Washing powders vs liquids vs pods - which is best for you?

Washing powders vs liquids vs pods - which is best for you?

. 3 min read

Which laundry product is best for you?

Most of us have a go-to laundry product, whether its washing powder, liquid or pods. But are you using the best product for your needs? And, if not, what’s the best alternative?

In this handy guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on each one so you can decide if a change might be better.

Bio and non-bio

Each of the three laundry products we’ll be talking about are available in two different varieties:

  • Bio, which uses enzymes to remove dirt; and
  • Non-bio, which uses other powerful cleaning agents.

You can learn more about the differences between bio and non-bio in this article.

Washing powder

Of the three products, washing powder has been around the longest.

The first washing powder was invented at the beginning of the 20th century. It was made from ordinary soap mixed with salt. When the powder was dissolved in water, it released oxygen. This meant it could remove stains without damaging the fabric.

The pros and cons of washing powder

The pros:

  • In tests, washing powder has outperformed liquids and pods on stain removal
  • It’s often the cheapest option, with Persil starting at just 11p a wash
  • It usually contains bleaching agents, which help your machine to self-clean during normal use.

The cons:

  • Measuring out the right quantity is often guesswork, so it’s easy to use too much or too little
  • Most packs are not designed for easy pouring, so it can be messy!

How much washing powder to use

For precise advice on usage, always check the instructions on the pack.

The general recommendation is 110ml of washing powder for a single wash. That’s about two Vanish measuring cups. Or one cup if you want to do a half load.

But if your clothes are especially dirty and you plan to do a prewash, you can add a further 100ml.

How to pour washing powder without spilling

Most powder spills happen when you’re pouring from the hole in the side of the box. Instead, pour the powder into a container with a lid, then use your Vanish measuring cup to scoop it into the machine drawer.

Washing liquid

The first liquid laundry detergent was called Wisk and was first sold in America in 1956.

The pros and cons of washing liquid

The pros:

  • It pours easily and is less messy than powder
  • It works faster than powder or pods because it doesn’t have to dissolve
  • It can often be applied neat to tough stains for a more powerful clean
  • It’s more concentrated than powder so it needs a smaller pack, which can be helpful if you have limited cupboard space.

The cons:

  • It’s not always easy to measure how much to use
  • It’s not so tough on stains as powder
  • It doesn’t contain bleach, so it doesn’t clean your washing machine.

How much washing liquid to use

For precise advice, check the instructions on the pack. Some brands include a measuring cup to help you pour the right amount.

The general recommendation is 35ml for a single load of normal washing. That’s about half a Vanish measuring cup.

You can increase this to 52ml if your washing is really dirty. And if you have stubborn stains, you can apply some neat liquid to those before washing.

Does washing liquid cause washing machine smells?

Washing powders often contain bleach, which helps to keep your machine clean and smelling fresh — but liquids and pods don’t. This means dirt and germs can build up inside the drum.

To prevent washing machine smells, you should run your machine empty every couple of months. This can be done by using detergent only and setting the machine to a quick hot wash of 60ºC or higher. The higher temperature is more important than the length of the wash.

Washing pods

Washing pods are the newest kid on the block. They first arrived in 1998.

The pods contain concentrated washing liquid in a water soluble pouch that dissolves in the machine.

The pros and cons of washing pods

The pros:

  • It’s the easiest and most convenient way to do laundry
  • No measuring required — just use one pod per wash.

The cons:

  • It’s not as tough on stains as powder
  • It’s pre-measured, so it’s only economical if you’re doing a full wash
  • It doesn’t contain bleach to keep your machine clean.

Looking for laundry products?

We have everything you need to get your laundry clean and fresh — from detergents and softeners to drying and ironing.

Check out our full laundry range or shop specifics:

Washing powder

Washing liquids and gels

Washing capsules

Delicates and stain removal

Fabric conditioners and fresheners

Drying and ironing