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Henkel's Persil logo
|Product type||Self-activating laundry detergent|
|Owner||Henkel owner; Unilever by license.|
|Country||Germany (Henkel) & United Kingdom (Unilever)|
LeChat or Skip (France)
Bailan (白蘭) (Taiwan)
|Markets||Albania, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.|
|Previous owners||Henkel & Cie|
Persil is a brand of laundry detergent made by Henkel; but which is now also licensed for manufacture, distribution, and marketing in several countries by Unilever. Henkel and Unilever both manufacture their own formulations. Introduced in 1907, Persil is notable because it was the first commercially available "self-activated" laundry detergent. The name, Persil, is derived from two of its original ingredients, sodium perborate and sodium silicate. It is Unilever's premium brand in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Persil is sold in many forms, with several "environment friendly" products.
The chore of doing the laundry began to change with the introduction of washing powders in the 1880s. These new products originally were simply pulverized soap. New cleaning product marketing successes, such as the 1890s introduction of Gold Dust Washing Powder (created by industrial chemist James Boyce for the N. K. Fairbank Company in the United States), proved that there was a ready market for better cleaning agents. Henkel & Cie, founded in Düsseldorf in 1876, decided to pursue this market, and on 6 June 1907 launched its newly developed, first of its kind product, Persil. The manufacturer had found a method to add sodium perborate—a bleaching agent—to its base washing agents (silicate), creating (what the marketing department called) a "self-activating powder" detergent. During the washing process, oxygenated perborate forms small bubbles, doing the "work of the washboard"—saving consumers time and rendering the historic method of "sun-bleaching" (by laying clothes out in the sun) unnecessary.
Invented in 1907, Persil is notable because it was the first commercially available "self-activated" laundry detergent. (A self activated detergent is one which contains bleach combined with the soap components.) The creation of Persil was a significant chemical breakthrough. The name, "Persil", is derived from two of its original ingredients, sodium perborate and silicate. However, the original name was deemed unsuitable as an international brand, as it is hard to pronounce in some languages; coincidentally, it is the French word for the herb, parsley.
Today, Persil is sold in powder, liquid detergent, liquid capsule, liqui-gel, and tablet forms. There are biological, non-biological (with and without enzymes, respectively) and colour care (biological and bleach-free) formulations as well. The Persil line also includes specialist care products for wool and silk items. In the UK, Unilever uses the Persil brand to market a wide range of washing up liquids and dishwasher detergents.
Markets, licensing and distribution
Henkel AG manufactures, distributes, and markets Persil in Germany, Poland and most of Europe, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Persil was introduced to Mexico in 2011. Henkel markets Persil under the name "Dixan" in Greece, Italy and Cyprus; and under the name "Wipp" in Spain and China. There are some national markets (Belgium,) where both Henkel's Persil and Dixan can be found at major retailers. In such cases, the Persil brand name is given priority by Henkel in its marketing. Henkel sells its Persil formulation in France under the name "Le Chat", as Unilever owns the license to the Persil trademark in that country.
It is marketed as a premium German import that is the "officially recommended" detergent for its washing machines. Due to this exclusive importation status and specialty positioning at appliance dealerships, it retails for up to $40/box CAD. Specialty importers also exist in the U.S.
In April 2007, Henkel announced a global relaunching of the Persil brand and packaging to mark its 100th anniversary. Persil's other sub-brands (Le Chat, Dixan, and Wipp) were to be redesigned shortly afterward. The anniversary also marked 100 years of self-acting detergents—of which Persil was a pioneer.
In March 2015, Henkel introduced Persil ProClean in the United States, a line of premium detergents currently available in Power-Liquid, Power-Caps and Power-Pearls. It was sold exclusively at Walmart stores across the country.
Persil ProClean was released in Canada in 2016, available at several chains. Power Pearls and liquid are available, including a Canada-only cold water liquid version. Caps are not available.
Upscale German appliance manufacturer, Miele, acted as a direct importer of Henkel's Persil products into Canada and the United States, where they could only be purchased at licensed appliance dealers. This has now been replaced by Miele's own brand detergents and other laundry products.
Unilever markets Persil in Ireland and the United Kingdom, Europe, Latin America (except Mexico), China, Australia and New Zealand since acquiring rights to the brand (one of its first such acquisitions) in 1931. (The "Small and Mighty" product line—a highly concentrated liquid detergent formulation—is found only in these markets.) Unilever also sells Persil in France. In this market, the brand focuses on "natural" ingredients and "skin-friendly" formulations. It is competitively sold alongside Unilever's biggest selling detergent brand in France, "Skip".
In 2013 Unilever launched its new Persil Small and Mighty variant in the UK and Ireland, which showcased a new design of bottle that enabled consumers to use the in built, flexible plastic dosing ball as a measurer and stain removal pre-treatment device. The ball is contained in a circular cutout in the centre of the bottle and is simply filled and placed directly into the drum. Because it's made of soft, heat resistant plastic it can be washed with the laundry and makes no banging noises. This campaign was launched with the tagline "For Whatever life throws".
- "100 Years of Persil". Henkel AG & Co. 22 December 2006. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- The Holland Evening Sentinel; Holland, MI; newspaper obituary article, 4 June 1935
- Parker Sandford. "Persil Dishwashing".
- "Historia" (in Spanish).
- "Persia Pro Clean". Facebook.
- "Persil ProClean Laundry Detergents". Henkel Corporation. 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- In French, Persil means "Parsley", which lends itself to being a more herbal, natural product.
- "Laundry Detergents – Things to Do with Kids – Persil". Persil.
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