Charlie's Corner

January 24, 2019

Liquid vs. Powder Laundry Detergent: Is There a Difference?

Since we’ve never seen bumper stickers that say “I’d rather be doing laundry,” we’re guessing most folks don’t find washing clothes that fun. That means you want to ensure your wash gets as clean and fresh as possible, and you’re wondering if that will happen with liquid vs. powder laundry detergent. Keep reading and we’ll fill you in on the details in the great liquid vs. powder detergent debate.

Liquid vs. Powder Laundry Detergent

Liquid detergent is a shade more convenient to use, as it’s typically easier to pour out a blurb of liquid soap into the washing machine than it is to scoop out a portion of powder. This counts triple if you tend to spill and scatter the powder all over the rug.

You may find liquid detergent more convenient if you think of powdered laundry detergent as synonymous with cardboard boxes. Detergent boxes are heavy, tough to carry, and rip easily. They also get soggy when wet, which can ruin the whole batch of powder. If you use a powder that comes in a handy, re-sealable bag, like Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder, you can cross this second issue off the list.

Water Temperature

Liquid laundry detergent will dissolve no matter what, although using too much of some brands might still leave blue globs or spots on your clothing. Powder detergent is designed to dissolve quickly, yet it doesn’t always do so in extremely cold water. If you wash your fabrics in the middle of a hole in a frozen lake, for instance, you may want to opt for liquid detergent.

All jokes aside, unless your water is super cold, liquid and powder detergents can both perform equally well in various temperatures of water.

Spot-Treating Stains

If you don’t have a stain treatment handy, liquid detergent can do double-duty pretreating water-based stains, examples being coffee, tea, wine, soft drinks, fruit juice or washable ink. While spot-treat with powder is possible, it’s less convenient as you must first mix the powder with water to form a paste to apply to the stain.

What about Overall Cleaning Power?

When it comes to overall cleaning power, it’s not a matter of whether liquid or powder is better at cleaning your clothes. It all depends on the ingredients you find in each. Many brands have a long list of ingredients you can barely pronounce in both their liquid and powder detergents and ingredients may vary between the two.

The most powerful laundry detergents typically contain hearty cleaning agents and surfactants, which are components that lift dirt away from fabrics and suspend them in water. Washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda), officially known as sodium carbonate, is a natural cleaning agent that works well on most types of fabrics and stains. Ethoxylated alchohol is a type of surfactant that helps whisk dirt out of the clothes and down the drain with the wash load water.

Find a laundry detergent that contains the right balance of the above ingredients, such as Charlie’s Soap, and you’re in good shape for cleaning your clothes with either the powder or the liquid version of the detergent.

The bottom line on the debate of liquid vs. powder laundry detergent is to use whatever is easier and more convenient for you. You can get stellar results from either one, provided you choose a brand like Charlie’s Soap known for its natural, hard-hitting ingredients that leave your clothes fresh, clean, and odor-free.