All laundry detergents are pretty much the same, right? They all look the same, make claims with a scientific sound similar to washing performance and often it seems that the only real difference is the color of the box or bottle. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to know that our tests show that there can be very big differences when it comes to the cleaning ability of clothes.
How much detergent should I use?
Depending on the detergent you choose, you may be able to use half (yes, half!) the recommended dose and still get a great wash, saving yourself money and giving the environment a bit of a break. In the past we have tested high-performance laundry detergents and performed equally well on all stains at half the recommended dose, while others performed well at half the dose on various types of stains.
While we can’t try every dosage variation, treat the doser or cap more like a polite suggestion and experiment with your detergent-you may find that you can use a lot less than you think and still get a wash you’re satisfied with.
Is detergent powder or liquid better?
This really depends on the type of stain you are treating, the characteristics of your washing machine and personal preferences.
Laundry powder detergents
Powders are best for overall dirt and stain removal performance. We found that powders work best on cooler stains, which are what you will usually deal with on your own clothes, but they generally worked very well on the hard, ground stains from our test materials. Powders can sometimes leave a white, dusty residue on clothing, particularly if you are a little heavy with dosing.
If necessary, you can also turn a laundry powder into a liquid by dissolving some in some warm water, giving you the best of both worlds.
It is best to stick to high-performance powders for heavier dirt and whites, and using a high-performance powder will also help prevent your whites from turning gray or yellow over time.
Liquid laundry detergents
Liquid laundry detergents are getting better at removing perspiration stains – better than dust in some cases-but still lag a little behind when it comes to general stains. Liquid detergents have less impact on the environment, and some get good grades for recycling and reuse of greywater. Many ecological liquids will do a good job of refreshing slightly dirty and colored clothes, so if your clothes don’t get too dirty or if you use a greywater system, then an ecological liquid detergent is the way to go. However, if you re-wash or use a prewash or in-wash product to remove stains, you are denying the low environmental impact of the liquid.
If you have a high efficiency washing machine that uses very little water or tends to use your machine’s eco-friendly program, then a good liquid detergent is the best way to prevent powdery white spots from being left on your clothes.
What about laundry detergent capsules?
Laundry detergent pods, packs, adventures, discs or balls are single use capsules of liquid laundry detergent concentrate in a soluble plastic wrap that is dropped directly into the washing machine. They’re like a dish washing tablet, just for your washing machine. Depending on the brand and type, laundry pods may also contain fabric softener or other ingredients.
They are convenient, no measurement, just attach a disc with your dirty nipples and go, and avoid the risk of spills and dirt associated with powders and liquids, making them a good choice for people with some accessibility issues. However, this convenience comes at a cost: you can’t easily adjust your dosage to the size of your load as you can with loose detergent and they can be considerably more expensive per wash than the equivalent loose laundry detergent, so it’s better that the clothes you’re washing have deep pockets.
More worryingly, their shape and bright color can make them particularly attractive to young children who may mistake them for lollipops. There have been several reports of children ingesting laundry pods, so be sure to keep them well out of the reach of curious little fingers.
Which laundry detergent is cheaper in the long term?
The unit price of cost per wash (usually per 100g) is a great way to compare costs, but it’s not entirely accurate for laundry detergents due to the very different dosage recommendations between brands: use our cost per wash figures in our laundry detergent reviews for a better comparison.
Unlike chocolate (which you’re certainly trying to wash off your clothes), more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to your laundry detergent: most will still clean your clothes with only a fraction of their recommended dosage, so experiment with using less: you’ll get your clothes white and clean and keep your wallet full of green. Speaking of green, using less detergent is also better for the environment.
What kind of detergent is best for sensitive skin?
No one has itching to wash clothes, but if you suffer from sensitive skin, then using the wrong laundry detergent can make you feel very itchy. So how do you release your favorite dress from fugitive Rogan Josh Without Risking a furious rash?
There is a wide range of low irritation laundry detergents available that claim to be suitable for people with sensitive skin. These detergents usually replace ingredients that can cause irritation or omit them altogether.
#Perfumes and dyes in regular detergents do not make a difference in cleanliness and are more or less guaranteed to be banished from the box or bottle of a sensitive formula product. However, just like an annoying relative at a wedding, other potential irritants sometimes still make the cut because it’s harder to achieve the same performance without them.
If you suffer from sensitive skin, but want a carefree wash, then avoid this list of suspects lurking in the detergent aisle the next time you buy:
A common ingredient in many laundry detergents, enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up the dirt removal process. Manufacturers include several enzymes to target different types of stains, such as protein, starch, or bio-based stains such as grass or blood. One thing all enzymes have in common is that they can potentially cause irritation, so avoid them if you suffer from skin irritation.
Another known irritant, optical brighteners bathe your wash with fluorescents, chemicals that absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit it as blue light, making your clothes appear whiter and brighter even though they don’t actually remove dirt. Brightening products are best avoided if you have sensitive skin.
