Liquid vs Powder Detergent: Which One Is Best?

Let’s talk laundry—the art of filling a washing machine with soapy suds that scrub away dirt and grime for fresh, clean clothes that look and feel like you just brought them home. When filling the wash basin with your whitest white linens or getting ready to wash colored clothes, do you reach for a liquid or a powdered laundry detergent? 

If you’re on the fence about whether liquid vs powder detergent is better, keep reading for a deep dive into the saponaceous world of laundry soap. 


Pros & Cons Of Liquid Detergent

Let’s start with the ever popular liquid laundry detergent. Available in scented, fragrance free, color safe, sensitive, and more, you can find a liquid laundry detergent to fit almost any wash requirement. 

How does liquid laundry detergent measure up when it comes to getting your clothes clean? Let’s check out the benefits:

  • Easy to measure and pour – Liquid laundry detergent arrives ready to use, complete with an easy pour spout and handy measuring cup, so you can add the correct recommended amount of detergent without spilling a drop. 
  • Works well in any water temperature – Whether you’re treating your linens to a jacuzzi tub or an ice bath, liquid laundry detergent will be just as effective regardless of the temperature. 
  • Effective on grease stains – The surfactants in liquid detergent formulations are especially potent at tackling oily stains, so you can worry less about a stray meatball or sous vide sauce splash. You can even use liquid detergent in pre-treating stains prior to a regular wash cycle. 

Here are the aspects we wish liquid detergent could raise their standards on:

  • Price point – Special formulations backed by science in a ready to pour container makes liquid laundry detergent more expensive than the powder laundry detergent, but it can be worth spending a few extra dollars for the convenience of an easy, excellent clean.
  • Using too much can harm your washer – When used correctly, liquid laundry detergent is safe for your washing machine. However, when you get in the habit of using too high of a dose in your laundry loads it can negatively affect your washer, causing buildup that can harbor mold and clog pipes. 
  • Environmental impact – If you have pets or children, you have probably asked yourself, is laundry detergent safe? Some liquid detergents contain chemicals like phosphates that can have a negative impact on the environment once they work their way into the water table.1 If you switch to biodegradable plant-based liquid laundry products, you’ll be helping to keep your clothes and the environment clean. 

Pros & Cons Of Powder Detergent

Now that you know all the highs and lows of liquid laundry detergent, it's time to see how laundry powder compares when it comes to cleaning power. 

Power detergent benefits include:

  • Tackles tough outdoor stains – Powdered laundry detergent offers powerful cleaning for your dirty clothes. For people who spend a lot of time in the dirt and grass, like gardeners and teenage soccer players, the powdered detergent does a fine job getting those seemingly impossible stains out. 
  • Budget friendly – Powdered laundry detergent is easy on the budget, and since a little goes a long way, one box will last a long time. 
  • Easy to make at home – Since powdered detergent typically contains just a few simple ingredients like borax and laundry soap, making your own laundry detergent powder at home is a budget-friendly option. 

While economical (both in usage and on the wallet), laundry powder can backfire:

  • Bulky boxes – Powdered detergent doesn’t usually come in the sleek, easy to maneuver containers of their liquid counterparts. The boxes are bulky, and if you’re making your own powdered detergent you need to supply your own container. 
  • Loses efficacy in cold water – Powdered detergent needs to fully dissolve in the wash water to be effective. When you do a cold water wash with laundry detergent powder, they don’t have the help of heat to disintegrate completely before the wash cycle is complete, leaving your clothes less clean and detergent clumps to clog up your washing machine. 
  • Leaves detergent stains – Having the wrong ratio of powdered detergent to water could lead to unwanted detergent stains on your clean laundry. Since washing powder is so sensitive to water temperature, you’re more likely to get detergent stains from this type. Although these accidents can happen with trial and error, knowing how to get detergent stains out of clothes will help to revive any garments with dreaded stains. 

Powder vs Liquid Laundry Detergent: The Better Choice for Your Home

With all these points and counterpoints in mind, is powder or liquid detergent better? While it’s hard to say definitively either way, liquid detergent seems to come out on top of this sudsy battle. 

If you’re leaning towards liquid detergent for your top pick, go for a plant or bio-based variety that is gentle on you, your home, and the planet, like our Charcoal Rose Laundry Detergent

Give Your Clothes A Refreshing Clean With Archipelago

Whether you’re taking care of a pesky stain with spot cleaner or folding your freshly laundered linens, choosing the right cleaning supplies for your chores will make your task as easy as a gentle summer breeze. 

At Archipelago, our collection of plant-based cleaners are infused with the same inspiring essential oils as our candles and body care, so you can enjoy the calmness and tranquility of your favorite fragrance as you give your home oasis a refreshing deep clean. 


  1. Sciencing. Chemical Water Pollution Caused by Every Day Detergents.
  2. Good Housekeeping. The best type of laundry detergent: is it liquid, tablets, or powder?
  3. Whirlpool. Powder vs. liquid laundry detergent: Which is better?