Please clear this up for me once and for all - bio washing stuff

(48 Posts)
FreshWest Tue 20-Aug-13 21:49:10

I've read here that bio washing detergens "don't work" at higher temperatures.
Please can somebody clarify what aspect doesn't work, the cleaning part or the bio part? I'm very confused. I use bio liquid and most washes are at 30 or 40. However I wash my towels and bedding at 60, does this mean I'm wasting my time or does the hotter wash still kill germs 'n' stuff?
I feel like I'm going in circles trying to find the answer on google.

If anybody knows please share and there's cake in it for you.
<then I'll shuffle off and try to find my life>

e1y1 Tue 20-Aug-13 23:48:41

Ooh all excited, this is my area (v.sad I know). Biological detergents have enzymes in the them, enzymes are naturally occurring organisms; they are used in bio detergents to "digest" certain stain groups - as they are good at this. At temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius, they start to "die off" so the enzymes that were there become less effective/not there at all. This isn't bad in itself (unless you have washing with stains on them which would benefit from having a detergent with enzymes). So when you do the towels on a hot wash, you won't have any enzymes, but the hot water will be enough for cleaning/removing germs. However, if you have a load with stains on them, you would need to keep the temp to 30 to 40 degrees as this is the temp the enzymes work best at. If you're worried about germs, what you would want to be concerned about is the type of detergent you're using, liquid detergent doesn't contain any oxygen based bleaching agents (which is used in detergents for laundry disinfection) only powder detergents contain this (except colour care or eco versions of powder) so when you use a bio liquid detergent on a high temp, because there are no enzymes anymore you're essentially using a detergent with a brightener and perfume. There's no enzymes anymore and there was never any oxygen bleaches. HTH

Terrorvision Tue 20-Aug-13 23:52:10

E1y1, what's in non-bio detergents? I was always bamboozled by bio/non-bio. Am in Australia where they don't mention it ...

VileWoman Tue 20-Aug-13 23:58:45

The main ingredient in both biological and non biological powders is sodium carbonate, or, as it's more commonly known, washing soda. And (dons pedant's hat) enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts, not biological organisms themselves. At too high a temperature they cook and so don't function anymore.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Aug-13 00:03:56

ooh, this is handy cause I'm confused by this stuff.

When I lived abroad, I used normal washing powder, cause they don't have bio washing powder.

I used a colour care washing powder, and a black wash one for black clothes and jeans. I haven't been able to find the black wash one in UK yet.

Am I reading this right - the bio washing powder still has bleaching agents? So I would need a colour care one, or liquid tabs that go straight into the machine?

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:07:58

Non bio detergents are basically the exact same as bio except enzymes. What makes detergents vary is the format (whether powder or liquid based) the below may not be right for Australia, as each country has different laundry cultures and therefore detergent products vary too between markets.

I will try and explain (I will tell you the main ingredients that matter)

Bio powder = Oxygen bleach + optical brighteners + enzymes + scent + tiny bit of soap

Non bio powder = Oxygen bleach + optical brighteners + scent + tiny bit of soap

Colour care powder = Enzymes + scent + tiny bit of soap
(no oxygen bleach or optical brighteners as this is what fades colour - although some colour care products are now using optical brighterners as it can give colours a brighter look but also can cause a whitish hue over time?)

Then onto liquids (stay with me smile )

Bio = same as powder except NO BLEACH AGENTS

Non bio = same as powder except NO BLEACH AGENTS

Colour care = exact same as the powder

I will let you all sleep now grin

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:18:33

mime woolite do a darks wash detergent - seen it in Tesco also Tesco do an own brand darks wash detergent called Protect.

CointreauVersial Wed 21-Aug-13 00:23:23

I have a tiny crush on e1y1.

MrsTwgtwf Wed 21-Aug-13 00:26:50

I think she wants to marry me though, CV.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Aug-13 00:27:08

So could I use bio liquid tabs for whites and colours, and the black stuff for black/denim? Or would I be better with colour liquid tabs for the coloured stuff? Don't want it to fade.

