6 Facts You Need To Know About Laundry Detergent

6 Facts You Need To Know About Laundry Detergent

Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash

6 Facts You Need To Know About Laundry Detergent

6 Facts You Need To Know About Laundry Detergent

This interview is part of ReCo Circular CityTM 2023 edition, Circular Sydney. For more information,  please visit reco.net.au/circular-sydney

Are you frustrated by stubborn white residue on your freshly washed clothes? Wondering if "natural" laundry detergent truly lives up to its claims? Have you thought about switching your laundry detergent if your child has eczema?

Our clothes and bed sheets are part of our daily lives, so it's important to know what we expose ourselves to. Today we caught up with our product partner, Huw Jones, Co-founder of SimplyClean, to learn about insights into the laundry detergent in the market.

Is liquid laundry detergent better than powder?

High-quality laundry powder and laundry liquid can deliver almost the same results. However, in terms of cleaning power, laundry powder tends to outperform liquid due to the behaviour of its ingredients in the mixture.

Regarding the environment, Huw suggests that laundry powder is more efficient in terms of carbon emissions. A laundry liquid is effectively a mixture of ingredients dissolved in water, which means we are moving water around the country to get it into our homes.

What are the white flakes on my washing?

The residue on washed clothes are fillers, a common ingredient used by most conventional detergent brands.

Fillers are used to give the illusion of a larger quantity, creating a perception of getting more value for your money. They are cheap, low quality, hard to dissolve, and add no value to the laundry detergent, other than white residue on your washing.

These fillers can accumulate and clog the pipework of your washing machine, causing plumbing or machine malfunctions.

Fillers are used to bulk up the products. You think you get more value, but in fact, you need to buy more.

Are laundry detergents containing synthetic fragrances or allergens harmful to use?

Prolonged exposure to allergens increases the likelihood of developing allergies over time. Whilst you may not be allergic at the moment, long-term use of allergens can trigger a sensitivity or an allergic reaction. It's best for everyone to stay away from harsh chemicals. Always check the list of ingredients.

Huw's tips:

Look for these ingredients to avoid when purchasing laundry detergent:

  • Synthetic fragrances. Most commercial brands have synthetic fragrances.
  • Dyes
  • Enzymes
  • Fillers. They get caught in fabric fibres and do not rinse away, so clothes can physically scratch or chemically irritate sensitive skin.

Do 'triple action' laundry detergents perform better?

As we mentioned about fillers before, generally speaking, a 'triple action' product is the same product — just with less fillers. They still have some fillers, but not as much. It's pure marketing.

Should the scent of the detergent stay on my clothes?

If you can't smell the fragrance after the wash, then the laundry detergent and your machine are working perfectly.

If the laundry detergent is high quality and your machine is working well, the product will rinse fully away, leaving nothing but fresh clean clothes.

In other words, there shouldn't be anything left. Because if there's a fragrance left, that means the washing machine hasn't gotten rid of everything in the wash.

If it smells, the chemicals are on your clothes — and they could be on your skin.

Does 'natural' mean healthy?

Is cyanide natural? It is a naturally produced poison. Is it good for you? No. So natural and healthy are not the same things.

The word 'natural' doesn't tell us anything. What matters is whether a product is both environmentally friendly and good for human and pet health. If a product meets these criteria, then it can be considered a good product.

This Interview is part of Circular Sydney.

Read the full book now. eBook and printed book are available for pre-order with 20% off.

Circular Sydney shares the stories of visionary individuals and organisations who are pioneering change, overcoming challenges and reshaping Sydney’s sustainable future. Circular Sydney is proudly supported by the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Grant.

Join ReCo to help end plastic waste.

Refillable eco-friendly products, delivered in your local areas

Get our refillable laundry powder and dishwasher powder, proudly made by SimplyClean from Lismore, NSW. We collect your empty glass jar and deliver your refill to help reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions.


Danling Xiao

Co-Founder, ReCo.

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