Whatever happened to …

… laundry soap?

I get a day off! Sheila Stewart, a regular reader of this blog, wrote this post for us and cross-posted to her own blog.

I sometimes worry that I give Doug Peterson too much “homework” with my ideas for his “Whatever Happened to…” Sunday blog post series (Archived here). So this time, and with support of Doug, I am airing my own dirty laundry, oops, I mean writing my own post. 🙂 But if you haven’t already, please do check out all the interesting topics he has addressed in his series of posts.
So here goes…

Whatever happened to…. laundry detergent? Or more specifically, powdered laundry detergent.

I only recall powdered detergent being used in my childhood home (mostly Tide). I followed suit since leaving home and doing my own laundry. It wasn’t until my husband and I bought a new washing machine 4 years ago that I tried liquid detergent. The cold setting on the new washer didn’t dissolve the powder that well. Both detergents are “HE” safe for our machine and I only use “Tide Free”. (Brand loyalty gets passed on, I suppose!) I still prefer to use the powdered stuff and I have a few garments that come with labels that suggest powdered detergent only. (And I’m a rule follower, so..)

Lately I have been having difficulty finding my preferred brand of powdered laundry detergent. Often the only boxes left are the scented detergents. Was powdered laundry detergent hoarded during this current pandemic? Are stores adjusting their stock to meet the demand for liquid detergent and “pods”?

I feel more environmentally responsible purchasing the cardboard boxes of powdered detergent. I think I tend to use too much of the liquid form and that plastic jug seems to be in the recycling bin way too fast. I haven’t used “pods” yet, or any other alternatives.

According to this website’s information, powdered laundry detergent has been around since the 1930s. I was surprised to read that the liquid form hit the shelves in the 1950s. The “pods” (a trademark by Tide) were first marketed in 2012 (So, a number of years before the Tide pod challenge meme and incidents in 2018.And so, just as Doug ends his posts with questions for readers:

  • Do you have a “go-to” brand of laundry detergent? Powder, liquid, or pod? A combination? Alternative?
  • Has there been a shortage of any of the above in your local stores during the pandemic?
  • Do you have safety concerns about the “pods” or packet type? Any unfortunate incidents in your home?
  • Scented or unscented?
  • The website link I provided offers some good information on the options in comparison charts. Do you think you will change what you use any time soon?
  • Do you have any advice for me if powdered detergent really does become a thing of the past?
  • All general laundry tips welcome too 🙂

As always, your insights are appreciate. Please respond via the comments function. You might want to drop by Sheila’s blog and share your comments there as well.

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Sheila (and Doug), I grew up using powdered laundry detergent, but then switched to liquid much as you did. I find the liquid works so much better, and now I prefer the pucks, and not even having to worry about the measurement side of things. I wonder if “convenience” has gotten to laundry detergent. Curious what others think.



  2. I guess it’s OK to comment since I didn’t write this. I’ve been through all these. I don’t have fond memories of the powder. I remember that it sometimes ended up in a white clump on clothing. Our latest washing machine is designed for the HE soap and that’s what we use. I’m not as exact with the amount of soap but have never had a mistake so …

    As for the pods, I don’t get them. I understand the ease of them but given their appearance and the fact that kids mistake them as candy, I still don’t get the marketing of them. Why do they have to be coloured that way?


  3. We used powder growing up, and I have used both over the years, including, of course, the period of only using Ivory powder when the boys were small. I am not the laundry person in my house, but I am the shopper. Due to environmental concerns and scent allergies, we have never been Tide users. We tend to buy a “green” product from our local health food / bulk store. Because we have an HE machine, and wash only in cold water, that usually means a liquid, but powders are still available, too. And there’s always, always Borax. The pods terrify me!


  4. Thanks for letting me participate in this kind of blog post more directly this time! I will monitor the comments on each of our posts. Good thoughts and suggestions so far!


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