General Question

nettodo's avatar

Best format of laundry detergent for my needs?

Asked by nettodo (473points) June 8th, 2014

After trying to jump from detergent to detergent, I’ve gotten two new detergents to try and they seem to be my top two picks. However, one is a powder and while it seems impressive, I have never used powder before. My main question is: which is better for my needs, a liquid or a powder? I primarily wash bright and intense colors, always in cold (with the exception of undergarments, which go in warm or hot) and I have an older, agitator-type washing machine.

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I prefer the liquid detergents, powders can clump and not dissolve as well. There are lots of color safe brightening/color preserving liquid detergents on the market.
I can’t help but laugh, this is sounding like a 50 and 60’s laundry detergent commercial. Do you have ring around the collar or a kid that has ground in dirt and grass stains?

Damn that little Billy! lol

nettodo's avatar

Ah, yes. “Improved Sparsel (or some name like that) with more added whiteness, brightness, and sweetness for a better wash!”.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I see no difference in the powder and the liquid. If you live in a humid climate, go with the liquid.

filmfann's avatar

If you have a septic tank, stay away from powders.

cazzie's avatar

If you are washing colors, don’t use anything with an optical whitener in it. Without knowing the mineral content of your water, and whether you have a large top or small front loader, I can’t help. (I’m a soap-lady, part time hobby organic chemist)

Unbroken's avatar

Cold water washes are prone to be more trouble with powders. Especially if you put in an indiscriminate amount of powder. You can’t always see it. Though brights show it more but it itches.

That said I haven’t used a powder in years. Who knows what improvements they have made.

Why not buy the smallest container of each and experiment.

zenvelo's avatar

I have found liquids work much better than powders. And I stay away from anything scented, all that scent just adds more chemicals to your clothing and irritate the skin.

nettodo's avatar

Cazzie, sorry for the late response, I’ve been in and out and haven’t been able to get to my laptop. My washer is decently large (it can fit a queen-size comforter with a bit of room) and according to my water authority and some unscientific testing, I’ve got relatively hard water, if that’s what you’re after.

cazzie's avatar

Liquid works better in hard water. Powders have a harder time dissolving in harder water. But just remember, no ‘optical brightners’ on coloured clothing. It really is better to use detergent for coloured clothes on white rather than vice versa if you only want to use one.

hearkat's avatar

I find that powders don’t always dissolve in cold water and I am sensitive to fragrances, so I use fragrance-free liquid for all temperatures. I also have an ancient top-loader with agitator, so I don’t need low-suds or high-efficiency detergents, but I do choose to buy a brand that is more Eco-friendly. I’d say my average loads are 40% cold, 40% warm and 20% hot.

nettodo's avatar

Thanks everyone. Well, I’ve decided to go with the liquid, but keep the powder around for more heavy-duty stuff. I paid for it and I know I’ll use it, so might as well.

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