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Laundry Detergent Sheets vs Liquid: Which is the best

laundry detergent sheets vs liquid

Laundry is a chore we all face, and choosing the right detergent can make a significant difference in both cleaning power and environmental impact. Over the years, I’ve tried various laundry detergents, from the classic liquid form to the more innovative detergent sheets and here’s what I found.

As a general rule laundry detergent sheets come out better in most categories including ease of use, size and weight and eco-friendliness. For heavy stains liquid laundry detergent is better due to being able to pre-treat clothing and there is a perception that liquid detergent is cheaper.

In this article, I will share my personal experiences and insights into the pros and cons of both options, considering factors like ease of use, detergent weight, storage, shelf life, transportation, packaging, eco-friendliness, and, most importantly, their effectiveness in tackling tough stains.

But if you are keen to get a summary of how liquid detergent and laundry detergent sheets stack up here’s a handy comparison table.

Laundry Detergent Sheets Vs Liquid Detergent

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AspectLaundry Detergent SheetsvsLiquid Detergent
Ease of UseConvenient, pre-measured sheets, no spillsvsPouring, requires careful measuring, potential for mess
Detergent WeightLightweight, easy to transportvsHeavier, can be cumbersome
Detergent StorageMinimal space required, stackablevsTakes up more space
Detergent Shelf LifeShorter shelf life, needs proper storagevsLonger shelf life, can last several years
Detergent TransportationLower carbon footprint, easy to transportvsHigher carbon footprint, size and weight is restrictive
Laundry Detergent & TravelLightweight and compact, perfect for travellingvsBulky, prone to leaks during transportation
Packaging/RecyclingMinimal packaging waste, often eco-friendly vsPlastic bottles, potential for plastic waste
Eco-Friendliness/Zero WasteOften zero-waste ingredients, pre-measured sheets avoid wastevsVaries by brand, potential for plastic waste
Detergent EffectivenessEffective for oil, grease, grass, and mud stainsvsEffective for oil, grease, grass, and mud stains
Pre-Treat Stain RemovalLimited pre-treating capabilityvsEffective for pre-treating stains
Detergent UseSuitable for both top-loading and front-loading machinesvsSuitable for both top-loading and front-loading machines
Suitable for HandwashingLess convenient for handwashingvsIdeal for handwashing due to pourable nature
Use in Hard Water AreasGenerally suitable for hard watervsSome formulations have built-in water softeners
Detergent CostPerceived as more expensive per loadvsCost-effective, especially when purchased in bulk
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What are Detergent Sheets

Detergent sheets are a relatively new entrant to the laundry detergent market.

They come in the form of thin, dissolvable sheets that are pre-measured for convenience.

These sheets are designed to dissolve in both hot and cold water, making them suitable for various washing machines and water temperatures.

What is Liquid Detergent

Liquid detergent, on the other hand, has been a laundry staple for decades.

It’s a liquid solution that can be poured or dispensed into a detergent compartment in your washing machine.

Liquid detergent comes in various formulations, from standard to concentrated, and is known for its ability to tackle a wide range of stains and soils.

Ease of Use

When it comes to convenience, detergent sheets have a clear advantage and it’s a benefit that I love.

The sheets come pre-measured which totally removes the need for measuring cups or guessing the right amount to use.

Just grab a sheet, toss it in the machine, and you’re good to go.

No spills, no mess, and no need to handle a bulky detergent container.

Liquid detergent, while not overly complicated, requires more attention.

Pouring liquid can be messy, and overpouring can lead to detergent waste.

Additionally, measuring the correct amount for different load sizes can be a hassle.

Detergent Weight

One notable advantage of detergent sheets is how lightweight they are.

I find that laundry detergent and softener are usually the heaviest part of my grocery shop.

Since laundry detergent sheets are thin and compact, they are much lighter to handle compared to their liquid counterparts.

Whilst I don’t live in an apartment block I can only imagine this reduced weight can be especially beneficial if you need to carry your laundry detergent up several flights of stairs.

Liquid detergent, in contrast, can be heavy, especially if you opt for larger containers to save money.

Detergent Storage

Personally, I think laundry detergent sheets are way better when it comes to storage.

They come in a flat, stackable package that takes up minimal space on your laundry room shelf.

No more cluttered cabinets filled with bulky detergent bottles.

Liquid detergent, however, demands more space.

Those large plastic jugs or bottles can be cumbersome to store, and they often occupy a significant portion of your laundry room real estate.

Detergent Shelf Life

Typically liquid laundry detergent has a longer shelf life.

Liquid detergent can last for several years if stored properly.

This is a considerable advantage if you buy detergent in bulk to save money.

Detergent sheets, while convenient in many ways, can have a shorter shelf life due to their more delicate nature.

They may degrade faster if not stored in a cool, dry place. It’s essential to use them within a reasonable timeframe to ensure they remain effective.

Whilst perhaps a disadvantage I tend to use laundry detergent as I buy it so the chance of it going out of date is very slim anyway.

Laundry Detergent Transportation

Whether manufacturers make their laundry detergent in the country they sell them, transportation is a real concern.

There are two problems with liquid detergent that affect our carbon miles, the size of the detergent packaging and the product weight.

With liquid detergent being much bulkier and heavier the carbon footprint to transport this kind of detergent is high.

Compare this to detergent sheets where the packaging is thin and the weight is low, companies that produce laundry sheets are able to keep their impact on the environment much lower.

