Anyone standing in front of the detergent aisles in the supermarket or pharmacy is literally spoiled for choice. There are a wide variety of product variations to choose from, in every possible color and scent. Making the right decision straight away seems impossible at first. One of the many questions consumers ask: is it generally better to use liquid or powder detergent?

Both types of detergents have their strengths and weaknesses. The following comparison shows which product is the best choice and will help you make the right purchasing decision.
Liquid or powder laundry detergent: which is the best choice?

Liquid detergent

Liquid detergent leaves no detergent residue on clothes, which is a big plus, especially for dark laundry. Plus, it doesn’t contain bleach, which is both a plus and a minus. It protects the colors of dark laundry, but over time a gray haze develops on light laundry due to lack of bleach. Stains caused by fruit, coffee, vegetables or red wine cannot be removed as effectively with liquid detergent. It easily removes grease and protein stains.

Liquid detergent can also be used to pretreat stubborn stains by hand. Another disadvantage, however, lies in the preservatives contained in liquid detergents, intended to guarantee the shelf life of the product. They pollute the environment and can cause problems for allergy sufferers and people with sensitive skin.

washing powder

As an ultra-powerful detergent, washing powder is particularly suitable for white laundry. It contains bleach and is therefore particularly effective in removing stains caused by makeup, wine, coffee, fruit or vegetables. At higher temperatures it also works effectively against germs and bacteria. Make sure you use the correct dosage to avoid detergent residue. White residue is extremely annoying, especially with dark laundry.


In terms of price, liquid detergents and powder detergents are generally the same depending on the respective manufacturers. However, caution is advised when purchasing laundry detergent packs in bulk. Many so-called economical XXL packages are filled with unnecessary substances, such as salt. On the one hand, this puts a strain on the environment and, on the other hand, twice as much detergent powder is required for a wash cycle. Therefore, compare the dosage information on the package before purchasing and, if in doubt, choose a smaller package.

Environment and sustainability

Since liquid laundry detergent must be packaged tightly, plastic packaging is usually the only option. On the other hand, laundry detergent can also be packaged in cartons, which is of course an obvious advantage for the environment.

When it comes to the composition of detergents, laundry detergent is also ahead in environmental protection. Liquid detergents contain more surfactants than powder detergent. These are chemicals criticized as being harmful to the environment and allowing oil and water to mix. On the other hand, surfactants ensure that stains containing grease and protein can be removed better with liquid detergent.

Do you need a descaler for the washing machine?

With current detergents, whether liquid or powder, no additional descaler is usually needed for the wash cycle. Washing powder typically uses zeolite, a water-insoluble substance, to soften the water. The soap in liquid detergents and certain additives soften the water. On the back of the package you will find a dosage table with precise information on how to dose depending on the hardness of the water and the degree of contamination.

However, it is advisable to clean and descale the washing machine regularly to avoid the development of unpleasant odors and wear and tear on the machine.

Conclusion: liquid or powder detergent?

Each consumer must decide individually which product to use for laundry. The deciding factors are the type of laundry and the degree of soiling. Liquid detergent is recommended for dark and not too dirty laundry. Powder detergent, on the other hand, offers stronger cleaning power and is ultimately a little more environmentally friendly.