A cold-water washing detergent that is more effective than hot-water alternatives – that is the stunning claim being made by Procter & Gamble with the launch of its new Ariel Excel Gel.

Developed from scratch, the highly concentrated gel detergent was hailed as a major environmental milestone by Ariel research and development guru Peter Mayeur.

“Ariel Excel Gel is not an upgrade of existing liquids or powders,” he said. “It's a completely new product containing an optimal mix of high-performing cleaning agents [that] do not require high temperatures to become effective.”

An advertising campaign for the new gel launches tonight, with the theme ‘cold is the new hot’.

Procter & Gamble UK and Ireland vice president Irwin Lee promised the news marked the start of a “very exciting product pipeline for the company into the first quarter of 2009”.

“Value isn't just measured by price,” he said. “Delivering real innovation and products that meet the needs of consumers and the environment is every bit as valuable as saving money.”