Liquid vs Powder Detergent: Which is Better? A Complete Guide

Powder detergents have been the staple of clothes washing in India for decades. Lately, brands started introducing liquid detergents as a better alternative. Now the question that comes to our mind is, liquid vs powder detergents – which option is better for your clothes? We will answer that and many other questions in our guide about washing machine detergents.

Keep in mind that the right washing machine detergent, whether it is liquid or powder, should be efficient in removing stains without leaving marks or damaging the color of the clothes.While powder detergents always were the more popular option, liquid detergents started dominating the market lately because of their unique features.

Washing machine liquid dissolves better in water, and it doesn’t leave white marks or stains after washing. Of course, the quality of the detergent depends on its formula and the brand, rather than its form. Here is everything you need to know about liquid vs powder detergent and their characteristics.

Liquid vs Powder Detergent
Liquid vs Powder Detergent

Liquid vs Powder Detergent

If you’re wondering whether you should choose liquid or powder detergent, we’ll help you solve the dilemma. Both types of washing machine detergent have their pros and cons.

The main difference between the two is the form (liquid and powder). However, there are several crucial differences that will help you determine which type of detergent is best for your needs. For instance, if you’re looking at things from the price point of view, powder detergent is cheaper than the liquid alternative. If the pricing is not enough for you to determine the winner, keep in mind the following differences.

Stain Removal

Powder detergent is generally more efficient on outdoor type of stains such as mud and grass stains because it contains linear alkylbenzene sulfate. Liquid detergent, on the other hand, is a better choice for oily and greasy stains because of alcohol ethoxylates contained in each bottle.

Ease of Use

Liquid detergent is the more convenient option because it is easier to carry around than a heavy box of powder detergent. Liquid is also easier to pour into the washing machine compared to powder that can easily scatter around on the floor and also in the washing machine tray.

Shelf Life

If you prefer buying in bulk, keep in mind that powder detergent has a longer shelf life because liquid loses its strength over time. Therefore, powder form will last a lot longer and its strength won’t fade if you store properly.


Liquid detergent mixes with water much better and doesn’t leave marks or residue on the clothes. Cheaper powder detergents might not fully dissolve in water, causing your clothes to come out of the machine stained with chunks of residue.

Water Temperature

Powder detergent requires higher temperatures to dissolve properly. This might be an issue if you have a lot of clothes that can only be washed in cold water or if you’re trying to cut down your electricity bill. Either way, it won’t work so well at a lower temperature. Liquid detergent, on the other hand, can dissolve properly and remove stubborn stains at any temperature.

Liquid Detergent Pros and Cons

• Efficient on greasy and oily stains
• Easier to use and transport
• Mixes with water more efficiently
• Dissolves faster
• Doesn’t leave residue stains
• Softer on the clothes
• Works in a variety of temperatures

• More expensive
• Unsustainable packaging (plastic)
• Shorter shelf life

Powder Detergent Pros and Cons

• Cheaper than liquid detergent
• More efficient on stubborn outdoor stains
• Sustainable packaging (cardboard box)
• Longer shelf life
• Doesn’t lose strength over time

• Doesn’t dissolve well in low temperatures
• Might leave residue on clothes
• More difficult to use compared to liquids.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is, both types of washing machine detergents are efficient in their own way. However, liquid detergent is a more versatile option, as you can use it in different temperatures to treat different types of clothing. If you’re looking for a cheaper variant with longer shelf life, then powder detergent is the right choice for you. Either way, the quality of the washing experience will depend on the brand of detergent you choose.

Is liquid detergent a gimmick or it really works?

Liquid detergents appeared on the Indian market so rapidly that people became skeptical about them. The sudden rise in marketing led many consumers to believe that these liquid products are some kind of gimmick designed to make manufacturers a new stream of income.

However, liquid detergents are very far from being a gimmick. In fact, they are the more popular washing machine detergent alternative in other parts of the world, such as Europe and the US. Despite what the skeptics might think, they actually work very well, as long as you choose a high quality and reputable brand in the store.

In which situations powder detergents are preferable over liquids?

If you’re still questioning your decision and wondering whether you should choose liquid or powder detergent, keep in mind that there are situations where powder form is more convenient solution. For instance, if you’re looking to save some money in the long run by buying products in bulk, it is better to buy the ones that have a longer shelf life compared to the liquid that loses strength over time.

Moreover, powder detergent is the more efficient solution if you’re frequently dealing with hardcore stains such as mud and clay. Since they usually comes in a cardboard box instead of plastic packaging, it is more sustainable and easier on the environment. Therefore, if you’re an eco-conscious consumer, this might play a role in your decision making process.


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about liquid vs powder detergent. If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Do I need to use powder along with liquid detergent?

No, both powder and liquid detergents works in a different way in removing stains and there is no need to mix the two of them in the same washing cycle. However, if you wish you can switch between both the liquid and powder detergent, but make sure both of them should not be used at the same time in regular quantities as the concentration of cleaning chemicals would be too high and could damage your clothing.

How much liquid detergent do I need to use?

It is very important to measure the amount of detergent you put into the machine. Otherwise, you can either damage the clothing, make it difficult to rinse, or simply waste too much detergent where it’s not necessary. Keep in mind that liquid detergents usually come with a measuring cup, which is much larger than the actual amount of liquid you need per each load.

In general, only a tablespoon of a strong will be enough for an ordinary load. However, the amount of liquid might vary depending on the size of the load in the washing machine. For larger loads, use 50% of the measuring cup that comes with the bottle.

Is Using liquid detergents more expensive than powder?

Yes, liquid detergent is more expensive than powder detergent. Unless you’re buying in bulk (which is not too recommended for liquid detergents), liquids will cost a lot more than powder.

However, if you keep in mind the benefits of these detergents, the price might not seem like such a big deal breaker. After all, they are much easier to use than powder form and you don’t have to worry about chunks of residue left on clothing after each wash.

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