what's the difference between bio & non bio detergent?

With so many laundry detergent options available it can get confusing trying to figure out which is the best one to use when it comes to bio vs non-bio.
What’s the best detergent for stain removal? What’s the best detergent for sensitive skin? What’s the best way to clean baby clothes?
There’s also powder, liquid, and capsules… the options never end. But we’re here to answer the big question…what on earth is the difference between bio and non bio detergents? And which is best for me?
The main difference between biological and non biological detergents is the presence or absence of enzymes. Sounds fancy right?  


  • Bio laundry detergent contains enzymes that help to break down common stains, such as food, sweat, grass and grease.

  • The enzymes are really effective at breaking down these down and lifting them from your clothes.

  • Bio detergent is best used in mid to low temperature washes (ideally between 30-40 degrees) as anything hotter can denature the enzymes, causing them to not work as effectively against stains. 


  • Non bio laundry detergent, on the other hand, does not contain these enzymes and can be more suitable for those with sensitive skin.
  • Although non biological detergents do not contain stain removing enzymes, they can still be great at removing stains and keeping your clothes clean and smelling fresh.
  • For non bio washes, you may need to use a higher temperature setting to aid with the cleaning process.


Bio vs non-bio, which option is best for my own needs?

If you don’t have particularly sensitive skin, and you don’t have little ones to wash for, we’d recommend our smol bio capsules
 They’re great at stain removal, contain lower chemical concentrations than the leading brands, are vegan and cruelty free and are posted through your letterbox as and when you need them. In addition, they work really well in lower temperature and quick washes which is better for the environment.
If you have sensitive skin (dry skin, eczema, psoriasis) or have young children, we’d recommend our smol non bio capsules. They still contain far fewer chemicals than the leading brands, are vegan and cruelty free, are delivered to your door, and they’re really gentle whilst still being super effective at cleaning your clothes.
Non bio detergents are really popular in the UK, and tend to be the best choice of laundry detergent for those with sensitive skin. The stain-removing enzymes in bio detergent can, rarely, cause mild irritation for those with sensitive skin, and therefore non bio (which doesn’t contain these enzymes) is the better choice if you suffer with sensitive / dry skin.
Our smol non bio has been dermatologically tested and is great for sensitive skin. We have lots of customers with skin sensitivities such as eczema and psoriasis all happily using our non bio. Many of these customers have even reported improvements to their skin following the swap to smol. Non bio is also really popular amongst parents with young children and babies, as it is still effective at killing germs and bacteria whilst remaining super gentle and delicate.
Luckily, at smol we offer free trials on both bio and non bio laundry capsules so you can try before you buy.