The CHOICE laundry lab has conducted its latest round of testing detergents, analysing more than 70 popular laundry powders, laundry liquids and laundry capsules for their cleaning prowess – or lack of.
And the results have delivered some big surprises, especially when we compare performance against price.
Want to know if your detergent is a winner or a wash-out? We reveal the best and worst cleaners from our tests below.
Head of reviews and testing Matthew Steen with the latest line up.
Your washer type matters
To get the best results out of your laundry detergent, pay attention to the results it got for your type of machine.
"We test all laundry detergents in both top and front loader machines, as the two machines perform quite differently," explains CHOICE head of reviews and testing Matthew Steen.
"Front loading machines generally wash clothes better, which is why we see higher scores for the detergents in the front loaders."
Read more on how we test laundry detergents.
It's a huge win for Omo in our latest test of laundry detergents, with four of its products topping the results this year, and a further two Omo products making it into our top 10.
Omo Expert Anti-Bacterial Powder was the front runner with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 90%, followed by Omo Ultimate Powder and Omo Laundry Detergent Powder, which earned CHOICE Expert Ratings of 86% and 84% respectively.
But those kinds of results don't come cheap. The top performing Omo product costs a whopping $29 per 2kg, or $1.16 per wash.
In other unfortunate news for our hip pockets, only two out of the top 10 performers are supermarket own-brand products.
Coming in at fifth place is Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder, which, although just missing out on being recommended by our experts, offers some serious value for money at only 11 cents a wash.
And Coles Tropical Paradise Concentrate Laundry Powder also made the top 10, costing 25 cents a wash.
Omo products dominated in our front loader test.
Top 10 performers for front loaders
- Omo Expert Anti-Bacterial Powder (90%)
- Omo Ultimate Powder (86%)
- Omo Laundry Powder (84%)
- Omo Ultimate Sensitive Liquid (81%)
- Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder (79%)
- Omo Ultimate Liquid (79%)
- Dynamo Professional Our Best Stain Removal Oxi Plus (78%)
- Dynamo Professional Deep Clean with Odour Eliminating Technology (77%)
- Omo Expert Odour Eliminator (77%)
- Coles Tropical Paradise Concentrate Laundry Powder (76%).
Although Aldi snuck into the top five best performers for front loaders, it's not all smiles for the bargain retailer, which also took out the wooden spoon in our test of more than 100 products.
While you may be tempted by its low cost per wash of just 6c, the Aldi Laundrite Laundry Liquid was the worst performer out of all the liquids and powders we tested, scoring just 50% – no better than plain water.
And while we can't directly compare the scores we've given liquids and powders with the scores we've given capsule products, as we tested them slightly differently, there were a couple of capsule products from Surf that also performed poorly in our front loader tests, scoring just 53% and 54%.
If you're using one of the products below, you might want to rethink your next purchase. Here are the detergents to avoid (remember that when we tested the effectiveness of plain water, we gave it a score of 50%):
- Aldi Laundrite Laundry Liquid (50%)
- Surf Tropical 30 Capsules (53%)
- Surf Aqua Fresh 30 Capsules (54%)
- Coles Lemon Laundry Liquid (54%)
- Bosisto's Laundry Liquid Sensitive (54%)
- Coles Ultra Concentrate Sensitive Laundry Liquid (55%)
- Earth Choice Laundry Liquid Pure Clean (57%)
- Aldi Almat Laundry Liquid Concentrate Sunshine Fresh (57%)
- Aldi Green Action Laundry Liquid (58%).
Can't see your brand? See the full laundry detergent test results.
Why it's probably not worth buying laundry capsules
You may have noticed the list above features a couple of laundry capsules.
Laundry capsules are single-use capsules, or pods, of liquid laundry detergent concentrate in a dissolvable plastic wrapper. They're designed to be dropped straight into your washing machine.
Although we do recommend eight capsule products, on the whole they don't perform as well as liquids or powders.
Two of our five bottom performers for front loaders are capsules
Two of our five bottom performers for front loaders are capsules, with Surf Tropical Capsules and Surf Aqua Fresh Capsules scoring just 53% and 54% in our testing despite the fact they cost over 40c per wash.
They're certainly convenient with no messy pouring or measuring required – but other benefits are limited.
"Laundry detergent pods are considerably more expensive per wash than liquid or powder detergent, and our testing shows that they don't always perform as well," says Matthew.
You may notice that ratings for top loader detergents are much lower than for front loader detergents. That's because our testing has found top loading machines don't wash as well.
"With that in mind, choosing a high performing detergent is even more important for people with top loaders," says Matthew.
Once again, Omo was a standout in our test, with the Omo Expert Anti-bacterial Power (70%) ranking as the best, and the Omo Ultimate Powder (65%) taking out third place.
Choosing a high performing detergent is even more important for people with top loadersCHOICE head of reviews and testing Matthew Steen
If you have a top loader and you're looking to save some cash though, the Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder was our second-best performer, scoring 69% and costing just 17c per wash (as compared to the exxy Omo product which costs $1.16 per wash).
"The performance of the Aldi powder in our tests goes to show that you can get a great wash for a fraction of the cost of the leading brands," says Matthew.
Aside from the top three scoring products, the list of high performers was dominated by Coles.
An affordable Aldi product snuck into second place in our top loader test.
Top 7 products for top loaders
- Omo Expert Anti-bacterial Power (70%)
- Aldi Laundrite Laundry Powder (69%)
- Omo Ultimate Powder (65%)
- Coles Lemon Fresh Laundry Powder (62%)
- Cold Power Advanced Clean Powder (60%)
- Coles Tropical Paradise Concentrate Laundry Powder (60%)
- Coles Ultra Concentrate Laundry Powder (60%).
Our testing revealed plenty of dud detergents that rated below 50%, including some big name brands.
When it comes to liquid and powder detergents, these are the bottom scoring products in our top loader tests (keep in mind, plain water scores 45%):
- Aldi Green Action Laundry Liquid (46%)
- Ecostore 3x Concentrate Laundry Liquid (47%)
- Woolworths Clean Laundry Liquid Fresh Getaway (48%).
When it comes to capsules, here are the bottom scorers in our top loader test:
- Surf Tropical Capsules (45%)
- Surf Aqua Fresh Capsules (45%)
- Ka Pod 4 in 1 Turbocharged Cleaning Power Capsules (45%)
- Ka Pod 4 in 1 Anti-dust Mites Laundry Capsules (45%).
Can't see your brand? See the full laundry detergent test results.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.