Written by: Subhasish Adhikary

Powder or Liquid Detergent: Which is Better for the Washing Machine?

With all the upcoming technology and developments, every household work has become easier with the help of gadgets like washing machines, microwave ovens, dishwashers, induction cooktops, and so on.

Nowadays, almost every household owns at least some of these things.

Especially something so convenient, like a washing machine, is seen in ninety percent of households.

Be it a small one or a large one or any size, most households do not lack a washing machine.

Now with the possession of a washing machine, questions arise, like, what kind of soap to use, what kind of clothes should not be put in a washing machine, what is good, what is not, and so on.

The most asked question among these are which is better for a washing machine: a powder detergent or a liquid detergent?

Well, all your queries are about to be cleared further in this article.

To know all about liquid and powder detergents, their advantages, disadvantages, and everything, keep reading this article.

What is Powder Detergent?

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What is Powder Detergent

Laundry detergent powders contain synthetic surfactants and are used to clean clothes. Contrary to soaps made of metal salts, these do not contain metal fatty acids.

Soap is a common ingredient in powder detergents. Their primary purpose is to reduce foaming rather than to act as surfactants.

The process of making soap is usually used to make detergent powders.

A washing liquid is usually created by combining chemicals such as surfactants, chelating agents, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and enzymes.

Surfactants, optical brighteners, fabric softeners, enzymes, detergent builders, bleaches, compounds, synthetic fragrances, and more are among the commonly used ingredients in powder detergents.

Advantages of Powder Detergents

  • Detergent powders are very effective for cleaning your clothes. The ingredients of detergent powder make them so efficient. Ingredients such as calcium and magnesium present in detergent powders soften the water and make the cleaning more effective. The ingredients also break up the dirt and grime on our clothes, making them easier to clean.
  • Detergent powders are very cost-effective. Compared to other cleaning agents, powder detergents are lower in cost and also easily available in the market.
  • Detergent powders do not contain harsh or harmful chemicals. As the clothes come in direct contact with your skin, it is important to keep in mind to not use something that will harm your skin. Powder detergents are mostly safe and hence, do not harm your skin or cause any allergies.
  • As we know, there is hard and soft water. Also, the quality of water depends from place to place and from source to source. But powder detergents are suitable for all various kinds of water qualities. This makes powder detergents very convenient.
  • As detergent powders create less foam, they are easier to rinse off. This helps save water, electricity if you are using a washing machine, and also your time and energy. Also, because of their gentle formula, it is mild on your hands and clothes.

Disadvantages of Powder Detergents

  • Sometimes, if you use too much of a powder detergent, you will find its remnants in your clothes. This will lead you to another round of washing clothes. This will be a wastage of your time, energy, water, and electricity if you are using a washing machine.
  • Some powder detergents are such that they do not dissolve at all in cold water. Then you would need to warm up your water to dissolve your powder detergent. This will cause wastage of electricity and time.
  • Sodium sulfate is an ingredient of powder detergents. This is used as a filler. But this can destroy your septic systems.

What is Liquid Detergent?

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What is Liquid Detergent

Liquid detergent is another type of laundry detergent that is liquid rather than powder or solid soap.

The manufacturing of liquid detergent comprises a wide number of processing and packaging operations.

These processing and packaging operations and the complexity of manufacturing depend on factors such as the size of the manufacturing plant and the process undertaken.

The products may range from all-purpose laundry cleaners to specialty cleaners such as glass cleaners or surface cleaners.

The ingredients of a liquid detergent include various alkalis (mild or strong), surfactants, anti-redeposition agents, pH modifiers, optical brighteners, catalytic enzymes, and more. Source.

Advantages of Liquid Detergents

  • Being liquid in form, they dissolve completely in water and hence there are no remnants of it on the clothes. None of it accumulates in the fiber of your clothes because of this reason, unlike powder detergents.
  • As they are not in powder form, they do not contain any dusty ingredients. Because of this, you will not get any allergic reactions.
  • They are easier and more convenient to use in a washing machine because of their liquid base. They do not contain any hard substance which might accumulate in the washing machine. 
  • As they are liquid-based, they dissolve quickly and hence are more efficient in cleaning clothes.

Disadvantages of Liquid Detergents

  • Liquid detergents are not too budget-friendly. They are more expensive than powder detergents.
  • The shelf life of liquid detergents is shorter than powder detergents. Liquid detergents have a shelf life of six months.
  • Liquid detergents can limit the effectiveness of other cleaning agents such as bleaches and so on.
  • Also, liquid detergents come in plastic bottles that are not at all environmentally friendly.

