Laundry & Home Care

The future at a glance

Our consumers rightly expect products to satisfy the criteria of quality, environmental compatibility, and social responsibility in equal measure. And this is also our aim. Our brands combine excellent performance with responsibility toward people and the environment. We view this combination as the central driver for innovations and the basis for our future competitiveness. The social challenges of the future require people everywhere to radically rethink the manner in which we produce and consume. For us, the main task in the coming years will be to decouple our products’ contributions to growth and quality of life from resource consumption and emissions. Our product developers already take this need to increase efficiency into account. Each new product must make a contribution in at least one of our focal areas. To make the advances we have achieved transparent and quantifiable, we have worked together with the Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) in Wuppertal to develop appropriate assessment models for our laundry and home care products. These models come together in the Henkel-Sustainability-Master. At the heart of the models is an evaluation of economic, ecological and social criteria throughout the value chain on the basis of life cycle analyses. The results show the reduction in the ecological footprint, together with the added value that a new product brings in terms of performance and service.

Photo Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector.

“A company that wants to lead the field in both innovation and sustainability must be able to do one thing even better in the future than it already does today – enter into partnerships with all participants in the value chain. We work intensively with manufacturers of household appliances, for example, with a view to making our products even more efficient in combination with washing machines and dishwashers.”

Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum
Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector.

Read the complete interview with Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum

Fostering sustainable lifestyles

Our innovations are used daily in millions of households throughout the world. They have enormous potential for actively shaping tomorrow’s lifestyles. In combining quality and responsibility, our aim is to set a new market standard for innovative, sustainable consumption. We utilize our many years of experience to develop products that enable consumers to use energy and water efficiently in the home. Our laundry detergents Persil Actic Power and Purex Cold Water, for example, deliver their full cleaning power even at low wash temperatures. The active substances in our detergents also help to make it more difficult for dirt to resettle on fabrics. Our new liquid Somat Perfect Gel is particularly suitable for short dishwasher cycles. In comparison with standard programs, these use an average of 20 percent less energy. Another example of a future technology is the use of photocatalytic bleaching systems that can further bleach colored stains as they dry. While in the past these systems needed ultraviolet light to deliver their performance they now already respond to interior lighting. Through targeted communication, we aim to make consumers aware of these advantages of our products and encourage their efficient use.

Photo Alain Bauwens, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector.

“Growth markets such as the Middle East and Latin America offer excellent opportunities for our laundry detergents and household cleaners. Up-and-coming societies long for products that raise their standard of life. And it is precisely here that sustainability will be especially vital. We want to make the performance and the ecological and social advantages of our product innovations accessible to as many consumers as possible from all income levels.”

Alain Bauwens 
Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector.

Read the complete interview with Alain Bauwens

Further development of the A.I.S.E. Charter for Sustainable Cleaning

As long ago as 1998, the International Association of the Soap, Detergent and Maintenance Products Industry (A.I.S.E.) launched the Wash Right campaign to motivate consumers to adopt responsible washing practices. The symbols developed for saving energy, water and detergent can still be found on numerous laundry detergent packagings today. In late 2004, the A.I.S.E. Charter for Sustainable Cleaning was finalized, and in 2005 Henkel was the first company to sign it. All companies that sign the Charter pledge to continuously improve their processes and to report annually on their economic, ecological and social advances, using defined indicators. Together, these indicators reflect the development of nearly the entire laundry and home care industry. In 2010, the processes and content of the A.I.S.E. Charter were extensively revised, and a new product dimension was introduced. It defines advanced sustainability profiles per product categories. Four criteria are of particular importance here: the environmental safety of the ingredients; resource efficiency with regard to dosage and packaging materials; washing performance at low temperatures; and consumer information. Products that satisfy all of the defined requirements can communicate this to consumers by means of a new A.I.S.E. Charter logo on the packaging.

Responsible use of raw and packaging materials

Henkel has been using ingredients based on renewable raw materials for decades. In 2010, about 30 percent of the washing active substances (surfactants) in our laundry detergents and household cleaners were derived from renewable raw materials. This is clearly above the average in the laundry and home care industry as a whole. We are aware of our responsibility regarding the purchase and use of these raw materials. Since many ingredients in our products are obtained from vegetable raw materials such as palm kernel oil, we have participated in the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), for example, since 2003. In 2008, we became the first company worldwide to purchase certificates for sustainable palm kernel oil – for the products of our Terra brand. As a result, palm kernel oil from sustainably managed plantations was integrated into the supply chain for the production of surfactants for the first time. Our aim is that all of the palm oil and palm kernel oil supplied in the form of raw materials for our products should be covered throughout by RSPO certificates for sustainably cultivated palm oil by 2015.

Other aims include a reduction in the amount of packaging material used and an increase in the proportion of recycled packaging materials. In the current Laundry Sustainability Project Liquid (LSP-L) of the A.I.S.E., for example, we have committed to standardizing the pack sizes of our liquid laundry detergents by 2012. This is expected to save more than 2,000 metric tons of plastic each year on the Western European markets alone.

