The 5 Best Laundry Detergents

Finding the right laundry detergent requires a combination of choosing what works best on your clothes, with what your personal preferences are. If you have a high efficiency washer, then using a traditional detergent can cause excess suds. Instead, the Soap and Detergent Association recommends that you look for an HE detergent that is designed for your washer.

What is Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergent can remove dirt, stains, and other marks from your clothing. It can also make your laundry refreshed, brighter, smelling great, and looking like new. There are a range of detergent types available, such as liquid, powdered, and detergent pack forms. There are also a range of detergent scents and options to choose from, so you can easily find one that best suits your household or business. We’ve covered some of the most effective detergents to help you choose the right one to efficiently clean your dirty laundry in no time.

Top 5 Laundry Detergents

Tide Pods Laundry Detergent

Tide Pods are a favorite brand amongst picky consumers and national review sites, including Consumer Reports. As Amazon’s #1 best seller in powder laundry detergent, these no-mess Tide Pods are neat and clean, lightweight, and easy to store. They are very easy to use, just toss one in the laundry and you’re done. They also don’t cost much more than comparable laundry detergent. These 3-in-1 pods are also a Good Housekeeping choice for one of the best laundry detergents due to their superior cleaning power.

Along with containing detergent suitable for colors and whites, each pod also contains a stain remover and brightener to reveal your cleanest, brightest clothes. They can be used with regular or high efficiency washers, in any water temperature. They are also available in an array of fresh, clean scents to suit your personal preferences. If you are used to traveling to a nearby laundromat, then these are ideal. They are much lighter, easier to transport, and easier to use than traditional, heavy detergents.

Currently $18.98 on Amazon

Tide Original Scent High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide Original High Efficiency is consistently a favorite brand on Consumer Reports and is one of the most popular options amongst consumers. As Amazon’s #1 best seller in liquid laundry detergent, this high efficiency liquid detergent is phosphate-free and made of biodegradable soaps. It contains more cleaning ingredients and less water, resulting in a low-sudsing formula. The updated formula has more active ingredients than before, so you can use less in each load, saving you money over time.

Only one small cap of detergent is needed for each load, so you get the same number of loads in a smaller bottle. The original scent is fresh and clean, but there are a variety of scents to choose from, to best suit your personal preferences.

Currently $11.97 on Amazon

Wisk Deep Clean

In an independent study by ABC News, Wisk Deep Clean was rated highest among conventional brands and high-efficiency brands. Wisk is also a Consumer Reports’ choice for the best laundry detergents and has been a beloved brand for years thanks to its stain-fighting abilities.

Along with outstanding customer reviews, professionals also find it best for work uniforms as it offers a deep clean and can reveal the cleanest, brightest, whitest laundry, compared to other detergents. It can handle even the toughest stains, like grass, blood, tea, and chocolate stains. The liquid detergent cleans very well (even in cold water) and can brighten clothes more with FBA (fluorescent brightening agents). It is available in a variety of clean scents, as well as a free & pure option. With options for HE and standard washers, you can use this with any washing machine. It is also easy to use with legible directions and visible markings in the cap.

Currently $29.99 on Amazon

Tide Plus Coldwater High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide Plus Coldwater is a favorite brand amongst households and national review sites alike. As a Good Housekeeping choice for one of the best laundry detergents, this Tide for cold water proved to remove more tough stains in cold water than other detergents were able to accomplish in hot water. Even grass, chocolate, and blood stains are no match for this cold water detergent. By using cold water on your laundry, you can expect to save about 50% on your monthly energy bill. This detergent works efficiently, has a craveworthy fresh scent and superior color protection, offers a more effective solution for your delicate fabrics, and can save you money on your monthly water-heating bill.

This is a Consumer Reports’ choice for the best laundry detergents and with overwhelmingly positive reviews, it’s a popular option for homes with high efficiency washers.

Currently $11.97 on Amazon

Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent

As Amazon’s #1 best seller in commercial laundry detergent, Arm & Hammer detergent can clean away even the toughest stains. It is ideal for all machines, including high efficiency washers, and can be used in all water temperatures, on all laundry, even dark loads. It is designed to power out dirt and odors and will leave your clothes clean, fresh, free of stains, and smelling great. It contains the power of Arm & Hammer, as well as special agents to trap soil in the wash water.

One affordable bottle is enough for 140 loads, making it ideal for commercial laundromats and households with heavy laundry needs. The bottle also contains two pouring spouts, a clear top for dispensing the detergent and a blue top for allowing air in, preventing a vacuum seal from forming.

Currently $12.00 on Amazon

And those are our recommendations for the best laundry detergent. As always, be sure to check Wise Bread's Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!

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The 5 Best Laundry Detergents

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Guest's picture
Caryl Bailey

I appreciated this information. Over the years I've tried out different brands of laundry detergent, and finally settled on Arm and Hammer, as it is scent free (my preference), effective, and less expensive than Tide, and has a brand name I am familiar with. I am reluctant to try "house brands" since, in the past, a few turned out to be inadequate. (With many other products, I usually try house brands first, moving up the price ladder until I find the item meeting my needs.) Thank you for this review of this essential everyday product; it is reassuring to have professional confirmation of one's own experience.

Guest's picture

A good brand is one that is good on children's clothes

Guest's picture

While I love Tide detergents in all variations, the inclusion of arm and hammer in your list calls into question any testing methods conducted. You can find other reviews of best laundry detergents at Let me also state that laundry detergent will make your clothes clean provided you apply sensible laundry habits.

Try to separate your colors the right way

Do not stuff the washing machine full of clothes because you need to leave room for proper agitation to get the dirt out.

Use the right amount of detergent and make sure during the rinse circle there is no soap bubbles still in your clothes.

Hope that helps and I do love your blogging style!

Guest's picture

I'm doing a science project on Tide and Arm and Hammer to see which is the best detergent.