Best Laundry Detergents
Feeling good about yourself is easier when you feel great about your clothes, and your clothes are only as good as the laundry detergent you use on them. With a variety of washing powders and liquids on the market that all claim to work wonders on your laundry, getting the latest scoop on what to look for in a detergent is a good place to start.
- Value for Money4.9 (44)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (45)
- Smell 4.9 (44)
Want a product that’s eco-friendly, smells natural, and gets rid of spots? Bosisto’s Aussie-made Pre-Wash Stain Remover is worth giving a go.
Removes all kinds of stains
Doesn't irritate sensitive skin
Easy to use
- Value for Money5.0 (7)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (7)
- Smell 5.0 (5)
Receiving rave reviews left, right and centre, Earth Choice Woolwash is a clear winner. For only a few dollars, you’ll have clothes that are clean, fresh, and smell fantastic.
Gentle on wools and delicates
Doesn't leave marks on laundry
Great value for money
- Value for Money4.8 (6)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (6)
- Smell 5.0 (5)
- Cruelty Free Yes
- Sensitive Skin No
- Compatible with Grey Water SystemsYes
Harnessing the antibacterial properties of pure eucalyptus oil, Bosisto’s Sensitive Laundry Powder leaves your laundry feeling and smelling fresh.
Latest review: I am very pleased with the wash results after using this product.I find the smell pleasing and it makes your darks like new .I do agree that the price has become prohibitive
Types of detergents
Whether you’re meticulous about separating whites and colours, or you like to throw everything in the machine, there’s a wide range of liquid and powder detergents to choose from.
While we’re by no means going to end the powder vs. liquid debate once and for all, understanding the differences between detergents will help you find something that suits you, your , and your laundry.
Laundry powder is the most commonly used detergent, but there’s a lot to consider about this tried and true product.
- Better at dirt and grass stain removal. Powder is considered more effective than other washing detergent types at getting rid of outdoor stains, making it great for those who play sports and parents with young children.
- It’s the cheapest choice. Thanks to its affordability, powder detergent is a popular choice with consumers, giving you more bang for your buck.
- Lasts longer. Powders have a long shelf life because they contain more stable surfactants (the compound that cleans your clothes), making it a great choice for bulk buyers.
- More eco-friendly packaging. Because they’re packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes, powders are usually the greenest option on the market.
- Can leave residue on clothing. Because it isn’t pre-dissolved, sometimes unmixed powder can leave a white residue on your clothing and linen. If this happens you might need to do a second wash.
- Isn’t effective in cold washes. Because powder doesn’t easily dissolve in cold water, it’s only recommended for hotter cycles - meaning you might have higher electricity bills.
- Could cause potential damage to your washing machine over time. Undissolved powder can sometimes get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your machine - over time and without proper cleaning this can harden and reduce the efficacy of your machine.
While it hasn’t quite overtaken powder as the most popular detergent of choice, laundry liquid is still widely used because it’s easy to use and is great at doing its job.
- Completely dissolves in water and doesn’t leave residue. Laundry liquid is more soluble than powder detergent, meaning it’s a lot less likely to leave soap scum on your clothes or in your machine.
- It’s suitable for all water temperatures. Liquid detergents can be used for cold, warm and hot cycles. This is handy if you’re concerned about energy usage and don’t need to do hot washes for every laundry load.
- More effective in tackling liquid stains. Because liquid detergent is better than powder at penetrating fabric fibres, it’s great at removing perspiration, oil and grease spots.
- Convenient to use. Since you can pour liquid straight into your detergent drawer without needing to measure out a scoop as you would with powder, it’s easier to use. The plastic packaging of washing liquid also makes it more durable than cardboard packaging which can rip or get water damaged.
- Doesn’t last as long. Liquid detergent has a shorter shelf life than washing powder, with a bottle usually expiring within 6 months of opening.
- Comes in plastic packaging. The plastic bottles liquid detergent comes in makes it less environmentally friendly.
- More expensive. It’s pricier than powder detergent per wash.
A laundry pod is a pre-measured, concentrated dose of detergent liquid that is encased in water-soluble packaging. These capsules dissolve when they come in contact with water or moisture.
- Convenient and simple to use. All you need to do is pop a pod into the drum of your machine.
- Can be unsafe. Laundry pods pose a significant risk to children who often mistake the brightly coloured capsules for toys or lollies. They can also be unsafe for people with vision impairments.
