General Question

jballou's avatar

Is there any real difference between liquid and powder detergent?

Asked by jballou (2118points) July 20th, 2008

Are they equally effective? Powder seems to be slightly cheaper per load.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

lovelyy's avatar

I don’t really know but I’ve heard that powder detergent is easier on the enviorment(:

eambos's avatar


jballou's avatar

@Eambos- which would be more convenient? They seem both pretty straight forward…

eambos's avatar

I believe some older machines only use re powder. Also, if you hand wash, the liquid could be easier to dilute than the powder.

jrpowell's avatar

I use liquid since I suck at doing laundry and I have had too many loads come out with powder still on the clothes.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Actually, powders can pack more of punch because you can get nearly 100% active ingredients in the product. In liquids you mainly have water and therefore the strength is limited. With that said, you can have pretty crappy powders with tons of filler and little active ingredient. You can also get caking of the product in high humidity. And, like JP said, if the powder isn’t completely dissolved you can have traces of it left in your clothes and that can be quite an irritant.

I sell commercial and industrial detergents for a living!

gailcalled's avatar

When I bought a new Kenmore Dishwasher several years ago, they said to stay away from gels and use powder. They had both products on the shelf.

marinelife's avatar

Good Housekeeping says:

“According to the Soap and Detergent Association, the only difference is texture. For laundry, powder (granule) detergents work as well as liquids. But it’s very important to use the correct amount—too much or too little is not effective.”

Knotmyday's avatar

@Sueanne/JP- I used to use Gain (powdered). I would always wait for the washer to fill a few inches, then add the detergent and swirl it around with my hand until it dissolved. That pretty effectively eliminated the “sugar-cookie” effect, and I saved on detergent too. My hand was a little slippery after, though.
Now I have a front-loader, which only accepts liquid detergent. My swirling days have passed.

Cardinal's avatar

Used powder in washing machine and dish washer. We had our septic tank pumped and actually had to replace some of the lines from the house to the tank. The plumber said it was the undissolved powder clogging up the system. It may not matter if you are on a city sewer system, but the tank pumping (unrelated to soap) and pipe replacement was pretty expensive. I did switch to liquid for everything

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