Photo Brand engagement Pril

Brand engagement
Our alignment toward sustainability also encompasses the social engagement of our brands. In Egypt, for example, our Pril brand has cooperated with the charitable Egyptian Food Bank (EFB) since 2008. The bank’s mission is to provide orphans, senior citizens, widows, socially disadvantaged families, and other needy persons with food.

Five percent of the sales revenue of each sold Pril bottle goes to the EFB. Since the start of this engagement, Pril donations have been used to support more than one million people in Egypt. From 2011, similar programs will be supported by local Henkel brands in other countries of North Africa.

Contributions to hygiene and health in the home

Hygiene is of crucial importance for human health throughout the world. Here, too, we make an important contribution in all of our markets through our laundry detergents and household cleaners. A key priority is the adaptation of our products to local consumer requirements and local conditions. In many south European markets and in India, for instance, we offer laundry detergents containing special antibacterial agents. The same applies to newly launched household cleaners on the North African and Latin American markets. Our new product launches are accompanied by targeted communication campaigns, aimed at raising consumer awareness of the importance of hygiene. We ensure that the active substances have both excellent hygiene performance and health compatibility. For example, we take into account the needs of allergy sufferers and people with sensitive skin. In 2010, a total of seven Henkel laundry detergents were acclaimed as especially skin-compatible and allergy-friendly by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF): Persil Sensitive Gel, Persil Sensitive Megaperls, Persil Sensitive Powder, Spee Gel Sensitive, Le Chat Sensitive Gel, Le Chat Sensitive Tabs, and Le Chat Sensitive Lait de Soie.

The following list provides a variety of product examples, which can be sorted according to their contributions to our focal areas. The brands referred to have been selected on the basis of their innovativeness, their relevance, and the way in which they reflect the work of the business unit Laundry and Home Care:

Henko with antibacterial Neem

In India, our Henko laundry detergent with antibacterial Neem protects laundry gently against bacteria. Neem is a natural raw material obtained from the native Neem trees, and it is well known in India for its antibacterial effect and skin compatibility. To make the product performance accessible to consumers with low purchasing power as well, Henko with antibacterial Neem is also available in single-use packs and as a soap bar.

MAS – Less packaging, lower price

The various Mas product lines of liquid laundry detergents that we market in Mexico used to be offered in packaging units of at least one liter. Now all varieties of Mas are also available in 500 milliliter stand-up pouches. This new packaging form has two advantages. First, the stand-up pouch itself weighs 74 percent less than the one-liter bottle and thus contributes to savings in packaging materials. Second, the reduction in product size and packaging material means that the product can be sold at a much lower price, making it more accessible to consumers in lower income brackets.


Nadhif – Radiant white

A key factor in Henkel’s worldwide success is the adaptation of its products to the regionally specific wishes and needs of consumers. In many North African countries, for example, white garments are traditionally worn, so consumers judge the whiteness of freshly washed laundry very critically. To satisfy this demand, the laundry detergents Nadhif in Tunisia and Isis in Algeria contain special ingredients to give the laundry a radiantly white appearance. When the garments are then hung in the sun to dry, the ingredients in Nadhif and Isis continue their work, combating stains and enhancing whiteness. As a result, the laundry is not only radiantly white, but does not need to be washed as frequently, thus conserving valuable water. In Mexico, where laundry is also often hung in the sun to dry, these ingredients have been included just as successfully in the 1-2-3 detergent brand.

Nadhif Semi-Automatic – Saving valuable water

A key factor in Henkel’s worldwide success is the adaptation of its products to the regionally specific wishes and needs of consumers. In Tunisia, for example, semi-automatic washing machines account for about two thirds of the market. Using conventional laundry detergents in these machines leads to increased foam levels. The adjustment of the formulation of Nadhif Semi-Automatic to the needs of semi-automatic washing machines prevents excessive foaming and enables the foam formed during washing to be rinsed out more easily – with the same powerful cleaning performance. This eliminates the need for an additional rinse and saves valuable water.

Persil Actic Power / Purex Cold Water

Small, powerful and convenient – that’s Persil Actic Power, our liquid laundry detergent that develops its washing power at just 15° Celsius, thanks to even better performing enzymes. Persil Actic Power delivers the same washing performance with just half the previous dosage. Washing laundry at lower temperatures not only lowers energy consumption and therefore CO2-emissions, but also puts money back in our consumers’ pockets.

Persil – Top cleaning performance at just 20 degrees Celsius

The permanent challenge facing the product developers of our laundry detergents and household cleaners is how to achieve better and better washing performance with even lower energy consumption. The key to success lies in skilful blending of the individual ingredients. As in an orchestra, all of the components must harmonize perfectly; even the slightest change can have a huge effect on overall performance. Our product developers again succeeded in significantly improving the performance of our European premium laundry detergents Persil, Le Chat, Dixan and Wipp. The new formulations remove more than 20 types of stain, including lipstick, grease and coffee, more efficiently at just 20 degrees Celsius. In comparison with laundry washing programs at 30 degrees Celsius, washing at 20 degrees Celsius can cut the energy consumption of washing machines by up to 40 percent.

