The history of Persil

Discover the Persil story from 1907 to today

Persil, Germany's first self-acting detergent.
1907
The Weisse Dame [white lady] launches her advertising campaign for Persil.
1922
The war is over, Persil is back.
1950
Persil 59 – the best Persil there's ever been.
1959
Persil 70 – quite clearly "Our best".
1970
Persil. You know what you've got.
1973
Persil phosphate-free – progress for the environment.
1986
Persil turns 100.
2007
Persil Abaya Shampoo: even black is a highlight.
2008
Persil White
2010
Persil Power Gel – the alternative to powder.
2010
Persil Sensitive: for people with sensitive skin.
2013
Simply perfect: the Persil Duo Caps.
2014

1907

Persil, Germany's first self-acting detergent.

In 1907 the chemists at Henkel succeed in revolutionizing laundry. They combine sodium silicate with sodium perborate, which when boiling the laundry releases fine pearling oxygen. This not only has the effect of – in contrast to the chlorine used up to then – an especially textile-friendly and odourless bleach. It also takes away the strenuous and time-consuming rubbing, swinging and scrubbing of the laundry for the housewives. The first self-acting detergent is born: Persil. The first announcement advert appears on 6 June 1907 in the Düsseldorf newspaper. Then Persil makes its way into the retail trade packaged in thin cardboard cartons with printed paper wrapping made and filled by hand.

1922

The Weisse Dame [white lady] launches her advertising campaign for Persil.

Who does not know her, the lady all in white with a Persil package in her left hand? She stems from the studio of Berlin artist Kurt Heiligenstaedt, a known cartoonist. In 1922 he is asked to design a Persil poster. The Weisse Dame is by no means a figure of his imagination, however, rather the artist's 18-year-old girlfriend. Together with her, Heiligenstaedt buys a white dress in a fashion house on Alexanderplatz and has her model with a Florentine hat and a product package. From then on the result decorates enamelled signs, posters, gable ends and street clocks. The Weisse Dame with its changing types of women and fashion directions remains the central advertising figure of Persil across many decades.

1950

The war is over, Persil is back.

Everybody just seems to have been waiting for it: Scarcely is Persil back in the stores after the end of the Second World War, it is quickly sold out up to 75 percent. For many Persil means getting back to normalcy, to peace. "Persil once again comes from Düsseldorf" announces a gigantic banner over the Rhine bridge. The product name is again brought to mind all over Germany with neon signs, pennants and posters.  The detergent formula was changed only very slightly: Visual brighteners were added that were to lend the laundry an even purer white.

1959

Persil 59 – the best Persil there's ever been.

The first synthetic heavy-duty detergent in Germany also comes from Henkel. Fitting the year of its introduction, it's called Persil 59. Synthetic anionic surfactants, a foam enhancer and a fresh scent are the new ingredients of the best Persil there's ever been. At least that's the advertising promise that is being conveyed to the consumer in a broadly based print, radio and TV campaign. For the first time a professional advertising agency is responsible for the brand appearance. Besides the formula, the Persil packaging was also visibly changed.

1970

Persil 70 – quite clearly "Our best".

In 1970 the promotion "Our best" is conducted for the first time with overwhelming success. It's impossible to think of Persil advertising without the red ribbon ever since, now regularly decorating the best Persil of its time. When Persil 70 comes into stores with a changed packaging design, it's not only available in Germany but almost all over Europe by now.

1973

Persil. You know what you've got.

With the introduction of this new Persil, the product name on the packaging appears without the addition of a year, as had been the rule up to now. Instead a new slogan is introduced into the branding, one that will stay with the consumer for the long term: Persil. You know what you've got.

1986

Persil phosphate-free – progress for the environment.

Environmental protection is becoming an ever-more relevant topic in the 1980s. At Henkel it already has a long history: Already at the beginning of the 1950s, attempts were undertaken to research the biological biodegradability of surfactants. In 1966 the research project "Phosphate Replacement" was born. Because both surfactants, which release the dirt from the laundry, and phosphates, which make the water soft, pollute the waters.  They succeed in developing surfactants that are more and more biodegradable. And for phosphates the researchers even find a substitute material: Zeolith A (Sasil®). A patent is registered in 1973.

2007

Persil turns 100.

Persil is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is showing up on the market with a new, modern design and with improved formulas.

2008

Persil Abaya Shampoo: even black is a highlight.

Thanks to its special long-lasting black formula, the innovative Persil Abaya Shampoo offers special protection for dark and black textiles. They are protected from bleaching out even after several wash cycles and thus keep their colour longer. All to enjoy the beautiful black of your favourite pieces for a long time to come.

2010

Persil White

Persil White is the first ever liquid detergent specially made for white clothes/thobes from Persil with the German “Opti-Brite” technology, which ensures that your white clothes/thobes not only are cleaned, but also have the brightest whiteness wash after wash.

2010

Persil Power Gel – the alternative to powder.

Once again Henkel expands its Persil range – this time by a product that is to revolutionize an already existing niche area of the detergent market: Persil Power Gel.

2013

Persil Sensitive: for people with sensitive skin.

Specially for people who tend to have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies, Henkel together with the German Allergy and Asthma Alliance [Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V.] developed a product that in addition to the customary washing performance is very skin tolerant: Persil Sensitive.

2014

Simply perfect: the Persil Duo Caps.

With the Persil Duo Caps Henkel is setting another milestone in the research and development of innovative detergents. For the first time it's possible to put pre-measured liquid detergent directly into the drum. The small pads completely dissolve during the wash cycle and provide a perfect washing result.