Soap powder, also known as laundry powder, is a dry, granulated substance which is added to one’s washing machine at the beginning of a laundry cycle to remove stains from and add freshness to the items being washed. It usually consists of stain-fighting substances known as surfactants as well as water conditioners, fillers, and, in some cases, enzymes, bleaches, and perfumes. Many consumers prefer powder to liquid detergent because it tends to be more affordable and is usually packaged in an eco-friendly container. Some feel, however, that soap powder does not clean as well as liquid detergents do, while others worry that its high chemical content can cause ecological damage.
In general, using soap powder is fairly simple. Depending on one’s washing machine model, the powder is added either directly to the washing drum or to a built-in dispensing unit prior to beginning a laundry cycle. The powder’s packaging usually indicates the proper amount of product to use for each load of laundry.
Almost every detergent powder contains three basic ingredients: substances known as surfactants, which lift stains away from fabrics, water conditioners, which improve the powder’s performance in hard water, and a filler, usually sodium sulphate, which adds bulk to the product and contributes to its texture. Some powders contain additional ingredients, such as bleach and enzymes, to enhance their stain-fighting, color-brightening capabilities. Additionally, many detergent powders contain perfumes, which can infuse laundered items with a certain scent.
Many consumers have lingered in the grocery store laundry aisle trying to determine whether it is wiser to purchase soap powder or liquid detergent. Generally, soap powder has two distinct advantages over liquid detergents. First of all, it tends to be cheaper than liquid products. Secondly, it is usually packaged in a cardboard container that is easy to recycle.
On the other hand, a number of consumers believe that liquid detergent has superior stain-fighting power to detergent powder. This is partly because small amounts of liquid detergent can be applied directly to a stain prior to a laundry cycle, thus increasing the chances that the stain will disappear. Further, many environmental experts caution that the high chemical content of powdered detergents can seriously disrupt the ecological balance naturally found in waterways. In order to minimize ecological damage, these experts recommend choosing highly concentrated soap powders which do not contain artificial additives and chemicals, such as synthetic fragrances.