Persil Hygiene Rinse + DAC Desinfectant

In our markets in the Middle East and North Africa, our Dac Disinfectant ensures first-class cleaning and prevents new bacterial growth for 24 hours. Persil Hygiene Rinse eliminates up to 99.99 percent of all bacteria, even during low-temperature wash cycles.

With lime and vinegar: Dishwashing in India

The strategy of adapting our products to satisfy the regionally specific wishes and needs of consumers has enabled Pril Liquid to win around 75 percent of the liquid dishwashing detergent market in India. However, these detergents are too expensive for a considerable segment of the population. To offer innovative and high performance products to consumers with less spending power, Henkel has brought out a bar soap dishwashing product. Conventional bar soaps are good at removing grease and fat, but cannot neutralize the odors of the strong spices used in India. Henkel responded to this problem by launching its Pril Lime and Vinegar bar soap. It eliminates odors from dishes and has excellent grease dissolving properties. With the Pril bar soap, Henkel was able to open up a new market segment.

Pur Power Crystals
The salt crystals in the manual dishwashing detergents bind with the sponge. They thus maintain the anti-grease power up to four times longer – with the same dosage.

Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets

Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets have taken laundry detergent concentrates to a new level in the USA. Thanks to the 10 times concentrated detergent formula, one laundry sheet contains all of the detergent, softener and anti-static needed for one wash cycle and the following dryer cycle. The low weight and volume reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with transport by almost 70 percent, and the Laundry Sheet refill pouch generates 45 percent less packaging waste – in both cases, in comparison with a bottle of a conventional laundry detergent concentrate. The switch from plastic packaging to cardboard increases the recycling rate. In the USA, the recycling rate for paper is more than 60 percent, as opposed to only 7 percent for plastic.

Somat Perfect Gel

Our innovations are used daily in millions of households, and therefore offer great potential to actively help to shape more sustainable lifestyles. For example, we work continuously to develop dishwasher detergents that deliver excellent cleaning performance at ever lower temperatures. One such product is Somat Perfect Gel, which our researchers developed in cooperation with raw material suppliers and which is particularly efficient in water- and energysaving dishwashing programs. The innovative gel formulation ensures that the detergent takes effect immediately and removes even stubborn stains in programs with temperatures as low as 40 degrees Celsius. Relative to comparable programs at 50 or 55 degrees Celsius, consumers can achieve energy savings of 20 percent on average, depending on the type of dishwasher. This product, developed by the Laundry & Home Care business sector, shows in exemplary fashion how our employees always have the Henkel values in mind. Somat Perfect Gel helps to save resources and thus conserve the environment, and offers added value to our consumers.

Terra – For a cleaner today and tomorrow

Conserving the environment without relinquishing quality of life is a core need for more and more consumers. This is why the Terra brand exists. Its active ingredients are mainly obtained from plants rather than mineral oil. Whether it be bathroom, glass, universal or toilet cleaners, dishwasher detergents, or liquid laundry detergents (color and universal), for each individual type of Terra product, the greatest possible proportion of plant-based active ingredients were selected – without compromising on the excellent performance of the products.

Tursil Matik – Working together to conserve resources

Within the framework of the “Laundry Sustainability Project” of the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.), Henkel has already switched to efficient compact washing powders in most Central and Eastern European markets. In 2008, concentrated washing powders were also introduced in Turkey. Thanks to the compact formulations, consumers can reduce the standard dosage per laundry cycle by one third, from 150 to 100 grams. In addition to saving in packaging material during production, this also significantly reduces transport weights and volumes, thereby saving several million liters of fuel during distribution.

Vernel – Fewer rinses

In all parts of the world, local consumer needs and washing habits make widely varying demands on laundry detergents. In North Africa, for example, doing the laundry is still hard work. Laundry is often washed by hand, and many homes have no running water. The scarcity of water necessitates careful use of this limited resource. Henkel has therefore developed a fabric softener with special ingredients that enables washing foam to be rinsed out very easily by hand. This technology – previously only available in the Latin American markets – was introduced under the Vernel brand in Egypt and Tunisia. The reduction in the number of rinses can save up to ten liters of water per laundry load. Moreover, less effort is required for manual washing. In addition to regular packaging sizes, Vernel is also offered as single-use packs (85 ml) to make it accessible to a broad group of people.

Vernel Max – All-around efficiency

Fourfold concentration of the Vernel Max fabric softener concentrates we market in Turkey has allowed the traditional dosage to be reduced by more than 75 percent, from 110 to 24 milliliters, while providing the same excellent softening effect and fragrance. The product can now be packed in a 1-liter rather than a 4-liter bottle, thus saving material and water during production, and increasing logistical efficiency.