While a seemingly remedial decision, taking a little bit of time to find the laundry detergent best suited to your needs can make for an easier laundry day, and laundry life. Not to mention the weeks of olfactory enjoyment you’ll get from a detergent smell you actually like.
What to Consider Before Buying Laundry Detergent
Choosing the best laundry detergent for you requires the consideration of a number of factors. For example, do you have sensitive skin? What fragrance do you prefer for your linens, if any? Are your clothes delicate? And what kind of stains are most commonly found on your clothing? Each of these aspects has some impact on which detergent is best for you and your family.
If you prefer an all-natural option, look to Mrs. Meyers, Grab Green or The Laundress. If you live an active life (or just a messy one) and need powerful stain and odor-fighting, then consider options from Arm & Hammer and Rockin’ Green. Sensitive skin? Try All. Or maybe you never shed your goth phase and are dedicated to the blackest black clothing possible — Woolite All Darks will be your best friend.
It’s also worth noting that, in addition to different detergent brands, there is more than just one type of detergent to choose from. This means some brands may offer more than one kind of detergent. Your choice of the best type of detergent for you will come down to personal preference as well as functional need. Common detergent types include:
How We Chose the Best Laundry Detergent
Well, we’ve done a lot of laundry. From handwashing delicates (yes, we’ve actually done it many times) to stuffing our front loader so full we were relieved to get the door closed, we haven’t suggested a detergent we haven’t actually used.
We’ve put together a list of the best laundry detergents available. Each has its benefits, from stain-fighting abilities to delightful fragrances that last for weeks. Find the right one for you and make your weekly chores just a little bit easier.
Read on to find the best laundry detergent for you.
1. Arm & Hammer Fresh Scent Laundry Detergent
Using the power of baking soda, the Arm & Hammer Fresh Scent Laundry Detergent can remove more than 101 different stains found throughout daily life. It’s designed to work in all kinds of washing machines, including standard and HE (High Efficiency) models, and helps leave white clothes whiter and colors even brighter. The formula also includes OxiClean stain fighters to remove unwanted dirt and odors further. As a bonus, this detergent uses a renewable energy source in production and is supplied in a fully recyclable bottle.
Pros: The included OxiClean stain fighters, and baking soda makes this detergent effective against even the most stubborn stains.
Cons: The strong cleaners in the detergent may mean sensitive-skin sufferers are more susceptible to adverse reactions.
2. Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid Plus Aroma Boost
By providing up to six weeks of noticeable freshness after every wash, this Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid is an excellent option for anyone who regularly rotates their wardrobe. In addition to the smell provided by the Aroma Boost included in the detergent, the reason for the appealing and consistent scent is thanks to the brilliant cleaning performance. Additionally, this liquid detergent is also capable of working in either warm or cold water.
Pros: Effectively cleans in either hot or cold water.
Cons: Not recommended for use on leather materials.
3. Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Laundry Detergent
In addition to exceptional cleaning power, this Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Laundry Detergent fills your clothes with a genuinely appealing fresh scent. The detergent comprises several elements, including extra-strong stain removers, which fight both visible and invisible dirt and odor fighters that let the long-lasting freshness take center stage. Additionally, this versatile detergent comes in containers ranging from 40 to 150 fluid ounces in size and is optimized for all types of washing machines, including HE devices.
Pros: It comes in a range of different container sizes, letting you pick the right one for your laundry needs.
Cons: This detergent isn’t formulated with the environment in mind.
4. Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent Soap
Tide doesn’t just make great laundry pods; they also produce a standout liquid detergent in the form of this Tide Laundry Detergent Soap. Each 2.72-liter container gives you enough liquid to complete 64 loads. The container also features a handy screw lid that can be used as a measuring cup for dosing your laundry loads. Given the detergent’s ability to deeply clean and produce fresh-smelling laundry, it should come as little surprise that it is recommended by washing machine manufacturers and ranks as America’s number one detergent.
Pros: The container’s lid doubles up as a handy measuring cup for dosing your laundry loads.
Cons: While fresh, the scent lacks any unique individuality.
