Consumer VOICE tested 10 regular selling brands – Ariel, Henko, Ghari, Nirma, Surf, Tide, Rin, Mr. White, Fena and Wheel to know the best detergent-for-washing-machine. Parameters tested included quality, safety, performance, environment friendly and acceptability parameters like packing marking and weight. The samples were tested as per requirements specified in IS 4955:2001 and reaffirmed in 2014 (specifications for household laundry detergent powders). Currently the same are under revision.   It may be noted that the requirement for total phosphate and  sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) has been modified to 2.5 per cent maximum(proposed). The tests were conducted at an NABL accredited laboratory.


Brands Compared:  Ariel, Henko, Ghari, Nirma, Surf, Tide, Rin, Mr.White, Fena and Wheel

Does buying a high-priced detergent Powder guarantee cleaner clothes? What makes the grade, and literally so, since there are grades specified in the national standard for detergent powders, based on active ingredients composition and quality. Sure, they are all supposed to clean our clothes and if they do that effectively enough, what else are we supposed to know that should matter to us? Is it their chemical composition, their quality aspects, their implications for personal health, or their environment-friendliness? All of these perhaps! The test report that follows will tell you how 10 regular selling brands in the Indian market compare against each other. Is it all the same irrespective of price and positioning? Knowing that the most expensive detergent brands cost up to Rs 215 for a kilogram, do they also deliver superior performance?

The tests included detergency, active ingredients, active alkalinity, total phosphates, STPP, ash built-up, foam generation and moisture. The ‘detergency’ test establishes how well detergents can remove dirt from soiled fabrics. Interestingly, our test findings reveal that the costliest detergent powders are the better cleaners. The brands have been categorized into four groups to make comparison within a particular price range;, recommended applications have also been considered while categorizing. The price of these detergent brands varies from Rs 43 per kg to Rs 215 per kg.

The Indian Standard defines three grades of laundry detergent powders – specifically 1, 2 and 3 – on the basis of active ingredients composition, quality and performance. However, none of the brands have claimed/declared their grade as per the Standard, this being a voluntary option as none of them carry ISI mark.

The skin irritation and sensitization tests prescribed in the Standard are to be ascertained by the manufacturers, who are expected to test the safety of their formulation before releasing it into the market.

An environmentally superior detergent is one that uses fewer chemical ingredients. Synthetic surfactants may be replaced by non petrochemical surfactants or vegetable oil soaps; builders like phosphates can be replaced by sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate; sodium aluminosilicate (Zeolite) dyes and fragrances can be eliminated or minimised. Environment friendly packaging can also reduce environmental harm substantially.


  • Surf Excel Matic
  • Henko Matic
  • Ariel Matic
  • Surf Excel Quick Wash
  • Henko Stain Champion
  • Tide Plus Jasmine & Rose
  • Rin
  • Active Wheel
  • Fena Superwash
  • Mr White
  • Ghari
  • Nirma

Parameters Tested

  • Detergency
  • Active ingredients
  • Ash built up
  • Active Alkalinity
  • Total Phosphates
  • STPP
  • Foaming Power
  • Moisture

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