powder laundry detergent vs. liquid laundry detergent

This or That: Liquid or Powdered Laundry Detergent?

Save money and show a little planet love by switching to the least wasteful form of laundry detergent.

powder-or-liquid-laundry detergent

Before you take it for a spin, consider what you're putting in

Americans, on average, do about two and a half loads of laundry per person per week, according to water conservation analysts. That can eat up about 22 percent of your household’s water use, and if you’re not using the right type of detergent, you could be wasting even more water in the form of overly diluted liquids or extra rinse cycles to remove powder residues from your clothes. There are plenty of detergent brands to choose from, but if you're trying to save resources on wash day, a good start is to think about whether you should be using powder detergents or liquid detergents.

This: Powder Detergent

Pros: Ingredients like bleaching agents and surfactants (the substances that get your clothes clean) are more stable in powders, and therefore, they have a longer shelf life than liquids. You can buy powders in bulk—and cut down on excess packaging—without worrying about the detergents becoming ineffective over time.

Cons: Use too much, and you’re left with cakey white gunk all over your clothes—which requires extra rinse cycles, and thus more water. Also, in order for some powders to dissolve completely, it’s better to use warm water, and that can waste more energy than washing in cold water—something that is easy to do with liquids.

That: Liquids

Pros: Liquids dissolve better in both cold and warm water, so you don’t have to worry about residues left on your clothes.

Cons: It takes water to make liquids…liquid. In fact, standard, nonconcentrated detergents contain as much as 80 percent water. It’s a waste of both water and energy to truck diluted detergents around the country when your washing machine does an efficient job of turning powders into liquids with the water that comes from your local supply. Also, according to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports, those liquid laundry caps can lead to serious overdosing, costing you money and gunking up your machine. The measurement lines are rarely marked clearly, they found, and it’s hard to figure out how much is the appropriate amount for a small, medium, or large load of clothes.

This or that?

This. Go with powders. You can dilute them yourself, and with careful dosing, you won’t wind up with powdery residues on your clothes. The key is to use less than you think you need, and to buy a brand formulated for use with cold water, such as greener products made by Planet, Ecover, and Seventh Generation. Fortunately, the scoops you get with powders are easier to read, so you’re less likely to OD on detergent.

And throw a half-cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Sometimes powdery deposits come from minerals in hard water that combine with detergents and redeposit on your clothes, not from the powders themselves. White vinegar helps remove hard-water residues, as does letting the powder fully dissolve before putting your clothes in the wash (for people with top-loading machines).

If, however, you’re a liquid lover and can’t bear to part ways with that plastic bottle, buy a brand that comes triple concentrated, like the laundry liquids made by Method, or a double-concentrated product, rather than one sold full-strength. They use the least water and packaging.


Published on: July 14, 2009

More from our Authors

Ready to turn your tired soil into no-toil garden gold? Learn how you can enjoy bumper crops, less watering and fewer weeds in one easy step.

Prenez la version New York

Prenez la version New York Mercantile Exchange Submariner cadran noir Montre en acier inoxydable Par exemple, vous verrez une copie des montres sont également la même couleur, le poids, la taille, et équipé d'une fonction comme tous les anciens de la replique montre originale est également plus facile et les enfants des connaissances sur le temps, pour beaucoup de gens, ce sera une très recherché après les montres avec des tons sombres, une apparence délicate et l'attitude sportive indiscutables (tout en noir, bracelet en caoutchouc), mais malheureusement, sa structure

liquid detergent laundery DIY

I have read a few blog posts lately about people making their own laundry soap, and with my detergent running low, I decided to give it a try. There are lots of laundry soap recipes online, but I used one I found over at Tipnut. In addition to the Fels-Naptha soap, Borax and washing soda, I also mixed in some Oxyclean powder for extra stain fighting.

just 1

that's all no more no less


does anyone know how many tons of laundry detergent, powdered and liquid is used each year my americans?????

powder and soap residue

The easiest way to stop the residue from soap powders remaining on clothing, is to SIMPLY PUT THE POWDER INTO A JUG, FILL THE JUG WITH HOT WATER AND LEAVE ASIDE UNTIL POWDER HAS DISSOLVED.

Then pour soapy liquid into the washing machine and wash clothes as normal!

Lots less water and far less washing powder used, plus no residues left and only one rinse cycle needed.

You also need far less than the manufacturers recommend unless the clothes are REALLY dirty and need more powder.

More powder is needed when you use cold water only.

Using the above method, means only a small amount of hot water is needed and the wash cycle can be 'cold water' only. No hot water rinses needed !!!!

Just a tip from a canny householder in New Zealand

Fabic warning with liquid detergents

I prefer the concentrated liquids - less packaging and the bottle is recyclable. Not so for the powders.

Note that when washing fabrics with a waterproof/breathable coating such as Gore-Tex DO NOT use liquid detergents as they will clog the pores in the membrane. Always use a powdered detergent - scent and dye free, of course.

These are very efficient. They suds up and do a great job.

Charlie's Soap

I use Charlie's powdered soap and love it. No, harsh ingredients or anything in it. You don't need fabric softener when you use it either.

Make your own laundry $ and control what goes in it

I never knew that you could even make your own laundry soap/detergent until about a year ago..and I'm 50 years old! My daughter, who's very "green" turned me on to it. It's sooooo easy, it saves soooo much money and your clothes look wonderful. My husband gets really dirty at work and it cleans his clothes great. I wear dressy clothes to work and my clothes come out just fine also. There are many recipes out on the web. Some for liquids some for powders. I opted for a powder. It's so easy to do and I didn't want a big bucket sitting in my laundry room. That's just me. Here's the page that I found my recipe on. I use #4 I add some Baking Soda to the mix too and some essential oil to make it smell pretty. I LOVE IT! I wish I had known about this years ago!

powdered laundry soap

For over 50 years i have used Amways SA8 Laundry soap. They were one of the first companies to be aware of the affect of phosphates, and have kept changing the formula to reflect the best of nature and the best of science. 1/4 bup usually suffices because there are no fillers to give it bulk!
Your clothes will never look better...........Dorothy of NH

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.