Top 5 Reasons Why Laundry Detergent Is So Expensive

woman looking sad at laundrette

Laundry detergent is something that we all need. Regrettably, buying the stuff is sometimes a frustrating experience because the price is so high. Here is why some detergent products are costly.

Laundry detergent can be expensive due to several factors. These include supply and demand, the manufacturing process, ingredients, the cost of advertising as well as packaging.

We get it. With times being as tough as they are, it can be annoying to shell out so much for laundry detergent. If you want to find out more about how detergent companies can possibly justify this price, then this article is for you!

The Top 5 Reasons Why Laundry Detergent Costs So Much

When we glower at the price of that bottle of detergent (or box of powder), we do not always consider the reasons behind the price tag. Yes, it is very frustrating to meet the price - especially when your budget is tight and knowing that you have to buy detergent over and over again. But perhaps if you know why a good detergent is not in the dollar store then it might smooth some ruffled feathers. 

Here are the top 5 reasons why soapy stuff can get pricey: 

  1. The demand for laundry detergent is great.
  2. The manufacturing process is costly.
  3. The ingredients are not cheap.
  4. Packaging also elevates the price.
  5. Advertising costs.

How Supply And Demand Affect The Price Of Laundry Detergent

washing machines in laundrette

Okay, let’s start by being honest. This one might ruffle more feathers than smooth them. But here is the truth about the commercial world. When something is in demand, suppliers can keep the price up there in the clouds and get away with it. Needless to say, laundry detergent is needed by nearly every household on the planet - so the demand for this product is incredibly high. 

When this happens, some manufacturers are confident enough that even if they keep the price high that customers will buy it. However, these companies are confident for a reason - their laundry detergent is usually a good product that cleans clothes, softens them as promised, and makes your laundry smell fresh.

The only thing that works in the customer’s favour here is the fact that competition between detergent companies are tough. Sure, they can keep the price high but if the product sucks, they know that people will just walk over to the next brand. That is why most of the popular brands are also the best and often feature in the higher price range.

Learn more about how to choose the best laundry detergent for you.

How Does Making Laundry Detergent Affect Its Price?

As far as expenses are concerned, laundry detergent is not something that is easily made. It requires tests, formulas, ingredients, and blending everything into something that works. It is not cheap to produce laundry detergent if you consider that it also includes the following expenses:

  • Running a factory. There are bills for power, repairs, and more.
  • The workforce needs to be paid every month.
  • The packaging (bottles or boxes) for the laundry detergent must also be made or outsourced.
  • Most detergent companies also have to foot the bill of transporting their product to selling points like supermarkets. 

Everything in the manufacturing process could affect the price of your favourite laundry detergent. Let’s pile on the bad news! Sorry. But here it is - the company also needs to make a profit. That profit comes from adding extra to the asking price and that is also why some detergents are so pricey.

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How Do The Ingredients Affect The Price Of Laundry Detergent?

laundry detergent

To make a good laundry detergent capable of removing grease and stains, you need decent ingredients. The best laundry detergents contain several compounds that are designed to remove tough dirt from laundry, brighten those whites, soften fabric, and also to give clothing that wonderful clean smell. These compounds are not always cheap.

What Are The Ingredients Of Laundry Detergents?

Well, some are secret formulas! Okay, it is not really that dramatic but while we do not have the exact measurements and ingredient list of each brand, most laundry detergents have certain types of compounds in common. 

  • Petroleum/crude oil.
  • Surfactants.
  • Builders.
  • Bleach.
  • Foaming agents and regulators.
  • Colour brightening agents.
  • Enzymes.
  • Dyes.
  • Dye transfer blockers.
  • Fillers.
  • Fragrances.

How Does Packaging Affect The Price Of Laundry Detergent?

A flat-screen TV. A tin of teatime crackers. A box of laundry detergent powder. Whatever the product, if it has packaging, the price will also rise. How so?

  • There is the initial designing costs and additional re-designing costs.
  • The sourcing of plastic for bottles and materials for boxes requires financing.
  • The dyes used for colours on the packaging are not cheap.
  • Sealants are required for securing the detergent inside the packaging. 
  • Manufacturing mistakes can also damage packaging and this is often factored into the price. 

How Does Advertising Make Laundry Detergent More Expensive?

If you are an avid TV viewer, you might have noticed something. Certain products are aggressively marketed with TV ads and laundry detergent is one of them. Different brands of laundry detergents all have advertizing campaigns that run most days of the week (if not every day). If you factor in the production costs of filming the ads and the price that the companies pay to run their ads during prime time, then you might rightly get a feeling that the costs of this type of aggressive marketing can run into the thousands.

Somebody has to cough it up. That is right. You already know the name of this person - you! Well, you and every other person who buys laundry detergent. 

Is There An Alternative To Expensive Laundry Detergents?

Remember that good laundry detergent is expensive - with emphasis on “good.” But if this is really getting you down, there is always hope. Here are a few tips to find a great low-cost laundry detergent.

  1. Keep your eyes open for new laundry brands. Very often, when a new company tries to break into the market, they offer a great product at a discounted price - sometimes for months. 
  2. Some stores offer high-quality detergent powder in their own packaging. Since this packaging is usually just plain see-through plastic with a simple label, the costs are reduced. 
  3. The internet is full of recipes for cheap homemade laundry detergent. You can test these to see which one suits your laundry needs and pocket. Many of the recipes are also environmentally-friendly.

Find the best washing powders.

A Quick Summary About Why Laundry Detergent Is So Expensive

  • The high price of laundry detergents make a lot of people unhappy but paying more could indicate that you are getting a quality product.
  • Several factors inflate the price of laundry detergents.
  • These factors include production costs, advertising, ingredients, packaging, and demand. 
  • Most of the costs are inevitable for these companies as it involves the creation and transportation of their product.
  • However, sometimes the great demand for laundry detergent can make some brands take advantage of the situation and they hike the price for extra profit. 
  • There are cheaper alternatives available, including homemade recipes, discounted products, and buying detergent without fancy packaging.

About the Author Harry Thompson

Gaining a BSc Honours in building/ property maintenance at the University of Portsmouth Harry went into the field of renovating properties. Along the journey, he has developed a wide variety of home & garden DIY skills such as installing new kitchens and landscaping gardens.