Convenience, Performance and Sustainability Drive New Innovations
Ultra-concentrated products and products that contain stain-release ingredients are the big news in laundry detergents.
More Power to 'Em
While concentrated laundry detergents have existed in either powdered or liquid form since the 1960s, today's innovations take them to a whole new cleaning level.
Concentrated (or ultra) detergents are available in liquid, powder and gel forms. They come in smaller packages, yet are designed to offer the same cleaning power as regular detergents in larger packages. New formulations can be 2X, 4X or even 6X as concentrated as their predecessors.
Increased cleaning power per dosage makes it even more important to follow label instructions and use the measuring cap or scoop that comes with the product. Using more detergent than necessary doesn't make your clothes any cleaner. In fact, the opposite is often true: too much detergent can leave a residue on clothes that fades colors and attracts more dirt. It can create a high froth inside the machine that lifts soil and lint above the water level so it isn't properly rinsed away. To help consumers use the correct amount, detergent manufacturers are introducing innovations such as new dosage caps with more-defined measurement lines inside and bigger numbers that are staggered, not stacked.
Combination soil and stain removal products offer the convenience of using one product in place of two. Look for detergents with built-in stain removers that can tackle specific stain groups and/or supplement their ability to fight stains with other ingredients.
When an extra stain-fighting nudge is needed, in-wash stain removal boosters can be added to the laundry along with your regular detergent. These boosters come in several forms—powder, liquid or single-load laundry packets—so you can choose the version that suits your laundry preferences. They also come in scented and unscented versions.
In addition to added convenience and performance, Nancy Bock, Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute®, points out that laundry product innovations demonstrate the industry's commitment to the principles of sustainability.
- Waste reduction: Smaller containers use less paper and plastic, which means less packaging to recycle or dispose of and less impact on the environment.
- Energy conservation: Smaller containers mean that less fuel is needed to ship these products to retailers. This helps control greenhouse gases and other emissions.
- Water conservation: Concentrated products use less water in product formulation, which means reduced use of this precious resource.
- Consumer convenience: Smaller, lighter containers are easier to carry and store at home.