The Evolution Of Laundry Cleaning Products

An understanding the evolution of laundry cleaning products can be very helpful when you need to select which products to use. Our 21st-century products and appliances have made doing the laundry a relatively easy task. Although some still despise it, washing clothes is far easier today than it was in Ancient Rome where fullones (also known as washerwomen or laundry cleaners), would stamp their feet on the wet clothing in a large tub, mimicking the rotator motion of the modern-day washing machine.

The Medieval Europeans didn’t have it much easier, often washing their clothes on the banks of rivers, even in the middle of winter. Whether you love it or hate it, doing the laundry is easier now than ever and with a basic understanding of the science behind cleaning, your clothing will remain cleaner, will last longer and will wear better.

Even the Ancient Romans understood they needed more than just water to truly clean their clothing. The fullones would rub a white clay into the wool to keep the clothing fresh and white. The washerwomen of Medieval Europe also realized they needed something more than water to properly do the laundry so a soap made of animal fat was used to remove soils and stains.

In today’s society, we have access to a wide variety of products that keep our clothes incredibly clean and fresh without needing to rub animal fat or clay into them. Whilst our laundry technology has come a long way, history tells us that humans have always understood that water alone is insufficient to clean clothes and something more is needed.


Perhaps what the Romans and Medieval Europeans didn’t realise was that surfactants were needed to reduce surface tension in order to allow water to penetrate the fabric surface. To really clean clothes, surfactants are needed because they change the way water behaves. Without surfactants (also known as active agents), water will simply sit on the surface of the garment.

It won’t go deeper into the fabric to truly clean it. Surfactants play an important role in the cleaning process by helping to break up grease and improving water’s ability to penetrate dirty clothing.

Laundry Liquid & Detergent

With the strength and force of some modern washing machines, some may wonder if detergent is really necessary. Some may find themselves asking if soap is required when so much water and tumbling are already occurring.

The answer is yes as water alone will not clean clothes because it cannot attach to molecules like a soapy detergent can. No matter what setting your washing machine is on, it will never clean as well as it will with a good Laundry Liquid.

Fabric Sanitiser

Aesthetic purposes are one reason we wash our clothes but keeping them fresh by removing odours and germs is another. Think about the number of germs that are on your socks after a soccer game, or the number of bacteria on your favourite pair of jeans after sitting on the train.

Washing your clothes with a laundry sanitiser is essential to ensure a thorough clean as very few laundry cleaners contain an anti-bacterial component. This can be problematic, especially after visiting public places, sitting on public transport and especially after a training session.

The mechanical action of the washing machine simply does not kill germs. Something greater is needed and for stubborn odours, a sanitiser is the way to go.

Fabric Softener

Another key element in washing is Fabric Softener. Have you ever grabbed a towel out of the cupboard after showering, just to pick up what feels like a piece of sandpaper? Often, the culprit behind this is the overuse of detergent. Sometimes detergent can remain on the fabric fibres, making it feel rough.

On the other hand, sometimes too little detergent is the culprit in which case there may have been too few active ingredients to combat the harshness of the water against the fibres. In either case, a fabric softener can help as it reduces friction between fibres. A Fabric Softener can also help to keep your laundry wrinkle free which is a great added bonus.


A prewash can be a helpful addition to your laundry cupboard as you can spray it directly onto clothes or fabric before washing and let it soak overnight. Pre-treating stains can truly help manage the long-lasting impacts on your clothing that occur from spills and slips. Always remember, the quicker you can get to the stain, the less of a chance it has of developing.

Tough Stains

Tough stains such as oil and blood can create a few extra steps in your laundry process. However, with a few key products, you very well may be able to salvage your favourite blouse from the oil that splattered whilst cooking or the remnants of your child’s bloody nose on your favourite white pants.

An Oil Remover and a Blood Remover are crucial in any laundry cupboard as they contain specialised active ingredients which have been formulated to specifically target certain stains. In the world of chemistry, a bloodstain is known as what’s called an Enzymatic Stain and as such, a Blood Remover has additional additives and enzymes which have been purposefully formulated to tackle such stains.

Greasy Stains from Oil or Butter may require an Oil Remover which is also specifically targeted to lift grease whilst maintaining the colour integrity of your garment which is very important.

Ironing Aid

You have prewashed, soaked, sanitised, washed and dried your clothes. What’s next? What else can you do to look after your clothing to make them last longer and wear better? An Ironing Aid of course! An Ironing Aid can be incredibly helpful by working as a gliding agent to help lubricate the garment which helps it to glide easily.

If you have any additional questions about laundry cleaning products, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or (02) 9838 1220.