Laundry Sheets vs. Powder: Which Is the Better Detergent?

Laundry Sheets vs. Powder: Which Is the Better Detergent?

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Laundry detergent

Laundry Sheets vs. Powder: Which Is the Better Detergent?

Explore our ultimate guide to the benefits and potential drawbacks of using powder detergents or laundry detergent sheets. Detergent sheets are...

Written by: Isabella Gallart
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Explore our ultimate guide to the benefits and potential drawbacks of using powder detergents or laundry detergent sheets.

Detergent sheets are quickly becoming one of the most popular products in the laundry industry today, but how do they compare to the powder detergents that have been used for generations? In this article, we'll give you everything you need to decide for yourself which product is best for your life and your laundry.

Laundry Sheets vs. Powder Detergent: How They Compare

While you may find products out there that are exceptions to the rule, here’s how our research found sheets and powder generally compare:

Laundry Detergent Sheets

Powder Detergent

Cleans, Brightens, and Deodorizes

Dissolves Easily in all Water Temperatures

Environmentally Friendly, Non-Toxic Ingredients

*Only some brands

Great for Sensitive Skin

*Only some brands

Plastic-Free Packaging

Convenient Measuring and No Mess

Cost-Effective

*True for select brands or products.

Key Takeaways

Ever since the first powder detergents were invented in 1907, they've been a standard on laundry room shelves all across the country. More traditional, less goopy, and often more affordable than liquid detergent, powder detergent is, to many, a product that needs no improvement.

Even so, a newcomer to the laundry game may provide even more convenience and benefits than those offered by even the most beloved powder laundry detergent: detergent sheets. Lightweight, eco-friendly, inexpensive, and exceptionally versatile, laundry detergent sheets seem to match or exceed powdered detergent in all the categories that matter.

Laundry Detergent Sheets vs. Powder Detergent: 7 Main Differences

detergent powder

In many ways, powdered laundry detergent can be seen as the predecessor of detergent sheets due to their typically eco-friendly packaging and affordable cost. That said, powder detergent and sheets have several significant differences that set them apart.

1. Cleaning Performance

Traditionally, many powder detergents use formulas with a higher pH level in order to fight stains and dirt more effectively. This feature, combined with whatever surfactants are included in the powder itself, makes it an excellent choice for heavily soiled clothes. Laundry detergent sheets, like HeySunday's, often avoid high pH levels due to their potential effects on consumers' skin, including irritation, dehydration, and even disruption of your skin's healthy bacteria.

Instead, our detergent sheets use additional plant-based surfactants (seven in total!) to help lift coffee, dirt, and grease stains and keep your clothes as clean as the day you got them.

2. Environmental Impact

Over the years, study after study has come out about the potential risks of traditional liquid laundry detergents and detergent pods. From the harsh chemicals in their formulas to their use of problematic plastic containers, many environmental organizations agree that they're an ecological nightmare. Beyond filling up landfills at an astounding rate, these heavy jugs and laundry pods also have a larger carbon footprint due to increased weight during shipping.

Fortunately, both powders and laundry sheets avoid this issue almost entirely, with the majority of brands offering cardboard or other plastic-free packaging. By doing so, they remove one of the primary environmental issues facing the laundry issue.

In our opinion, either powder or sheets make an excellent choice for those looking for an eco-friendly laundry detergent, but we always recommend checking to make sure that your detergent brand of choice matches your eco-friendly ideals!

3. Storage and Portability

Compared to large, awkward jugs of liquid detergent, powder laundry detergent is a far more convenient product in terms of storage and portability. Rather than struggling to pour precise amounts of liquid into each load, you can simply scoop from your powder container without moving the entire thing.

Put side-by-side with laundry detergent strips, however, it's a much different result. Even beyond the convenience of powders, detergent sheets are unbelievably lightweight, and their pre-measured portions make it a snap to choose the right amount for each load.

Additionally, powder detergents can be more susceptible to clumping due to humidity. If you live in a high-humidity area, it may be more convenient in the long run to choose detergent sheets, which are typically more resistant to airborne moisture and clumping.

