Different Types of Detergents and How to Choose the Right One?

The purpose of a laundry detergent is to remove stains from the laundry effectively. But a laundry consists of different types of fabrics and only some detergent might be suitable for some fabrics. Also, you may use different types of washing machines and they may require suitable detergent to wash the laundry effectively. 

So, it is important to understand the different types of detergents available and know how to choose the right laundry detergent for you.

Different Types of Detergents Used in Laundry

Different Types of Detergents

In today’s market, you can find the following detergent types:

  • Liquid Detergent – They are water-based solutions that contain various surfactants, enzymes, and other cleaning agents – Best detergent for Front Load and High-Efficiency Washers
  • Powder Detergent – Also known as Washing powders. Consists of the same active ingredients as the liquid detergent but in granular form. – Best detergent for Top Load Washers with Agitators
  • Laundry Pods/Tablets – These are pre-measured packets of detergent, typically coated in a water-soluble material – Easy to use detergent
  • Eco-Friendly Detergents – Detergents made from natural and sustainable ingredients, designed to be biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
  • Specialty Detergents – Detergents are specifically formulated for particular types of laundry, such as delicates, sportswear, or baby clothes.

Liquid Detergent

It is a water-based detergent that is effective against tough stains. Since it is liquid, it can easily dissolve in water and doesn’t leave any residue on the clothes. This is the most popular choice of detergent due to its ease of use and strong cleaning action.

When using a liquid detergent, you must follow a prescribed dosage according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can also use a liquid detergent to pre-treat tough stains on your laundry. 

Liquid detergent is widely used with High-Efficiency washers or Front-load washers. You can add it directly to the water after loading the clothes or you can pour the recommended level in the detergent dispenser. 

Read Also: Can We use Fabuloso For Laundry?


  • Easily dissolves in water
  • Can be used for different types of stains
  • Effective in pre-treatment of stains
  • No residues
  • Very fewer suds
  • Different formulations are available for different fabrics
  • May contain fabric softener within the same formula


  • Consumers may tend to overuse
  • Expensive than powder detergents
  • Not effective with top-load washers or semi-automatic washers

Powder Detergent

Contains all the active ingredients of a Liquid detergent but in a granular format. Also, powder detergents contain additional fillers, bleaching agents, and water softeners in their chemical composition. This is one of the traditional detergent types used popularly by many households. 

When using a powder detergent, you have to measure it properly with the measuring scoop provided with the detergent. Based on the load size, you must use the detergent appropriately. Otherwise, you may get residues in the laundry.

Since powder detergent has to dissolve in the water, it is better to dissolve this detergent in warm water before adding it. This detergent is highly suitable for use in top-load washers with agitators because it can dissolve the powder completely in the water.

Make sure to add the detergent while the water is filling in the top load washers and for the front load, you can use the dispenser draw.


  • Cost-effective
  • Longer shelf life
  • Easy to store
  • Effective stain removal


  • May not dissolve properly
  • May leave residues if overused
  • May not be effective in cold water
  • Requires pre-dissolution in cold water wash
  • Not preferred for front-load washers
  • Compulsory cleaning of washer tub after using powder detergent

Laundry Pods/Tablets

Laundry pods and tablets are pre-measured doses of detergent, coated in a water-soluble film that dissolves in the washing machine. They are designed for convenience and ease of use, as each pod or tablet contains the exact amount of detergent needed for a load of laundry.

You can use the laundry pods and tablets without any need for specific measurements. Simply load the washer with clothes and add the pod or tablet at the bottom of the washer tub or drum. 

Since the pods are coated with water-soluble agents, they can easily dissolve in water. When compared to powder or liquid detergents, pods have higher detergent concentration, quickly soluble polymers, stabilizers, and non-clumping agents to maintain the integrity of the detergent pods. 

Laundry pods and tablets are highly suitable for high-efficiency top-load washers and semi-automatic washers. 


