Sure, “what type of detergent should I use in my washing machine?” might not be a question that keeps you up at night, but there has to be a difference between powder, pods and liquid, right? Well there is but choosing the right one for you means grasping the pros and cons of each detergent type. So, that’s just what this guide’s going to help you do.
The traditional laundry detergent, powders have been on the shelves since the 1930s, though they have certainly given way to liquids and pods over the last few decades.
- Lowest cost per load
- Longest shelf life
- Most effective detergent type for hard water areas
- Cardboard packaging is easy to recycle
- Best for mixing with stain removers like non-chlorine bleach
- Good performance on grass and mud stains
- Large, heavy boxes can be difficult to carry
- Powder may not fully dissolve in cooler cycles
- Pre-treating stains more difficult than liquid
- Potential for mis-dosing
- Can leave residue in detergent drawer
So, if you’re cost-conscious and live in a hard water area, then powder might be right for you, especially if you have athletes in your home. Just remember carrying those large boxes can be tough on your back!
Liquid detergents arrived on the scene in the 1950s and are the most popular detergent type, accounting for 75% of sales.
- Cheaper than pods
- Very effective on oil/grease stains
- Great for pre-treating stains
- Comes in a variety of scents
- Can be easy to over-dose
- Plastic bottles may not be recyclable
- Water-based, so doesn’t interact well with other cleaning agents like stain removers
- Water-based, which makes them heavy and environmentally costly to transport
If you’re dealing with oily and greasy stains on a regular basis, liquid detergents may well be you best friend. But if you use additional stain removers, then powder might be the better option.
A relatively recent invention, the popularity of pods has shot up fast, accounting for more sales that powder detergents. They’re certainly convenient, but that’s something you pay for.
- No measuring, so super convenient
- No overdosing, so results are consistent
- Lightweight and easy to use, especially for elderly or disabled people
- Can incorporate different cleaning technologies (3-in-1 pods)
- Around 50% more expensive per wash compared with powders/liquids
- Can’t use pods to pre-treat stains
- Some cases of poisoning where pods have been mistaken for sweets
- Can get stuck in the drum or may not dissolve properly
Easily the most convenient, all you have to do with a pod is throw it in the drum before your laundry. But convenience obviously comes at a price, and there are safety considerations to make, especially if you’ve got little ones in your home.
So, have a think about the type of laundry you do and your circumstances, and the next time you’re in the detergent aisle you’ll be sure to make the right choice.