Australians, on average, do about two and a half loads of laundry per person per week, according to water conservation analysts. That can eat up about 22 percent of your household’s water use, and if you’re not using the right type of detergent, you could be wasting even more water in the form of overly diluted liquids or extra rinse cycles to remove powder residues from your clothes. The same numbers would equate into industry whether it be prisons, hotels, motels or anywhere else washing is done. There are plenty of detergent brands to choose from, but if you’re trying to save resources on washing, a good start is to think about whether you should be using powder detergents or liquid detergents.
This: Powder Laundry Detergents
Pros: Ingredients like bleaching agents and surfactants (the substances that get your clothes clean) are more stable and less hazardous in powders, and therefore, they have a longer shelf life than liquids. You can buy powders in bulk—and cut down on excess packaging—without worrying about the detergents becoming ineffective over time. Powders can be as high as 100% active so up to 5 times more concentrate as liquids.
Cons: Use too much of the wrong powder, and you can be left with cakey white gunk all over your clothes—which requires extra rinse cycles, and thus more water. Also, in order for some powders to dissolve completely, it’s better to use warm water, and that can waste more energy than washing in cold water—something that is easy to do with liquids.
That: Liquid Detergents
Pros: Liquids dissolve better in both cold and warm water, so you don’t have to worry about residues left on your clothes.
Cons: It takes water to make liquids…liquid. In fact, standard, no concentrated detergents contain as much as 80 percent water. It’s a waste of both water and energy to truck diluted detergents around the country when your washing machine does an efficient job of turning powders into liquids with the water that comes from your local supply. Also, according to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports, those liquid laundry automated dosing units dose for the worst case scenario so you are washing in a lot more harsh chemicals than may be required leading to serious overdosing, costing you money and un necessary wear and degradation of the fabric. The programs in automated dosing units are rarely broken down into, the appropriate amount for a small, medium, or large load of clothes or linen.
Go with powders. You can dilute them yourself, and with careful dosing, you won’t wind up with powdery residues on your clothes. The key is to use less than you think you need, and to buy a brand formulated for use with cold water, such as greener products made by Choice Chem. Fortunately, the scoops you get with Choice Chem powders are sized to the product based on a 7.5kg load, so you’re less likely to OD on detergent.
Sometimes powdery deposits come from minerals in hard water that combine with detergents and redeposit on your clothes, not from the powders themselves. All Choice Chem powders contain water softeners specifically designed for the hard water commonly found in Western Australia.
Many people believe detergents are either suitable for top loading or front loading machines but this is not true with the Choice Chem products. All Choice Chem powders are low foaming so are suitable for top or front loading machines.
Phosphate free. We are all aware of the damage phosphates have on our environment by contamination of our water ways with algal blooms etc so that is why Choice Chem has made the decision to change all our Laundry Powders to be PHOSPHATE FREE within the next few months. There are now very good alternatives to phosphates.
Australian laundry detergents to be phosphate-free by 2014
June 12, 2011 6:11PM
AUSTRALIAN laundry detergents will be phosphate-free by 2014, after two final companies agreed to phase out the environmentally damaging element from their products.
PZ Cussons Australia and Colgate-Palmolive have agreed to phase out phosphate from their laundry detergents, Do Something! founder John Dee announced today.
All major companies in the Australian detergent industry have now implemented or agreed to phase out phosphates in laundry detergents.
It comes after Unilever, which makes Surf, Drive and Omo laundry, announced in April its products would no longer contain phosphate, which has a higher greenhouse gas impact than other ingredients.
Supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have also agreed to rid their shelves of environmentally damaging detergents.
It means Australians will no longer be able to buy laundry detergents containing phosphate from 2014.
“It’s a big result for Do Something’s campaign to stop the use of phosphates in Australia’s household laundry detergents,” Mr Dee said in a statement today.
Australian households wash 1.9 billion loads of laundry every year.
It is estimated that the switch to phosphate-free laundry detergent could be the equivalent to taking 33,000 cars off the road, Mr Dee said.
“For consumers, the good news is this ban won’t affect the price of laundry detergent or the quality of the wash, but it will help the environment,” he said.