Not all laundry detergents clean alike. There are several reasons why some laundry detergents clean better than others. Some are more effective in one area and not as effective in others. Some may work better in cold water, and some are better in hot water. Some are made for certain types of washers and will not work well if used in others. There are even specialty detergents made for specific tasks.
Laundry detergent manufacturers make special detergents for high efficiency (HE) machines. HE machines require detergents that do not produce too many suds. HE machines also require less detergent than front loading machines. Detergents made for front loaders will not clean well if used in an HE machine, because they produce too many suds, preventing the machine from completely rinsing clothes clean.
The type of laundry detergent also affects how well it cleans. Powdered detergents are cheaper and work better at cleaning loose dirt, according to Gomestic. The University of Nebraska says powdered detergents work better for children's clothes, because they get more loose dirt on them. Liquid detergents, on the other hand, clean oils better.
Powdered detergents do not work well in cold water. The University of Nebraska says cold water acts as an inhibitor, preventing the powder from fully dissolving. Powdered detergents do not work well when using cold water and can leave undissolved pieces on clothes. Liquid detergents work in all water temperatures.
According to Consumer Reports, cap size can lead to overdosing. Some manufacturers have caps that hold more detergent than necessary for a standard medium load. Lines can be hard to read on some caps, which makes correct dosing difficult. If too much is put into a load, it can lead to soap deposits on clothes and lint in the machine. Some manufacturers keep the cap size small enough for a standard size load so that most loads will not be overdosed.
Some laundry detergents are formulated for specific tasks such as bleaching, brightening and softening. Each works better for its intended task. Detergents with added bleach will not clean color clothes as well as detergents with added brighteners. There is even an infant formulation that is ideal for delicate clothes and will not work well for rougher materials.
Each laundry detergent manufacturer uses different ingredients. Depending on the ingredients used, the effectiveness of the product will differ.
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