Washing powder

Best Washing Detergent in the UK

When it comes to everyday life, especially everyday family life, hygiene is vital. Cleanliness is next to godliness after all!

You can purchase the most all-singing, all-dancing washing machine in the world, but if you don’t choose the right washing powder to go in it, you’re wasting your cash. For that reason, you need to know which the best washing powders on the market are, and which suit your budget.

Luckily for you, we are going to review a few of the best and most popular washing powders on the market in the UK. Read on to find out which one is best for you and your needs.

1. Daz P&G Professional Washing Powder

Washing powder type: Biological
Fragrance included? No

Who hasn’t heard of Daz? Daz has been around since 1953, making it one of the oldest washing powder brands on the market today. Their washing powder is still extremely popular due to its effectiveness and value for money (especially if you buy in bulk).

This particular wash powder is ideal for removing tough stains, and that makes it a good choice for families. If you purchase the XXL pack then you are getting great value for money, with around 130 washes in a 7 kg pack.

This is a bio washing powder, so it’s not a good choice if you have sensitive skin. It’s also worth noting that the XXL pack doesn’t come with a measuring scoop.


2. Bold 2-in-1 Washing Powder with Fabric Softener

Washing powder type: Biological
Fragrance included? Yes

If you want something more than just a basic washing powder, Bold 2-in-1 is a good choice. It combines washing powder with fabric softener and has a lavender and camomile scent, so you’ll get clean, soft and nice-smelling clothes. This washing powder is very effective and leaves clothes feeling soft, with a pleasant lavender scent.

Like the Daz washing powder reviewed above, this washing powder can be bought in an XXL pack, offering great value for money. The XXL pack weighs 8.45 kg and offers 130 washes. No measuring scoop is included.

This is a bio washing powder, so it should be avoided if you or someone in your family has sensitive skin. Some people can also have a reaction to the fragrance used.


3. Persil Non Bio Washing Powder

Washing powder type: Non-biological
Fragrance included? No

Persil is probably the best-known brand of non-bio washing powder in the UK. This washing powder offers great value for money and is a reliable choice if you or your family have sensitive skin. It’s dermatologically tested, so you can rely on it to be kind to your skin. It’s also scent free, so it’s a good choice if you react badly to washing powders with fragrance.

You can buy this washing powder in a “Family Pack”, which weighs 8.4 kg and offers 120 washes. Persil Non Bio is designed to remove all kinds of stains, making it a great choice for families with young kids! It also works well on quick wash cycles, so it’s great for freshening up clothes quickly.

Like most large packs of washing powder, this product doesn’t come with a measuring scoop.


4. Ariel Washing Powder Original

Washing powder type: Biological
Fragrance included? No

Ariel is another of the biggest brands on the market, and one which is perfect for removing stains. This washing powder is available in several different sized packs, including a 4.225 kg pack which offers 65 washes.

Ariel is developed to make it harder for stains to set in by removing the grip they would otherwise find on the fabric.  You also don’t need to wash at a high temperature to get rid of any potential stains, as it is effective at just 30 degrees.

This washing powder is great for keeping your whites white as it contains bleach. Overall, peace of mind and performance is high with this choice.


5. Surf Washing Powder Tropical Lily & Ylang Ylang

Washing powder type: Biological
Fragrance included? Yes

This option from Surf has a delicious scent of lily and ylang ylang (an essential oil that comes from the flowers of the ylang ylang tree). This is one of the best-smelling washing powders on this list, though since it’s biological and scented it’s not a good choice for those with sensitive skin. Also, some people find the smell to be a bit too strong and chemical-like.

This powder is ideal for all fabrics, except wool and silk. It’s designed to work well even at temperatures as low as 15 degrees. Surf Washing Powder Tropical Lily & Ylang Ylang can be bought in a large 120-wash box, which offers great value for money.


Best Own-Brand Washing Powders

Sometimes supermarket brand washing powders can be just as good quality, and sometimes even better, than huge brand names. Not everything is about reputation, and it is a good idea to try a few of the leading supermarket brands, to see if you can lower your monthly grocery shopping costs, without lowering washing quality. You might be nervous to try something unknown and cheaper, but it is certainly worth trying.