Also read: Best Liquid Detergents for Front Load Washing Machine

Best Detergent For Washing Machine

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For a washing machine, we recommend one stick to use a liquid detergent rather than a powder detergent.

I have already mentioned the benefits of using a liquid detergent previously in this article.

Other than those reasons, we recommend you use a liquid detergent for your washing machine to have a more hassle-free washing experience.

But yes, certain powder detergents can be used for washing machines too. Some of them are:

Ariel Matic Top Load Detergent Washing Powder.

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For completely automatic washing machines, this detergent powder is one of the best.

With one wash, you will achieve bright clothes devoid of tough stains that are hard to remove.

The most popular washing machine companies recommend this brand.

Surf Excel Matic Detergent Washing Powder

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The best detergent powder that works both for colored garments and white garments is the Surf Excel Easy Wash detergent powder.

They describe it to possess the strength of ten hands! The superfine powder dissolves easily and cuts through tough stains like oil, grime, dirt, curry, and ketchup.

Tide Plus Extra Power Detergent Washing Powder.

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For your clothes to get the perfect whiteness, use Tide Plus Extra Power detergent washing powder.

It dissolves so perfectly in your water and generates foam that cleans out your clothes in the best way possible.

With half the dosage of ordinary detergent powder, it gives you spotless clothes.

Rin Advanced Detergent Powder.

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The Rin Advanced Detergent Powder comes with a beautiful fresh fragrance along with the ability to cleanse your clothes. It removes tough stains and leaves your clothes looking new.

Available in different packs, it is a perfect powder for your washing machine as it dissolves well and leaves no residue on your clothes. 

Ghadi Machine Wash Detergent.

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Ghadi Machine Wash detergent comes with effortless cleaning abilities with a fresh lavender fragrance.

After washing, this detergent will leave a shine on your clothes and will keep the softness of your clothes. They specially designed this detergent for machine use.

What to Keep in Mind While Buying a Detergent

  • Check whether the detergent you are buying is a liquid detergent or a powder detergent. As I have mentioned in this article previously, both have their advantages and disadvantages, so buy according to your needs and comforts.
  • Check the price of the detergent. As you are going to use it for your clothes which will ultimately come in direct contact with your skin, you should consider buying a little expensive one which has a better quality.
  • It is not always true that the more expensive something is, the better its quality will be. So in that case, you should also check the ingredients of the detergent you are buying. Please avoid toxic detergents or something that contains an enormous amount of harmful chemicals and acids.
  • Some detergents are specifically made for removing certain kinds of stains. So read the label and the purpose of that detergent before buying it.
  • Last but not the least, always use environmentally-friendly and natural detergents for children’s clothing. As their skin is more sensitive, contact with harmful chemicals needs to be avoided.

Some commonly asked questions

Why are detergents harmful?

Detergents are made up of chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause allergic reactions to skin or prolonged exposure to some of these chemicals might make the fiber of your clothes rough.

Not all detergents contain toxic chemicals though. For that, you need to read the labels and ingredients of the detergent you are buying.

Are detergents hazardous?

As detergents contain lots of chemicals, they are hazardous to the environment and also to children. Even if a little detergent gets inside the mouth of a child or inside the eyes of anyone, it will cause them a lot of harm. So detergents should be handled very carefully.

Is powder detergent better than liquid?

Both powder detergents and liquid detergents have their advantages and disadvantages, as discussed above. Both have their uses so there is no telling which is better than the other. Liquid detergents are good for removing grease stains, whereas powder detergents are more efficient in removing mud stains.

How to use powder detergent?

The instructions on how to use a powder detergent are given on the label of the detergent pack itself. Use one to two tablespoons of powder detergent and mix it thoroughly in water before dipping and washing your clothes in it.

How do you use liquid detergent?

The instructions on how to use a powder detergent are given on the label of the liquid detergent bottle itself. You need to use an inconsiderable amount of the liquid detergent or the amount mentioned on the pack and pour it into the water.

It will dissolve immediately, just mix it thoroughly and then go ahead with your washing.


Some debates are never-ending. The debate between powder detergents and liquid detergents and which is better is one of them.

As I have mentioned so many times, every detergent has its benefits and disadvantages.

So while buying a detergent, always keep in mind to choose accordingly.

Examine the labels of your detergent pack and then buy it. Keep in mind all the mentioned factors before buying a detergent.

Last, try using liquid detergents if you are using a washing machine, and then you are ready.

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Subhasish Adhikary

I'm constantly in search of the latest gadgets & technology news that I can share with you. In my meantime, I blog on topics ranging from digital marketing, online business, startups to tech gadgets.


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