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Last updated: 17 August 2018

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.

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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, and
  • 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.

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List of brands we tested in this review.


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    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, your cost per wash will be cheaper as well.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 21.99

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    Member only

    This test score is for members only. Join now to unlock our expert results.

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    Washing machine type

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    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

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      We test a range of liquids and powders. Occasionally we also test capsules, but they currently only make up a small part of the market. We've found powders are usually more effective.

        GreySmart rating

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        '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

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          Total suspended solids is an indication of the amount of insolubles in the detergent. More stars means less detergent residue left behind on your clothes when using a water-efficient washing machine. Detergents with crosses (x) have a large amount of insolubles, and are best avoided if you are experiencing residue problems.

          The Total Suspended Solids analysis was conducted on our behalf by City West Water.

            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
            • Excludes optical brighteners and enzymes
            • Contact
            • Brand
            • Model
            • Type
            • Price
            • Machine used
            • Pack size (g or mL)
            • GreySmart rating
            • Low to no phosphorus claim
            • Has enzymes claim
            • Has optical brighteners claim
            • Origin
            • Comments

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