Laundry Detergent: Ratings of Sources
Total of 15 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Laundry Detergent Ratings
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org editors test 31 standard detergents for top-loading washers and 13 high-efficiency (HE) detergents. Only nine of the products tested are powders, while the majority are liquid concentrates. Individual cotton squares of fabric are stained with nine staining agents -- including grass, chocolate, red wine and blood -- and then are washed in warm water. Testers are looking for the detergents that are the "best on most stains," not just the best on certain stains. They ultimately recommend two concentrated liquids as the best standard detergents and four HE detergents. Editors also name one standard and one HE detergent as best buy, which perform almost as well as the recommended brands but cost significantly less.
The Best Green Cleaners
by Editors of Good Housekeeping magazine
Our AssessmentThis review tests eco-friendly cleaning products, which are defined as being biodegradable, free of phosphates and chlorines, and deriving ingredients from plant sources. Editors test nine laundry detergents against 15 common stains, including blood, coffee and ink. The stains are applied to swatches of cotton and polyester, allowed to set for 24 hours, and then the cotton is washed in hot water and the polyester in cold. The best performer is Arm & Hammer Essentials, which is "particularly effective at washing in cold water" and receives top scores for removing stains from ink, mascara, wine, gravy and grape juice. Testers also praise Purex Natural Elements, which works almost as well, but for about half the price per load. The other seven detergents tested are not identified.
It's a Wash: A Review of Six Green Laundry Detergents
by Sarah van Schagen
Our AssessmentThe eco-centric Grist.org publishes articles on environmental issues. Editor Sarah van Schagen tests six environmentally friendly detergents that are free of perfumes and dyes. She stains the fronts of cotton T-shirts with ketchup, balsamic vinaigrette, blueberries and red wine, and then rubs mud on the back of the shirt. Van Schagen also lists the price, eco-claims, ingredients, stain instructions and scent of each detergent. She finds that none of the detergents remove all of the stains, but that Seventh Generation Free & Clear does the best job on all the stains. She recommends it for "maximum eco-claim and stain removal with the lowest price and least-perfumy scent."
by Alexandra Zissu
Our AssessmentWriter Alexandra Zissu discusses common detergent chemicals and their negative impact on human health and the environment. She recommends powdered detergents because they consume less energy to package and transport. This buying guide recommends Seventh Generation among nine green detergents without naming a top pick.
Laundry Powders Review and Compare
by Martha Psiroukis
Our AssessmentThis review of powder detergents by Choice magazine, an Australian publication, includes an impressive evaluation of 15 brands of detergents for top-loading washers as well as seven products for high-efficiency washers. (Liquid detergents are covered in a separate review.) Detergents are given a separate score for dirt removal and stain removal. A third criteria, which we didn't see in U.S.-based reviews, was determining which brands are good for wastewater recycling. The downside of this review is that the majority of the brands aren't sold in the U.S. One of the few U.S. products is Seventh Generation, but editors don't recommend it because it was not good for wastewater recycling.
by Editors of Consumer magazine
Our AssessmentThis New Zealand publication conducts its testing at the Choice magazine lab and uses the same test methodology and criteria. Editors compare 11 top- and front-loading concentrate powders and end up recommending the same brand for both types of washers. But the recommended product and most of the others aren't sold in the U.S.
Laundry Liquid Detergents Review and Compare
by Martha Psiroukis
Our AssessmentEditors compare liquid detergents, concluding that they don't do as good a job as powdered detergents (covered in a separate review). This review compares 14 detergents for top-loading washers and another seven for front-loading washers. Four products are recommended for top-loaders and five for front-loaders, but none are sold in the U.S.
VIP Awards: Problem Solvers
by Editors of Good Housekeeping magazine
Our AssessmentGood Housekeeping magazine's VIP Awards are for "very innovative products." This video discusses the three picks for 2009 that solve cleaning problems, including one laundry detergent. Tide TotalCare is selected because it doesn't fade clothing after repeated washing. The competitive brand used in the review isn't identified.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com sells dozens of laundry detergents, mostly in bulk orders of four or six containers. Most detergents have reviews spread over multiple listings of varying container size and scent. Seventh Generation liquid detergents receive mostly positive reviews from more than 200 owners who agree their clothes come out looking and smelling clean. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Laundry Detergent receives a near-perfect rating from more than 50 users who say it cleans well and has pleasant scents. Although Amazon sells many Tide detergents, most have accumulated less than 10 reviews here.
by Contributors to Drugstore.com
Our AssessmentDrugstore.com lists more than 50 detergents. Very few products have accumulated a significant number of reviews, and they tend to be mostly positive. Seventh Generation Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent averages 4.4 stars out of 5 from more than 80 users who say it doesn't irritate skin and is effective on a variety of fabrics. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Laundry Detergent receives an average of 4.7 stars from more than 70 users who agree it gets clothes clean and has wonderful scents that aren't too overpowering.
by Contributors to RateItAll.com
Our AssessmentRateItAll.com lists more than 30 brands of laundry detergent. Tide has more than 60 reviews, but they are generally grouped into the brand rather than a specific product. Several other well-known detergents receive more than 20 reviews.
by Contributors to GreenOptions.com
Our AssessmentGreenOptions.com is an environmental website that allows readers to post reviews about products like laundry detergent. Users rate their detergents on value, effectiveness and eco-friendliness. Most laundry detergents have accumulated 10 or fewer reviews from users.
Top 6 Laundry Detergents
by Sarah Aguirre
Our AssessmentSarah Aguirre, the About.com guide to housekeeping, lists her six favorite detergents, but the review is dated because three of her picks are now discontinued. Her top pick, Tide Simple Pleasures, is discontinued, and the OxiClean Detergent Ball was discontinued in 2007. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Traditional Over Eco-Friendly Laundry Soap? -- Tide Detergent Vs. Seventh Generation
by Dianna Zaragoza
Our AssessmentIn a lengthy user review, writer Dianna Zaragoza compares Tide detergent with Seventh Generation. Both laundry detergents clean equally well, though the wash water seems to drain cleaner with Seventh Generation than with Tide. The writer prefers the light scent of Seventh Generation. Tide does not provide a complete list of ingredients, but Seventh Generation does. Zaragoza concludes that both are good choices.
Dryel vs. Dry Cleaner's Secret: Battle of the Dry-Cleaning-At-Home Brands
by Amanda Cartwright
Our AssessmentThe author is a regular user of two at-home dry cleaning kits: Dryel and Dry Cleaner's Secret. Reviewer Amanda Cartwright says Dryel has a superior stain remover, while Dry Cleaner's Secret is easier to use. The writer also discusses which clothing is best for these kits.