What matters more?

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Scientific advisory board of H&PC Today – household and Personal Care today (TKS Publisher)

I am always amazed when I look at the advertising that the big soapers design for their products, the underlying motivations and how these change with time. When I started working in a major multinational in 1970 “whiter than white” was the name of the game for laundry detergents, running on the presence in the formulations of optical brighteners. In Europe those were the years of drum, front-loading machines, 90°C boil wash, often supported by a pre-wash cycle, phosphate builders, and perborate bleaching.

And then a series of environmental and sustainability considerations led to substantial re-formulations, e.g. the phasing-out of phosphates in favor of zeolites, energy saving and lower wash temperatures and reduced water usage, changes in fashion preferring color to white and synthetic to cotton, So color and fabric safety and respect for the environment progressively replaced the “whiter than white” message. Now all this could not be achieved without some sacrifice in performance that however either went unnoticed or was accepted as inevitable. Of course those nasty lines on collars and cuffs of shirts were a problem, but just rub concentrate ...