How Do Liquid and Powder Laundry Detergent Differ?


Liquid or powder: what's the best laundry detergent? Learn why liquid laundry detergent pods are perfect solution for your machine.

With so many laundry products on the market, it can be confusing to sort out the facts from the fiction. Razzle-dazzle product names, scents, and colors aside, what’s really behind how your detergent works? How can you know that you’re choosing the right one? One place to start in your quest to find the perfect laundry answer is in the form your product takes.

The History of Detergent

Detergent has changed quite a bit over the years. Some of the advantages that powdered detergent used to have over liquid are no longer something you need to consider. For example, powdered detergent generally comes packaged in cardboard boxes, which are lighter and can easily be composted or recycled. As liquid detergents are now sold in a dissolvable pod form, they can also be sold with less plastic packaging, making them on par with powder for eco-friendliness.

Powdered detergent is also what many of our parents and grandparents have used, making it the more traditional option. People tend to stick to what they are comfortable with, so the choice to use powder can be a matter of habit. This doesn’t mean that powdered is better, but it’s a strong motivator when choosing between the two. Consumers who want to make an informed buying choice, regardless of their traditions, will have no issue exploring the world of benefits that today’s liquid detergents have to offer.

Why Powder Disappoints

Since powder and liquid are almost equal regarding packaging, let’s look at some of the ways that liquid clearly outperforms in several categories:

Liquid offers less mess. With the new liquid pods, you can simply drop one load’s worth of cleaner in without pre-measuring. Powder, on the other hand, is still known for its trademark product spillage, which can cause particles to build up around the opening of your washer, in the detergent drawers, and even on the laundry room floor!

Liquid is septic-safe. Many homes still rely on septic tank technology to get rid of wastewater. The sodium sulphate particles in powdered detergent can interfere with the natural-occurring bacteria that need to do their work in a septic system. A poor-performing septic has many expensive consequences, including icky plumbing problems!

Liquid is pre-dissolved. Because it’s a liquid-based option, it’s ready to work in even cold water. You can also use it as a stain-remover! Powdered detergent, while formulated better than in the earlier years, can still leave a residue in cold water wash cycles and cannot be used easily as a pre-treater.

Bottom Line

Choosing a laundry product that works best for your personal preferences and lifestyle can be tricky. With so many options, it may take you a while to figure out your perfect pick. In the meantime, knowing how liquid and powder differ can make narrowing down the choices much easier.