Let’s check out two of the most popular supermarket brands around.

Aldi Almat

This Aldi supermarket brand has been shown to be very popular, and it is dermatologically tested, to alleviate any sensitive skin worries. Aldi Almat has a fresh scent, without being false, and ‘suds’ up to a good froth with just a small amount in your machine. A regular box (2.6kg) will last for 40 washes and costs a fraction of the price of the bigger named brands on the market.

Lidl Formil

Lidl is also a great value supermarket for those on a budget and this super-low priced washing powder will last for around 25 washes. This is less than other boxes, but the price makes up for it overall. Lidl Formil is dermatologically tested and is particularly fantastic for whitening up any clothes which have become dull with over-washing or staining. Again, the smell is clean and fresh, without being too over the top, or flowery.


How to Choose Washing Powder

Now you know all about the major brand and supermarket brand washing powders on the market, you might have a few questions which have been thrown up by some of the word we have used. For instance, what is the difference between biological and non-biological?

Bio vs. non-bio washing powder

Basically, biological (bio) washing powders contain enzymes which are great for stain removal. Non-biological (non bio) do not contain these enzymes, so whilst they are better for the skin, e.g. sensitivities, they aren’t as effective at removing stains.

This is something you need to weigh up and consider. It depends on your family and yourself, and whether you have any severe skin sensitivities, or if you are particularly prone to irritation. If you are, it’s best to go with a non bio option. See the best washing powders for sensitive skin here.

If however you don’t have any such issues, then a biological wash powder is always going to be a higher performance beast for you, and one which you can use on lower temperatures, which cuts down on the chances of shrinkage or damage.

Specialist washing powders

In addition to the basic bio and non-bio options, there are also specific washing powders for coloured items, e.g. to protect the shade, and specific powders for sensitive fabrics such as wool or silk.

Pack size

A regular washing powder pack is around the 2.4 kg size, which should last for anything from 22 to 40 washes maximum. You can purchase economy packs, which are larger and cost a little more, but if you have a large family, this could save you money in the long-run.

Washing powder vs. liquids and gels

Aside from washing powders, there are liquids and gels, as well as capsules to choose from, but this totally depends on your washing machine, and your personal preference, as to whether you use them.


How Much Washing Powder to Use

Most of us use our washing machines several times a week or more, but how many of us are confident that we’re using the correct amount of washing powder each time we do our laundry?

If there’s not enough powder then the clothes won’t be cleaned well enough and won’t smell as fresh. But using too much powder can cause problems too, such as powdery residue and suds left on clothes, or garments left feeling too stiff.

Too much powder can also block the filter on the washing machine and increase wear and tear on your appliance.

Trying to work out exactly the right amount of powder to use might seem confusing, but if we follow some basic advice we can get it right each time and get the best possible cleaning results.

Don’t guess the amount of powder!

Many of us are in a hurry these days and might try to estimate the amount of powder we need in each wash but ignoring the guidelines on the washing powder packaging is a big mistake.  It’s almost impossible to judge how much powder you’ve added just by sight!

Most manufacturers offer free dosing devices for powder or washing liquid, so it’s worth sending off for one and using it each time you do use your washing machine.

Some brands, such as Persil, include a dosing device in each pack.

Check the instructions for the dosing device, as some simply measure the amount of detergent, which you then need to add into your machine dispenser drawer, and others can be added directly inside the washing machine drum.

If you really struggle to find time to measure your detergent, you could always consider buying washing powder tablets or pods.

How many clothes are you washing and how dirty are they?

It makes sense that dirtier clothes will need more detergent, to remove the extra dirt and stains.

According to Persil, a standard load of laundry needs around 110 ml of powdered detergent, but heavily soiled clothes may need an extra 100-210 ml.

For any brand of detergent, a good guideline when washing heavily stained clothes is to fill the dosing device to the next line up from usual.

You should also consider the amount of clothes you’re washing in each load. Manufacturers might refer to a normal or large load in their dosing instructions.

An average sized or normal load weighs around seven pounds and will fill three-quarters of an average-sized washing machine drum. If you’re adding more clothes than this, you may need a little extra detergent.

As a general rule, if you can’t fit your hand between the top of the drum and the laundry, your machine is overloaded.

