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Surf timeline on a washing line

Surf's brand history of great cleaning

Discover the history of laundry and Surf’s innovative journey to the top. This article details Surf laundry history and its role as a leading global brand.

Surf turns the task of laundry from a chore to an enjoyable and fun experience. Freshness that lasts and lasts. Fragrances that leave clothes smelling amazing. At a price that doesn’t hit you in the pocket. It’s this combination that has made Surf laundry detergent a big favourite all around the world. And what a journey of innovation and development it’s been!

Surf detergent history

In the history of washing powder, Surf has been riding the wave of success since it was first introduced in England in 1952. Surf proudly takes its place among the world’s leading household detergent brands: in the UK market, Surf is the no.1 powder and fragrance brand and in the top 5 brands in terms of sales in a number of major territories across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.[1]

Back in 1952 in the UK, only 1% of the population owned a washing machine, so doing laundry was a real chore. Surf introduced a powder that stood apart from old laundry detergent brands by combining something truly unique – the ability to get clothes sparkling clean and bright white, without the addition of a specialist whitening agent. This method of washing powder making, and pioneering precision was as revolutionary then as the introduction of revolutionary enzymes for lower temperature/mixed colour wash loads in 1986 and detergent capsules were in the 1990s.

Surf laundry highlights

Throughout the history of laundry detergent, Surf has always been an innovator. In 1953 Surf ran its first advertising campaign and began to place itself as the leading washing powder brand. By the 1960s Surf laundry powder was fully established as a high performance brand.

1970s : ‘Square Deal Surf’ became known as the go-to laundry powder, offering not only great cleaning but also great value for money. Throughout the next decade Surf laundry powder evolved, and in the 1970s Surf Automatic was launched, specially formulated for front loaded washing machines.

1980s : The revolution continued in the 1980s when another pioneering formula was launched in 1986 – enzymes in detergent that meant great results for colour washes and lower temperature cycles.

2000s : Celebrating 50 years of excellence, Surf created and launched the hugely successful ’99 stains’ formula in 2002 – promising to remove 99 of the most common stains or your money back.

The year 2007 saw Surf laundry detergent build on its already well-loved fragrances by adding essential oils. This captured the growing trend of aromatherapy, and the new blends conjured up associations with nature and wellbeing.

Surf started off in the 1950s and ‘60s as the leading washing powder making brand, and over the years has continued its journey of innovation and excellence. While Surf’s washing powder continues to shine, today is also about continued high performance and great value in the form of wonderfully fragranced liquid detergent and capsules.

Doing laundry with Surf is not a chore, it’s a pleasure. Every wash produces a freshness that lasts and lasts, just like Surf itself.

[1] Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 21st April 2019