Germany’s No. 1 laundry detergent stands for fiber-deep cleanliness and perfectly cared-for laundry. With Persil, washing becomes a pleasure – because stubborn soiling and persistent stains don’t stand a chance.
1907 - Persil, the first self-acting laundry detergent in Germany.
In 1907 Henkel chemists succeeded in revolutionizing the washing process. They combined sodium silicate with sodium perborate, which released finely dispersed bubbles of oxygen when the laundry was boiled. Unlike the chlorine that had be used up to then, it bleached the laundry in an especially gentle and odorless way. But it did more than that: It freed housewives from the exhausting and time-consuming tasks of rubbing, stirring and beating the laundry. The first self-acting laundry detergent was born: Persil. On June 6, 1907, an advertisement announcing the product appeared in the newspaper Düsselforfer Zeitung. Persil was then launched on the market in hand-made and hand-filled packs made of strawboard with a printed outer wrapper.
1922 - The White Lady starts her advertising campaign for Persil.
A familiar figure to generations of people: The lady dressed all in white, carrying a Persil pack in her left hand. She was created by the famous Berlin artist and caricaturist Kurt Heiligenstaedt, who was commissioned to design a Persil poster in 1922. But the White Lady is by no means a fantasy figure. She was the 18-year old lady-friend of the artist. Heiligenstaedt accompanied her to a fashion shop on the Alexanderplatz to buy a white dress, then he had her pose as his model with a Florentine-style hat and the product pack. From then on the decorative result could be seen on metal advertising signs, posters, house gables, and street clocks. For many decades – reincarnated and wearing the fashion of the day - the White Lady remained the central advertising figure of Persil.
1950 - The war is over, Persil is back.
Everyone seemed to have been simply waiting for this to happen. When Persil appeared in the shops once more after the end of World War II, 75 percent of the stocks were sold out almost instantly. For many people, Persil meant the beginning of a return to normal life, to peace. A huge banner draped across a bridge over the Rhine proclaimed: “Persil is available from Düsseldorf again.” Neon signs, flags and posters all around Germany brought the product name to people’s attention once more. The formula was changed only slightly. Optical brighteners were added to make the laundry look even whiter.
1959 - Persil 59 – The best Persil ever.
The first synthetic heavy duty detergent in Germany also came from Henkel. It was named Persil 59 after the year of its launch. Synthetic anionic surfactants, a foam intensifier and a fresh fragrance were the new ingredients of the best Persil ever. This was the advertising promise made to consumers in a large-scale print, radio and TV campaign. And for the first time a professional advertising agency was commissioned to manage the communication activities. Not only the formula was changed – the packaging was also substantially redesigned.
1965 - Persil 65 – controlled foam, well-cared-for laundry.
In the 1960s modern drum washing machines took households by storm. At the same time synthetic fibers like Nylon and Perlon also became widely available. Laundry detergents had to adapt to keep pace with these advances. On January 1, 1965, Henkel therefore launched its new Persil 65 on the market. The special feature of this heavy duty detergent was that it contained foam inhibitors which controlled the formation of foam as a function of temperature – an important prerequisite for machine washing. New ingredients included sodium phosphate, biodegradable surfactants, non-ionic surfactants, a brightener combination, and a different fragrance. For the first time, Persil was also offered in economy packs.
1970 - Persil 70 - Unequivocally "Our Best."
As a bio-active heavy-duty detergent, the new Persil 70 set out to fight even the most persistent soiling. It offered fiber-deep laundry care for all kinds of fabrics – which in the 1970s meant above all synthetics. 1970 was also the year in which the overwhelmingly successful promotion campaign “Our Best” was conducted for the first time.
The red ribbon and bow have been a standard feature of Persil advertising ever since and regularly grace the best Persil of its time. When Persil 70 appeared in the shops in its new package design it was available not just in Germany but almost everywhere in Europe.
1973 - Persil – Something to rely on.
Henkel changed and improved the product formula once again. For the first time, the powder detergent contained corrosion inhibitors, added specifically to protect washing machines from rust.
When this new Persil was launched, it appeared without a number to indicate the year. Instead, a new slogan was introduced to communicate the product, a slogan that would permanently anchor itself in people’s minds: Persil – Something to rely on.
1986 - Persil phosphate-free – progress for the environment.
Environmental protection emerged into the public consciousness in the 1980s. But the topic already had a long history at Henkel. As early as the 1950s, Henkel was conducting experiments to research the biodegradability of surfactants. In 1966, the research project “phosphate substitute” was launched. Because surfactants, which release the soil from the laundry, and phosphates, which soften the water, pollute surface waters. The researchers succeeded in developing surfactants with better and better biodegradability. And for phosphates they found a substitute substance: Zeolite A (Sasil®), for which a patent application was filed in 1973.
