Everything You Need to Know About Detergents

When you go to the store for your monthly shopping, soap, shampoo, hand wash, dishwashing liquid, and other types of detergents are usually part of our monthly purchases. Detergents form an important part of the family shopping basket and a significant portion of store shelves are filled with various detergents from different brands.

Which detergent brand do you buy? How much attention do you pay to the label and ingredients of detergents? What are the differences between the various types of detergents? How do we choose the most suitable detergent to get the most value for the money spent on these products? To find answers to these questions, we first need to gain a better understanding of detergents.

In Iraq, like in other countries, manufacturers have responded to the increased importance of hygiene and market demand by producing various detergents for different household applications. One of the leading industrial groups in this field in Iraq is Swiss Rose Co. , which, through significant efforts, not only meets a substantial part of the domestic demand but also contributes significantly to the country’s economic growth through exports.

Why is it important to understand detergents?

Detergents are among the most widely used and consumed chemicals in homes, and their usage has significantly increased, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19, making life without them almost unimaginable. But are we using these products correctly? Could they pose any risks to our health and safety? Are all types suitable for our use? Which ones should we use?

You might have encountered similar questions. To find the right answers, here are a few key points to help you choose the appropriate detergent.

Environmental Impact: For many of us, the environmental impact of what we buy is very important. If protecting our only habitat matters to you, it’s better to use phosphate-free detergents and avoid anionic detergents, as these are hard to break down in nature. For example, laundry powders are usually anionic, while liquid laundry detergents are typically non-anionic.

Personal Health: Your skin or that of your family members might be sensitive to detergents. You might have seen people experiencing redness, skin inflammation, and itching due to certain laundry detergents. To avoid or mitigate this issue, it’s best to pay attention to detergent labels and choose products with a lower pH.

Specialized Applications: Another important point in choosing detergents is that due to the wide usage of these products and the diverse needs of consumers, each type of detergent is designed to meet specific needs. Understanding this can lead to selecting the right detergent for our current requirements.

Types of Detergents

The earliest archaeological evidence of detergents dates back to substances similar to soap around 2800 BC in Babylon. For a long time, soap was the only detergent available to humans. However, soap alone was not sufficient to meet all the hygienic needs of modern humans. We needed various detergents for the hygiene of our hair, body, clothes, and dishes.

A glance at the detergent shelves in stores reveals the diversity of detergent types. Today, detergent manufacturers offer specific household cleaning products for every application to best meet the needs of all consumers. Here, we will review some types of detergents.

Types of Shampoo

Given the importance of hair hygiene, shampoos are among the most widely used detergents. There is a specific shampoo for every type of use and hair type. No one wants to deal with hair loss or dandruff, so to achieve the best possible results, it’s important to use the shampoo that suits your hair type.

One type of shampoo is baby shampoo. Because infants’ and children’s hair produces less oil than adults, it is essential to use baby shampoo, which has a neutral pH, for washing their hair. For adults, there are various shampoos tailored to their specific hair types and needs.

For dry hair, a shampoo that increases moisture is suitable. Therefore, if your hair is dry, use shampoo specifically designed for dry hair. Conversely, those with oily hair should not aim to add more moisture to their hair. These individuals are more prone to dandruff, so it is better to use shampoo designed for oily hair.

For those with normal hair, shampoos for normal hair are available. If your hair is dry or damaged, or if you use hair dye, you should complement your shampoo with a conditioner. Conditioner helps repair hair by hydrating it and results in more manageable hair.

Another category of shampoos includes therapeutic and specialized shampoos, such as anti-dandruff, anti-hair loss, and hair strengthening shampoos. It is advisable to consult your doctor before using these to achieve the desired result. Besides hair shampoo, there is also body shampoo, which is a suitable alternative to soap. Typically, the pH of these shampoos makes them more suitable for individuals with sensitive skin compared to soap.

Hand Wash Liquid

Hand wash liquid and liquid soap are good alternatives to bar soap. Using liquid hand wash is more convenient. Moreover, the pH of some hand wash liquids is adjusted to be more suitable for sensitive skin compared to soap. In workshops and industrial settings where various substances like grease need to be cleaned off hands, an appropriate hand wash liquid can perform better.

Types of Laundry Detergents

The hygiene of clothes and various fabrics is crucial to personal hygiene. In addition to cleaning fabrics effectively, detergents must also protect their shape, color, and texture and protect the washing machine. Therefore, detergent manufacturers have introduced various types of laundry detergents to the market to meet the wide-ranging needs of all consumers.

For hand washing clothes, there are various types of hand-washing laundry powders available. For machine washing, we can use either machine laundry powder or liquid laundry detergent. Many of these products contain enzymes that help remove stains more effectively. These enzymes are biodegradable and pose no threat to the environment.

For washing black clothes, besides general liquid laundry detergent, there is also a special liquid detergent specifically for dark and black clothes. This detergent is more suitable for dark and black garments, as it helps prevent fading and white residue.

