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Is washing powder better than laundry liquid?

Which? expert appears on Channel 4 TV show

Pouring laundry liquid into the detergent drawer

Washing powder, laundry liquid and liquid capsules: which is best for your laundry?

At Which?, we know a thing or two about washing powders after testing them for more than 50 years. Find out what separates the best laundry detergents from the rest, plus we reveal our top tips on choosing the best detergent for your laundry.

Look out for our Which? expert on Channel 4’s Super Shoppers this evening, talking about laundry detergents. We were invited on the show, which starts at 8pm, because our tests go further than anyone else’s to reveal the best detergents for stain removal, keeping whites white and colours bright. 

Which? tests are independent – we buy every product we test and don’t accept any advertising, so you know you’re getting an unbiased view of the detergents you can buy in the shops.

We’ve tested products from Ariel, Fairy, Daz and Surf, alongside supermarket own-brands. You can save money with our results because we’ve found some supermarket products that perform as well as, or better than, leading brands for half the cost.

Just want to see the top-performing products? Head straight to our Best Buy washing powder and laundry detergents.

Washing powder and laundry liquid: the differences

Washing powder and laundry liquid are the most-used types of detergent, but laundry liquid capsules are becoming more popular. So we put all of these types of detergents through tough Which? tests.

Bleach is an ingredient in most washing powders, which can make them great at keeping your white clothes bright. Some stains are also best removed by bleaching, so laundry detergents that contain it can be better at removing tea, among other food and drink stains.

But bleach can also cause brightly-coloured clothes to fade. So because laundry liquids and capsules don’t contain it, some are better at stopping your colours fading over time.

We test all of these in our lab. The best laundry detergents blitz stains, from red wine to curry, while keeping whites pristine and colours bright. See our full laundry detergent results to see how your detergent scores.

Should you buy non bio washing powder?

UK shops stock a dizzying array of laundry detergents, including biological and non-biological versions. Some people believe that non-biological washing powder is kinder to sensitive skin.

Biological washing powder, liquids and capsules contain enzymes. This means they differ from non-biological versions in how they remove stains. Find out more, including the differences our tests find between them on stain removal, in our guide to bio vs non-bio washing powder.    

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