These are the best and worst laundry detergents on the market

A woman pours laundry detergent into a measuring cup.

With inflation driving prices higher and shrinkflation resulting in smaller sizes for the things that have stayed the same cost, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re buying the best products possible. The last thing you want to do is throw away money on brands that don’t provide good results.

To help boost your confidence in a sizable routine expense, Consumer Reports has done another one of its deep-dive tests, this time focusing on laundry detergent. While people’s preferences may vary regarding factors such as fragrance and types of detergent — like powders, liquids or pods — the publication tested top laundry soaps to find out the most crucial aspect: Which brands clean best … and worst?

Consumer Reports had its testers saturate fabric swatches with several common stubborn stains, like blood, dirt, body oil and coffee. They then washed the swatches in a pair of identical washing machines using cool water and each detergent brand. They tested liquid detergents and pods, citing the overwhelming popularity of these two types in the market.


Using a colorimeter, which measures color intensity, the testers measured stain-removal levels by comparing swatches washed in detergent with swatches they’d washed only with water.

While the publication also tested laundry detergent sheets, these were not included in the results, as Consumer Reports considered a niche product.

The results showed that the best detergents did an excellent job removing tough stains, while the worst ones were just slightly more effective than water alone.

The final list revealed the six best — and three worst — performers.

Kirland laundry detergent

Best Value

Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

$21.99 at Costco

Persil laundry detergent

Best for Tough Stains

Persil ProClean Stain Fighter Liquid Laundry Detergent

$19.97 at Walmart

Kirland laundry detergent

Best for Baby Clothes

Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

$38.49 at Amazon

Tide power pods

Best Pods

Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty Power Pods

$19.99 at Target

Persil sensitive skin laundry detergent

Best for Sensitive Skin

Persil ProClean Free & Sensitive

$25.99 at Amazon

Tide ultra stain release

Best for Tough Stains and Hard Water

Tide Ultra Stain Release High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent

$12.99 at Target

Meanwhile, Sun Triple Clean,  Arm & Hammer, and Era ranked at the bottom of the list. Although it costs less than most of the detergents Consumer Reports tested, it also performs the poorest when it comes to stain removal. It appears you get what you pay for in this case.

You can check out the complete rankings from Consumer Reports.

About the Author

Tricia Goss

Tricia is a professional writer and editor who lives in North Texas with her family and one smelly dog. She is a wannabe problem solver, junk food maven professional coffee practitioner, web guru and general communicator. More.

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