Laundry Detergent and Travel

Travelling with laundry detergent can be a real hassle.

This is another area where detergent sheets have a clear edge due to their lightweight and compact packaging.

My family and I will often book a rental cottage for our holiday and I always like to take laundry detergent with me in case I need to wash anything whilst we’re away.

I used to pack as small a bottle of liquid detergent as I could find but laundry sheets have changed all that.

I now take a pack of laundry sheets which is so much less bulky and heavy.

Even if you were travelling for an extended period of time they are so easy to slip into a backpack or tote bag.

In addition, with liquid detergent, you always have the concern about leaks which you don’t have with sheets.

Detergent Packaging / Recycling

Detergent sheets often come in cardboard or paper-based packaging, which is generally more eco-friendly than plastic containers.

Liquid detergent, on the other hand, is often packaged in plastic bottles.

While some brands have made efforts to use recycled or eco-friendly plastics, plastic waste remains a significant environmental concern.

Recycling liquid detergent bottles is essential, but it’s not always as straightforward as recycling cardboard.

Eco-Friendliness / Zero Waste

If like me you are committed to reducing your environmental footprint, detergent sheets are a very sound choice.

Pre-measured doses as well as very often (if not in all cases), eco-friendly ingredients make them a strong contender in the zero-waste laundry detergent category.

Whilst things have gotten much better in recent years, liquid detergent can vary in terms of its eco-friendliness, with some brands offering eco-certified and biodegradable options.

However, the overall environmental impact can be greater due to the plastic packaging and the potential for overuse.

Detergent Effectiveness

Now, let’s delve into the critical aspect of any laundry detergent: its cleaning power.

Oil & Grease

In my experience, liquid detergent performs slightly better when it comes to removing oil and grease stains.

If you simply have a greasy pizza stain on an item of clothing then both types of detergent do well however pre-treating clothes that have tough oil and grease stains undoubtedly gets clothes cleaner during the first wash.

Grass & Mud

When it comes to grass and mud stains in my experience there’s little or no difference.

Detergent sheets tend to perform equally well as liquid detergent when dealing with these outdoor stains.

They dissolve quickly in water and disperse evenly, effectively targeting the soiled areas.

Pre Treat Stain Removal

One drawback of detergent sheets is their limited pre-treating capability.

I’m sure you know that with liquid detergent, you can apply a small amount directly to a stain and let it soak before washing.

Detergent sheets lack this versatility, which can be a disadvantage when dealing with stubborn stains that need extra attention such as oil and grease as already mentioned.

Laundry Detergent Use

Machine Types

laundry liquid detergent top loader washing machine

Detergent sheets are versatile and compatible with both top-loading and front-loading washing machines.

Their dissolvable nature ensures they can be used in a variety of machines without clogging or residue issues.

Liquid detergent is also suitable for most machines, but some high-efficiency front-loading models may require specific types of liquid detergent.

If you are in any doubt make sure you check your machine’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Laundry Detergent and Handwashing

For handwashing, liquid detergent often takes the lead.

Its pourable nature makes it easy to dispense the desired amount directly onto the fabric.

You can also control the concentration of the detergent solution more effectively when handwashing.

Detergent sheets, while not impossible to use for handwashing, may require dissolving in water beforehand, which can be less convenient.

What I found was that not all of the laundry sheet was necessary for just a couple of items so I ended up cutting a sheet with scissors which worked out fine..

Detergent Use in Hard Water Areas

Hard water contains minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of some detergents.

In such areas, liquid detergents with built-in water softeners or additives designed to combat hard water can be more effective.

Detergent sheets, while generally suitable for use in hard water, may not have the same built-in capabilities.

Detergent Cost

Finally, the cost factor can play a significant role in choosing between detergent sheets and liquid detergent.

Detergent sheets are often perceived as more expensive on a per-load basis.

However, their pre-measured nature can help prevent overuse, ultimately stretching your detergent budget further.

Liquid detergent, especially when purchased in bulk or during sales, can be cost-effective.

However, the potential for overpouring can negate these savings if you find yourself using more than necessary.

The real cost of course is in the environmental impact.

Until manufacturers of liquid laundry detergents resolve issues with ingredients and packaging I can’t see them being a viable option anymore.

Laundry Detergent Sheets – Our Top Pick

Our Top Pick

Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

  • Experience a powerful clean with Earth Breeze.
  • Our Eco Sheets are made for your sensitive skin.
  • Hypoallergenic, vegan, bleach-free, paraben-free, and phosphate-free.
  • Save space, you can fit 12 packs of Earth Breeze in the same space as 1 plastic jug.
  • Plastic-free packaging
  • Reduce your carbon footprint simply by switching from bulky, heavy detergent..


Ultimately, the choice comes down to your individual needs and preferences.

For me, I’ve found a balance by keeping both options in my laundry room.

Detergent sheets are my go-to for everyday loads, providing a hassle-free and eco-conscious solution.

For the rare occasion when I encounter stubborn stains or need to handwash delicate items, I turn to liquid detergent for its versatility and stain-fighting power.

In the end, the laundry detergent you choose should align with your priorities, whether that’s sustainability, convenience, or effectiveness.

Regardless of your choice, rest assured that both detergent sheets and liquid detergent can help you achieve clean, fresh-smelling clothes for you and your family.

Products Featured in this Article

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  • Only the best products make the list

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