We honestly don’t know how consumers have managed not to faint when faced with all the detergents available these days. Have you met the stampede of brands in the stores, both online and offline? It’s a bloodbath out there!
First they told us powder was the way to go. We bought. Then they said, powder was old-fashioned and liquid was in, so we opened our wallets. “Oh no!” they said, “Whiteners! Whiteners everybody!” And like headless chickens, we ran like crazy to purchase. Then came oxidizers or was it pacs and pods? We broke our piggy banks. Right after that were softeners, and again we threw our two cents to their collection bag. And of course, let’s not forget the mantra: “new and improved blah blah blah…”
Aaaaaarrrrrggggggh! How come these guys are dictating the tune? Are we paying the Pied Piper?
It was a Saturday morning. “Laundry day!” we declared as the alarm went off. Jumping up, we opened our curtains
and dashed to our wardrobes to grab our “new and improved detergent.” Skipping to the washing machine
with the laundry hamper
under our arm, we dumped our clothes in with glee. We poured a tiny amount of our detergent in, just like the woman in the commercial said. “Now for some pancakes and OJ while we wait”, we said to ourselves.
An hour later, we stare at our beloved clothes in disbelief, tears streaming down our cheeks. Pathetically, we remember their words: “Try this new one,” they said, “It’s new and improved,” they said. We expected the clothes to rise from the machine like a phoenix. Instead we couldn’t even recognize… wait, are you sure someone didn’t swap them while we were lounging? But of course that was just our mind rendering palliative measures before crossing over to the land of no return on the wings of depression. Sigh!
Who can relate? There’s almost no one without an epic detergent fail story, the same way there are very few people who really understand how detergents work. In simple English, detergent is meant to attract and repel dirt, remove stains, add freshness, clean, and brighten. A tough call for one household item. There’s always that murmuring about which type of detergent is better: liquid, powder, or pacs. In actuality, we’re asking the wrong questions to begin with.
In essence, any type of detergent that has the correct formulation gets the prize! Which reminds us…
There aren’t just hundreds of detergents in the market, there are also scores of detergent types! How do we know which is which and contains the magic formula? The next section looks briefly into several of them and how to use them for optimum performance.
Anything between $10 and $20 will provide a fantastic detergent. As there are many detergents within this price range that claim to be the best, it’s wise to stay within the brands featured in this review. They have other detergents besides the ones featured.
There are many detergents out there with the same brand promise said in different ways. Here’s a trick to snagging the best ones: look out for the following features:
- Type - Powder, liquid or pacs
- How to add to the Washing Machine
Let’s now look at these in more details.
Construction and Design
In the broad sense, there are basically three forms that laundry soap come in, each with their own pros and cons:
- Powder Detergent - While powder detergents may not be the flashiest, they actually trump other detergents in more ways than one. For example: the cardboard packaging is better for the environment, they last longer, and they are the least expensive type of detergents. On the flip side, they cake when exposed to moisture and are not advised for color-fast clothes.
- Liquids - Liquids 75% of total sales of detergent in the U.S are liquid, making it the most popular by far. The downside is that its packaging is detrimental to the environment because they take a long time to degrade. Even though you can’t achieve a brightness-and-fragrance technology combo in liquid detergent (or any other type for that matter), it’s still the go-to detergent for oily and greasy stains.
- Pacs - Pacs are fast gaining on powder detergents in terms of market share because while they are more expensive, they’re a lot more convenient. Just throw them at the bottom of the machine, throw the clothes on top, and we can get the party started. Not to mention the ease of transporting them—it’s a breeze! Sadly, Pacs might have been too sweet in their ads. Apparently, a few sweet-toothed kids mistook the pacs for candy at one time or another, which is a potential risk. Still, a huge plus for pacs is their portability and convenience.
Performance and Ease of Use
Apart from the types of detergents that exist, there are different detergents made for different purposes. There are Jack-of-all-trade-detergents, but there are specialized detergents like those used specifically with cold water. This is a brilliant way to save money by cutting down on your electric bill.
We also have detergents which function specifically as whiteners or brighteners and those that contain and function as softeners. Do not expect your whitener or brightener to smell like lilies, because it is not yet scientifically possible to achieve a brightener-fragrance-combo. Keep in mind softeners should not be used on baby clothes and clothes that are flame retardant, studies show that doing that reduces the retardant ability in said clothes.
Your best option for fragrance is still liquid detergent, if you’re willing to forego brightness. Just bear in mind that the more fragrant your detergent is, the less likely it will be to actually brighten your clothes. So, what’s more important to you: scent or brightness/whiteness?
Also consider your washing machine: is it a front-loader, a high efficiency top-loader, or an agitator top-loader? This too determines what detergent to use. Although there aren’t any specifics for agitator top-loaders, with the other two types of machines, manufacturers strongly advise the use of high efficiency (HE) detergents (which also double as dual purpose detergents).
HE detergents have less suds, which is why they work perfectly with front loaders and high efficiency top-loaders; both use significantly less water than agitator top-loaders. Due to their popularity, they have phased out agitator-specific detergents and are now used on all three types of machines.
A final word on laundry in general: Please measure your detergents as instructed by the manufacturer, don’t just pour like you’re testing the laws of gravity. Isaac Newton did that already. The measuring caps are not there for decoration; use them. If they are confusing, follow the instructions on the pack and draw a line around the cap with a marker so that you can always remember not to exceed that limit.
When choosing a laundry detergent, there are a lot factors to be considered such as the type, scent, type of clothing being washed, and more. After reading about those factors in detail in the guide, we hope you’ll have a fairly good idea of what you need. We highlighted the important features of several detergents, and hopefully you’ll find the detergent that meets your needs.
We hope you have the information you need to buy the right detergents for your laundry. Now go ahead and place your order with confidence.