If you’ve ever stood in the household products aisle of the supermarket and wondered why there are 87 different types of detergent to do one job: laundry, then this one’s for you.

Powder or liquid? Colour, delicate, bio? Do you need different detergents for different clothes? Will using a universal one harm certain clothes? And wait, isn’t conditioner only for hair, do you use it with clothes too? Read on to unravel the mysteries of how to choose the best detergent for your clothes.

Powder or liquid detergent?

Essentially, powder and liquid detergents share the same active ingredients that clean your clothes. Traditionally powders needed to be used with hot water, while you could use liquid detergents with cold water. But Ecover’s Universal Washing Powder is specially formulated so that you can even use it with a low temperature wash and still see dirt and stains gone. At the end of day, it boils down to personal preference sometimes. When it comes to value, you’re getting equally great value and same number of laundry loads whether you choose the Universal Washing Powder or Ecover’s Non-Bio Laundry Liquid. They will both do an equally good job on all your clothes.

What to use for special clothes?

But when it comes to special clothes, what do you choose? If you’re usually washing a lot of different colours in a load, it might be a good option to choose the Ecover Colour Washing Powder. But you might be thinking, do I really need it when I don’t see much difference after a wash? After a single wash you might not see a difference, but this really helps keep the colours of your clothes looking vibrant instead of fading over plenty of washes (we call this “colourfast”). There is actually a difference between washing detergents for whites and colours because the ones especially for whites tend to contain more bleach and are more aggressive against your clothes.

Certain types of materials should be washed separately with the Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid, such as fine fabrics, silks, wool or lace. In the long run they could really suffer from normal laundry detergents, and can lose their colour, become discoloured, shrink or even change in texture – certainly what you don’t want for such beautiful fabrics!

What does a “Bio” wash do exactly? Does it mean its eco-friendly?

You might have seen this word “Bio” on some detergents and wondered if it meant “biodegradable”. Actually it stands for “biological” detergents, which are detergents that contain natural enzymes in them to fight certain types of stains, especially those that are greasy, fatty, or oily. If you sweat a lot in your clothes, or for shirt collars which rub against the natural oils in our neck, for example, a bio detergent would be perfect for the job. If you’ve accidentally spilled spaghetti bolognaise on yourself, or had oil squirt on you from biting into a hot dog – those are stains that will be effectively knocked out by a bio detergent such as the Ecover Bio Concentrated Laundry Liquid.

You can also opt to use the Ecover Stain Remover on specific stains before tossing those clothes into a normal wash.

Do I need special detergents for babies?

It is recommended to wash baby clothes separately from your normal load. Babies tend to have more sensitive skin and cannot take some of the harsher ingredients in normal detergents. “Baby” laundry detergents are formulated so they don’t cause skin irritations. The Ecover Zero Laundry Liquid is perfect for baby clothes because it contains no fragrance, no colourings and no enzymes that could potentially irritate a baby’s skin. It has even gotten the thumbs up from Allergy UK!

Do I really need a fabric conditioner?

If you want your clothes, towels and sheets to be soft and nice, then yes! It kind of does have the same principle as hair conditioner, but for your clothes. There has been some worry about adding additional chemicals after you’ve already washed your clothes, but because the Ecover Fabric Conditioners (which come in two scents, Apple Blossom and Almond and Gardenia and Vanilla) are made from plant-based and mineral ingredients, you don’t have to worry about that.

So as you can see, your laundry regime is exactly what you want it to be, based on your personal preferences, types of clothes, and if you have little ones in your family. Whatever your laundry needs, you can be sure the Ecover has a specially formulated product that’s hard on dirt but safe for your family.