The liquid laundry detergent vs. powdered laundry detergent debate can seem as famous as pet dogs vs. pet cats. Many people are extremely loyal to the type of detergent they have chosen and are happy to cite the reasons why. While there are not many differences between powdered and liquid detergents, there are a few.
Liquid laundry detergent is comprised of specific ingredients that dissolve in your washing machine. Once these ingredients have dissolved into the water, it creates a formula that works into the fabrics to lift and remove dirt, debris, stains and odors. When the washing machine drains after the rinse cycle, the detergent goes out with the water, leaving behind the clean items.
Pros and Cons
People who prefer using liquid laundry detergent say they feel that it gets their clothes cleaner than a powdered detergent. Some liquid detergents claim to fade clothing less than powder. Powder laundry detergents can sometimes leave a powdery substance behind on fabric, whereas liquid detergents dissolve into the water, leaving no streaks or powder behind. Powder laundry detergent users claim liquid laundry detergent leaves behind a different kind of residue in fabrics---one that you cannot see, but that you can feel. Liquid detergent has been claimed to leave a build-up in washing machines, as well. Also, think about clean-up; if liquid detergent spills you can wipe it up, if powdered detergent spills, the clean-up will require more effort.
You can use liquid laundry detergent before the wash to pre-treat stains. Measure out a small amount of the liquid and apply it to stains on fabric. Allow it to soak in for about five minutes, then gently work the detergent into the stain with a brush or cloth. Wash the fabric in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry, then dry as you normally would.
The surfactants in detergent remove grease from fabrics, such as food or oil. The surfactants break up the oil particles, which then are rinsed away in the rinse cycle. Builders soften wash water to give the surfactants a performance boost. Enzymes will break up stains on fabrics. There are different types of enzymes and each one is specific to the type of stain it can remove. Polymers help to keep the stain particles in the wash water instead of letting them settle back into your fabrics. Finally, chemical fragrance gives detergent a fresh scent.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
A good liquid detergent can be pricey and filled with chemical ingredients, but it doesn't have to be. Make a simple, inexpensive liquid laundry detergent at home by grating one bar of soap and adding it to 2 cups each of borax, washing soda and water. You can buy borax and washing soda in the laundry aisle of a grocery store. Allow these ingredients to combine in a medium-sized cooking pot over low heat, stirring the ingredients frequently to ensure proper mixing. Empty the melted ingredients into a 2-gallon covered container, then add 2 gallons of hot water. Stir the ingredients and cover. This simple detergent will cost only a few pennies per load.
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