beware the cheap washing powder

I have a front loader washing machine and when I purchased it Omo washing powder was recommended as being the best option.  Most other washing powders back then were for top loader machines, front loaders weren't all that common yet.

When I lost my job I discovered that Omo was too expensive and looked around for an alternative. I found Duo, and it was available in a front loader option. It was very cheap, very effective and didn't make my skin itch or my clothes smell funny.  I'm a bit fussy about things like that.
I've used it ever since. When it is on special at any supermarket, I buy as many as I can afford and stash them in the back porch cupboard.

Just last week, I saw in The Reject Shop, boxes of Duo in a 2.5kg size for only $6. Woo-Hoo! I said and went to the city and bought some.
Today I used it in my machine.......

The powder is much finer than the regular supermarket boxes, almost like talcum powder, so I used less. When the wash was finished and hung out, I opened the soap powder dispenser drawer to wipe it out, as I do, and found this>>>>

a big solid lump of congealed washing powder 8cm x 2cm, and a few smaller pieces that hadn't been dispensed into the machine. (Some was dispensed, I know because I saw suds as the clothes sloshed around).

I don't like this and I'm wondering if repeated use will clog up the machine, drains, filters, whatever.
I'll try the next wash with even less powder and if it all gets dispensed.....well, I still don't know.
Just because the dispenser drawer is empty, doesn't mean there isn't powder particles elsewhere in the drain hoses etc.
I bought three of these big boxes and I've thrown away the receipt, but as far as I know, The Reject Shop is the only place that sold these recently, so I'm taking back the two unopened ones.
I'll keep the opened box and use it up for handwashing or soaking.

I don't want to have to worry every time I do a load of washing.
The machine is too important to me, I've had it a long time and certainly can't afford to replace it.


  1. Can you dissolve it in water and put it in like a liquid detergent??

  2. Our front loader does that if someone (not mentioning any names but it isn't me) is too generous with the amount of powder he adds. Whatever brand.
    It has happened a few times, but I haven't noticed any lasting ill effects when smaller amounts are used.
    And yes, replacing the washing machine is a dreadful thought.

  3. Try breaking it up and dissolving it before putting it into the machine, I doubt it would block the pipes anyway. I use Coles dishwashing liquid ($2.00 per litre) for washing both dishes and clothes. Washing powder companies make ludicrous claims, all based on people's insecurity. Soap is soap.

    Lady S (an invention of mine) whose husband owned a soap making factory said: "During an economic Depression the lower orders don't just move to a cheaper brand of soap; they stop washing altogether."

    How's that? Do you like that?

  4. A Farmer's Wife; I hadn't thought of that, but doesn't a liquid dispenser have a different drawer fitting? A friend has a new front loader and his dispenser drawer has a removable cup type thing which is used for liquids. Mine is an old machine, almost 20, and liquid detergents weren't around then for front loaders.

    Elephant's Child; I plan on using a lot less for my next wash and see how that goes. I'm pleased to hear there have been no lasting effects for your machine, perhaps I won't return the other two boxes. They're quite heavy and I'd have to lug them on a bus, then through the city blocks.

    R.H. it's already a very fine powder, the lump you see above was left behind after the wash was done. I don't usually believe all the soap companies claims, if you read the fine print the brands are all from the same company.Most of them anyway. I've made jokes about joining the ranks of the great unwashed, but I don't think I can. I like clean.

  5. Ai-yi-yi!

    Sometimes the very things that are meant to help us actually increase our work load...


  6. We had to stop using powdered laundry detergent because it did damage to one washer and caused drains to back up for both washers. We have units on the second floor and in the basement. We use liquid and pour it in as the tub fills. Don't know how that would work with a front load.
    Keep us up to date on your problem.

  7. I use the earths choice one, I put the water on the garden and I don't itch, all the other make my skin itchy but it is expensive but you do use much so it lasts forever.

  8. I have been to many stores that sell the off-brands. Have bought the products. Have sworn to never do that again! Sorry about your drains.

  9. Pearl; ai-yi-yi indeed. I'll give it a few more washes, with much less powder and see how it goes. Maybe use hotter water too.

    Joanne; I've always used powder, just never from the cheap store. I won't be buying it again that's for sure.

    Mimsie; I've never used the Earth's Choice one, my daughter has and I didn't like the way her towels smelled after. Now she is using the Planet Ark one, she chops and changes.

    Susan Kane; the drains aren't blocked at all, I've only used the powder once, I'm more concerned about the machine hoses. It's the same brand powder I usually get, just a much bigger box and a much finer powder.

  10. Wow, looks like mashed potatoes grown bad...

  11. Had a similar problem with powders in our front loader when we first bought it.
    Dissolving the remaining contents (to finish the box up) before putting it in was a pain in the butt. Too fiddly and messy.
    I switched to Earth Choice liquid for front loaders - super economical as it's concentrated. Washes so well. Great on sensitive skin. I love it. And, a bottle lasts for ages.

  12. Happy Elf Mom; the mass was a little sparkly, it pit me in mind of those crystals kids grow in science class.

    Vicki; I've decided to return the boxes to the shop and stick with my regular powder. My old machine doesn't have a cup for dispensing liquids detergent, only the one for fabric softener.

  13. I'm surprised your washing itself didn't have any powder sticking to it. I've had that happen with washing powders in the past. I have a top loader so now use liquid Dynamo which goes a long way. That is available for top and front load machines. Back in the 1960s I had a front load Hoover which I think was a Hoover Keymatic that had a 'key'. A square thing with different programmes depending on which way the key was inserted. It worked well but I don't think they kept making them. Actually it was when my first husband and I split up so I never knew how long that machine lasted. It was an ingenious idea at the time.
    I wonder if places like the Reject Shop actually do sell rejects of products that haven't turned out right? Seems strange that the powder you bought from them is a different consistency to the one you normally buy.
    I am always very cautious about those shops as money saved is unfortunately sometimes money wasted.

  14. River it wasn't me that suggested the Earth's Choice powder. I'd not heard of that brand but then I seldom do the shopping these days so am way behind knowing what's available any more.

  15. That's odd... I have a front-loader too but have gone back to using Omo (I can usually find it on special and buy two to last for a while). I have used an eco one before (because I want to reduce my carbon footprint and all that) but the last lot I bought said for both front and top loaders... I was sceptical that one powder would work well in both machines and I was right... back to Omo it was then. I hope you find a solution to your cloggy, soggy washing powder!

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