We have had our washing machine and tumble dryer put into a cupboard and now discovered that the drawer doesn't fully open so it is a real faff to get powder into it (and gets the drawer messy, which I can't clean without removing both machines from the cupboard!)

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:29:20

blush thank you both, didnt think my laundry obsession would get me admiration smile

KellyHopter Wed 21-Aug-13 00:29:22

Me too!

KellyHopter Wed 21-Aug-13 00:30:50

Love that you got all excited about the subject grin

So is powder better then? If you were to have just one laundry detergent which should it be?

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:36:41

Liquid tabs are not the ultimate best for whites as no uk liquid detergent at the moment contains bleaching agents, so overtime whites would go dingy as no bleach being used. The best would be powder or powder tablets for whites and then liquid or colour care detergent for colours.

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:37:25

If I had one and only one. I w

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:42:07

Oops posted to early, if I had one and only one, it would have to be bio powder, as it has enzymes for stain removal, bleaching agents for brightening and disinfecting. I'd have to put up with a tiny bit of fading. To be fair though, a normal detergent isn't go to completely strip colour from your clothes - they just won't be as colourful as they could be if you used a non bleach or colour care product, and even then, colour care can only do so much - after so many washes the fabrics will lose some colour. Only way of it not doing is not to wash them

MmeLindor Wed 21-Aug-13 00:47:44

[joins in the girlcrush]

Thanks, will steer clear of the liquid for the whites then.

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 00:53:52

Head won't fit through door now, grin

Liquid will do an ok job as it still has optical brighteners, but not as good as powder will do it, as that has bleaching agents (obv except colour care powders).

The ariel adverts angers me, as does the vanish adverts - as if you use detergent (whatever type) and add the ariel/vanish stain/whitener product - you're basically adding whats already in a normal bio powder anyway (granted its in a slightly higher concentration, but it's still the same ingredients)

LongTailedTit Wed 21-Aug-13 01:31:14

I remember a thread from ages ago where a poster gave us her DHs top tips: he was a washing machine repairman.

Basically, always use powder, straight into the drum (or in a ball thingy).

He reckoned liquid in the drawer was a biiiig no-no, as it gunked up the insides, and powder in the drawer wasn't great either.
I think he just hated all liquid detergents due to the residue they left behind.

I switched to putting it straight in the drum, and our washing doesn't go stinky if left overnight anymore, so maybe he had a point!

tharsheblows Wed 21-Aug-13 04:16:02

Total hijack, although I hope no one will mind:
e1y1, what causes those oily looking stains on clothes sometimes? It's not oil, I mean, it's not from something oily spilled down my top. I seem to get it when I use powders, although it might be something else. It definitely is from the wash!

I am totally loving this thread. I am in the US in the moment and have been amazed at how well the laundry detergents here now work. It used to be that the UK ones were better. A few days ago I was wondering if some sort of environmental standard has been relaxed...

This thread is useful! I never thought about my laundry choices before tonight. I just use liquid in the drawer because it's less messy. I use non bio for no particular reason, because I always have. Should I switch to bio powder? I might give it a go! It looks like that's the best for stain removal and brightening?

Now, is it the bleach in the powder that stops it causing mold in the machine like liquid does?

I'm trying to make my DM use powder as she gets mold and she closes the door after every wash, tight, and leaves things to soak overnight.

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 09:01:41

tharsh yes I know exactly which oily stains y

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 09:09:22

... This phone.
starts again smile

tharsh Those stains are caused by fabric softeners usually. If its this, pretreat with a boy of detergent on the stain and rewash

ehric Yes powder is better at brightening as this contains bleaching agents

mrs terry Yes powder will do much more to prevent mould due to the bleaching agents being present. No UK liquids contain bleach, and not certain if other countries formulations do, but in the UK they literally cannot manufacture bleaching agents into liquid detergents (at the moment anyway)

e1y1 Wed 21-Aug-13 09:11:14

*bit of detergent, not boy smile

JoinTheDots Wed 21-Aug-13 09:15:02

Best thread ever. So useful!

