Best Laundry Detergent Reviews in 2018

Best Laundry Detergent Reviews

For most people we recommend Tide PODS 3 in 1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs but if you want to make sure that you’ve got something suited especially for your own laundry then read on and we’ll show you our five picks of the best laundry detergents around.

If you’re looking to make sure that your clothes end up in perfect condition the next time that you do laundry, then you may want to rethink the soap you’re using. There’s a huge variety of different soaps out there, after all, and while most of us just pick up the brand that we’re used to then you may be missing out in a big way.


Tide PODS 3 in 1 HE

Best overall: Tide PODS 3 in 1

If you’re looking for a simple, perfect solution to all of your laundry needs then you’re in good hands with Tide PODS. They’re fabulous and simple.

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Top 5 Laundry Detergents

Name Type Rating
Tide PODS 3 in 1 HE Turbo Laundry Single Packs 5/5 Check Price
Gain HEC Ultra Original Powdered 4/5 Check Price
Tide Purclean Plant-based Laundry Detergent Green Liquid 4/5 Check Price
Tide Free & Gentle HE Turbo Liquid Unscented Liquid 4/5 Check Price
Arm & Hammer Liquid 3.5/5 Check Price

1. Best Overall

Tide PODS 3 in 1 HE

Tide PODS 3 in 1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs

Product Rating

If there’s one thing to be learned from the new revolution in serving sized packs of laundry detergent it’s this: people use too much soap and these little packs fix that for the majority of people. Tide consistently performs the best in independent testing when it comes to stain-destroying powers, and we can’t argue with that kind of result. These single packs are great and they work with both standard and HE washers.

Pods take all the guesswork out of your laundry by making sure you know exactly how much to use without any difficulty, which is why we recommend them for most people. Add in the fact that these are extremely usable with a wide range of washing machines and you can see why we love these.

Pros and Cons

  • Simple to use, single serving packs
  • Superior stain busting power
  • Sized perfectly for single loads
  • Usable with pretty much all washing machines
  • Expensive per serving
  • Not suitable for presoaking

2. Best Powder Laundry Detergent

Gain HEC Ultra Original Powder

Gain HEC Ultra Original Powder Laundry Detergent

Product Rating

Powder detergents used to be the only kind around, and for some people they’re still the best option. The best part about them is the pricing, but they’re also easy to dose as long as you’re able to follow directions. Gain HEC is the best of the many powder detergents we took a look at. It’s the perfect combination of stain-busting power and price that makes it an awesome option for anyone who’s planning on using powder instead of liquid.

On top of that, it’s completely biodegradable. While not 100% environmentally safe, it’s definitely a greener option than liquid soaps. Add in the fact that it works with high-efficiency washers and you’ve got a winner.

If you’re looking for powdered detergent, then try out Gain HEC in order to make sure that your clothes end up clean and fresh each and every time.

Pros and Cons

  • Powdered detergent
  • Great for pre-soaking
  • Easily dosed and simple to use
  • Powerful, stain busting abilities
  • If overdone will leave some serious residue
  • Fragrance doesn’t stay after drying

3. Best Green Laundry Detergent

Tide Purclean Plant-based Laundry Detergent

Tide Purclean Plant-based Laundry Detergent

Product Rating

Liquid detergents are often made with petro-chemicals and that can turn a lot of people off. If you like the convenience of liquid detergent while you’re washing but want to stay as green as possible then you’ll love Purclean. The formula itself is also made with green energy, and its stain-removing ability is equal to most of Tide’s other products. Add in the fact that the formula itself is 65% bio-based and you have an ecologically friendly solution to your laundry problems.

It’s super powerful, and you’re able to bust out even the nastiest stains with this detergent. Unfortunately, it’s also fairly expensive, but if you’re willing to pay the premium it’s the greenest solution of them all.

Tide Purclean is an excellent, green solution to your laundry problems. If you want to use a powerful, natural liquid detergent then this is the best option for you.

