The 3 best laundry detergents

Photo by Stephanie Faris

Laundry might not be everyone’s favorite chore, but having a good detergent makes the job easier. You may have to spend hours pretreating your laundry with some detergents, while others can scrub away lighter stains without issues.

Today, there are brands that know many customers want a safer alternative to the chemicals found in past generations of detergents. You can find detergents that promise almost 100% natural ingredients, making them perfect if you have a family member with allergies or you simply want to be a little safer.

Still, you’ll find benefits of traditional detergents as well, including leaving your washed items feeling softer. That is, of course, a matter of personal preference, so you may need to compare an organic detergent against a more traditional one and determine which one you prefer. There’s also scent. You may not mind that clean-laundry smell but if you’re sensitive to it, there are plenty of detergents on the market that keep scent to a minimum. You’ll likely even find that you can barely detect some scents after your clothes come out of the dryer, even though they’re still just as clean as if there were a scent.

We tried out all the popular laundry detergents on the market and narrowed it down to the following three favorites.

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The Best Overall

Why We Like It: Using this detergent in our tests, clothes seemed softer and towels fluffier than with all other detergents. Although it isn’t as lightly scented as other detergents, we found the smell to be pleasant and not overwhelming at all. If you’re looking for an all-around great detergent, you can’t go wrong with this brand.

The Best Value


Photo by Stephanie Faris



Why We Like It: Not only is this detergent low-priced, but it ships as a set of two. What was really surprising in our testing, though, was how little liquid it took to reach the fill line. That means not only will you pay less, but each bottle will last you a while.


Upgrade Pick


Photo by Stephanie Faris



Why We Like It: The fact that it’s made from 98 percent natural ingredients is a huge plus for us, but to be honest, what we liked best about this laundry detergent was the scent. It had a light, clean smell that was pleasant, but barely detectable. It’s tough to find a detergent that doesn’t have an overwhelming scent, so we were happy to come across this one.


Tips and Advice:

  • If you have a high-efficiency washer, make sure you look for the “HE” demarcation on any detergent you buy. HE detergents are low sudsing, made specifically for the low water levels of an HE washer.
  • For those who prioritize natural ingredients, detergent makers have you covered. Amazon Presto! and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Laundry Detergent both keep chemicals to a minimum.
  • Scent is one of the most important factors in a laundry detergent, especially if you’re sensitive. Today’s more natural detergents keep scents to a minimum, cleaning your items without leaving an overpowering smell.
  • When it comes down to it, though, it’s all about the job the detergent does in the washer. With natural or “biobased” ingredients, you may pay more and not have the soft, fluffy results you find with a more traditional brand. Although all the detergents we tested got our clothes clean, we liked the way clothes and towels felt after being washed with the leading traditional detergent on our list.