Laundry is a chore. Whether you’re doing it at home or digging out the quarters for a trip to the laundromat, it’s something you must do to keep your clothes fresh and clean. But how much do you know about the detergent you use in every wash? Here are five interesting things you may not know about laundry detergent.
There Used To Be Some Unique Ingredients
Before modern detergents were an option, people had unique methods for cleaning clothes. Making soap with ingredients like ash or sulfur was commonplace. One soaking method was to place clothes in concentrated urine, referred to as chamber lye.
Chemical Detergent Was Invented To Ration Soap During World War 1
During World War 1, it was common to ration the animal fats used in soap. In 1916, German chemists created new synthetic cleaners using coal tar and enzymes that specifically cling to fabrics. This composition was the birth of modern detergent as we use it today, but stores didn’t commonly sell the product to households until the 1950s.
The Smell of Clean Laundry
Everyone loves the smell of clean laundry, and there are so many different scents to enjoy. Some prefer the smell of lavender, and others go for the classic cotton freshness. No matter how you like your laundry to smell, detergents achieve these scents by incorporating aromatic sulfonic acids right into the detergent.
The Number One Seller
People may prefer different detergent brands, but one brand has been the highest selling for over 70 years. Another interesting thing you may not know about laundry detergent is that surveys show that Tide brand detergent outsells competitors, such as Gain and Arm & Hammer. Considering Tide came out in 1946, brand loyalty has carried them a long way.
It’s Not Just for Laundry
Mixing your detergent with additives like bleach and water will transform it into a cleaner that’s efficient on far more than clothes. You can even use detergent’s chemical properties to unclog a drain by pouring a ¼ cup down the drain and following it up with a gallon of boiling water. The same way your detergent loosens and removes unwanted particles from your fabric will also unclog your drain.
Laundry detergent is such an everyday household staple, but one that many people don’t think about enough. The next time you toss a load of colors in the wash or clean your sheets over the weekend, you have a better understanding of the hardworking chemical that keeps your laundry smelling fresh and clean.