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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Detergents Regulation

Regulation 648/2004/EC (the “Detergents Regulation”) sets out requirements relating to the sale of detergents in the EU. The requirements relate to biodegradability, dosage information and information to be provided to the consumer via the labelling of ingredients and websites.

If you sell detergents, they must comply with the requirements of the Detergents Regulation, and you shall comply with the minimum information requirements to consumers.

You must also comply with national laws and regulations in Member States which implement the Detergents Regulation. This is a general recommendation, and you should not take it as a substitute for legal advice. We encourage you to consult your legal counsel for any concerns about the laws and regulations relating to your product.

What products does the Detergents Regulation apply to?

The Detergents Regulation sets out requirements and obligations relating to detergents. Detergents are “any substance or preparation containing soaps and/or other surfactants (active ingredients in detergents) intended for washing and cleaning processes”. They can be in any form (liquid, powder, paste, bar, cake, moulded piece, shape, etc.) They can be marketed or used, and intended for household, industrial or institutional purposes. However, note that ‘professional use only’ detergents are not permitted to be sold on Amazon.

The following are also examples of detergents:

  • ‘Auxiliary washing preparation’, intended for soaking (pre-washing), rinsing or bleaching clothes, household linen, etc.
  • ‘Laundry fabric-softener’, intended to modify the feel of fabrics in processes, which are to complement the washing of fabrics.
  • ‘Cleaning preparation’, intended for domestic all purposes cleaners and/or other cleaning of surfaces (e.g. materials, products, machinery, mechanical appliances, means of transport and associated equipment, instruments, apparatus, etc.)
  • ‘Other cleaning and washing preparations’, intended for any other washing and cleaning processes.

Note: Amazon does not accept ‘professional use only’ products (industrial or institutional purpose). Please check with the manufacturer/SDS before shipping your products to Amazon. In the event of ‘professional use only’ products being received at an Amazon fulfilment centre, Amazon might dispose of the units at your cost and without compensation.
Note: Depending on the ingredients, detergents are required to comply with the labelling requirements in the CLP regulation and/or with the requirements of the biocidal product regulation.

Who has obligations under the Detergents Regulation?

The Detergents Regulation imposes obligations on manufacturers. You will be a manufacturer for the purposes of the Detergents Regulation if you are responsible for selling or supplying a detergent or a surfactant for a detergent in the EU.

In particular, you will be deemed a manufacturer :

  • if you are a producer, an importer or a packager working for your own account
  • if you change the characteristics of a detergent or of a surfactant for a detergent
  • if you create or change the labelling for a detergent or surfactant for a detergent

If you are a distributor and you do not change the characteristics, labelling or packaging of a detergent, or of a surfactant for a detergent, you will not be deemed a manufacturer, unless you act as the importer.

Manufacturers of detergents or surfactants for detergents must be established in the EU. They are responsible for the conformity of detergents or surfactants for detergents under the Detergents Regulation.

What are the key obligations on manufacturers under the Detergents Regulation?


The tiered regime for surfactants to ensure biodegradability standards are as follows :

  • Surfactants that meet the criteria for “ultimate aerobic biodegradation” can be offered for sale in the EU without further biodegradability limitations.
  • Detergents that are not intended for professional use and that contain surfactants with a level of “ultimate aerobic biodegradation” lower than stipulated in the Detergents Regulation, might not be offered for sale in the EU.


The following information must appear on the used packaging to sell detergents to consumers:

  • Name and trade name of the product
  • Name or trade name or trademark, full address and telephone number of the party responsible for offering the product for sale
  • The address, email address (if available) and telephone number from which the datasheet can be obtained;
  • Content (ingredients)
  • Instructions for use and special precautions
  • Specific labelling requirements for information about laundry detergents to be sold to the public

The following information is particularly required regarding the content (ingredients):

  • Several types of ingredients, such as phosphates, surfactants, bleaching agents, added in a concentration above 0.2% by weight. For more details related to legislation, refer to the link at the bottom of this page.
  • “Optical brighteners” and “perfumes” must be listed irrespective of their concentration.
  • Preservation agents must be listed irrespective of their concentration, where possible using their INCI (INCI: International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) name.
  • Certain fragrance ingredients in concentrations exceeding 0.01% by weight must be listed on the packaging of detergents, using their INCI name.

There might be specific Member State language requirements that you must adhere to as well. You also need to ensure that your detergent complies with the CLP Regulation.


If you are considered a manufacturer for the purposes of the Detergents Regulation, you must be able to make following information available to the competent authorities of Member States:

  • Testing information (see Annex III of the Detergents Regulation)
  • Technical files, in the case of surfactants that have not passed specific testing and for which a derogation request has been made
  • Testing documentation
  • Ingredient datasheets

Note: You must also immediately provide ingredient datasheets to medical personnel upon request, without any charge. The medical personnel (or as relevant, public body) has to keep this information confidential and only use it for medical purposes.

Manufacturers need to make available on a website a summary of the ingredient data sheet mentioned above for any consumer-use detergent. Access to the website shall not be subject to any restriction or condition, and the content of the website needs to be kept up to date. The website shall include a link to the Commission Pharmacos website or to any other suitable website that provides a table of correspondence between INCI names, European Pharmacopoeia names and CAS numbers.

Do distributors have obligations relating to detergents?

Although the Detergents Regulation does not impose obligations on distributors as long as they do not change the characteristics, labelling or packaging of a detergent, or of a surfactant for a detergent, distributors have obligations under the General Product Safety Directive when selling to consumers.

These include:

  • A general obligation of due care in respect of safety requirements
  • An obligation to inform market surveillance authorities if they know or ought to know on the basis of information in their possession about a product posing a risk to consumers because it does not comply with the general safety requirement
  • An obligation to cooperate with market surveillance authorities at their request to avoid risks posed by products that they supply or have supplied.

Additional Information

We strongly encourage you to visit the European Commission’s website for more information on the Detergents Regulation:

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