What's the difference between laundry detergent and soap?
Laundry detergent is a fabric cleaning formula, typically designed with surfactants and enzymes to help cleanse and remove stains. In some cases, detergent with enzymes may be referred to as a "bio" or "biological" formulation. The Laundress Signature Detergent is an enzymatic laundry detergent that's also USDA certified bio-based.
Enzymes are an important part of the cleaning process when washing everyday fabrics, as they help to fight stains and clean fabrics. However, certain enzymatic detergent formulations are not ideal for natural fabrics like wool and silk. That's why it's not advisable to wash wool or silk with normal, everyday detergent.
A laundry soap that does not include enzymes is not the same as a regular laundry detergent. Instead, it may be called "soap," "wash," or go by another name. In some countries, this type of laundry soap is referred to as "non-bio" or "non-biological." Two examples of enzyme-free laundry solutions are Wool & Cashmere Shampoo and Delicate Wash.
How does detergent work?
Enzymatic laundry detergents contain various enzymes, depending on the detergent brand. They are designed to work during the wash cycle to clean your clothes. Each enzyme has a specific target, similar to the way enzymes work during your digestive process. For example, the triple enzyme complex in our Signature Detergent targets visible and set in stains, dirt, oil:
- Protease targets protein stains like blood and grass
- Amylase targets starch stains like sauce, rice, and pasta
- Mannanase targets gum stains like salad dressing, ice cream, and glues
During the cleaning process, enzymes target various particles, which are then suspended in the water by the surfactant system. During the rinse cycle, the particles are washed away.
Do I need a stain remover? Do stain treatments work the same way as detergents?
There are many stain treatment products on the market, and you may be wondering which stain remover is right for you! Stain treatments differ in their functionality depending on the ingredients and type of stains they are intended to treat. Some may act as a pre-treatment before washing (like our Stain Solution), and some may be more of a spot-treat for use outside of the wash.
Enzymatic stain treatments work similarly to enzymatic detergents, but they might be more concentrated depending on the formula. The Laundress Stain Solution contains a powerful triple enzyme complex that's designed to be applied directly to stains before the wash. To maximize stain treatment, pair with our Signature Detergent and wash fabrics on the warmest water the fabric type can tolerate.