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Reference and standard detergents

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 – Testgewebe GmbH also supplies standard detergents from other manufacturers.

Reference and standard laundry detergents

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 worldwide. 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.



Cenelec typically does not specify own detergents. The Cenelec standards as well as the related national European standards instead refer to IEC standards. Minor exception: The IEC-P Standard Powder detergent 2016 has been first published in EN 50640:2019 but was developed by IEC SC 59D for implementation in IEC standards that are expected to be published later than EN 50640.

Standard Powder detergent 2016 (HD, phosphate free, low suds)

The IEC Standard Powder Detergent 2016 is an update of IEC-A*, the most commonly used standard detergent for appliance testing worldwide. The BASE powder is identical. The difference is that in the fully formulated detergent the Sodium Perborate was substituted by Sodium Percarbonate.

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

Standard Detergent Type B, IEC 60456 ed. 3 (HD, with phosphate, medium suds)

This detergent is no longer specified in the latest version of the standard (IEC 60456). It is used and referred to by other standards (e.g. AS/NZS 2040.1:2005) and test protocols. It is specified to be distributed and stored in 2 separate parts:

Standard AS/NZS 2040.1:2005

"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:
One of them is not available from us the other is the "Detergent for drum type machines".

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

AHAM Standard Detergent Formula 3 (HD, low bleach, phosphate free, low suds)
Standard ANSI/AHAM HLW-1 "Procedure for evaluating the performance of household clothes washers"
The current version of AHAM standard HLW-1 specifies our:

  • AHAM Standard Detergent Formula 3, wfk 88039

This detergent specification is 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 Perborate-Tetrahydrate:

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 procedure 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 detergents, 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 on request from wfk:

  • IEC-W, order code: 88038
  • Standard detergent formula 1977, ISO 105-C06:2010

    "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), order code: 88030 (Formula 1977)

    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 detergent formula 1998, ISO 105-C08:2010

    "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:


    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 detergent, ISO 15797:2002

    Textiles — Industrial washing and finishing
    procedures for testing of workwear

    The standard specifies the following detergents:

    The AATCC have used standard reference detergents in various 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 (we may order them for you on request):


    If you need other AATCC detergents, please contact us. We’ll try to provide them for you.

    Reference and standard dish wash detergents

    IEC 436 (ed. 2) Reference dish wash Detergent Type A (with phosphate)

    This detergent is no longer specified in the latest version of the standard. The main (or rather: only) field of application now remains in material testing according to EN 12875 "Mechanical dishwashing resistance of utensils".


    IEC 456 (1981) specified the standard rinse aids formulas I and II. The definitions were revised in IEC 60436:2004 by deleting formulas I and II and introducing new formulas III and IV. The old formulas I and II are still listed here as they are referred to in other standards and therefore still commercially available.
    Formula IV was specified but later found not to be stable. It is therefore not available.
    Reference dish wash Detergent Type B, according to IEC 60436 (ed.3) (phosphate free):


    Standard Rinse Aid formula III, according to IEC 60436 (ed.3 and ed. 4)

    The standard rinse aid Formula III is available from wfk:

    Reference Detergent Type D, according to IEC 60436:2015 (phosphate free, with Savinase 6T and Termamyl 120T)

    The detergent according to the latest formulation (corrected formula) is available from wfk: