The Differences Between Powder And Liquid Laundry Detergents That You Need To Know

Doing laundry takes up a lot of time, energy, and money, but figuring out which type of detergent is best for you and your family can make the job easier. While both powder and liquid detergents are effective, they work differently. Laundry detergent is often thought to all be the same, but powder and liquid detergents give varying results depending on the temperature of the water, the amount of detergent used, and what type of stains are on the clothes or linens.

Powder and liquid laundry detergents have been around for decades, but according to Arm and Hammer, by the early 2000s, 75% of laundry detergent sold was the liquid variety. While liquid detergent seems to be the most popular, powder detergent is generally less expensive and comes in more environmentally friendly packaging. If you're looking for convenience when doing laundry, liquid is a good choice, while powder is a better economical option.

Pros and cons of powder detergent

Powder detergent is more effective than liquid when dealing with stains from mud, dirt, clay, grass, and blood; however, it's not as convenient for pretreating stains. With powder detergent, you'll need to combine it with water to create a thick paste in order to treat stains before they go into the washing machine. This type of laundry soap also has a harder time fully dissolving in cold water and hard water, which can cause residue to build up in your washing machine and on your clothes over time.

If you have a septic tank, undissolved powder detergent may lead to blockages. While these sound like drastic issues, they can be combated with warm or hot water or by running an extra rinse cycle to ensure the detergent has fully dissolved. Powder detergent is easier to measure than liquid, but it's also easier to accidentally spill it while dumping it into your machine.

Benefits and drawbacks of liquid detergent

If you wash all of your clothes in cold water, liquid detergent is a great choice. Because liquid laundry soap already contains water, it's easier to dissolve. This also makes it a simpler option for pretreating stains, since you can apply the detergent directly to the stain without any extra steps. Liquid detergent is more efficient for treating grease or oil-based stains, including body oils. This type of laundry soap also works better for hand-washing garments than powder detergent.

Liquid types may still leave behind some residue if you use more than the recommended amount of laundry detergent, which can happen if you don't read the lines on the measuring cap correctly. However, the residue is less likely to build up enough to harm your septic system. Liquid detergent is extremely convenient, but it has a higher price tag than powder soaps, and the plastic bottles are not safe for the environment.