1987 - Persil Liquid – The alternative to powder.
Once again, Henkel expanded its Persil range. This time with a product – Persil Liquid – which was to revolutionize an already existing niche market.
Its especially high surfactant content made the liquid laundry detergent a very powerful stain remover, even at low temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius.
1990 - Persil Supra – Highly concentrated cleanliness.
Henkel continues to make things easier for housewives. Persil Supra is a laundry detergent in a 2-kilogram pack that will go as far as a 3-kilogram pack of classic Persil powder. This was made possible by concentrating the laundry detergent. The powder for Persil Supra was compacted and its weight was reduced by using more effective active ingredients. To avoid the risk of using too much product, each pack contained a measuring scoop. Only a year after the introduction of Persil Supra it was clear that compact detergents were on the advance. In addition, Henkel launched Persil perfume-free, a laundry detergent that contained no fragrances.
1991 - Persil Color – Protection for glowing colors.
Colored garments are becoming increasingly popular. Whereas in 1982 they accounted for only 39 percent, the figure had risen to 60 percent by 1991. The low temperature range of 40 to 60 degrees Celsius is being used more often. The variety of fabrics is increasing, and stains, too, are becoming more diverse. A heavy-duty detergent containing bleach is not the right solution here, nor is a mild detergent without bleach, which does not develop the necessary washing power.
The answer was to develop Persil Color, the first heavy-duty detergent with color protection. It contains no bleach or optical brightener. Instead, it incorporates a discoloration inhibitor. Colored fabrics therefore look good longer, and the color does not bleed onto other items of laundry.
1994 - Persil Megaperls® Pearls instead of powder.
Another milestone in Persil’s history: the development of a laundry detergent that offered even better washing performance, and with very much smaller doses of the product. For five years, Henkel researchers worked to develop a method that would allow such high concentrations of the active ingredients. The breakthrough was achieved with a completely new production technology – and a new generation of laundry detergents: Pearls instead of powder. 290 milliliters of classic powder could be replaced by 95 milliliters of the new laundry detergent.
Persil Megaperls® - offered in a lightweight 1.6 kilogram pack with a window gave Henkel a substantial edge in innovation. Patent were filed across Europe for this new laundry detergent technology.
1998 - Persil Tabs: Tablets for the washing machine.
Convenience is the magic word: How to make laundering as easy and convenient as possible for consumers? Henkel finds a solution to this challenge, too: heavy-duty detergents in tablet form. Persil Tabs are composed of highly compacted ingredients separated into two phases, colored blue and white for easy recognition. These pre-portioned doses can simply be placed in the detergent dispenser compartment – and washing can start right away.
1999 - Persil Sensitive: For people with sensitive skin.
To cater specifically for people with sensitive skin and those who suffer allergies, Henkel joined forces with the German Allergy and Asthma Association to develop a product that not only delivers the accustomed washing performance but is also highly skin compatible: Persil Sensitive.
2002 - Persil LIQUITS®: Liquid laundry detergent in solid form.
Another innovation: a liquid detergent in pre-portioned doses. No more measuring out and no more spillage. Persil LIQUITS® can simply be placed onto the laundry in the drum. The special film wrapper dissolves completely even at low temperatures. The detergent it contains is released directly to the laundry. A clean and practical solution.
2003 - Persil Color Gel: Enhanced performance at 30 °C.
The new, more powerful Color Gel ensures even significantly better removal of persistent stains in the low temperature range, while ensuring that the laundry retains its glowing colors.
2004 - Persil Sensitive with natural soap.
Henkel now offers Persil Sensitive with natural soap. It delivers full washing performance, is highly skin compatible, and also gives the laundry a mild fragrance. The fragrance was developed and successfully tested in collaboration with the German Allergy and Asthma Association.
2005 - Persil Color offers better performance than ever.
Besides the low-temperature formula, Persil Color now also contains special long-term color protection to make sure fabrics retain their beautiful glowing colors longer.
2006 - Persil with a touch of Vernel.
The combination of fiber-deep cleanliness with a touch of Vernel for an especially fragrant and soft experience is now available with Persil – for freshly washed laundry that pampers you with a unique feel-good experience. The innovative Persil variation “with a touch of Vernel” expands the range of Germany’s No. 1 laundry detergent, adding a new feeling of cleanliness, softness and freshness.