(Information was taken from the Laundry Detergent Experiment – Science 9 – Block B – Semester 2 – Mr. Horton for this post. )
The challenge that I investigated was which laundry detergent cleans better. Does a higher price point always equal a better clean? Or does it have something to do with the ingredients? I investigated by using warm water and multiple laundry detergents with a coffee stained rag stain.
- 15 ml of each Detergent using Hot Water
- 5 Beakers
Hypothesis: We think that the more expensive detergent will wash better because of its higher price point.
Procedure (Stirring for 10 Minutes Each)
- Stain rag with Coffee the day before.
- Cut up rag into 5 pieces.
- Wash a rag in hot water using NO DETERGENT (Control Group).
- Wash a rag in hot water using 15 ml of Detergent (No Name Brand).
- Wash a rag in hot water using 15 ml of Detergent (Tide).
- Wash a rag in hot water using 15 ml of Detergent (Sunlight).
- Wash a rag in hot water using 15 ml of Detergent (Woolite).
- Compare to see Results!
The first question I asked were what ingredients were in the laundry detergents? Did laundry detergents with a certain ingredient clean better than with a one that didn’t have the certain ingredient? With some research, I was able to find the ingredients for Tide, Sunlight and Woolite but could not find the ingredients of the No Name brand.
No Name Brand Ingredients: UNKNOWN
- alcoholethoxy sulfate
- linear alkylbenzene sulfonate
- propylene glycol
- citric acid
- sodium hydroxide
- alcohol sulfate
- polyethyleneimine ethoxylate
- sodium fatty acids
- diquaternium ethoxysulfate
- diethylene glycol
- laureth 9
- alkyldimethylamine oxide
- disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate
- sodium formate
- calcium formate
- polyethylene glycol 4000
- Liquitint™ Blue (a dye)
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Ethoxylated Lauryl Alcohol
- Sodium Dodecylbenzene sulfonate
- Sodium Citrate
- Sodium Cocoate
- Alkylbenzene sulfonic acid
- C12-16 Alcohols Ethoxylated 7EO
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium hydroxide
- Coconut Acid
- Tetra sodium glutamate diacetate
- Sodium chloride
- Proprietary inert filler
- Sodium formate
- Butylated hydroxytoluene
All of the detergents have a variety of ingredients. Since Tide cleaned our rag the best, I believe that it perhaps may not be a certain ingredient that cleans the best but rather the number of ingredients. Compared to the other detergents that we know the ingredients of, Tide has the most. More ingredients could mean a better clean but this may not be the best. Too many chemicals is not beneficial to our health and we must lookout for the harmful ingredients in the detergents we buy.
The second question I asked was how long should we wash our rags for to see the results? If we didn’t wash the rags long enough we would not see any results but we also didn’t want to be washing our rags for too long. I found that 10 minutes is enough time for the stain to dissolve and we were able to see the results.
After the rags dried over the weekend, my group concluded that the Tide detergent cleaned best. Although the stain was not completely gone, it had mostly faded away. Though I must admit, the other detergents came close to Tide. My hypothesis was proved wrong by these results. I felt confident that Woolite will clean best because it was quite expensive compared to the price of the other detergents. This experiment showed a good example of how a higher price point does not always equal better quality.
As reflected in the post, I am proud of how well the experiment went and the results and work produced was of high quality. A lot of time and effort was put into the experiment and the hard work definitely payed off!