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The difference between the types of detergents


When it comes to finding the right washing detergent, it can seem confusing and be difficult to choose the right one. You may not know what the difference is between detergents. Read on to find out how different detergents can vary, so that you can pick the right detergent for your machine, the fabrics you’re washing, and the types of stains you’re dealing with.

What’s the difference between hand wash powder, machine washing powder, and liquid detergent?

There are a range of washing detergents on the market from powder to liquid. These have been designed to suit different laundry needs.

HAND WASH POWDER DETERGENT is designed for washing clothes by hand or with a semi-automatic washing machine. Like Ariel Complete, it produces more suds than other detergents, and works to remove stains from your clothes even without the extra agitation you’d get from a fully-automatic washing machine.

MACHINE WASHING POWDER, designed for fully-automatic washing machines, is great if you’re looking to see bright whites. Since these powder detergents are better for fully-automatic washing machines (which use less water than you typically would while hand washing), the detergent produces less suds. Powder detergents, such as Ariel Matic, come with more active ingredients than hand wash detergents – for example, bleaching technology. Powder is especially effective at removing outdoor stains or ground-in dirt.

LIQUID DETERGENT is also designed with fully-automatic washing machines in mind and is convenient for directly treating stains, as you can simply pour it onto the stain and let it pre-treat before washing. If you’re battling oil and grease, liquid detergent is a great choice. It’s worth noting that some ingredients used in powder, like non-chlorine bleach (which make whites bright), aren’t included in the liquid form, so liquid may not be the ideal choice if you’re looking for bright whites. However, if you’re interested in keeping your colours bright, liquid is the perfect detergent for removing stains while protecting colours.

Hand wash powder detergentMachine washing powderLiquid detergent
Dos• Hand washing clothes • Semi-automatic washing machines • Remove stains without extra agitation • Fully-automatic washing machines • Wash whites & regular loads • Remove outdoor stains or ground in dirt. • Fully-automatic washing machines • Pre-treat stains • Remove greasy stains • Wash colours
Don'ts• Fully-automatic washing machines • Hand washing clothes • Semi-automatic washing machines• Hand washing clothes • Semi-automatic washing machines

Why your washing machine matters when picking a detergent

Not all washing machines are created equal, and neither is your detergent. That’s why picking the right detergent matters. When you use a top load fully-automatic washing machine, you’ll need a detergent that produces more foam than what’s needed for a front loading machine. A front loading washing machine requires a detergent formula that is specially formulated to produce fewer suds than what a top loader needs while ensuring impeccable clean.

If you have a semi-automatic washing machine, you will also need a detergent that produces more suds than what a fully-automatic washing machine needs.

This is why it’s important to use the right detergent for the machine you’re using, so you get the laundry results you want.

Finding the right detergent for your fabric

Are you washing delicate fabrics, bright colours, or white cottons? This is an important question to ask yourself when it comes to picking the right washing detergent, as this can make all the difference between seeing outstanding results or dull-looking clothes.

If you’re washing delicate fabrics, like silk, you may want to wash them by hand and use a hand wash detergent. These contain fewer enzymes, which can break down the fibres in delicate fabrics over time. You must not wash delicate fabrics, like silk or wool, in any detergent containing bleach.

Bright colours can fade over time when washed with powders. This is because the bleaching agents in powder may strip dyes out of fabrics, causing garments to look washed-out and dull. If you’re washing special colours, liquid detergent is ideal because it protects colours, giving you outstanding stain removal while keeping colours bright and vibrant.

For white cottons that are bright and brilliant, you can’t beat powder! Powder works hard to get rid of set-in stains, while leaving whites looking bright and clean.

Which detergent is best for treating stains?

Stains can happen in many different circumstances, which is why there are so many different types of them. A greasy stain you get while cooking will be different to a dirt-stain you get outside.

For greasy stains, or stains that require pre-treating, you’ll want to use a liquid detergent. On the other hand, Ariel Matic powder detergents work to remove tough stains like coffee, ketchup and gravy.

Finding the right detergent for you

If you’re wondering which detergent to buy, the factors to consider are:

It’s also important to get the dosing right when you use detergent, so learn more about detergent dosing.

Ariel is here to help you see outstanding results in one wash, whether you’re washing by hand or with a fully-automatic washing machine.