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Cleaning Lab

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Detergents Competition

09 October 2012

In the previous article we described in details all cleaning products we let you chose from. Now its time to explain what they do to your clothes and how good they do it. First we bought 4 identical white shirts. We labeled them with names of detergents they gonna be experimented with.
Then we opened our corporate fridge to look for some dirty stuff. Honestly, not much was left, so we gathered 3 things that you would most likely end up on your shirt with... It happened to be soy sauce, tomato sauce and black tea. Yes, coffee should be on the list as well, but we simply ran out of it this morning. Scientifically measured amounts of dirty products were places, smashed, poured on perfectly white shirts. Tomato Sauce (LEFT), Soy Sauce (RIGHT), Black Tea (BOTTOM).

3 shirts were included in the washing machines with regular mixed color clothes. Temperature was set on warm. Amount of detergent used based on each brand's recommendations. 4th shirt got a hard artillery of Clorox Bleach. It was washed only with white clothes in HOT water.
All 4 shirts were dried on medium temperature.

Important: Before we start comparing washing results, need to mention that detergent "Arm & Hammer" did not want to make any bubbles with normal dose of soap. It took twice the recommended amount to see some signs of Hammer and Bubbles.

Comparison


We will test detergents by 3 main criteria: discoloration, softness, stain fighting. Color comparison: First we need to see if any changes in original shirt's color were present. All shirts saved their white perfectly except one that was washed by "Arm and Hammer". This shirt is closer to beige rather than white now.

Fabrics comparison:
- None of these shirts were washed with softener, but there is a big difference in fabrics feeling.
- Shirts washed by "Tide" and "Arm & Hammer" remained soft on touch and no fabrics damage present.
- "Seventh Generation" made shirt feel a bit rougher, no damage present.
- Bleach has made fabrics very rough on touch, not only it lost its softness but threads look much thinner and more damaged than other shirts.

Stain Fighting comparison: None of detergents washed all stains off the shirt.
Picture shown below were adjusted in contrast in order to see remained stains more clear. "Tide" took all stains off except slight stain over the green tea spot. Impossible to notice from more than a couple of feet away. "Arm & Hammer" cleared all stains except the green tea spot. Stain is easy to notice, we wouldn't recommend wearing this shirt on the sunny day. "Seventh Generation" took only one stain off, but remained stains of green tea and tomato sauce are barely visible, but noticeable if you are really searching for it. Bleach did the best job, it did take all stains off, and made shirt whiter than others. But it ruined the fabric and made material weaker.

Washing overview:
- For regular washing and stain fighting we recommend "Tide".
- For sensitive & allergic skin we recommend "Seventh Generation", use softener to avoid the rough feeling of fabric.
- For towels and sheets whitening and stain fighting you should definitely use Bleach with the mix of Tide and Softener.
- "Arm & Hammer" is only recommended for regular clothes wash, no whites and colors mix. It won't fight stains as good as other tested detergents. But it will keep fabric soft and safe from damage.

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