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The Best Laundry Detergents

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🕚 Updated February 2022

Laundry is a chore that never really ends, so you don't want to run out of the thing that makes it possible: laundry detergent. We've gathered some of the most effective and well-liked laundry detergents to tackle that overflowing laundry basket.

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  Best Pods Best Scented Best for Stains Most Eco-Friendly Best Sheets
 
  Tide
PODS
Gain
Family Detergent
Arm & Hammer
Odor Blasters Laundry Detergent
Mrs. Meyer's
Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent
ECOS
Laundry Detergent Sheets
 
Our SummaryThis tiny but mighty pod is an all-in-one, extra-concentrated detergent.This liquid laundry detergent has a powerful cleaning performance and leaves behind a great scent.This liquid detergent blasts out dirt and odors and is bleach-free.This two-pack of concentrated laundry detergent is effective yet gentle on clothes.Each completely dissolvable detergent sheet is meant for one load of laundry.
ProsPod form, combats smells and stains, floral scent, super convenient, quick to use.Powerful cleaning detergent, great scent that lingers for weeks, works in cold water.Eliminate tough odors and dirt, OxiClean stain fighters, long-lasting scent, bleach-free and dye-free.Two-pack, eco-friendly, cruelty-free choice, contains plant-derived ingredients and essential oils, gentle, biodegradable.Plastic-free, recyclable packaging, hypoallergenic, no dyes, brighteners, parabens, or phosphates.
ConsMay not completely dissolve.Not for use with leather, may have watery consistency.Strong scent that lingers, no color protection.Not anti-bacterial, may irritate sensitive skin.May leave sticky residue, doesn't combat body odor.
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The Best Laundry Detergents

Woman holding wicker basket with clothes and detergent on table
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Laundry Detergents

Close up of female hands pouring liquid laundry detergent into cap on white rustic table with towels on background in bathroom.
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Why buy laundry detergent?

Laundry detergent has been around for decades as the easiest way to get your laundry clean in your washing machine. It comes in many different scents and forms, from liquid detergent to pods to sheets, yet each type works well to remove stains, sweat, smells, and dirt from your clothes. Whether you need to do a load of delicates, dirty workout gear, or dish towels, laundry detergent can clean it all.

What should you look for in laundry detergent?

  • Format: Laundry detergent comes in various forms such as liquids, powders, pods, and sheets. Each is effective, but one type might be better for your lifestyle or your machine over another type. For example, detergent pods don’t require measuring like liquids and powders, so they’re great for busy lifestyles. However, sometimes pods don’t dissolve completely if they get caught in the door seal of front-loading washing machines.
  • High-Efficiency (HE): High-efficiency washing machines are a certain type, and some will require high-efficiency detergents formulated specifically for them. Know your machine, and get a type of detergent that works with it.
  • Ingredients: More effective detergents will have more active ingredients, like surfactants. Surfactants are what lift dirt away from the fabric.
  • Scents/Hypoallergenic: Many people love the fresh smell that many detergents give their clothes. However, these artificial scents may not be great for sensitive skin. If you have particularly sensitive skin or need a detergent for your babies, look for unscented or hypoallergenic options made to be gentle on such skin.

Should you consider specialty laundry products?

Some laundry detergents have special formulas for special purposes. Combination detergents that include a fabric softener or bleach/bleach alternatives may enhance the detergent’s effectiveness. Another option is hand wash detergents for hand washing or delicate machine washes. These products are great for lightly soiled or delicate fabrics and are less potent than standard detergents.

Our Picks for the Best Laundry Detergents

Best Pods

Tide PODS

This tiny but mighty pod is an all-in-one, extra-concentrated detergent.

Pros: This laundry detergent comes in pod form, so all you have to do is toss one into your load and start it. There’s no need to measure out or accidentally spill detergent. The pods are three-in-one with a super-concentrated detergent that contains powerful smell fighters and extra stain removers.

Cons: It is possible these pods may not completely dissolve, especially if they end up getting trapped in the door seal of front-loading machines.

Bottom Line: Tide is a trusted brand with trusted products, and Tide Pods are no exception. They work fantastically for most people, and this three-pack is an excellent value for the price. They’ll make your clothes smell and look clean and are super convenient to use.

 

Best Scented

Gain Family Detergent

This liquid laundry detergent has a powerful cleaning performance and leaves behind a great scent.

Pros: The Gain liquid laundry detergent has a brilliant cleaning performance and provides six weeks of freshness from wash until wear. It works in all washing machines as well as in cold water. If smelling clean is a big thing for you, you should be happy with this detergent.

Cons: This detergent is not recommended for use with leather. It has a thinner consistency than others.

Bottom Line: If you love that “clean laundry” smell, this detergent will make you happy. It’ll keep your clothes smelling fresh throughout your entire day.

 

Best for Stains

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean

This liquid detergent blasts out dirt and odors and is bleach-free.

Pros: This laundry detergent is excellent at eliminating tough odors and dirt with the power of OxiClean stain fighters. It’s specially formulated to have a long-lasting scent that blasts out body odor, sweat, and musty towel odors. This detergent is both bleach-free and dye-free.

Cons: If you don’t like strongly scented detergents, this one may not be the right choice, as the scent is made to last a long time. It might make colored clothes fade.

Bottom Line: Arm & Hammer is a well-known brand that produces high-quality products, and this detergent is no exception. For a superb budget pick, go for this effective laundry detergent.

 

Most Eco-Friendly

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent

This two-pack of concentrated laundry detergent is infused with essential oils, cruelty-free, and effective yet gentle on clothes.

Pros: This two-pack of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent is an eco-friendly and cruelty-free choice. It is made of plant-derived ingredients and features an infusion of essential oils. The liquid formula is effective yet gentle on clothes. The ingredients include dirt and stain-fighting enzymes, and it’s even biodegradable.

Cons: This detergent doesn’t offer anti-bacterial properties. It may bother those with sensitive skin.

Bottom Line: Each bottle of detergent can do 64 loads and is meant for use in both high efficiency (HE) and conventional washing machines. The garden-fresh scent is a clean floral fragrance.

 

Best Detergent Sheets

ECOS Laundry Detergent Sheets

Each completely dissolvable detergent sheet is meant for one load of laundry.

Pros: Each sheet of this laundry detergent can clean one load of laundry. No bottles are needed with these liquidless, powderless, and plastic-free laundry sheets. The ingredients include enzymes found in nature to lift dirt and tough stains. The detergent sheets are completely dissolvable and are dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic. They contain no dyes, brighteners, parabens, or phosphates.

Cons: These sheets may stick to the inside of the washer while in use and not dissolve fully. It doesn’t give off the strongest scent.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly laundry detergent, try these detergent sheets. They dissolve in the cycle and lift the dirt without using harsh chemicals.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing laundry detergent is a great way to make sure your clothes are clean and smell fresh. There are a lot of options available, but these are some of the best on the market.

Rachel Shubin Rachel Shubin
Rachel Shubin is a freelance journalist who is passionate about telling stories. Along with writing reviews for LifeSavvy, she writes a book column for Cape May Magazine and is a reporter for the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper. When Rachel is not writing, she can be found advocating for mental health awareness and animal rescue, reading novels, exploring Cape May, or working on her polymer clay jewelry business, Piper + Pearl Co. Read Full Bio »
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