Finally, detergent sheets are, by far, the best option for traveling. Whereas powder or liquids can spill when carried in luggage, customers can toss a few sheets into their bag without any worry about messes when they get to their destination.

4. Fabric Safety

Just like overly alkaline chemicals can have a negative effect on your skin's health, detergents and soaps with a high pH may damage certain fabrics. Specifically, textile experts say that alkaline detergents run the risk of damaging natural fibers, such as cotton or wool.

And, while not all powder detergents use exceptionally high pH levels to achieve their cleaning power, the practice is more prevalent in powder than in detergent strips. To make matters worse, the vast majority of detergent brands fail to disclose the pH of their products, making it all but impossible to know for sure whether your clothing is safe.

Conversely, many detergent sheets are specially formulated to include only plant-based ingredients that are gentler on fabrics of all types. This means that you can rest assured that your detergent is doing its job by prolonging the lifespan of your fabrics—not shortening it.

5. Water and Washing Machine Compatibility

One of the primary drawbacks of traditional powdered detergent is the problems consumers face with different types of machines and water. For some, a cold water wash cycle with powder can mean unsightly residue that leaves your clothes looking dirtier than when they went in. For others, powder residue and buildup can cake to the inside of your machine, making it necessary to clean your washer more frequently. This problem is made worse by the potential overuse that comes with any powder or liquid detergent, with excess detergent only adding to the problem.

With detergent sheets, machine compatibility can go either way. For certain brands, you may need to limit usage to hot water or high-efficiency machines. That said, HeySunday sheets dissolve perfectly in either hot or cold water, work in all machines, and can even be used to hand wash clothing with no fear of residue.

6. Cost

Historically, powdered detergents have been viewed as the more affordable choice compared to liquid detergents or pods. Because powders typically offer a more concentrated detergent, they often need less per load than liquid varieties, and their minimal cardboard packaging further cuts costs. Overall, you can expect to pay between $0.20 and $0.35 per laundry load, on average. Remember, however, that this value can change due to overpouring or spills, so the true cost may be slightly higher.

Contrary to what people expect from eco-friendly laundry sheets, many brands are as affordable as even the most competitively priced powder detergents. HeySunday, for example, costs only $14 for 60 loads worth of sheets, or about $0.23 per load. While this is our price for repeat subscribers, we also offer free shipping to help keep rates as low as possible, and HeySunday customers can always tailor the frequency of deliveries depending on how quickly they go through detergent.

7. Availability

Generally, it's easy to find most powder and liquid laundry detergent brands online or in big-name stores. For some, this offers the convenience of snagging a new jug or box of detergent when you go grocery shopping.

For our sheets, we do our best to beat that convenience by delivering directly to your door as frequently—or infrequently—as you need. After you've ordered your first envelope and gotten a feel for how long it lasts, simply head to your HeySunday account and adjust the delivery frequency to match. That way, you never have to worry about running out again!

Why We Recommend HeySunday Detergent Sheets

If you talk to consumers about their favorite tried-and-true powder detergent, it’s the affordability and cleaning power that keeps them coming back, but we’ve found that laundry sheets can match this performance—and do more.

When we first founded HeySunday, we did so to solve a major problem with existing detergent sheet brands. Specifically, our research showed us that although some sheets cleaned well, some sheets were eco-friendly, and some sheets were priced affordably, very few were all three. Today, we're proud to be part of that "very few."

At only $0.23 per load with free shipping, seven powerful surfactants, and minimalist packaging to eradicate waste, we work hard to make our products everything you deserve out of a detergent. We're so confident in these sheets, in fact, that we offer a full money-back guarantee if you're unhappy with your purchase for any reason—no returns required.

Written by Isabella Gallart — Updated on Nov. 17, 2023

Isabella Gallart is the founder and CEO of HeySunday. HeySunday was founded on the belief that even the most mundane tasks, like laundry, can be infused with joy and ease. Through HeySunday, she hopes to reimagine daily routines by providing eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets and creating delightful customer experiences, reflecting her commitment to customer satisfaction and environmental stewardship
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