Pros and Cons

  • 65% bio-derived
  • Made with renewable energy
  • Tide-strong for excellent stain removal
  • Free of dyes, chlorine, and other unnatural ingredients
  • Expensive
  • Not much scent for those who like to have strongly smelling laundry

4. Best Laundry Detergent for People With Sensitive Skin

Tide Free & Gentle HE Turbo Liquid

Tide Free & Gentle HE Turbo Liquid Laundry Detergent

Product Rating

Tide produces the best detergents for the most part, and thankfully they even have an option for those who have sensitive skin. This excellent detergent lacks any of the chemicals which cause reactions in those who can’t handle dyes or scents. That’s a surprisingly large portion of the population, and it can be a pain to find something powerful and gentle. Thankfully, this detergent fills out that exact niche.

Hypoallergenic and powerful enough for even the nastiest stains, Tide Free & Gentle is also a bit expensive. Those who can pay the price can rest assured that allergic reactions won’t happen while they’re using it however.

If you want an excellent detergent which won’t leave you with a rash then Tide Free & Gentle is the obvious choice. Good liquid detergents are hard to find, so are good hypoallergenic ones. Thankfully this option covers both.

Pros and Cons

  • Hypoallergenic for those who react to soaps and scents
  • Super powerful, stain removing power
  • No scent, leaving laundry clean but not smelling
  • Works with HE washing machines
  • Lack of scent can be disconcerting for some people
  • A bit expensive

5. Best Budget Laundry Detergent

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent

Product Rating

While Arm & Hammer might not boast the same ability to burst through tough stains as tide, it definitely gets the job done. On top of that, you’ll find that this particular variation is super cheap, making it ideal for those on a tight budget. For the most part, this is a simple and easy-to-use liquid detergent but it suffers from the usual problems: namely the fact that people tend to use way too much liquid detergent

Just follow the directions and you’ll be good to go with this one. It’s also great at hammering out odors, which is a definite plus if you’re working hard during the day. The scent it comes with is attractive to most people, but it’s not overly strong.

If you just need a budget detergent, then this hardworking variant of Arm & Hammer is exactly what you need.

Pros and Cons

  • Super cheap per serving
  • Can be used with HE washers
  • Great for pre-treating
  • Great for eliminating odors
  • Not as awesome as Tide when it comes to stain-busting
  • Easy to overuse and leave residue if you’re not careful

Picking the Best Detergent

As you can see, there’s a simply stunning array of great detergents out there to choose from. Instead of just placing yourself at the mercy of something you’ve used for a long time you can end up with some impressively clean clothes each and every time if you’re willing to change things up.

Liquid vs. Powder vs. Single Packs

Each person has their own preference when it comes to the type of detergent that they end up using.

Most people are familiar with liquid detergents, they’ve pretty much taken over the market these days. Even the single serving packs tend to be of this type.

There’s good reason for this: they’re easy to just pour in and forget. Most people have a tendency to use a bit too much when they’re using liquids however. That wastes money and leaves that irritating soapy residue in your clothing that most people have learned to despise.

They’re great if you pay attention to how much you’re using, however, particularly if you need to take care of oily messes or other things which have trouble dissolving in water.

Using Your Detergent

Powdered laundry detergents, on the other hand, has a tendency to be a lot cheaper. This cheapness has given it a somewhat bad reputation with many people, but there are a number of high-quality powdered soaps which will make short work of most problems which you might run into.

They’re really not useful at all if you’re going to have to deal with cold washing however. You need the heat to make sure that all of the soap dissolves quickly and easily in order to permeate the clothing contained within the washer’s barrel.

Single serving packs are the most expensive, by a good amount, but they’re super convenient. Most of the good ones will combine both powdered and liquid detergents, but you may end up having to use two of them for super nasty loads.

HE vs. Non-HE

A detergent needs to have the HE, or “high-efficiency”, label in order to safely be used in a modern high-efficiency washer.

Whether that’s important to you or not will depend on what kind of machine you have in your home. If you don’t have a high-efficiency machine you actually may want to look into one, especially if your favorite detergent can be used with one. They can save a lot of money over time.


There’s more to scents than just finding something that you like the smell of.

Funnily enough, those same attractive smelling chemicals can actually irritate skin. If you’re particularly sensitive to this sort of thing then you may want to find a good unscented soap to use in your washing machine.

