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CDA Buying Advice – Detergent types

Which type of laundry detergent is best?

Most detergents, liquids and tablets are now tested on the same palate of stains that range from grass or chocolate to tea, oil, red wine and even blood. They are also much more concentrated than they used to be so, what with the improvement in efficiency of the appliances too, you should never exceed the dosage prescribed on the packaging as you will be simply wasting product and your money.

A lot of detergents have now been specifically designed to work at lower temperatures. This is perfect if you intend to wash at 30°C frequently. Look out for brands that also include a 2-in-1 softener as this could save you having to buy a second bottle.

There is talk of washing powder being better for your machine but the only evidence for this is that it is less likely to ‘solidify’ and clog up the drawers than other types. Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure that your washing machine drawer is clear, free of obstructions and able to dispense the detergent correctly.

Sorting your laundry into whites, colours, delicates etc. will help you to get the most from your detergent as you can make use of the correct programmes on your washing machine. Pre-treating stains is also a winner when it comes to getting stains out, first time.

Whatever detergent you use, do not overstuff your machine as it will not wash properly and the detergent is likely to stay undissolved in your clothing.

Measure your dosage correctly to get optimum results from your machine. Yes, we know the pods and pouches are extremely convenient for this but BE CAREFUL as they are very squeezable and swallowable for children. Exposure or ingestion of detergent is harmful. Keep them out of reach.




What chemicals should I avoid?

Bleach can damage some clothing so look for detergent with an ‘oxi’ action. The oxygen is a gentler way to remove stains from laundry and is kinder to the planet.

Labels that state they are ‘free and clear’ usually skip the fragrances and dyes. This is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin as these are usually the main irritants in detergent.

Did you know that many consumer reports advise against using softener on children’s clothing and sleepwear? It has been shown to reduce the fire retardant properties of the material.

Here are some nasties that you might see on the label:

Ingredient Danger
Benzaldehyde Irritant
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid Reproductive and developmental effects found
Diethanolamine Irritant
Quaternium-15 Contains formaldehyde
Ethyl acetate Neurotoxin
Petroleum distillates Carciongen Also called naphthas


Which is best for the environment?

There is no required verification for terms such as ‘eco’, ‘green’ or ‘natural’ so beware of brands that advertise themselves as such. Instead, look for packaging that includes ‘organic’ ingredients and doesn’t bear any warnings about the chemicals being a hazard to the environment. Recyclable packaging is also something to consider when making informed choices for our planet.


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