Washing machine detergent from the past

washing machine detergent Life used to be much simpler. Especially where washing machine detergent was concerned. I’ve just found a fascinating old publication by one of the leading detergent manufacturers, Unilever. Back then even their name was simpler, they were just called, “Lever”.

I’ve had this booklet for over 30 years. One of the sections mentions that a particular wash symbol will have changed, “by 1987”. It’s an expensively produced booklet with a glossy cover. I remember when things like this came bungled with a new washing machine. The thing that strikes me about it is that as the photo below shows, back then they just made 2 types of detergent for automatic washing machines. An “original” automatic washing machine detergent and a “new” biological detergent. They also had a special hand wash only detergent.

Only 2 types of detergent for the washing machine


Too many types of detergent?

These days there are many more types of detergent to choose from. Back then it was just a matter of picking either biological or non-biological, and favouring a brand. It can be argued that detergent specialising in specific jobs such as looking after colours so they don’t fade, whitening whites, low temperature washing and so on makes sense. Are we better off now or just victims of clever marketing? I’ve just checked on their web site and counted 17 different laundry detergent products.

Related articles: See more of my articles tagged with Detergent

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1 thought on “Washing machine detergent from the past”

  1. I do believe that the different types of detergents do serve a purpose for the best clothing care however,

    The thing that is confusing with colour detergents is that some include optical brightener and some do not.

    I know that whilst OBs don’t fade colours, I do feel over time, that they cast a hue on DARKS, so whilst not colours perse, I like a detergent without them sometimes.

    And then, it’s helpful to have a colour detergent with brighteners, for clothes that you don’t want to bleach, but brighten.

    Its just a task. As its so wild between the same brands.

    Persil colour POWDER has them, whereas powder tablets, liquid capsules and small and mighty liquid don’t.

    Ariel POWDER and PODS and LIQUID have them. The colour liquigel doesn’t (Ariel have discontinued colour powder tablets).

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