5. Grab Green Natural 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent Powder
If caring for the environment drives your decision-making process when choosing a detergent, it’s worth checking out the Grab Green Natural 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent Powder. It’s made without phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, animal by-products, toxins, dyes, or masking agents and uses only naturally derived ingredients. The eco-responsible powder is packaged in a handy pack that includes a Velcro closure, making it easy to reuse the powder repeatedly. You’ll also find an included scoop to measure out the powder to ensure you never waste any.
Pros: This USA-made, naturally derived formula is eco-responsible and free from phosphates, phthalates, chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
Cons: As it’s only available in fragrance-free and water lily scents, there isn’t a wide range of choices if you like to give your clothes a specific smell.
6. Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder
Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder is an ideal option for anyone who suffers from sensitive skin. Using only skin-friendly, 100% natural ingredients, this detergent cleans clothes without the reaction you might experience from other store-bought products. The super-concentrated powder comes with a measuring scoop for dosing your washing. It also comes in both scented and unscented options and is developed with an eco- and people-friendly outlook. In addition to sensitive skin, the natural formula means you can use this detergent on most fabric types without any fear of fading.
Pros: As it contains only five earth-derived ingredients, this detergent is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin.
Cons: The natural composition of the soap powder may cause it to be less effective against tough dirt than some competing, chemical-filled options.
7. All Liquid Laundry Detergent
This laundry detergent is free from perfume or dyes, making it an excellent option for anyone with sensitive skin (or a sensitive nose). Plus, if you like to wear fragrances, this scent-free formula can’t get in the way. This bottle is an economical option as well, thanks to its concentrated formula. The 2x concentrated formula means you can use it for up to 110 loads. The cap has a raised edge to indicate where to fill it easily.
Pros: Concentrated formula takes up less space and lasts longer. Free of dyes and perfumes, making it a good option for sensitive skin.
Cons: Could be packaged better in shipment.
8. Method Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Method makes a wide range of cleaning products, all of which have well-designed packaging and beautiful scents. Its detergent is no different — this 1.58-liter bottle has an ergonomic design and is available in a variety of pleasing, natural-smelling scents. The unique scents include options “lavender and cypress” and “ginger mango,” but you can also choose fragrance and dye-free. It effectively lifts stains, brightens colors and deep cleans whites. Plus, the formula is plant-based and biodegradable.
Pros: Concentrated formula means a small amount goes a long way. Pleasant fragrances. Plant-based formula.
Cons: Unique yet unusual scent options may be off putting for some people.
9. Tru Earth Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent Sheets
If powder and liquids just aren’t your thing, give these Tru Earth Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent Sheets a try. They come in either a 32-, 64- or 384-sheet box, with one sheet being enough for one load of washing. When added to your laundry, these biodegradable sheets deliver a fresh linen scent to your clothing as they completely dissolve in the wash. These ultra-concentrated sheets also provide uncompromising cleaning power without the need for parabens or phosphate in their makeup. Furthermore, Tru Earth’s strips come in zero waste, compostable, and plastic-free packaging for greater environmental responsibility.
Pros: Every part of these strips, including the packaging, is dissolvable or compostable.
Cons: Accidentally getting them wet may cause premature dissolving.
10. The Laundress Signature Detergent
The Laundress is an excellent option for anyone looking for a natural detergent with a touch of luxury. Laundress’ classic scent is described as combining “jasmine with sweet musk, sandalwood, and a touch of citrus,” meaning it won’t be overwhelmingly cloying like some detergents. Plus, the formula is biodegradable and free of phthalates. It comes in a one-liter bottle, but don’t let the size fool you — it’s concentrated and can be used in up to 64 loads.
Pros: Natural ingredients, the concentrated formula reduces packaging waste — pleasant and unique aroma.
Cons: The bottle is smaller than a lot of its competitors.