In addition to using laundry powder or liquid detergent for washing clothes or towels in a washing machine, we can also use fabric softeners. Fabric softeners prevent the fabric from becoming dry and rough, resulting in softer and more delicate fabrics. Using fabric softeners alongside laundry powder or liquid detergent also aids in easier ironing and reduces static electricity in the fabrics.

Types of Dishwashing Detergents

Another significant use of detergents is for washing dishes. Dishwashing liquid for hand washing dishes is one of the most commonly used detergents worldwide. For dishwashers, we can use dishwasher powder, gel, or tablets.

In addition to these detergents, using dishwasher salt can improve results. Dishwasher salt helps with water softening, leading to better cleaning and protection of the dishwasher. Another auxiliary product is the dishwasher rinse aid, which reduces the surface tension of water, preventing mineral deposit stains and speeding up the drying process, making the dishes shine brighter.

Types of Surface Cleaners

One of the most commonly used surface cleaners is bleach. Generally, there are two types of bleach: chlorine-based and oxygen-based. Oxygen-based bleach is more environmentally friendly and less toxic. Another commonly used household cleaner is glass cleaner. There are two main types of glass cleaners:

  • Ammonia-based glass cleaners
  • Ammonia-free glass cleaners

For cleaning visible dirt from various surfaces, multipurpose cleaners can be used. One advantage of this type of cleaner is its suitability for different surfaces, saving costs on purchasing multiple cleaning products. Additionally, products like multipurpose cleaners and surface disinfectants not only clean visible dirt but also eliminate various bacteria and viruses on surfaces.

Important Tips for Using Detergents

The vast variety of detergents can be somewhat confusing. One important tip is to pay attention to the information labels on these products. Also, noting that each product is designed for a specific use can help us use them correctly. If you or someone around you has sensitive skin, use detergents with a suitable pH to reduce allergies.

Important Tips for Using Shampoo

When choosing a shampoo, always use one that suits your hair type. For protecting dry hair and oily hair, it is crucial to use shampoos specifically designed for dry and oily hair, respectively. People with dry and damaged hair, or those who use hair dye, should use conditioner alongside shampoo to better hydrate and repair their hair. Children should only use baby shampoo. Remember to consult a doctor before using therapeutic shampoos.

Important Tips for Using Laundry Detergents

Before washing clothes, separate black, white, and colored garments. For best results, wash black clothes with a detergent specifically for black clothes. Always read the care labels on clothes before washing. Nylon and polyester fabrics can be washed easily in the washing machine without concern for water temperature. Acrylic fabrics are best washed with warm water and fabric softener. For synthetic fabrics like rayon, use cold water in the washing machine.

Due to the delicacy of silk fabrics, it’s best to have them dry cleaned. Wash jeans preferably by hand, and cotton and linen clothes can be machine washed with a suitable detergent. For washing woolen clothes in the machine, use liquid detergent. When using fabric softener, do not pour it directly onto clothes and remember to add it during the final rinse cycle.

Do not use bleach on colored fabrics. Although chlorine-based bleach is stronger than oxygen-based bleach, it should not be used on delicate or woolen fabrics. If you have sensitive skin, opt for oxygen-based bleach. Always dilute bleach with water according to the product instructions when using it on fabrics.

Important Tips for Using Dishwashing Detergents

When using a dishwasher, if you are using classic dishwasher tablets, use dishwasher salt for better results. The optimal temperature for using dishwasher tablets is 50 to 55 degrees Celsius. To make the dishes shinier and minimize mineral deposits during drying, use a dishwasher rinse aid. Mineral deposits in the dishwasher can reduce its performance, increase energy consumption, and shorten its lifespan. To prevent this, especially in areas with hard water, use dishwasher salt.

Important Tips for Using Surface Cleaners

Some glass cleaners contain ammonia. Despite the benefits of ammonia in glass cleaners, these products can damage materials like leather or vinyl. Therefore, be careful not to use them on sensitive surfaces. Do not use glass cleaners on wooden surfaces or LCD and LED screens, and always wear gloves when using them.

When using disinfectants and multipurpose surface cleaners, wear gloves and avoid direct contact with skin and eyes. If these products come into contact with your eyes, rinse with plenty of water for 10 minutes and consult a doctor.

Never mix bleach with ammonia or acid solutions. Like all cleaning products, keep bleach out of reach of children. If accidentally ingested, drink some milk and seek medical attention immediately. When using bleach, wear gloves and avoid contact with skin and eyes, and do not inhale the fumes. Also, do not use bleach on metal surfaces.



Gaining knowledge about detergents leads to household cost savings and improved quality of life and hygiene by using the appropriate cleaning products. With a better understanding of the types of detergents now, we can choose the right one more effectively. One of the most important tips in selecting detergents is to consider their specific applications. Paying attention to the descriptions and information on the detergent packaging helps us significantly in making the right choice.

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