This can result in the clothes soaking up all the water, preventing the detergent from dissolving properly.

It’s also worth remembering that if you’re doing a half-load of laundry, you need to use half the amount of powder than normal.

Even if your laundry is dirtier than usual or you’re doing a larger wash, don’t get tempted to add too much powder. It’s better to pre-soak dirty items than to use too much detergent in the main wash.

Water hardness

The UK is mostly made up of limestone and chalk which causes hard water, and around 60% of homes in England and Wales have a hard water supply.

Washing powder doesn’t work as effectively in hard water areas because less lather is produced to clean the clothes properly.

It’s a good idea to check the water hardness level for your area by looking online (see this map) or contacting your water provider, then follow the correct measurement guidelines on the detergent packaging.

It’s likely you’ll need to use a bit of extra powder to get your clothes clean if you live in a hard water area, and slightly less in soft water areas.


Is Washing Liquid Better than Powder?

There’s never been a bigger choice of laundry detergents on the market than there is now, and the main decision for many of us is whether to use washing powder or liquid.

Washing powder was first produced over 60 years ago, so it’s a traditional and well tested product. Liquid detergents have become widely available in recent years, and there are many varieties to choose from, but are they an improvement on traditional powder?

We discuss the pros and cons of both types of detergents below.

Washing Powder – Pros and Cons

  • Cheaper: Washing powder is usually much more economical than liquid detergents. This can be a big factor for large families who do a lot of laundry per week.
  • More eco-friendly: Washing powder is usually packed in eco-friendly, recyclable cardboard boxes, making it the best choice for those who care about the environment.
  • Better at cleaning stains: Many studies show that powders clean more effectively than liquids, because they can contain cleaning ingredients such as non-chlorine bleach, which can’t be put into liquid detergents successfully. Powders are particularly good at cleaning stains such as blood and soil.
  • Longer shelf life: Washing powders tend to have a longer shelf life than liquid detergents due to better stability of the surfactants found in the powder.
  • Leaves reside: One of the cons of washing powder is that the powder doesn’t always break down fully, leaving a residue on laundry and inside the washing machine.
  • Less suitable for cold washing: Washing powders tend to dissolve better in warmer water, and may not be suitable for cold washing cycles – although this was more of a problem with powders in the past, with most modern powders being suitable for lower temperature washes.
  • Contain more chemicals: Washing powders tend to contain more chemicals, and some ingredients such as sodium sulphate can destroy septic systems.
  • Could damage clothes: There has been some discussion as to whether washing powders can damage clothes more easily than liquids because they contain more chemicals and can be more abrasive. This hasn’t been proven, and the wear and tear of clothes is more likely to be caused by the agitation of clothes in the washing machine.  However, some people prefer to use liquid washing detergent for more delicate clothing to be safe.


Washing Liquid – Pros and Cons

  • Pre-treating stains: One of the benefits of washing liquid is that you can pour some liquid directly onto stains to treat them before the wash.
  • No residue: Also, as the detergent is already dissolved, there’s no risk of residue being left on clothing or your washing machine.
  • Effective at low temperatures: Liquid detergents can be used for washing at low temperatures as the detergent is already dissolved, so they’re excellent for washing delicate items.
  • Good for coloured clothes: They’re also great at keeping coloured clothes bright and vibrant, as they don’t contain any bleach.
  • Poor at stain removal: One of the biggest drawbacks of washing liquids is their poor performance on stains such as blood, grass and mud.
  • More expensive: They’re also usually much more expensive than powders, so they’re not an economical option for households who do a lot of laundry.
  • Less eco-friendly: Washing liquids tend to come in plastic packaging, and not all parts can be recycled, so they’re not an eco-friendly option.

As discussed, there are pros and cons to both washing powder and washing liquids.

Powder is definitely the best option for value and stain removal, but liquids can be kinder to delicate clothes and appliances.

For these reasons, some people choose to keep both washing powder and washing detergent in their homes, to suit different laundry requirements.

1 thought on “Best Washing Detergent in the UK”

  1. I love the smell of Bold liquidtabs and I have been a loyal customer for many years however the new packaging is very difficult for people with arthritis to open

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