I will be buying some powder in the next shop, as I currently use liquid in the drawer and it is just not always doing the job.

Maryz Wed 21-Aug-13 09:27:03

Can I join in the ely love, and ask a question please?

Is there any way of really getting whites white? I've seen all the ads, tried all the crappy expensive options like vanish and whatever, but still struggle a bit.

Now it doesn't bother me (the odd miniscule almost invisible leftover tomato ketchup isn't the end of the world), but ds has Asperger's and won't wear anything that has any stains on it at all. He also buys a lot of white stuff, for example expensive white aertex shirts.

Once these have a stain of any kind, or staining under the arms, he won't/can't wear them. Is it possible to bleach the shite out of them? I've tried soaking in Napisan, but it doesn't seem to do it, so I need an industrial strength bleach of some time. I really don't care if they fall apart.

Sorry for hijack (and I use Persil biological powder, as dd is allergic to some of the others, but I could wash ds's stuff separately if necessary).

AnyoneButLulu Wed 21-Aug-13 09:34:08

Yes Maryz you can use cheap "thin" scentless bleach from the cleaning aisle of the supermarket - it should contain instructions on it for use for bleaching clothes.

I have bio liquitabs for coloureds/delicates, and a big box of powder which I use for whites - it's the only sensible way.

Clary Wed 21-Aug-13 09:39:56

Also loving e1y1's work on here.

Put the whites (big sheets) in the wash today with the green bio powder (for bleaching properties) an took care to turn down to 40 degrees (for the enzymes) grin

Maryz I have used smart price bleach on clothes before, but don't forget about them as too long = disintegrated clothes! I used it with success when I accidentally dyed XH's white trousers pink grin

Maryz Wed 21-Aug-13 11:50:12

Thanks Lulu an dEhric smile

By bleach, do you just mean the chuck down the loo bleach?

How long is too long do you think? Bearing in mind I would rather they fell to pieces than came out still stained, as it's killing me to watch these almost new clothes just sitting there, with one or two teeny blotches.

If it works, I'm going to try dd's revolting school shirts. And I'm not really mean - I would buy her new ones, but she doesn't want new because they are scratchy, apparently hmm

Fecking teenagers.

FreshWest Wed 21-Aug-13 12:02:23

Wow I didn't think this thread would be so popular. I'm so glad I'm not the only one perplexed by this! Lots of cake for e1y1 as promised.

I guess I should stick with bio in that case but maybe switch to a powder. I generally wash on 40 anyway and not really a separating kind of gal so things are just chucked in together. Except dark jeans. And dh cycling stuff.
It's only bedding and towels that get washed at 60 and they're never filthy, just in need of a wash iyswim. I also tumble dry these (controversial I know) to make sure any bugs are properly dead.
Thanks again. This may be the most popular thread I've ever started <how sad grin >

Maryz Wed 21-Aug-13 12:02:57

We are all saddos grin

Clary Wed 21-Aug-13 12:06:13

Freshwest I have to ask, does your name have a Pembrokeshire connection? smile

Sleepathon Wed 21-Aug-13 12:08:31

Great thread!

I cleaned the washing machine drawer the other day and couldn't believe how much gunk and mould had accumulated so have stopped using powder and bought the liquid capsules that just go in the back of the drum.

But reading this fan y going back to powder.. Somebody mentioned just putting it in the drum rather than using the drawer, is this ok?

ImFineThankYou Wed 21-Aug-13 12:12:16

Oh my goodness this is the thread for me!grin

Do I need fabric softener? Really? If not, what can I use to make things soft? Not bothered about smell.

Can you just put powder in the drum or does it need to go in a ball dispenser thing?

I've got aldi bio powder should I use that for whites and lights and get the colour powder for colours and darks?

