The 3 Big Concerns Behind Industrial Strength Soap
What Makes a Good Commercial Laundry Detergent?
Laundry detergent is one of those things that almost all businesses need on some level, but no one really wants to think about it. There’s nothing sexy about soap, unless being clean counts as an attractive force, but “not gross” isn’t so much a positive attribute as just not a horribly negative one. The point is you don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out what laundry detergent to use, you just want something that will do its job and not get you in trouble with the EPA somehow. Fine. This won’t take a lot of time (I mean, this whole thing totals less than 500 words. You can handle that). Here are the three main things you should consider in the brief moments you allow yourself to think about commercial laundry detergent.
Concentrated Strength aka “Does It Work”
Obviously the strength of a detergent is the most important component for a business. The kinds of laundry that hotels, animal hospitals, and hog farms need to clean on a daily basis require something with a lot more kick than your cozy scented home detergent. For this reason, a lot of commercial detergents contain some fairly hazardous substances like nonylphenol, phosphates, and various forms of inorganic compounds, but it’s not that these businesses don’t care about the environment, they just care a lot more about getting all the blood and poop off their clothes. Of course, there are always alternative options to chlorine-based commercial detergents, but who’s keeping track?
Generally, it’s much much harder to get a laundry soap approved for home use (that involves dealing with the CPSC), so the stuff you’re putting in the washing machine to clean your kid’s clothes is pretty green. Commercial laundry soap doesn’t have quite the same rigorous approval process, though. It varies business to business, but in most cases, so long as a laundry soap effectively kills germs without making something explode it’s good to go. But back in 2009-ish there was a lot of public pushback against the use of phosphates in dishwasher soap, and it was only a matter of time before that spread to laundry detergent. So over the last couple years, there’s been a rise in phosphate-free or septic safe detergents. The problem is that phosphates were one of the primary ingredients behind soap’s industrial strength, so some companies have been struggling to find recipes that can match that old strength while minimizing the environmental impact.
Pricing versus Content
Buying in bulk is standard practice with industrial laundry detergent, but not every gallon of bleach concentrate is made equal, and certainly not every detergent is made equal. Some clean much faster and more effectively than others, but might come at a higher price, so you have to do a little math to work out if the stronger cleaning and faster cycles are worth the extra dollars per gallon.