Rinse thoroughly and repeat
So now you’ve found a mild detergent that you like, but that’s not the end of the story: you also need to make sure your clothes are well rinsed. An improper rinse can leave traces of detergent behind and that’s a great no-no if you have sensitive skin. If you notice detergent residue on your clothes or building up on your machine, adding an additional rinse cycle to your washing program may help (if your machine has that option). You should also try to reduce the amount of detergent you use, both your skin and the environment will thank you. You can also check out our washing machine reviews and find one that has a high rinse score-the higher the rinse score, the more detergent will be removed from the wash.
Remember, everyone’s skin is different. It may take a little trial and error to find a detergent that works for you.
Are laundry detergents harmful to the environment?
Most laundry detergents use phosphates, which contain phosphorus, to help soften water and keep extracted dirt in suspension. But high levels of phosphorus down the drain can lead to overgrowth of blue-green algae in our inland waterways. Low phosphate laundry detergents are better for the environment, so you should look for them unless the water in your area is particularly harsh (you can check this with the State Water Authority). Check the packaging of your laundry detergent for a “P” meaning low phosphorus content (<7.8 g/wash) or, better yet, ” NP ” meaning no, or less than 0.5%, phosphorus.
Choosing an environmentally friendly laundry detergent also means that you can safely use your washing machine’s rinse water (greywater) in your garden and at the same time make a big difference in the cost of water treatment so that it can be recycled. The GreySmart rating determines which detergents are best for the environment.
Apart from the impact of the detergent itself, packaging must also be considered. The more washes per package you can get, the less package waste, the better for the environment. Buying larger packages or when you are in special will usually be more cost effective, but transferring bulk purchases to an airtight container to maintain performance.
Should I wash my clothes in cold, warm or hot water?
In the past, we have retested the higher and lower performance detergents for the top loader and front loader variants to see if a hot wash (40°C) would make a big difference in results.
In general, there is an overall benefit to washing in warm water, but only by a couple of percent, and it really depends on the type of stains you are trying to remove. Some detergents are also designed for and work best in cold water. More information can be found in our laundry detergent test.
Well, I’m a cold wash convert…
Washing in cold water is a great way to reduce your energy consumption and save yourself some cash. But it can also cause a waxy film to build up inside the washing machine, especially if you use fabric softener. This is also known as scrud-you can find more suggestions on how to remove it in our washer troubleshooting tips. If you are a cold wash conversion and then regularly run a full cycle of hot wash without clothes (or a cleaning cycle if your machine has one), using a good detergent, will help keep buildup at bay. Alternatively, periodic selection of a hot or hot wash instead of cold can help keep the inside of your machine at its best clean and bright.
Can I use top-loader detergent on a front loader or high-efficiency top loader?
These days, most detergents are designed to be used on both the front loader and the top loader, so most of the time you’ll be sure to use it on both. In the few cases where you’ve purchased a detergent that specifically says it’s designed for one type of machine, it’s best to stick to that type of machine.
Front-loading machines generally use less water and more mechanical action (turning) than top loaders, so front-loading detergents contain antifoam ingredients to prevent too much foam from developing. Using top-loading detergents on your front loader can cause too much foam to build up in the machine, which can overflow and fill your clothes with foam (with a comical effect). More seriously, it can also cause “foam blockage,” a condition where foam builds up between the inner and outer drums of your washer, creating suction problems that can cause the engine to burn. The combination of excess foam and low water consumption also means that your rinsing performance (how well the detergent washes) will plummet, leaving detergent residue on your clothes.
If you’ve grabbed the wrong box or bottle when shopping or just bought a front-end loader and you still have lots of top-end loader detergent, in a hurry you can use it on your front-end loader, but you’ll need to use a lot less (about half to a quarter) than you would on a top-end loader.
Which detergent smells best?
There are fragrance-free detergents available on the market, but most tend to have a fragrance of some description, if anything just to allow the manufacturer to sell more product by putting different fragrances in the same basic formula. Evaluate the fragrance is very subjective, so take a good smell before buying, as some smells can be quite grater for some, but the smell like nothing at all to another. If you find really scented detergents on your nose, consider laundry detergents for sensitive skin, as they usually do not contain fragrances or dyes.
Do laundry balls and soap nuts work?
Occasionally we see products that are claimed to have a low ecological impact when it comes to washing your clothes. These are usually called “Laundry balls, “a plastic ball, usually filled with pebbles, or” soap nuts ” that, confusingly, are actually a type of Berry. They claim to be eco-friendly compared to their average detergent, and are reusable, thus reducing the cost of detergent.
Sound good? But do they work? Not really. Before you go out and spend your money, over 8 80 for some brands, see how they fared in our test of laundry balls and soap nuts compared to laundry detergents.