I like to wash towels and bedding really hot, what to use? Bio or non? They're white btw.

Should I have non bio powder too? What's non bio better for?

Thank you!

FreshWest Wed 21-Aug-13 12:12:22

One more question, the bleaching agents in powder - what do they DO? Is it just brightening or is there another function. Cos if its just brightening (which I don't really care about) then I might just keep using my liquitabs and not have to rearrange my cupboard to accommodate a box of power!

Apologies of this questions has been answered, I keep re reading this thread and may need a lie down in a minute confused

ImFineThankYou Wed 21-Aug-13 12:14:34

Oh and I'm confused, do I wash bedding at 40 with bio then a hot wash? Will stains not come out at a high temp?

How can I be so confused about this?! confused

FreshWest Wed 21-Aug-13 12:15:15

clary yes it does! Named after one of our favourite places, though live a bit too far away to be there as often as we'd like.

moonbells Wed 21-Aug-13 12:22:08

OK, I knew about the bleaching agents etc. We use Ariel bio liquid plus Oxiwhite Vanish powder on DS's school uniform shirts at 40C. Good combination or not? They don't seem to be too grey yet and have survived YR attached to a dirt magnet grin

For the coloureds we use normal Vanish plus liquid. I often wonder if this will fade them in time... or whether better just to use bio powder and skip the Vanish, just spot-removing stains with Stain Devils? (Oil on my work tops is a bastard if I don't use the SDs, and I have v greasy complexion)

For maintenance washes the drum gets Bio powder at 90C; I guess from the above info that the bio would be useless but the rest of the ingredients would be what cleans the machine?

flowers and cake for e1y1

PigletJohn Wed 21-Aug-13 12:36:32

on the question of enzymes, which will be denatured by heat...

unless, like me, you have a (rare) hot-fill washing machine, your wash will always start cold. There will be a period, while the heater is working, when the water comes warm but not yet hot enough to stop the enzymes working. With some cool washes it may never get that hot.

If you're doing a maintenenace wash, to remove the sludge which is mostly soap and softener, a hot wash and washing soda will clean it away. I see no point in trying to reduce the soap residue by adding more soap. Give it a hot hot wash with no powder and see if the water goes grey and foam. If it does, that's the soap residue dissolving. Do it again until it stays clear. the washing soda is good for cleaning away soap sludge, and also grease residue.

Liquids seem to lead to sludgier machines, but my opinion is that it's because they are mostly used at lower temperatures.

If you use liquids for delicates and colours, and powder for hot white washes, it seems to me that the machine seems to stay cleaner.

YY to putting the powder or liquid into the drum, it prevents soap sludge and mould in the drawer and its aperture.

Clary Wed 21-Aug-13 13:54:42

Ahhh Freshwest we were there 2 weeks ago on a glorious sunny afternoon with the tide racing in and giant waves - bliss.

Wish we could live nearer too smile

LongTailedTit Wed 21-Aug-13 14:13:28

Maryz You could try sing a bleach pen on the small stains - should have them in big supermarkets. Or just use Vanish to get the stain out as per their irritating adverts! Though e1y1 said upthread that Vanish is basically just slightly more concentrated washing powder.

ThisOneThatOne Wed 21-Aug-13 14:24:51

Thread of the week! I'm going to print this off and read it properly when the DC have gone to bed, then stick it on the fridge grin.

Btw, I find Ace bleach good for clothes stains - better than Vanish!

MrsTwgtwf Wed 21-Aug-13 16:15:26

A bleach pen? Such a thing exists? My life is now complete. [I am serious.]

MrsTwgtwf Wed 21-Aug-13 16:18:22
MrsTwgtwf Wed 21-Aug-13 16:20:04
tharsheblows Wed 28-Aug-13 17:18:52

Belated thanks to e1y1 for answering my question!

I'm back in the UK now and the laundry detergents aren't as good. I'm so curious as to why - the US leapfrogged over the UK wrt this, the UK used to have the better laundry washing products.

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