Get The Best Laundry Detergent

Stores are packed with shelves of laundry detergent, some powdered and others in liquid form, all claiming to turn out sparkling white clothes and minimizing color run. What you have to look for is a detergent that works well with your washing machine, i.e., one that doesn’t cause excessive sudsing while giving clothes a good wash.

Most of the products we use are old favorites of our mothers. While it’s wise to stick with trusted brands, washing machines have evolved and can deliver optimal cleaning using less water. Front-loaders are particularly adept at doing this if they’re high-efficiency machines. In this case, they require detergent formulated for such technology. Using ordinary cleaning agents will cause excessive sudsing, leaks and clothes that aren’t washed clean.

Quality laundry detergents pack several features into one product. They combine stain removers, whiteners and color boosters so that you don’t need to purchase them separately. They’re also cheaper and naturally, more convenient.

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Where cotton, linen and wool can be washed with ordinary cleaning agents, delicate fabrics like silk need to be handled carefully. Any old detergent won’t do but rather those formulations designed to clean them. If you can’t find any at a store, mild baby soap can be used. Some also recommend using shampoo but it may be too harsh if loaded with chemicals.

Infant garments need the gentle effects of detergents with no color and fragrances because they remain in the fabric and may cause skin irritations. Rather, choose a specially formulated agent labeled ‘for infant clothing’ or one marked ‘for sensitive skin’. If you feel that your laundry has been fading or thinning with ordinary detergents, switch to one used for infant clothing.

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The question of whether powder is better than liquid depends on several factors, one of them being your preference. Most people use powder because it’s widely available, cheaper and is manufactured by many brands. We’re also more familiar with the measurements. However, some don’t dissolve well in water and can leave detergent spots on clothes.

What’s a bigger problem is the presence of larger amounts of chemicals. The filler used to give powder its weight contains chemicals that may be irritating to the skin or too harsh on clothes. The sodium sulphate present can also damage septic systems and leave them vulnerable to leaks and more extensive damage.

With liquids, the agent is already pre-dissolved. All you have to do is add it to water, dump in the laundry and set the timer. Stains can also be treated by pouring an amount of liquid detergent directly on them before washing. Being highly concentrated, you don’t have to use too much of it either.

Conversely, liquid cleaners are more expensive because they can be more effective on clothes. You may also have a harder time finding one which suits your machine.

For environmentally conscious consumers, green laundry detergents are the perfect choice. Those certified as eco-friendly and labeled the same don’t contain phosphates, dyes, perfumes and large amounts of chemicals. If you opt for a green liquid detergent, you not only get a cleaner that’s gentler on clothes and skin but you won’t have to use as much water owing to the concentrated form.

Be warned that green detergents are apt to be more expensive than standard cleaning agents. If you don’t mind the cost and having to hunt for them, you won’t be disappointed.

Tags: cleaning supplies, home cleaning, laundry cleaning

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