Have you ever thought that you know all you can possibly know about the many kinds of laundry detergents that grace our supermarket shelves today? Or do you hunt and peck like a chicken when it comes to finding just the right one to use? Here are a few facts about laundry soaps and detergents that may prove helpful.
Using soap for laundering has been in existence for centuries. The main raw materials are oils/fats which are tallow or coconut and alkali which is either sodium or potassium hydroxide. Despite the improvements that were made over the years in the quality of the soap product and in the manufacturing process, all of the soaps out there have one major flaw. They combine with minerals that seem to make the water hard as bricks so that a soap curd forms. This may leave a sticky white or a yellow residue on the washer and may even stick to the fabrics in the washer. YUK! Can you imagine your clothes coming out of the washer full of sticky, yellow spots? This has led to a limited popularity of soaps. There are just a few brands available. Today, however, there are two main types of soaps for doing laundry:
Light Duty Powders
This is basically pure soap that has perfume and fluorescent whitening agents. These soaps are designed for delicates and lightly soiled fabrics. Because these soaps are very mild, they are usually used for washing diapers and baby clothes.
Have you been around long enough to hear of laundry soap bars? I thought not! They were the precursors of the powder and chip forms. These bars are usually made from tallow or a combination of coconut oil and tallow. Borax and other builders are added to help soften the water and improve performance.
One good thing about a laundry soap bar - it is excellent for pre-treating heavy stains and soils before washing. Other uses for the laundry soap bar are hand washing hosiery and lingerie.
Through the march of time, detergents have replaced soap for laundering mainly due to the fact that they perform over a broad spectrum of water hardness levels. There are many diverse kinds of laundry detergents just as there are so many colors of roses nowadays! They are categorized by their general purpose and they are available either in powder or liquid forms.
o They are made for all washable fabrics all the way from grimy work clothes to lightly soiled lingerie.
o Some powders may be used for household cleaning and for washing dishes.
o These are used for general purpose laundry but work very well on oily soils.
o Because the laundry detergent is in liquid form, it is very easy to pre-treat grease spots and stains before washing. They are very convenient and effective to use.
Combination Laundry Detergents
Laundry detergents were developed that had a bleach alternative which was in the form of color-safe bleach and also fabric softeners. This no longer made it necessary to buy two products. Now one product could do two or three jobs rolled into one! You can now wash your clothes in lower temperatures and still have them come out smelling fresh and looking like new.
This has just been a little about the laundry detergent dilemma you often find yourself in when shopping for that right detergent!