  • Doesn’t require measured usage. Direct-to-use convenience
  • No spilling and doesn’t make any mess
  • No risk of overuse
  • Doesn’t require a large space for storage
  • Easily portable
  • Highly efficient
  • No wastage of detergent


  • Slightly Costly
  • Requires safe handling, especially around children
  • Not many customizations are available
  • May not be soluble in cold water
  • May be ineffective in quick wash cycles

Eco-Friendly Detergents

Eco-friendly detergents are designed to provide a cleaning solution that minimizes environmental impact. They are formulated with biodegradable, plant-based ingredients and typically avoid phosphates, chlorine, artificial fragrances, and dyes.

Eco-friendly detergents do not possess strong detergent action. Therefore, when using them against tough stains, you need to pre-treat the stains and then use them with eco-friendly detergent. Also, you may have to use a stronger wash cycle and choose a longer soak period to get the best results.

Eco-friendly detergents can be used with any type of washer. This detergent is widely available in liquid and pod formats.


  • Safe for the environment
  • Safe for septic systems and avoids clogging
  • May avoid health issues
  • Works great with cold water
  • Saves more energy
  • Gentle with laundry


  • Expensive than normal detergent types
  • Less effective stain removal
  • May not be available
  • May require longer soak and wash periods

Specialty Detergents

Specialty detergents are used for specific types of laundry. It has ingredients and additives targeted to remove stains or for particular fabrics, or to perform better action on specific washing conditions.

Specialty detergents can be found to satisfy the following use cases:

  • Delicate Fabrics – Formulated to wash delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and lingerie.
  • Sportswear – Formulated with enzymes and additives to remove sweat and body oils from synthetic fibers of the sportswear laundry.
  • Baby clothes – The detergent used for baby clothes is free from dyes and fragrances that could irritate an infant’s sensitive skin; they also have gentle cleaning agents.
  • Color  Protection – Formulated to prevent fading and maintain the brightness of colored garments.
  • Fragrance and Dye Free – For people with allergies or sensitivities to fragrances and dyes, these detergents avoid such additives.

Specialty detergents work best with their intended use cases. Therefore, it is not recommended to use it with regular laundry and check the label before buying. 

Since specialty detergents are used for gentle washing purposes, it is best to use them with front-load washers. Because front-load washers have gentle wash cycle settings, you can customize the wash options for your requirements.


  • Targeted cleaning action
  • Gentle on fabrics
  • Can be used for sensitive skins


  • May be expensive
  • Cannot be used for all laundry types
  • May require pre-treatment for tough stains

These are the different types of detergents available today and you now have a clear idea about each one of them. 

Now we shall find out how to choose the right type of detergent for your requirements.

How to Choose the Right Detergent Type?

We have mentioned the best use case for each detergent type in the above section. With that information, you can use this step-by-step guide to choose the best detergent for your requirements:

Step 1 – Consider your Laundry

Have an idea about the different types of fabrics you normally wash. Understand the color, material, and type of stains you may get in your laundry. This is the first step in choosing the detergent type.

Step 2 – Assess your washing conditions

Once you know about your laundry, find out the type of water available in your home. Because hard water requires specially formulated detergents. 

Then, find out the type of washing machine you have. Because the efficiency, solubility, and effectiveness of detergents vary according to the washing machine type.

Finally, consider the water temperature you prefer to wash your laundry with. This will help you to choose the right type of detergent.

Step 3 – Identify special requirements

If you have any special laundry like baby clothes, sportswear, delicates, etc. you should consider it too. Also, if you have any issues with the septic system, then you should try to consider choosing a detergent that is friendly for the septic tank.

Step 4 – Trial and Compare

Based on the above steps, choose some detergents and use them for your laundry. Buy in small quantities and test them out. 

Analyze the washing performance of the detergent and choose the best one. Check how the stains are removed, how the fabric feels, and how the color gets retained after every wash.

Step 5 – Cost and Benefit Evaluation

Compare the cost and benefit of each detergent type before you come to a conclusion. Find out how much you are able to spend every month for laundry and find out how much it costs for every load you wash.

This will help you to choose the best detergent that is economical, effective, and efficient.

Scroll to Top