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The best and worst laundry detergents revealed in our lab test

See the top cleaners and the duds barely better than water.

best and worst laundry detergents aug 2021
Last updated: 26 August 2021

Ever wondered if your chosen laundry detergent cleans as well as it claims? We've got the answer. 

The CHOICE laundry lab has conducted its latest round of testing, analysing more than 60 popular products for cleaning prowess (or lack thereof). The results reveal some big surprises, especially when we compare performance against price. 

We even uncovered one pricey detergent that washed worse than water! 

"We test all laundry detergents in both top and front loader machines, as the two machines perform quite differently," explains CHOICE expert Ashley Iredale

"Front loading machines generally wash clothes better, which is why we see higher scores for the detergents in the front loaders."

Want to know if your detergent is a winner or a wash-out? We reveal the best and worst cleaners from our test below. 

ash in laundry lab laundry detergents

Ashley takes doing the laundry very seriously.

Best detergents in our test for front loaders

In our last laundry detergent test, two Coles products took out second place, coming just behind Omo's Triple Capsules. This time around, Coles is again on the podium, but with a different product: Coles Ultra Concentrate Laundry Capsules. The supermarket capsules tied for first place with Dynamo's Professional Discs, also a capsule product. 

Although they're neck and neck for performance, there's one clear winner for your budget. Per wash, the Coles capsules are half the price of Dynamo (40c for Coles vs 86c for Dynamo).

Dynamo also took out the silver with the Professional 7 Actions in 1 Wash Liquid, which costs a more reasonable 56c a wash. 

"Our testing revealed that Coles Ultra Concentrate Laundry Capsules and Dynamo Professional Discs are the most effective laundry detergent for front loaders, with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 85%," says Ashley. 

In a win for hip pockets everywhere, four of the top 10 performers were supermarket brands. The cheapest of those, Aldi Trimat Advanced Concentrated Laundry Liquid, costs just 13c a wash and came third in our 'best of' list.

coles dynamo scores filler

Two capsule products took out the top spot, with the Coles capsules (left) costing half as much as the Dynamo capsules (middle).

Here are the top performers for front loaders:

  • Coles Ultra Concentrate Laundry Capsules (85%)
  • Dynamo Professional Discs capsules (85%)
  • Dynamo Professional 7 Actions in 1 Wash Liquid (84%)
  • Aldi Trimat Advanced Concentrated Laundry Liquid (83%)
  • Omo Laundry Detergent Triple Capsules (83%)
  • Dynamo Professional Free & Clear Liquid (82%)
  • Dynamo Professional Our Best Stain Removal Oxi Plus Liquid (81%)
  • Coles Ion Laundry Liquid Concentrate Original (81%)
  • Coles Ion Laundry Liquid Concentrate Colours (81%)
  • Dynamo Professional Deep Clean with Odour Eliminating Technology (80%)

Worst detergents in our test for front loaders

If you're using one of the products below, you might want to rethink your next purchase. Especially when you consider that washing with water alone scored 51% in our front loader test – not much worse than many of these products!

Here are the detergents to avoid:

  • Coles Lemon Fresh Laundry Liquid Hot and Cold Wash (52%)
  • Tru Earth Eco-Strips Laundry Detergent Fresh Linen (53%)
  • Woolworths Essentials Clean Wash Apple Liquid (54%)
  • Aldi Laundrite Laundry Liquid (54%)
  • Bosistos Sensitive Laundry Liquid (57%)

Can't see your brand? See the full laundry detergent test results.

Best detergents in our test for top loaders

You'll notice ratings for top loader detergents are much lower than for front loaders. That's because our testing has found top loading machines don't wash as well.

"With that in mind, choosing a top-performing detergent is even more important for top-loader devotees," says Ashley.

Coles once again took out the top spot, this time for its Lemon Fresh Laundry Powder Hot and Cold Wash. Not only did it wash the best with a rating of 61%, it's also great value at just 15c a wash.

Choosing a top-performing detergent is even more important for top-loader devotees

CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale

"Coles' performance in our tests goes to show that you can get a great wash for a fraction of the cost of the leading brands," says Ashley. 

The next highest scorers were Cold Power Clean and Fresh Powder (59%), Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder (57%) and Omo Laundry Detergent Ultimate (57%). 

Mind you, they're not exactly equal – you'll be paying more for the branded products, with Cold Power costing 63c a wash and Omo 71c a wash. Aldi's Laundrite Laundry Powder is a bargain at just 11c a wash.

aldi omo coles cold power score filler

Coles Lemon Fresh Laundry Powder was the number one wash for top loaders.

These are the top performers in our top loader detergents:

  • Coles Lemon Fresh Laundry Powder Hot and Cold Wash (61%)
  • Cold Power Clean and Fresh Powder (59%)
  • Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder (57%)
  • Omo Laundry Detergent Ultimate (57%)

Worst detergents in our test for top loaders

Our testing revealed plenty of dud detergents rating below 50%, including some big name brands. Here are the bottom scorers in our top loader test:

  • Tru Earth Eco-Strips Fresh Linen (40%)
  • Euca Soft Wash Premium Laundry Detergent(42%)
  • Omo Laundry Detergent Dual Capsules Sensitive (44%)
  • Omo Laundry Detergent Dual Capsules (44%)
  • Bosistos Sensitive Laundry Liquid (44%)
  • Woolworths Essentials Laundry Liquid Clean Wash Apple Fragrance (44%)
  • Aldi Laundrite Laundry Liquid (44%)

Can't see your brand? See the full laundry detergent test results.

The detergent worse than water

Many duds came close, but only one product actually rated worse than water in our washing analysis. 

Tru Earth Eco-Strips – which delivers detergent in a "a revolutionary new strip form" (according to their website) – rated a paltry 40% in our top loader test, while good old-fashioned water scored 41%.

The stinger? Not only do you get the weakest wash, you're also paying a hefty 62c a load. It also rated fourth lowest in our front loader test with 53%. Ouch.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE