Laundry powders vs liquids review

Liquid or powder? CHOICE determines which detergents give you the best clean.
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Cost/wash (cents)Overall scoreGeneral soil removal (%)Grass stain (%)Tomato stain (%)Waste water recyclingOK for the gardenTotal suspended solidsPrice ($)Pack size (kg)Washes per packTypeP or NP on packagingEnzymesOptical brightenersOriginTested inContactCommentsBrand
Powder Front Loader4885867989★ ★PowderDrive
Small and Mighty Powder Front Loader5385877987★ ★PowderOmo
Ultimate Powder Front Loader7485868187PowderOmo
Powder Front Loader4284867391••PowderCold Power
Powder Essential Oils Tropical Flowers Ylang Ylang Front Loader2984847691★ ★★★★PowderSurf
Micro Max Powder Front Loader4283847292★★★PowderRadiant
Attack Powder Front Loader2481826792★★★★★★★★PowderBiozet
Lavender Powder Front Loader2281827090PowderSpree
Small and Mighty Powder Front Loader (HALF DOSE)2879857869★★★★★★PowderOmo
Powder Top loader2979836584★★PowderTrimat
Exotic Tiger Lily Powder Front Loader2675775690★★★PowderDuo
Sensitive Small and Mighty Powder Front Loader5373745986★★PowderOmo
Ultimate Powder Top loader7872806169••PowderOmo
Sunshine Fresh Powder Front Loader3969695485PowderFab
Liquid Front Loader3568685877★★★★★★LiquidDynamo
Powder Top loader4568734679PowderSeventh Generation
Powder Top loader5067785362PowderCold Power
Small and Mighty Powder Top loader5567744773PowderOmo
Liquid Front Loader2267726162★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidSeventh Generation
Attack Airburst Powder Top loader3065764267★★★★★••PowderBiozet
Powder Top loader4464743870★★PowderDrive
Lemon Powder Front Loader1664644384★★★★★★★★PowderEco Store
Micro Max Powder Top loader5664774757★★★★★PowderRadiant
Small and Mighty Liquid Front Loader4363715258★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidOmo
Liquid Top loader3661604083★★★★★★LiquidDynamo
Liquid Front Loader3061644771★★★★★★★★★★LiquidEarth Choice
Liquid Top loader4560603884★★★★LiquidCold Power
Sensitive Liquid Top loader4860603783★★★★★★LiquidCold Power
Micro Max Liquid Front Loader4360744447★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidRadiant
Small and Mighty Liquid Top loader4559583983★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidOmo
Micro Max Liquid Top loader4259583881★★★★★★LiquidRadiant
Lavender Powder Top loader2859623776PowderSpree
Powder Essential Oils Tropical Flowers Ylang Ylang Top loader2959663865★★PowderSurf
Powder Top loader (HALF DOSE)1459714156★★★★PowderTrimat
Sensitive Small and Mighty Liquid Front Loader4358614960★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidOmo
Liquid Top loader2258544282★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidSeventh Generation
Exotic Tiger Lily Powder Top loader2456623565★★★PowderDuo
Liquid Front Loader3056574266★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidHurricane
Sensitive Small and Mighty Powder Top loader5556603669★★★PowderOmo
Micro Max Liquid Front Loader (HALF DOSE)2154585148★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidRadiant
Liquid Essential Oils Tropical Flowers Ylang Ylang Top loader3154474181★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidSurf
Liquid Top loader2753473782★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidEarth Choice
I'm One Tough Little Squirt Liquid Top loader5452473283★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidBEE
Lemon Liquid Top loader2952473381★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidHurricane
Euco Fresh Liquid Top loader6151473280★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidBosito's
Liquid Essential Oils Tropical Flowers Ylang Ylang Front Loader3151614141★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidSurf
I Triumph Over Grime and Evil Powder Top loader4350444368★★★PowderBEE
Lemon Powder Top loader3349513459★★PowderEco Store
Frangipani Powder Top loader3648533155••PowderFab
Oil of Eucalyptus Liquid Top loader2248422980★★★★★★★★★★★LiquidHerbon
Liquid Top loader (HALF DOSE)1845442766★★★★★★★★★★LiquidDynamo
Powder Top loader2144463153★★★★★★★PowderEuca
Soapnut Sachets Top loader5437372450★★★★★★★★naPowder sachetsEaternal

Using the table

Dirt removal score is made up of general detergency soil removal score (50%), grass (25%) and tomato (25%). All tests are done in cold water (20°C).

P or NP on packaging Phosphates which contain phosphorus help soften the water and keep extracted dirt in suspension. But high levels of phosphorus can lead to excessive growth of blue-green algae in inland waterways. P means low phosphorus (<7.8 g/wash) and NP is for no phosphorus or less than 0.5%.

Enzymes target protein, starch or biological-based stains such as grass or blood. Different enzymes target different stains. Enzymes are known to cause irritation, so should be avoided by those with sensitive skin.

Optical brighteners coat the fabric with fluorescers that absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit it as blue light, making the clothes look whiter and brighter even though they don’t actually remove any dirt. Products with brighteners are best avoided by people with sensitive skin.

Packet size/number of washes The most popular size we found in stores, calculated on the number of washes using the recommended dose for a normal wash (or lightly soiled if there isn’t one).

Price This is the price we paid for the pack size listed.
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