The original Tide laundry detergent was a synthetic designed specifically for heavy-duty, machine cleaning (an advance over the milder cleaning capabilities of Fewa and Dreft detergent brands). Tide was first introduced in U.S. test markets in 1946 as the world's first heavy-duty detergent, with nationwide distribution accomplished in 1949.
Tide claimed it was "America's Washday Favorite". Authority was quickly gained in the U.S. detergent market, dwarfing the sales of Ivory Snow; and accelerating the demise of two of its main competing products, Rinso and Gold Dust Washing Powder, both then Lever Brothers brands.
These other brands came in the more familiar soap-powder and soap-flake forms. Tide, however, came shaped like a white powdered bead. The line was expanded to include an orange-tinted clear liquid form in 1984. Today, most formulations of liquid Tide, both concentrated and regular, are dark blue, with the exception of "Tide Free", which is clear. Each year, Tide researchers duplicate the mineral content of water from all parts of the United States and wash 50,000 loads of laundry to test Tide detergent's consistency and performance.
In 2006, the development of Tide was designated an ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance as the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent.
As of January 2013, Tide has more than 30% of the liquid-detergent market, with more than twice as much in sales as the second-most-popular brand Gain, although it costs about 50% more than the average liquid detergent.
Tide is marketed under various sub-brands, such as 2x Ultra Tide. In Puerto Rico and elsewhere in Latin America, the Tide formula is marketed under the name Ace (except in Ecuador and Panama, where it is sold under the Tide brand name). In Turkey, Tide is branded as Alo. In Poland, it is sold as Vizir. In Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, it is sold as Fab, a brand acquired in 2006 from Colgate-Palmolive.
According to en.wikipedia