Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 
What's behind
the score?
Watch the video
Last updated: 02 June 2017

The best laundry detergents will remove spills like oils, tomato, and starches from your clothes. Detergent also amounts to at least half the running cost of your washing machine, so it pays to pick the right one. 

Read more

We've tested more than 100 laundry detergents to tell you which one:

  • works best in your machine type
  • works well on 10 difficult-to-remove stains
  • is good value for money
  • is best for specific stains
  • is best for the environment.

We also expose how environmentally friendly they are by running them through the GreyWater assessment tool to find out their impact on gardens when laundry greywater is used and the impact on recycling at wastewater treatment plants. 

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which detergents claim to contain enzymes, which claim to be phosphate-free, and even how they compare to washing in plain water. Just like our washing machine reviews, our Recommended list will help you see quickly which products come out on top.

Show less

Filters

Narrow your results

Your filters

Clear all filters

Brand

Expand to view more details.

List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

Expand to view more details.

This is the price we paid for the pack size listed. The cost per wash is based on this price, so if you can find it cheaper, the cost per wash will be cheaper.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 20.99

Top filters

Recommended products

Washing machine type

Expand to view more details.

Whether we tested the detergent in a top loader or front loader washing machine. If the detergent claims to be suitable for both, we test in both. You'll find the scores under the requisite machine type.

Type of detergent

Expand to view more details.

We test a range of liquids and powders. Occasionally we'll test the capsules, but they are a small market at the moment. Inevitably, powders tend to be more effective.

GreySmart rating

Expand to view more details.

'GreySmart' – OK for regular use on gardens. 'GreySmart with care' – OK for use if greywater will be used to irrigate the garden but will probably need some management of the soil within a year or two (e.g. pH adjustment, nutrient management or addition of gypsum, lime or organic matter to manage soil structural changes). 'Fail' – Not recommended for use with the garden. The GreySmart analysis was conducted by Atura Pty Ltd on behalf of Melbourne's water businesses. Assessment of detergents is based on long-term use of wash and rinse water.

Total suspended solids

Expand to view more details.

The Total Suspended Solids analysis was conducted on behalf of City West Water. Total suspended solids is an indication of the amount of insolubles in the detergent. Choosing one with more stars may leave fewer residues on your clothes when using a very water-efficient machine. Detergents with crosses (x) have a large amount of insolubles, and are best avoided if you are experiencing residue problems.

Costs

Cost per wash

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0.05 and 0.73

Features

Has enzymes claim

Expand to view more details.

Enzymes target protein, starch or biological-based stains such as grass or blood. Different enzymes target different stains. Enzymes are known to cause irritation, so should be avoided by people with sensitive skin.

Optical brighteners claim

Expand to view more details.

Optical brighteners coat the fabric with fluorescers that absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit it as blue light, making the clothes look whiter and brighter even though they don't actually remove any dirt. They help minimise greying of whites. Products with brighteners are best avoided by people with sensitive skin.

Low to no phosphate claim

Expand to view more details.

Phosphates help soften the water and keep extracted dirt in suspension. But high levels of phosphorus can lead to excessive growth of blue-green algae in inland waterways.

Safe for septics claim

Expand to view more details.

A 'Yes' in this column means the product should be safe for use in a septic tank if used as directed. It's based on having no chlorine bleach. But while detergents generally don't have much of an effect on the septic tank's treatment capabilities, a high sodium load can cause problems with the soil over time, as it's released into the subsoil trenches.

Test results

Blood

Expand to view more details.

A difference of seven percentage points between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 28 and 100

General detergency

Expand to view more details.

The all-rounder 'General detergency swatch' is stained with nut oil, milk and a colour pigment. It's a measure of how well the detergent keeps soils suspended in the wash liquor and stops them from redepositing on your clothes; enzyme action on protein based stains; and oil removal. Visible differences (to the human eye) in dirt removal from this swatch is about 8 percentage points.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 38 and 83

Grass / Mud

Expand to view more details.

A difference of <1 percentage point between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 55 and 91

Chocolate ice cream

Expand to view more details.

A difference of <1 percentage point between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 45 and 96

Mineral oil

Expand to view more details.

A difference of 10 percentage points between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 33 and 68

Olive oil

Expand to view more details.

A difference of about eight percentage points between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 40 and 77

Perspiration

Expand to view more details.

A difference of about seven percentage points between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 39 and 75

Tomato

Expand to view more details.

A difference of about four percentage points between these scores is visible to the human eye.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 55 and 76

Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Washes per pack
  • Cost per wash
  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • General detergency
  • Perspiration
  • Grass / Mud
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato
  • Make up
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Baby food
  • Mineral oil
  • Blood
  • Total suspended solids
  • Safe for septics claim
  • Contact
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Type of detergent
  • Price
  • Washing machine type
  • Pack size (g or mL)
  • GreySmart rating
  • Low to no phosphate claim
  • Has enzymes claim
  • Optical brighteners claim
  • Origin
  • Comments
Show all
Back to filters

Product selected for a detailed comparison

Clear all