Reference and standard laundry detergents

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wfk Test Materials (wfk Testgewebe GmbH) is a leading producer and supplier of standard and reference detergents for laundry and dishwashing. We manufacture many of the test detergents specified in international and regional standards and test protocols. wfk Test Materials also supply standard detergents from other manufacturers.



Laundry detergents

listed by Standard organizations (and their standards) in alphabetical order

Standard ANSI/AHAM HLW-1 "Procedure for evaluating the performance of household clothes washers"

The current edition of HLW-1 specifies an AHAM-2005 standard detergent which was found not to be fit for use in HA washers and which is no longer available. The drafted 2009 version of the revised standard specifies the agreed new AHAM standard detergent:

AHAM Standard Detergent Formula 3 (HD, low bleach, phosphate free, low suds)

This detergent specification os based on IEC-A* BASE plus some very low bleach content. As an alternative to the fully formulated powder, also IEC-A* BASE may be used with the addition of 1,5% Sodium Perbrate Tetrahydrate:

Variuos AATCC textile test methods

The AATCC have used standard reference detergents in variuos textile test methods since the 1960s. AATCC Standard Reference Detergent 124 and AATCC Standard Reference Detergent WOB (without optical brightener) were the first formulations adopted by the AATCC to represent typical US home laundry products of that era. Since then, the AATCC have adopted new, additional standard detergents to respond to changes in market formulations. The following products are still commercially available:

2003 AATCC Standard Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • AATCC liquid, order code 88041
2003 AATCC Standard Liquid Laundry Detergent WOB (without optical brightener)
  • AATCC liquid WOB, order code 88041-WOB
1993 AATCC Standard Detergent
1993 AATCC Standard Detergent WOB (without optical brightener)
AATCC Detergent 171


Activated Oxygen Bleach w/Activator



Various appliance standards

Cenelec does not specify own detergents. The Cenelec standards as well as the related national European standards instead refer to IEC standards.

Standard IEC 60456 "Clothes washing machines for household use - Methods for measuring the performance"

Standard Detergent Type A* (HD, phosphate free, low suds)

With the test method IEC 60456 being an International Standard, this detergent is the most commonly used standard detergent for appliance testing world wide. It is also being used in numerous other test protocols beyond appliance testing. The current (5th) edition of IEC 60456 continues to use this detergent, now also being verified to be fit for use in all known washer platforms and for different water hardnesses.

It is specified to be distributed and stored in 3 separate parts:

Standard Detergent Type B (HD, with phosphate, medium suds)

This detergent is no longer specified in the latest version of the standard. It is still used and referred to by other standards and test protocols. It is specified to be distributed and stored in 2 separate parts:

Standard Wool Detergent (liquid) +++ DRAFT +++

Working groups under IEC technical committee SC 59D are working on a revision of the wool wash testing to also include wash performance (besides the currently specified wool shrinkage test). The new preocedure is planned to include a formulation for a dedicated standard wool detergent, because the formulation of the IEC-A* detergent (which is currently used for the shrinkage test) differs significantly from market wool detergents.

The respective IEC working groups already developed and tested a draft formulation of a liquid wool detergent. It is planned to introduce the new formulation with edition 6 of the standard. The tests showed an adequate performance of the draft detergent as compared to market deterents, the current draft formulation was therefore agreed to be used for further development of the new test method.

The detergent according to the latest draft formulation is available from wfk:

Standard ISO 105-C06

"Textiles -- Tests for colour fastness -- Part C06: Colour fastness to domestic and commercial laundering"

Part C06 of ISO 105 specifies "methods intended for determining the resistance of the colour of textiles of all kinds and in all forms to domestic or commercial laundering procedures used for normal household articles using a reference detergent."

The standard specifies the following detergent:

ECE-1 Reference Detergent (HD, with phosphate, low suds)

The formulation of that detergent is based on that of IEC-B BASE, the difference being that ECE-1 does not contain optical brightener.

Standard ISO 105-C08

"Textiles -- Tests for colour fastness -- Part C08: Colour fastness to domestic and commercial laundering using a non-phosphate reference detergent incorporating a low-temperature bleach activator"

Part C08 of ISO 105 specifies methods "intended to reflect the effect of laundering by domestic or commercial laundering procedures, as distinct from the washing test methods given in ISO 105-C10."

The standard specifies the following detergent:

ECE-2 Reference Detergent (HD, without phosphate, low suds)

The formulation of that detergent is based on that of IEC-A BASE, the difference being that ECE-2 does not contain optical brightener nor protease.


Standard AS/NZS 2040.1
"Performance of household electrical appliances—Clothes washing machines
Part 1: Methods for measuring performance, energy and water consumption"

The 2005 edition of AS/NZS 2040.1 specifies two standard detergents:

"Detergent for other than drum type machines"

This is a fairly simple high-suds formulation that has (so far) never been requested from us... The 2009 Amendment No. 2 states: "The next revision of this Standard will phase out [the] non-drum detergent".

"Detergent for drum type machines"

This detergent specification uses IEC-B BASE plus some low dosed bleach: