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Washing Powders - How much is enough? How to know? Who to trust?

A brief look into washing powders.

How much is enough? How do you know? Who do you trust?


A common sense approach - 


When figuring out how much washing powder to use, without having vast quantities of money to spend on lab testing every year or more frequently, we need to rely on those around us, who do have the resources. It appears to me, the 2 main groups providing this information to the general public are CHOICE- (Products and services rigorously tested, rated and reviewed. No spin.) Or Main Stream washing powder companies. Lets have a quick look at both of these options.


CHOICE – Australia's leading consumer advocacy group.

Laundry detergent buying guide-


“A fraction of the cost

Depending on which laundry detergent you decide on, you may be able to use half (yes, half!) the recommended dose, saving yourself money and giving the environment a bit of a break. In the past we've tested top performers and they were just as good at half the recommended dose, and others we tested performed well at half the dose on particular types of stains. While we can't test every dose variation, experiment with your detergent to see whether you really need a full cap to get a wash you are happy with.”

For anyone interested CHOICE test every year, or even more frequently, a large range of washing detergents, both liquid and powder and provide the information to the public about how each ones rates in their lab tests on standardised samples flown over from Europe, so its well and truly set in dirt/stains! Results can be found on their website and are updated regularly -

Back to the matter at hand. Who to trust on how much to use? 

CHOICE, who provide, “independent and unbiased reviews, product tests, articles, information and buying guides”. 



We could trust the washing powder companies.

They wouldn’t have anything to gain from lying to us would they? These upstanding companies wouldn’t try to get us to buy more of something than we actually need would they?


Toothpaste marketing is well known for doing this. The good old trick of widening the tops so more comes out when squeezed or advertising showing huge quantities of toothpaste bulging over the edges of a brush. Far more than most would ever use on a single brush! All in the aim of trying to get people to use more than they need to. Therefore, they sell more, to make more profits. That is not against the law, it up to us to use our common sense to realize that we don’t need as much toothpaste as they wish us to use. We should only use as much as we need. Saves money and its better for the environment.


 So would the washing powder brands do they same? Are their ethics squeaky clean? Or are they large companies whose focus is on increasing sales and profits at all costs? Legal or illegal!


The article below indicates that perhaps the morals or business ethics of at least some of the mainstream companies should be questioned by its customers. Colgate-Palmolive has been ordered by the Federal Court of Australia to pay $18 million in penalties for price fixing.

“Colgate-Palmolive admits limiting supply and controlling the price of laundry detergents”. “

“The ACCC said the agreements (between the 3 companies) also standardised the products offered, including pricing, package size and the strength of concentrate offered.” From this statement, it appears the price fixing collusion even specified the strength of detergent!

Cussons and Unilever aren’t yet out of the woods with hearings in June of this year.


A little more searching reveals, Unilever has experience in the world of price fixing cartel activities, with their application for immunity for whistle blowing and has learnt how to get away with it. Although an expensive lesson to learn, having coped fines of £280m (AUD $557m) for price fixing along with P & G back in 2008, across 8 different countries in Europe.


Related brands include  

  • Cold Power
  • Radiant
  • Omo


So it would seem perhaps that it might be worth questioning the quantities indicated on the box (or packaging) from our laundry detergent brands. One could listen to CHOICE, who provide, “independent and unbiased reviews, product tests, articles, information and buying guides”. Or we can use our own common sense with a bit of trial and error to determine what we feel is the necessary minimum quantity of detergent to use on our own washing.


Washing machines vary, washing habits vary, as does the dirtiness of the washing itself, the washing instructions of our various clothes and any personal preferences or sensitivities to different detergents we might have and desires to minimise our impact on the environment of course! 


All we need is a full scoop of common sense :)   


Washing Powder scooped out


In our house? We use roughly half strength washing powder and dry in the sun when we can. If items are dirtier than a usual load, we will add in a soak option in the washing machine, plus do a long wash cycle. Happy washing peeps!



Please note, this post is not designed to advise anyone on what to do or not to do. 

It is to suggest people question what advice they are given and make their own decisions! Question everything including us! We aren't in your home, we don't know each individual situation. Nor does anyone else. Trust yourself. 

Do thorough research about the ingredients in your chosen washing powder, search for the pros AND cons of a substance, question whether you want those particular chemicals in your home or on the clothing you wear every day and night! Particularly in the warm moist environment of a nappy!

Is the qty advised on the package relevant to you? Are they suggesting 1 quantiy for everyone? Does it take into account the size of your washing machine or the effectiveness of its ability to clean your garments without any washing powder at all?! Do they know if you are drying in the sun or in a dryer? Do they know if you rinsed your garments before washing? Do they perhaps need to provide advice for a worst case or unknown scenario? Are they honest?! 

Please everyone, use your common sense, do your own research into what can be harmful to you, your children, the environment and be comfortable with your own trial and error to learn! This is what I would call and common sense approach to life in general. 

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