Concentrated, cold-water laundry detergent

In Europe, 43% of laundry washes are done at 40°C and 17% at 60°C or above, the average laundry washing temperature being 41°C. Reducing the wash temperature from 40°C to cold can reduce energy use by 50-65%. It seems that laundry detergent product innovations, campaigns to wash at lower temperatures, updated washing labels in clothing and the availability of more efficient washing machines have led to an increase in the number of cold washes in Europe. Washing at or below 30°C is on the rise: 32% of loads were washed at 30°C or colder in 2011 (up from 29% in 2008) (laundry data are retrieved from A.I.S.E., 2013).

The development of concentrated cold-water laundry detergent can be seen as a win-win-win business model innovation, because it provides opportunities and benefits for manufacturers (of laundry detergent and new more efficient washing machines), retailers, consumers and the environment.


  • Manufacturer-win: reduced packaging and reduced cost. More products per shipping
  • Retailer-win: Less shelf space, because of concentrated products, more space for other products.
  • Consumer-win: Save cost (energy and water use) on low temperature washes, smaller bottles take up less space
  • Sustainability-win: energy and carbon emissions reductions in product use, packaging reduction which results in reduced resource use, customer education about climate change



Examples of companies who have created or promoted concentrated cold-water laundry detergent include P&G (e.g. Tide, Ariel), Unilever (Small & Mighty) and Marks & Spencer.


The concept of win-win-win business models is introduced in the following article:

Bocken, N., Allwood, J. 2012. Strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of consumer goods by influencing stakeholders. Journal of Cleaner Production, 35, 118-129.  (Table 10 and Figure 3 include the win-win-win business models)