HOW DETERGENTS WORK

How to do laundry The laundry process is very complex
It is a common activity repeated millions of times every day. Every second, an average of more than 1000 laundry washes is started with a P&G product somewhere in the world. Laundry is put in a machine or bucket, detergent is added and the clothes come out clean and fresh. We rarely think about the science that goes on behind the process guaranteeing that our clothes are cleaned, without being damaged and safe for the environment – it seems simple.

Achieving complete soil removal, however, is not a small challenge. The wash parameters (how to do laundry) that can affect the outcome of any particular wash (and consumer satisfaction) are a complex combination of many factors.

How do detergents work? What products go into a cleaning product’s composition? Why are they chosen over other substances? Does the type of fabric affect the wash results? Today’s laundry tasks are more complicated than the soap and water approach of past generations.
  • The Laundry Process

    Unlike the soap and water used by our great-grandparents, modern detergents are technologically quite complex. They may include chelators , optical brighteners, oxidizing agents and enzymes that deliver so much more performance. This is in response to the demands of today's consumer, who expects soil removal, stain removal and fabric care.

    Modern detergent technology delivers these attributes during laundering through two basic processes, namely:

    • Physical removal of soil/stains from garments
    • Chemical modification of soil/stains, either by hydrolysis or with oxidizing agents (bleaching), resulting in their solubilization and/or decolourization.
    How detergent works depends on many elements, including surfactants, builders and performance enhancers.

  • Detergent Building Blocks and Performance Enhancers

    Detergents are composed of many elements that each play important roles in the laundry process depending on the cleaning tasks required. These elements are like tools in a cleaning toolbox, each with specific roles and tasks to ensure the best wash performance.
  • The Influence of Dyes and Fabrics

    Different fabrics like polycotton change how detergents work Different fabrics require different types of laundering. Modern fabrics range from basic cotton and polycotton to high-tech, wrinkle-free, patented blends. In response to constant consumer demand for comfort, low-maintenance, low-cost and versatility, the textile industry produces a very wide range of fabric types - pure fibres as well as blends - and this trend towards diversification is expected to continue.

    Different dyes may also behave differently in the wash. The "better" dyes and dyeing processes typically result in colours that do not bleed in the wash and fabrics that continue to look good after many wash cycles. The "poorer" dyes and dyeing processes tend to result in colours that fade over time, regardless of the detergent used.
  • The Importance of Correct Detergent Dosage

    How to Get the Most from Your Detergent
    Detergent dosage, or the amount of detergent used, is based on the amount of soil on the laundry and the hardness of the water, not on the amount of water used by the machine. For the best laundry results, it is important to use the right amount of detergent because: Detergents contain ingredients like polymers that keep soil, once removed from fabrics, in the wash water. If too little detergent is used, the quantity of these ingredients in the wash water will be too small, resulting in laundry that may not be as white or as bright as it should be. Too little detergent may also allow build-up of mineral deposits in the washer from hard water, thereby reducing efficiency and increasing operating costs. Using too much is wasteful and may result in insufficient rinsing, leaving detergent residues on fabrics.

    For Liquids and Powders, dosage instructions on the container are provided to help consumers determine the correct amount of detergent for a particular wash load. Dosage devices are designed to help consumers measure the recommended dosage.
    Liquitabs are designed to give all the ingredients needed for a normal wash in ONE single unit dose. Dosing is as simple as putting one Liquitab in the back of the drum of your washing machine, then put your clothes on top of it, and start the wash. Only with a heavily soiled wash load and hard water do we recommend using two Liquitabs per wash.

  • Consumer Wash Habits

    Compared to Japan and North America, the average European load of laundry is washed at higher temperatures, using more detergent and a significantly longer wash cycle. It should not be surprising then that the performance (i.e., results in terms of soil removal) of the laundry process is significantly higher in Europe (nearly two times better than in North America and more than two times better than in Japan).

    The laundry process differs across continents European consumers are less likely than their North American and Japanese counterparts to pre-treat their laundry. In terms of bleach usage, Europe ranks the lowest, behind Japan and North America (with the highest bleach usage). To achieve performance similar to Western Europe, consumers in Japan and North America use extra steps and products.

    European washing machines have for many years been known for their low water usage, and are beginning to gain market share in other locations. A full wash in a European front-loader requires only 15 litres of water, compared to 45 litres in Japan and 60 litres in North America. How to do laundry differs across Europe

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