- Expensive. It’s the priciest detergent type per laundry load.
- Can’t adjust measurements. Pre-measured doses mean you can’t adjust the dose depending on the size of your wash - you might need to put multiple pods in for particularly dirty laundry.
Factors to consider when buying a detergent
Top and front loader detergents: what's the difference?
The main difference between front and top loading detergents is the lather formula they contain.
use less water and spin more than , so are designed to stop the development of too many suds. Using a in your front loader can damage your machine’s motor and cause it (and potentially your whole laundry room) to overflow with foam.
If your detergent specifies what kind of machine it’s designed for, you should follow that. You shouldn’t use top and front-loading detergents interchangeably - this could not only damage your machine, but it also just won’t clean your clothes as well.
Laundry detergents for sensitive skin
Finding a detergent that works with sensitive skin or with a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis or dry skin can be difficult. There are plenty of detergents that claim to not aggravate your skin, and these either substitute irritant ingredients or omit them altogether. However keep in mind that just because a detergent is labelled as suitable for people for sensitive skin, that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Below are a few ingredients and things to consider when you’re shopping around.
Used for speeding up dirt removal, enzymes are a common additive in most laundry detergents. While different enzymes are added for different purposes, in that they each target certain kinds of stains, the one thing they have in common is that they can aggravate your skin. Scanning the ingredients of detergents will help you avoid laundry detergents with enzymes.
Optical brighteners are irritants that are added to detergents to help make your clothes appear whiter and brighter. They don’t clean your clothes in any way, and are better avoided if you have sensitive skin. Luckily, there are plenty of laundry detergents without optical brighteners available to buy, and almost all ‘green’ detergents don’t have them.
Fragrances in detergents don’t help clean your laundry, and sensitive detergent formulas are generally expected to be fragrance-free. Avoiding perfumes as well as colourings altogether is a safe bet for sensitive skin and sensitive noses.
Changing how you wash
There are also washing practices that you can follow to help curb the risk of irritating your skin. Rigorous rinsing is an effective way to ensure there are no traces of detergent left behind on your clothes or in your machine. If you do notice there’s soap on your clothes or in the corners of your machine, you can program an extra rinse cycle to your wash to help get rid of any residue.
You can also try experimenting with the amount of detergent you use - using less detergent may leave your skin better off and will also reduce the environmental footprint of your washing.
Laundry detergents for babies
Babies, especially newborns, have sensitive skin and often soil their clothes, which makes finding a detergent even more difficult. If you’re worried that regular detergent is too harsh on your baby’s skin, there’s a wide range of baby laundry detergent available for you to try out.
When doing your baby’s laundry, practising the same washing as you would for sensitive skin - that is, using less detergent and thorough rinsing - is a good way to keep your bub comfortable and happy.
When you look on supermarket shelves, you’ll see plenty of packaging that includes words like ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘natural’. This means they have no or fewer chemicals which are damaging to the environment. Rather than taking these words at face value, looking out for certain ingredients can help you be sure that you’re mitigating the harm your laundry does to the planet. Here are some to keep an eye out for.
- Phosphates: Most laundry detergents contain phosphates, which help to soften water and remove dirt, oil and grease. Laundry detergents with phosphates are more polluting for our waterways, so if you’re also shopping with the planet in mind, try looking for laundry detergents which have a ‘P’ on their packaging, meaning low phosphorus (<7.8g/wash) or ‘NP’, meaning that there’s no or less than 0.5% phosphorus content.
- Sodium: Washing powders often also contain sodium, which can damage the quality of soil that comes into contact with liquid waste. Because it’s used as a bulking agent and to help detergent bubble up rather than for cleaning purposes, looking for a detergent with a lower sodium content can help save the environment with little difference made to the freshness of your laundry.
Per wash, laundry powder is the cheapest detergent type available. You can expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $22 for 2kg of powder, which can last you up to 40 washes depending on the amount used per wash. Liquid detergent will set you back between $6 to upwards of $20 for a 2L bottle, and will usually last you up to 25 washes.
There are almost always deals on different detergents at major supermarkets, so doing your research pays off - literally.
There’s no laundry detergent that suits everyone. Between different smells, price points, stain removal abilities and varying degrees of eco-friendliness, the right detergent looks different for everyone.