The Most Important Place To Use Laundry Detergent That You're Probably Missing

Laundry detergent is a powerful cleaning tool. Stinky, soiled clothes go in the washing machine, and after a bit of agitation and soap, they come out clean and smelling nice. Everyone knows how useful detergent is in the laundry room, but it also has additional uses around the house.

What originated as soap flakes before the 1930s has evolved into the cleaning powerhouse we use today, according to How Stuff Works. The primary ingredients in laundry detergent are surfactants. Each surfactant molecule has one end that is attracted to oil and grime while the other end is attracted to water. This unique composition allows the detergent to attach to the stinky, dirty spots on your clothes. After the washing machine does its job, the filth that is attached to the molecule releases from the fabric and gets washed away in the water. Depending on the type of detergent you purchase, there may also be additives like scents, brighteners, and enzymes that help keep your fabrics clean and fresh.

Liquid detergent

Because of its exceptional cleaning power, consider keeping an extra bottle of liquid laundry detergent in the kitchen. Its effectiveness against dirt and stains makes it useful as a stand-in when you run out of other cleaning products. Those same surfactants that attach to oil-based stains on clothes also work as a heavy-duty hand cleaner when regular hand soap just is not doing the job. Kitchn suggests using a combination of equal parts liquid detergent and vegetable oil on your hands to remove grease after working on vehicles or to fight off that notoriously difficult to remove oil-based paint.

Liquid laundry detergent can also be used to clean floors, particularly the greasy areas that tend to accumulate in front of the stove. Just fill a bucket with warm water and add about half the amount of detergent you would use for a single load of laundry. Then, mop as usual. This strategy is effective enough that you might not go back to traditional floor cleaners.

Powdered detergent

Powdered laundry detergent is generally more economical and environmentally friendly to buy since it does not contain water, making it less expensive to ship. This kind of laundry detergent is also useful beyond the laundry room. The scouring power of powder plus grease-removing surfactants makes powdered detergent an effective oven rack cleaner, according to Taste of Home. Remove the racks from your oven and soak them in a large tub of hot water combined with ¾ cup of detergent. Allow the oven racks to soak for 12 to 24 hours, then use a cleaning brush to easily clean off old grease and burned-on food.

If you have upholstered surfaces or rugs in your kitchen, use powdered laundry detergent to remove grease stains. Sprinkle a little powder on the stain and gently scrub the area with a damp brush to make sure the detergent's cleaning properties are activated. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove the detergent and allow the fabric to dry.