How to wash clothes

What detergents we should use

How to wash in order to wash effectively, and in addition, care for the environment and not to damage clothes? We are used to traditional washing detergents but as it turns out, it is neither the only solution nor the most optimal. There are special washing gels available on the market, or the so-called hybrids, which probably are the future of washing. Let us take a look at all types of washing and compare their advantages and disadvantages.

Effectiveness: washing powders

Washing powders are the most commonly used detergents for washing our clothes. For many years, there was no alternative for them. Most people cannot imagine washing in a different way. What is their magic? First of all, the habit – they have been with us for more than 100 years. It is impossible not to emphasise their effectiveness. They fight the most difficult stains while protecting coloured clothes from fading, and whites from turning grey. They effectively soften water, further enhancing the effectiveness of cleaning and, among others, reduce pilling of fabrics. We can almost always expect good results of washing when using washing powders. Today, washing powders have superior formulas based on the latest technologies.

So where does the problem lie and why manufacturers are looking for new formulations and solutions? The biggest problem with washing powders is their loose form. It affects proper dosing and has the influence on the environment. The principle is simple – the more washing powder we dose, the more chemical substances are discharged to sewerage systems and ecosystem. Unfortunately, it is difficult to exactly measure the right amount of washing powder even with a measuring cup. We have to keep in mind how many clothes we wash in one cycle, how dirty they are, how hard is our water, and what temperature we will wash at. Who can and wants to calculate the right dose even though such information is given on the packaging? Often, for every wash – regardless of weight and other factors – we dose the same amount of washing powder. The other time we dose detergents according to the principle: “the more, the better”. It results in unnecessary contaminants being discharged to the ecosystem, white residue appearing on our clothes, and our household budget and spending on detergents affected more than it should. We must also remember that overdosing washing detergents will reflect negatively on the operation of our washing machine.

Washing detergents are not harmless for users. We should keep in mind that they are in the form of fine dust with fillers, which flows in the air during dosing or storing. You probably know this characteristic smell of washing powder when you enter the bathroom? It is the result of washing powder particles floating non-stop in the room in which it is stored. Consequently, chemical components enter our respiratory system and very often irritate the eye mucosa.

Easy to dose: laundry gels

Special gels were supposed to be the response to the disadvantages of washing powders. They were introduced to the market a few years ago when the customer awareness related to health and environmental protection began to grow. They are available in bottles and – increasingly – as special liquid closed in a capsule. Thanks to the capsule we do not have to care about dosing the detergent. We throw it in and that is all. Moreover, due to the closed capsule users are not exposed to any contact with chemicals. Therefore, washing gels are much more convenient to use, it is easier to use the right dose and they are healthier.

In contrast, the weakness of such detergents is their lower washing properties. Gels are not as effective as washing powders, especially when it comes to heavy dirt. They do not soften water and do not protect clothes against discolouration and becoming grey as much as washing powders. Their apparently lower impact on the environment is also questionable. Yes, thanks to the closed form and easier dosing it is more difficult to overdose gels, but they contain high concentrations of detergents. They increase the so-called COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) in waste water. In other words, larger amount of oxygen is required for the oxidation in water of some of the gel components, than in the case of washing powders. And the larger amount of oxygen needed to decompose chemical agents results in the smaller amount of oxygen left for the needs of the environment. This in turn, for example results in fish mortality and has harmful impact on the development of the whole aquatic ecosystem. It should be taken into consideration when doing shopping.

All in one: hybrids

A kind of golden mean between washing powders and gels is a completely new group of detergents – the so-called hybrids. This is a complete novelty and innovation of the twenty first century. Hybrids are water soluble twin-chamber capsules, containing washing powder and gel. The new product combines the best features of washing powders and gels, making it the best solution available on the market. It has excellent washing properties, even at low temperatures. It softens water, removes even the toughest stains, and also protects clothes against damage and discolouration. It surpasses washing powders at effectiveness of cleaning and safety, since the powder phase is further supported by the gel. Thanks to its dual power, no washing agent available on the market can match hybrids. Additionally, hybrids, same as gels, are very easy to dose. We put one or two capsules in the drum (depending on the level of soiling) and we do not have to worry about anything else. The gent will not only effectively wash, it will soften clothes, and will also protect washing machine parts from limescale build up.

Hybrids, like any other advanced detergent has been developed to respect the environment. Among washing powders, gels and hybrids, the latter are the most Mother Earth-Friendly. Its closed form reduces the possibility of overdosing detergents. Harmful substances are not discharged to the environment in excessive amounts. In addition, researchers developing the formula met another important challenge. Hybrids do not have such a high concentration of detergents as gels, so COD factor is not being significantly increased. And if we add that the product does not cause dusting and does not get into the user’s body, we get the product of the twenty first century. It is the most effective washing detergent while it is safe for the environment and human health.

 

  Washing Powder Gel (Water-soluble Sachet) Hybrid
Safety for Human Health Low High High
Ease of Use Low High High
Chemical Bleaching Yes No Yes
Optical Brightening Yes yes Yes
Fabrics Softening, Anti-static Effect Yes No Yes
Water Softening High Low High
Washing Efficiency High Low High
No Optical Brighteners No Yes Yes
Colour Protection High Medium High
High Precision Dosing Low High High
Environmental Impact High/Medium Medium Low
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