What's on your washing powder box?

If you’ve ever given your washing powder box a close read-over, you might have noticed that most manufacturers advise you to use differing amounts of their powder depending on whether you live in a hard or soft water area.

Why is this? Put simply, hard water isn’t good for washing with – apart from causing a nasty mineral build-up that can reduce the life of your appliances, it can leave your clothes looking dingy and feeling harsh and scratchy to the touch. To achieve the same sort of wash you would get naturally with soft water, you might need to use washing powders that have high levels of detergent.

However, detergents aren’t without their problems either. They may get clothes white in hard water, but they’re pretty awful for the environment and they can cause skin irritation too – some of the chemicals used in them are even considered potential carcinogens. Detergents contain phosphates, which break down the minerals in hard water to make cleaning more effective, but at a considerable cost to the planet.

All this makes a pretty compelling reason to wash with soft water – and if you’re living in a hard water area, you can do this very easily by installing a water softener in your home. Soft water means you can wash with powders that are much more eco-friendly (and kinder to clothes and your skin) – in fact, we’ve even developed our own washing powder that’s designed to give the best results from a softened-water wash.

When you’re washing clothes in softened water, the savings just keep stacking up – you’re using cheaper powder and less of it; you can wash at a lower temperature to make a saving on your energy bills; your machine itself lasts longer and even the fibres on your favourite clothes won’t wear out as quickly.

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