Laundry and dish washing detergents are ubiquitous. Now unit dosing and new delivery methods can make them more sustainable too.

Unit dosing, in tablet and capsule form, is growing in popularity with detergent manufacturers and consumers alike. As product innovation improves the efficiency of detergents, reduces their environmental impact and cuts the dosage requirements, new delivery methods help consumers and the environment reap the rewards.

In 1998, detergents in tablet form were first introduced for laundry (fabric) washing. Since then the sector has grown steadily, and diversified to include dish washing detergents and the introduction of water-soluble capsules. Unit dosing, by tablet and capsule, offers many advantages to the industry, their customers and the environment, including:

  • Reduced packaging
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Reduced shipment weight, therefore, energy reduction
  • Higher sustainability footprint
  • Consumer convenience
  • Reduces consumer detergent overdosing 
  • Environmental benefits of reduced detergents in systems

Avoiding Overdosing

Traditional powdered and liquid detergents rely on the user to measure doses – more often than not leading to overuse and the temptation to add ‘just a little more’ to be sure of good results. The introduction of capsules and tablets means no more ‘guesswork’ for consumers. The dosing instructions are almost self-explanatory – just add the requisite number of tablets/capsules to obtain the best results.

Removing the scope for ‘human error’ has been shown to reduce consumption considerably.


Product development has not only focused on dosing, but also on delivering better results from less product. Detergents today are far more oncentrated than their predecessors. In addition to changing dosing requirements, therefore using less final product, more efficient detergents also reduce the energy and resources required in the actual washing process.

Small Packages

Plastic bottles, cardboard cartons, plastic films and bags; the waste produced by consumer goods, including detergents, is extensive. However, the move towards concentrated tablets and capsules opens the door to reducing environmental impacts by reducing packaging. Unit dose products place strenuous demands on packaging systems as capsules and tablets need protection. A single leak can damage other items in the same package causing a mess and likely loss of all the contents. However, as unit dose products are more concentrated than traditional powders and liquids they use far less packaging.

Testing for Success

SGS is a global leader in detergents performance evaluation, with laundry and auto dish testing capabilities servicing all key markets. In addition, SGS has automatic dish detergent testing robotics capabilities. This allows the testing of multiple unit dosing formulations, simultaneously conducting continuous multi-cycle performance testing of 100-300 cycles to determine deleterious effects of detergents on dishware over time.

Our new detergents laboratory in New Jersey, USA, is equipped to conduct the testing of auto dish and laundry unit dosing products in various machine models, to cover a wide range of dishwashers and washing machines in consumer’s homes.

For further details, visit SGS Detergents and Household Care website, contact your local sales representative or our global team at:

Mafalda Salvi
SGS Consumer Testing Services
Business Development Manager,
Cosmetics, Personal Care & Household
SGS North America Inc.
t: +1 (973) 461-1520