When it comes to the liquid vs powder debate, it's a hung jury.
50% of us swear by liquid, and 50% do the same for powder. Despite our strongly held opinions, the facts behind the argument either way tend to be fairly fast and loose. Is ‘liquid is sticky’ really a reason to choose powder? Or ‘I spill it everywhere’ really a fault of powder?
Definitely, yes. But there is more to it. In the making of Dirt we delved a little deeper and looked at exactly what makes each a better choice.
- Liquid detergent is more effective on harder stains; because you can use it as a spot treatment before it goes in the wash.
- Liquid disperses better at lower temperatures.
- Liquid detergent itself has a lesser impact on the environment, because the ‘builder’ in liquid is water. In powdered products, ‘builders’ are things like sodium carbonate, which can have adverse effects on soil and waterways.
- Liquid detergent can be sticky to dispense (there it is).
- Liquid generally comes in plastic which is worse for the environment.
- A lot of liquid (particularly in low concentrates) is actually just water, which creates extra pollution in packaging and transportation.
- It’s a little more expensive.
*Massive(ly biased) disclaimer; because we personally prefer liquid, we made Dirt an extremely high concentrate, in aluminium packaging with very competitive cost per load price - effectively removing the cons.
- It performs very well as a general wash solution.
- The packaging is more environmentally friendly.
- Most powders will dissolve much better higher quantities of warm water, which has a cost.
- Grey water from powder washes is considered less recyclable than liquid.
- It's easy to spill all over your laundry.
The verdict, neither is perfect; purchasing what you prefer using is the right choice. We do think there are a few general rules for detergent that guide the right choice, for both powders and liquids.
- Choose concentrate; the higher the concentrate, the less packaging and transportation goes in to the product, which is better for the environment.
- Consider cost per load price, if it’s $4.00 but only provides 10 washes, that’s a 0.40c cost / load - mind-blowing expensive.
- Choose plant based surfactants, which are better than petrol based.
- Look out for smart packaging solutions, it’s all about devotion to the ocean.