundry. Is it for delicates or wool? 

Regardless of whether it is a heavy-duty or delicate detergent, the bottom line is that all detergents should do the same thing: the laundry should be washed sparkling clean and any stubborn stains should be removed. However, the choice of detergent has its respective advantages and disadvantages.

Washing Pouder

Disadvantages of liquid detergent

Your common liquid detergent in the grocery store is usually sold in plastic bottles. This variant is not particularly environmentally friendly, as it yields less washing cycles than the case with washing powder; the latter usually lasts much longer.

Liquid detergents can also be purchased in small, pre-portioned capsules known as pods or caps. As soon as these come into contact with water, they dissolve during the washing process. However, pods have two significant disadvantages: The pre-portioned amount often means that more detergent is used than is actually necessary. This is particularly noticeable with laundry that is only slightly dirty. So, for these, lower detergent dosages are absolutely sufficient. Thus, pods only ensure that one spends unnecessarily more money while also polluting the environment.

Also, the plastic cover of the pods does not dissolve completely during the washing process, as promised by many manufacturers. Hence, residues of the plastic cover can be found on clothing and they can get into the waste water. It is therefore advisable not to buy pods. Portioning normal liquid detergent is much easier because you can measure and dose it with the supplied bottle cap. You can adjust the used liquid detergent not only on the amount of clothing you have to wash but also based on how dirty your laundry is. In addition, you can also use regular liquid detergent to pre-treat a stubborn stain before washing. 

Advantages of liquid detergent

One advantage of liquid detergent is that it does not leave any residue on clothes as is sometimes the case when using washing powder. 

Likewise, liquid detergent does usually not contain water softeners or bleaching agents. However, if these additives are desired, the absence of them could also be perceived as a disadvantage of liquid detergent. For white laundry, it is actually advisable to use washing powder as liquid detergent can leave a gray haze on the pure white clothing. 

Liquid detergent gets another minus point for the surfactants and preservatives it contains which are necessary to replace the non-existent bleaching agents and water softener. Moreover, these surfactants and preservatives guarantee a longer shelf life.


Advantages of washing powder

Powder detergent has an edge in many categories: it contains fewer surfactants, making it less harmful than liquid detergent. Since it contains fewer preservatives, it is also more skin-friendly. For those suffering from allergies or people with sensitive skin, powder detergents are therefore generally preferable. If you use washing powder and wash at 60 degrees Celsius or hotter, you ensure that bacteria and germs do not stand a chance. Hint: if your laundry smells musty despite being washed, it may be because the washing machine is only operated at low temperatures and with liquid detergent.

Washing powder cleans white laundry more effectively because it already contains bleach. However, this also provides a disadvantage when it comes to colored or black laundry: you should resort to another detergent for these because washing powder will cause the colors to bleach out in the long run. 


In a nutshell

Washing powder should be avoided for colored laundry. Liquid color detergent is the best choice for these to keep the colors vibrant for as long as possible. However, the dosage of the liquid detergent should be as low as possible to not pollute the environment unnecessarily. 

For white laundry, a heavy-duty detergent in powder form is suitable. This will ensure clean laundry at temperatures between 30 and 95 degrees Celsius. In comparison, washing powder is the lesser evil for the environment compared to liquid detergent, as long as you measure it correctly.  

One last hint: for wool and silk, a mild detergent is needed.