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How to choose a laundry detergent?

The rise of the consumer and the selection of choices available makes shopping for a laundry detergent an academic exercise. Since previous generations would take a quick trip to the store to buy whichever laundry powder they favoured, things have changed a lot. Multiple factors will influence your choice of laundry detergent from the type and size of machine that you own to how the laundry is left smelling after it is dry.

How to choose a laundry detergent

What kind of machine do you have?

The vast majority of washing machines are automatic. Put the contents in the drum, add the detergent, close the door, press the button and off you go. Washing machines have been built to last and so over the years twin tub machines and other non-automatic versions still survive. If you do not have an automatic machine you may well find that it is very important to establish which detergent is right for your machine, or you could be calling the washing machine repair and service technician out after only a few washes. Also, be sure not to accidentally buy and use a detergent specially manufactured for hand washing.

Single dose liquid capsules, washing powders or liquid or gel detergent

There are so many different types of detergent out there and so many different brands offering very different solutions that choosing the right detergent can become a major operation. Biological washing powders contain a safe bleach ingredient that makes getting rid of stains much easier, but that said you may need to be careful with their use if your family are sensitive to bleach related ingredients.


The environment really does have a lot to do with the detergent you end up using. Both the temperature and the hardness of the water will influence the outcome to your laundry. Washing powders can become gritty in colder temperatures, so if you’re unable to ensure higher temperatures with a powder based wash, then liquid detergents may be better. If for a reason beyond your control, you have to use a particular powdered detergent in a colder water environment consider mixing the powder with hot or near boiling to dissolve it sufficiently before adding it to the wash.

The water

The hardness of the water will be relevant in terms of your local water source and how much treatment it goes through before the water reaches your home. If you have issues with limescale build up in other appliances in your home then you will be aware that you are dealing with a water hardness issue, in this case adding progressively more powder until the wash is right is a good way to go.

Don’t forget that hard water also means wear and tear on your machine. It affects heating elements especially in washer driers and could raise some maintenance issues. Clean your machine regularly to ensure that and limescale build up together with detergent sedimentation is removed. In busy homes that use machines daily, having to call the washing machine repair engineers out is an incredible inconvenience.


One of the biggest mistakes people make when adding detergent to their laundry is overdosing. A common thread through discovery of laundry mistakes is that many people cannot understand how such a small amount of detergent can clean so many clothes. This is particularly true when using liquid detergent and the dissolvable liquid laundry capsules. If you are using a much larger machine, e.g. at a launderette and the clothes are particularly badly soiled then it may be appropriate to use an additional liquid or gel capsule. Under these circumstances however it is possible better use detergent that is measured and dispensed from a bottle as you will have better control over the quantity that is going into the wash.

Taking care of your machine

You may be very focused on getting your clothes clean while still making sure they don’t become damaged. But what about your washing machine. Detergent residue from liquid and powder detergents can create a build up in places that are not visible to you. A very slight excess of detergent can build over time, causing damage to your machine. It is recommended that you use a washing machine descaler or cleaner regularly, particularly in hard water areas to keep your machine from eventually breaking down.

There are all sorts of methods that can be used to clean your machine leaving it smelling good too. However, if you really can’t get rid of the smell or you have tried multiple detergents and you are still having problems, then contact your local washing machine repair service before the problem escalates into something that really hurts your pocket.

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