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 Both of these formulas have now been replaced by water-based products, and their performance is nowhere near what it used to be.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.