Detergent Regulations

The Detergents Regulation (EC) No. 648/2004 covers the manufacturing, placing and making available on the market and use of detergents. Any natural or legal person responsible for placing a detergent or a surfactant for a detergent on the market must comply with this regulation.

The Regulation applies to the following:

  • Manufacturers/Producers of detergents
  • Importers of detergents
  • Any person changing the characteristics of a detergent
  • Any person changing the labelling or packaging of a detergent
  • Packagers working on their own account (e.g. company A purchases a detergent in bulk from company B and re-packages the detergent with its “own” name on the box)

Further information on the Regulation can be found on the European Commission website here.

New EU regulatory requirement on phosphorus

The European Commission published in its Official Journal the Detergent Regulation (EU) No 259/2012 on the 14 March 2012. This amends Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 as regards the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in consumer laundry detergents and consumer automatic dishwasher detergents.

The amendment requires that for:

"Consumer laundry detergents (a detergent for laundry placed on the market for use by non- professionals,including in public laundrettes) from 30 June, 2013 must not be placed on the market if the total content of phosphorus is equal to or greater than 0.5 grams in the recommended quantity of the detergent to be used in the main cycle of the washing process for a standard washing machine load for water of hard water hardness, for “normally soiled” fabrics in the case of heavy-duty detergents, for “lightly soiled” fabrics in the case of detergents for delicate fabrics.

Consumer automatic dishwasher detergents (a detergent placed on the market for use in automatic dishwashers)from 1January 2017 must not be placed on the market if the total content of phosphorus is equal to or greater than 0.3 grams in the the standard dosage expressed in grams or ml or number of tablets for the main washing cycle for normally soiled tableware in a fully loaded 12 place settings dishwasher, making provisions, where relevant, for soft, medium, and hard water hardness.

Download the new regulation here.

Open public consultation on the evaluation of the Detergents Regulation:

Consultants RPA, on behalf of the European Commission (DG GROW), have launched a public consultation on an evaluation of the Detergents Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 648/2004). The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the extent to which the objectives of the Detergents Regulation have been achieved in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added value.

The Open Public Consultation will run up until the 25th July 2017.

Two separate questionnaires have been published and are available in English, German and French.

A questionnaire for citizens and consumers of detergent products, available at:

A questionnaire for organisations (companies, industry associations, consumer associations and environmental organisations, Member State authorities, academia and research institutes, and others), available at: