Product Test Spectacular: Gravy Bread Examines 2x Concentrated Laundry Detergent

March 24, 2008

As savvy shoppers know, the current spate of outrageous grocery inflation is not something that has suddenly happened in recent months but has been continuing unabated for many years in the form of a deceitful, backhanded form of inflation that we all know as product downsizing—a form of inflation that doesn’t get counted by the bogus Consumer Price Index. That’s why the “regular”-size $1 paper towel roll is now as thin as a baseball bat and the Sun Ships that were 11.5 ounces last week are 10.5 ounces this week. The reduction in bag size is so slight that the corporate scumbags hope you won’t notice. And I wouldn’t have been able to tell, if it weren’t for the grocery still leaving the old ounce size on their shelf price tag. Caught red-handed.

One tell-tale sign that a product has been reduced in size slightly is a redesign of the shape of the container or a change in the label design. (“New design, same great taste!” is a typical diversionary strategy. What the new label should say is “Same product—and less of it!”).

It’s because of these tactics that I have been leery of late to buy any of the downsized laundry detergent bottles that are now pretty much all that is offered in every store now. From Target to Kroger to Wal-mart and beyond, these 50-percent reduced in size laundry detergent bottles are now the de-facto size on every shelf. I still had an old 120-ounce (“plus 20 percent bonus”) or 38-loads size of Purex detergent in the laundry room. So, for the sake of comparison I decided to go ahead and buy the new Purex 2x-concentrated formula 60-ounce (“plus 20 percent bonus”) or 38-loads size that is now being offered instead (at the same price at Target of $3.49).

To compare the old formula against the new 2x formula, I simply washed two large loads on the large/cold setting on my washer. Into the first load I poured one cap of old formula Purex (up to the fill line, which is about 3/4’s from the top of the cap). For the second load, I poured the new 2x formula into the new bottle’s smaller cap up to its fill line. Just to make sure, I poured that into the old bigger cap to see if it came halfway up the fill line of the old cap, and it did. Theoretically, half the amount of the new formula should produce the same amount of suds as the old formula and get the clothes just as clean.

Well, let’s see.

The following photo sequence shows the procedure described above, and I’m happy to report that the suds produced by both products were comparable and the cleansing power of both was the same.

Ultimately, this all begs the question: Why did the detergent companies sell us watered-down product all these years, in huge, bulky non-biodegradable plastic containers that are horrible for the environment?