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The best household products – and which ones to avoid

We reveal the dazzlers and the duds from our lab tests.

best and worst household products of 2020
Last updated: 05 January 2021

Need to know

  • CHOICE tests hundreds of supermarket products each year in our dedicated labs
  • Our tests reveal budget products can often outperform or match big-name brands
  • Shockingly, some cleaners performed worse than water in our tests

Each year, we test hundreds of everyday products in our labs so we can tell Australian shoppers which ones are best to buy and which are best avoided. 

So, before you stock up on toilet paper, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and other everyday items, find out which products we recommend and which you should leave on the shelf. 

best and worst toilet paper 2020

Toilet paper

Toilet paper: it's probably not something you gave much thought to until you suddenly couldn't find it anywhere in early 2020. Thankfully, now that the toilet paper crisis has subsided, you can start being picky about what you buy again. 

It might be cheap, but we suggest you give Coles' recycled TP a miss – it scored a scratchy 55% for softness and just 44% overall. On the other hand (or cheek?), Sorbent's winning product is virtually a luxury item at 49 cents per 100 sheets. But for your money you'll get good softness, strength, separation and Vitamin E – all the things you want in your toilet paper. 

Looking for something priced more reasonably that also performs? Check our toilet paper review before you buy. 

best and worst nappies

Disposable nappies 

Nappies are serious business: you don't want to muck around with what's inside. That's why it's so important to find a nappy that works for your little one. All babies are different, so your results may vary, but our expert testers swear by Pampers' Baby Dry nappies for kiddos in the 6–10kg weight range. They scored a perfect 100% for leakage and 95% for absorbency. 

By contrast, infant-sized nappies from Little Ones were average at best in all our tests. They may be one of the cheapest in the size category, but between their poor absorbency, weak velcro and tendency to leak, they're not exactly a bargain if you're having to change them twice as often or clean up more mess. 

Laundry

best and worst laundry detergent front loader

Laundry detergent for front loaders

Dynamo took top honours in our tests but only just – it pipped Aldi Trimat by just 1%. At the bottom of the test, Coles' Lemon Fresh is cheap but hardly cheerful. Shockingly, it cleaned even worse than plain water, which scored 55% in our test. Water worked better on almost every type of stain we used in this test, including grass, mud, olive oil, chocolate ice cream and perspiration. 

In 2020, we tested more than 100 laundry detergents in our dedicated laundry labs. To see how other brands performed, check our laundry detergent review

best and worst laundry detergent top loader

Laundry detergent for top loaders

Aldi's laundry detergents were among some of the top performers in our tests for top loaders, but be careful which product you buy: they were also some of the poorest. If you want clean washing, opt for the Aldi Trimat Advanced Concentrate, but avoid the Trimat Advanced Concentrate Laundry Liquid Sensitive Top.

best and worst stain removers

Stain removers 

This Aldi stain remover was far and away the most effective product that we tested – and it's the cheapest. What's not to like? By comparison, the OzKleen product costs $1.10 per 100mL and struggled to remove stains from baby food, mineral oil and blood. We know which one we'd rather have in our shopping trolley. 

Kitchen

best and worst dishwasher detergents

Dishwasher detergent 

At only 8 cents per wash, you might be tempted to pick up the Coles Ultra Dishwasher Powder, but we'd suggest making savings elsewhere – this dishwasher powder performed so poorly that it didn't even crack the 50% mark in our test. 

At the other end of the price spectrum, Finish Powerball Quantum Ultimate Pro costs $1 per wash – but it certainly delivers results. If you're after performance but you're on a budget, Earth Choice Dish Tablets hit the sweet spot of great performance at a reasonable price. 

best and worst dishwashing liquids

Dishwashing liquid 

Morning Fresh dominated our dishwashing liquid test, outscoring the next best contender by a full 9 percentage points. However, at $1.23 per 100mL, it's also one of the most expensive. If you're looking for performance on a budget, check our dishwashing liquid review to find the detergent of your dreams. 

Cleaning

worst and worst floor cleaners

Floor cleaners 

In this category, there are no winners – only losers. Floor cleaners performed so poorly in our lab tests that we awarded the entire product category a Shonky award in 2020. We put 15 popular brands to the test, and all but two failed to outperform water – and these two only scored one percentage point higher than plain water. 

If you want your floors clean just use a plain old bucket of hot water. Save your money.

Ashley Iredale, CHOICE home cleaning expert
best and worst multipurpose cleaners

Multipurpose cleaners 

While there were some star performers in this category, there were also plenty that failed to live up to their promises. Plain water scored 40% in our tests, and six products failed to do better. 

If you're planning on restocking your cleaning cupboard, make sure you check our multipurpose cleaner review first. 

best and worst glass and window cleaners

Glass and window cleaners 

The worst performer in this review is also the most expensive, costing a whopping $1.67 per 100mL. Value for money it isn't, and you're still left with dirty windows. 

Other notable fails are the two glass cleaning products that scored the same as plain water:

best and worst toilet cleaners

Toilet cleaners

Cleaning the toilet is never fun and it's made worse when you have to do it twice because your cleaning product stinks. Aldi proved lord of the loos – not only was their Power Force the best cleaner, it was also one of the cheapest toilet tamers in the test. Interestingly, other Aldi products performed much worse, so do shop carefully. 

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