Cleaning up the environment is a big task, but one place that you can start to make a big impact is another type of cleaning — laundry. Laundry detergent comes in three primary forms: liquid, powder, or pods. Each of these has its benefits and drawbacks in utility and cost, and there are also environmental factors to consider.
Checking for the Safer Choice label is a good place to start. Safer Choice is an EPA program that reviews all chemical ingredients in a product against a set of standards for low environmental and toxicological impact. You can check if specific products meet their standards on the EPA website.
However, there is more to the impact of detergents than just the chemicals they’re made of. The form of the detergent, price, and packaging are additional factors to consider.
Powdered detergents are generally low cost and sold in recyclable packaging — usually cardboard boxes or a plastic tub.
There are some drawbacks to powdered detergent. If not entirely rinsed out of clothing by the end of a wash, powdered detergents can leave residue or stains in your clothing. Some powders don’t dissolve completely in cold water — particularly if you use more detergent than necessary.
Powdered detergents are easy to over-use, which can result in chemicals left in clothes and the wastewater produced when washing.
More popular than its powdered counterpart, liquid detergent is less likely to leave residue