Laundry Prewashes #3

The second type of laundry prewashes are the enzyme based products.

Enzymes are specialist molecules with names like lipase, protease, cellulase and so on. these are large, complex, biological catalyst molecules with very specific chemical reactive properties. In particular, they catalyse the breakdown of fats, proteins, and starches, which are of course mostly found in foods.

For this reason, they are excellent laundry pre-washes for any food stain. there are two products on the market – Coles Ultra Enzyme and White King. The White King product is the better of the two, and will make short work of most food stains.



Laundry Prewashes #2

As it happens, there are four different types of prewashes on the market. Well, three actually if you read what’s on the side of the packaging.

I’m not making any sense, am I? Well, read on and all will be explained.

The first type of laundry prewash are those that are simply water with a bit of soap and fragrance and snazzy packaging. The idea behind these is that you buy the product because the packaging looks so snazzy, and when you spray it on your clothes, you see a bit of foam, smell a pleasant fragrance, and conclude that the product will probably work.

Often, these products to appear to work, but usually only because you have used a premium detergent that has done all the work. If this is not the case, generally you will shrug your shoulders and say “oh well, this type of stain is difficult to remove anyway.”

And, of course, this is pure marketing. Much more work goes into designing the packaging, and selecting the wording to go on to it then goes into the chemical formulation. And this is only possible because we no longer have the “great unstainer” – Preen (the original solvent-based formula).

So will which brands fall into this category? Well, let’s do it this way – rather than embarrass anyone by naming names, in future posts I will name the ones that do work because they have formulas that contain specialised cleaning reagents, and then you can just subtract these from the list that I gave in the previous post, and the ones that are left over are the culprits.

More tomorrow.

Laundry Prewashes #1

the concept of the laundry prewashed was introduced to us about 30 years ago by Preen. Available in an aerosol or trigger, it was called “the great unstainer” and it was a label that was well earned, as there wasn’t much it would remove.

The key to its performance was a sophisticated, solvent based, formula. Essentially, it acted as a degreaser – the solvent would sorely belies the stains, and the surfactants would help the solvent washout, along with the stains.

It was followed into the market a little later by Sard wonder spray, which was also a sophisticated, solvent-based product.

Times have changed, however. Both of these formulas have now been replaced by water-based products, and their performance is nowhere near what it used to be. This has now opened the market up to many other brands, as anyone can toss a few active ingredients into water, put some pretty labelling on the product and sell it as a pre-wash.

So now as well as Preen and Sard we have free watches made by White King, Planet Ark, Orange Power, Earth Choice, as well as several offerings from Coles and Woolworths.

Do any of them work?

Well, as it happens, some of them do. Although it is the case that the move to water-based products has resulted in a loss of performance compared to the solvent-based products, it is also the case that modern advances in enzyme technologies have allowed some of these products to perform adequately.

So which ones work, and which ones don’t? Stay tuned and we’ll look at it.