11. Gain flings! Laundry Detergent Soap Pacs
Each of the 81 Gain flings! Laundry Detergent Soap Pacs included in every pack are made up of Oxi Boost, Febreze Odor Remover and Moonlight Breeze. Combining these elements into a washing-machine-ready treatment for your clothes couldn’t be easier to achieve great-smelling, impressively clean clothing. Gain’s well-loved pacs are constantly vying with Tide pods for the top spot as America’s favorite laundry pac. In addition, these handy pacs can be used in all machine types and both hot or cold water, providing extra versatility when it comes to washing your laundry.
Pros: Each of the three components delivers an essential element to achieving standout clean and great-smelling clothes.
Cons: These colorful pacs are more visually appealing to children than other powder or liquid detergents.
12. Tide PODS Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs
If you’re after an easy-to-use and easy-to-store detergent that takes seconds to add to each load, choose the Tide PODS Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs. These individually-contained pods come in packs of either 42, 81 or 96 and can be used in all washing machines and under all water conditions, including warm, cold, soft and hard. The formula within the pods is made using 100% renewable energy and is also free from phosphates. Plus, the three-in-one pods deliver the cleaning power of a stain remover along with a super-concentrated detergent and a color protector to boot.
Pros: The one-per-wash, fully contained liquid pods make it especially easy to do your laundry.
Cons: Not ideal if you like to vary the amount of detergent you use.
13. Woolite All Darks Liquid Laundry Detergent
For delicates, knits, and items that require special care, it’s impossible to beat Woolite. If you’re dedicated to the goth lifestyle or simply want to keep your black jeans looking black, consider Woolite All Darks. It helps reduce fading and shrinking, and it can work with items in all kinds of fabrics. It’s also free of harsh ingredients that can degrade clothing and cause skin irritation.
Pros: Helps maintain the color of dark clothing, works for all fabric types. Free from harsh ingredients.
Cons: Packaging could be better
14. ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
If environmental responsibility is your priority when choosing your laundry detergent, the ECOS Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent should be top of your list. This magnolia and lily-scented detergent is made without dyes, formaldehyde, phthalates and 500 other potentially harmful ingredients. It’s also hypoallergenic and pH balanced as well as not tested on animals. Inside this dual-pack of USA-made detergents, you’ll find two 100-ounce bottles, giving you enough liquid to clean up to 200 loads of laundry.
Pros: This USA-made, hypoallergenic detergent is 100% vegan friendly.
Cons: While it is an appealing scent, magnolia and lily isn’t for everyone.
15. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent is a concentrated liquid that is gentle yet effective at cleaning clothes. The formula includes several dirt and stain-fighting enzymes, essential oils, and a host of naturally occurring ingredients. The detergent also flaunts a pleasant lavender scent which leaves clothes smelling irresistible after every wash.
Pros: The concentrated formula means a little goes a long way, giving you up to 64 loads of washing from a single bottle.
Cons: Lavender smell can be somewhat overwhelming.
16. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
By choosing a laundry detergent with a plant-based formula, such as Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder, you can rest easy that it’s more eco-friendly and safer for the environment. This non-toxic, septic safe and biodegradable product is available in packs ranging from 50 to 300 loads. The detergent’s formula is also free of fillers, perfumes and brighteners, meaning your freshly cleaned laundry smells clean. The eco-friendly recipe is easier to rinse out of clothing and safe for use in all washing machine types.
Pros: Safe to use on baby fabrics, including reusable diapers.
Cons: As it is a plant-based laundry detergent, it is likely slightly less effective than chemical-filled alternatives.
17. Rockin’ Green Active Wear Laundry Detergent Powder
With this Rockin’ Green Platinum Series Active Wear Laundry Detergent Powder in your cupboard, regular gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts will have no reason to worry about getting rid of lingering odors in their clothes. This all-natural, non-toxic detergent works on all types of exercise clothes and uses plant-based enzymes to clean them through soaking or in a machine wash. In addition, the detergent is 100% biodegradable and safe for both babies and sensitive skin.
Pros: This targeted product is ideal for cleaning high-tech gym clothing to keep unwanted body odor out and extend the life of these pricey items.
Cons: If you aren’t regularly sweating in your clothes, there’s little reason to use this detergent.