To bio or not to bio?
That is the question. When it comes to washing powder, anyway.
As well as choosing a brand, you need to choose between biological and non-biological washing powder.
But what’s the difference? And, more importantly, how do you know which one is right for you?
We sent our crack team of investigators to find the answers and here’s what they came back with.
What is bio washing powder?
Bio is short for biological, which is also a hint as to how it works.
Its active ingredient is enzymes: biological catalysts that get to work on stains and get your washing clean.
The enzymes work by breaking down dirt, fat and grease into small particles that can be removed from the fabric more easily.
So why would you choose bio washing powder?
Let’s look at the pros and cons.
The pros of using bio washing powder
- Bio washing powders are super effective at removing stains and can even tackle deep stains with ease.
- These powders are designed to work at lower temperatures, so they’re ideal for washing at 30–40ºC.
The cons of using bio washing powder
- Bio washing powders are not designed for use in warmer washes. Temperatures above 40ºC can actually stop the enzymes from working.
- While the enzymes in bio washing powder are efficient at removing stains, they can also be harsh.
- Some people find that biological powders cause an itchy rash. They can also aggravate some skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. This can be a reaction to the enzymes, but can also be caused by chemicals or heavy fragrances in the powder.
- The enzymes can damage delicate fabrics, like wool and silk, so bio powder is not always advisable in this case.
What is non-bio washing powder?
Non-bio is short for non-biological, but you probably guessed that already.
And you’d be right in thinking that it doesn’t contain enzymes. Instead, it uses other powerful cleaning agents.
So what are the pros and cons for choosing non-bio washing powder?
The pros of using non-bio washing powder
- Non-bio washing powder is still effective at higher temperatures, so it’s ideal for sheets and towels and other items that need to be washed above 40ºC.
- Its gentler formula is kinder on sensitive skin, especially babies’ skin.
- Non-bio is also safer for delicate and embroidered fabrics, like wool, silk, chiffon, lace and thin cotton.
The cons of using non-bio washing powder
- Some people find non-bio powders are less effective at lower temperatures. But this really depends on what you’re washing and how badly stained it is.
- Although non-bio washing powder works well on everyday stains, deeper and more stubborn stains might need an added stain remover.
Is non-bio washing powder better than bio washing powder?
It largely depends on what you’re washing and the results you’re looking for.
Some people prefer to use bio for everything — even their hot washes. They find the enzymes still work before the water heats up to 40ºC and this is often good enough.
Others prefer non-bio because it’s gentler on their delicates and better for their sensitive skin.
Some buy both and decide which one to use based on what they’re washing.
When to use bio washing powder
Bio washing powders work best on standard fabrics at temperatures below 40ºC.
If you have a dirty job or live with an active family, you may be used to dirtier washing with more stubborn, ground-in stains.
Bio powders should be more successful at removing those resilient stains at lower temperatures — and on the first attempt, which is better for the environment.
When to use non-bio
Non-bio powders are more versatile. They’re still fully effective at higher temperatures and can be used safely on delicates.
If you have a baby in the house, the non-bio formula is gentler on their delicate skin. It’s also fully effective at 60ºC, which is the recommended temperature for keeping your baby’s cloth nappies sanitary.
Need to buy washing powder today?
If you’re reading this post because you need to buy washing powder, we’ve got you covered.
We sell a range of bio and non-bio washing powders — all at discounted prices.
If you’re washing in bulk, these mega packs from Persil are excellent value.
If you’d prefer a more natural product with fewer chemicals, this Ecover sensitive washing powder could be just what you need.
If there’s anything else you need, check out our full range of laundry products.