If you’re still having problems, then you may find that rinsing your clothes a second time after you’ve run the initial load is a good idea.

Tested Stain Lifting

The simple fact of the matter is that your average person doesn’t get their clothes stained on a frequent enough basis, or change brands of detergent often enough, to be able to make sure that they’re using the best detergent for the stains they encounter.

In this case, you’ll have to rely on third party tests from trusted surfaces.

The fact of the matter is that some of these detergents are going to lift stains quite a bit better than others. This isn’t necessarily the most important factor for some people, but for many of us it’s pretty much the priority when it comes to picking a laundry detergent out.

Liquid vs. Powder vs. Single Packs

“Special” Features

Sometimes you’ll be able to find a detergent which does something extra. Whether or not it actually works… well, in a lot of cases it’s just a gimmick to raise the cost per load for the end consumer.

Sometimes, however, a combination does exactly what it says it will. In that case, you can save money on, say, a fabric softener, but we recommend being very careful with these more expensive detergents.

Don’t get suckered, it’s better to buy a product for the right purpose and get something else separately unless it comes highly recommended.

Using Your Detergent

Most of us have been doing our laundry for a long time, and we tend to get set in our ways.

There’s one thing most of us do as well: we use too much detergent.

Not only does this have a chance of leaving disgusting soap residue on our clothes, it’s also pretty much the same as just pouring money down the drain pipe.

This is especially true if you’re using a high-efficiency machine or a front-loading washer. Both of these types of machines use quite a bit less water than less advanced devices and you can pour overzealously without really meaning to.

One of the main things: always measure your soap using the cup. Many of these cups have lines contained within them for the different sizes of loads, as a general rule a “medium” load is actually six-to-seven pounds of clothing.

If you’re having trouble reading off the cup, which is true especially for opaque ones, mark them with a Sharpie or other permanent pen. The ink will resist the soap and the marks will let you know for sure where the lines are.

Soaps which are marketed with the HE symbol are usually quite concentrated so check the concentration to make sure you’re not overdosing your washer.

For top loaders, the amount marked is usually correct.

Pre-soaking Clothing

If your clothing is exceptionally dirty, you may want to pre-soak them instead of simply adding more detergent. This is true especially with HE washers which don’t take kindly to the large amount of suds which can be generated with too much detergent.

There’s a few different methods which can be utilized: the easiest is simply to fill the chamber of your washer with water and let the clothes soak for 20-30 minutes before you start the cycle.

You can also try soaking them in a bucket. Use the same amount of detergent you’d use to wash the clothes, then wring them out and place them in the washer as normal.

Spot Cleaning

Another method of taking care of clothing which is particularly bad off is to pre-clean heavy stains before soaking.

You’ll want to take a small amount of detergent and rub it into any particularly bad stains. Give it a vigorous rubbing and remove as much of it as you can before pre-soaking the clothes like above.

This individual attention to each garment may be a bit much for your average load of clothing, but it can pay off when it comes to clothing which is particularly bad off. You’ll be able to remove stains that you may have thought were permanent.

You may also wish to try vinegar for some stains, it’s particularly good at removing things like tomato, coffee, and ink from clothing.

If you’ve got a particularly weird stain, then you may want to check into seeing what you can do about it using Google. Most things can be removed, provided that you’re careful about the application of different cleaners.

Check Your Clothing

Before you wash any garment, you may want to check the label. While most common things, like t-shirts, will generally be fine in the laundry stuff will sometimes surprise you.

Take a good look at the labels of anything you haven’t washed before you decide to throw it in the washer and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. If it says wash cold… wash it cold. That sort of thing.

It’s not rocket science, but it can be a saving grace for some of your more expensive clothing.


Finding the best laundry detergent isn’t nearly as hard as it seems, but each person is going to have their own individual needs. If you combine it with the correct laundry technique then you’re sure to end up with clothes that are much cleaner than you ever imagined possible. We hope that we’ve led you to the right product, don’t let old habits get in the way of ensuring that you’ve got the brightest, longest-lasting clothing in the room.