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The 10 Best Laundry Detergents of 2019

Take the best care of your clothes with these top laundry detergents

Editors choice

1. Defunkify Active Wash

9.99 / 10

Defunkify Active Wear Laundry Detergent Powder. The name says it all. Defunkify is specially formulated to handle your dirtiest, smelliest laundry. The laundry of athletes, hard workers, bed wetters, and even pets will emerge completely defunked.

Defunkify is formulated to fight tough stains like grass and blood. The enzyme-based cleaning power blasts away stains, grease and grime.

This detergent is versatile enough to handle all laundry, including pet beds, dirty socks, dirty bedding, and sportswear, but is safe enough to use on your everyday wash loads.

Despite the tough cleaning and odor blasting properties of Defunkify, you’ll be happily surprised to find that it is completely natural, plant-based and formulated to be eco-friendly. It contains no phosphates, artificial fragrances, bleach, or dyes. No optical brighteners. This detergent is kind to your skin, gentle to the eco-system, and tough on smelly grime.

Defunkify Active Wear Laundry Detergent is a powder formula with a pre-measured scoop included. It’s a small scoop, but don’t be fooled, only a small amount is required to clean the dirtiest laundry. Defunkify is formulated to remove dirt down to the microscopic level, while preventing pollution to our aquatic systems.

If you prefer laundry left with a fresh scent from your detergent, you may want to choose something else, but if you like strong cleaning power, and odor fighting agents that still leave laundry free of artificial fragrances, this may be the ideal detergent for you.

Key Features
  • Removes odors from active wear
  • Plant based cleaning agents
  • No artificial fragrances
  • Powder with no fillers
  • Phosphate free
  • Formulate to clean the toughest laundry issues
Specifications
  • Type: Powder
  • Package Size: 55 ounces / 92 loads
  • Manufacturer: DeFunkify products
  • Brand: Defunkify
Pros
  • Plant-based laundry powder
  • Comes with pre-measured scoop
  • Powerful formula for worst laundry problems
  • Super-stain removing properties
  • Built in stain remover for toughest stains with no pre-treating
Cons
  • Could remove rubberized logos from clothes
  • Zipper tends to separate from pouch

Method Laundry Detergent Packs, Ginger Mango, are a naturally derived detergent product that leaves clothes clean and lightly scented with a uniquely fresh scent. They are paraben- and phosphate-free and made in the USA with a completely hypoallergenic formula. These highly efficient detergent pods pack a powerful blend of natural cleaning ingredients in a little, conveniently pre-measured pack. The detergent is formulated to keep your colors clean and bright, and your whites fresh and white.

Method Laundry Detergent Packs fight tough stains and removes dirt and grime while leaving behind nothing but a very light fresh scent that has been described as “delicious,” and “Yummy.”

Method Laundry Detergent Packs come in a safety-zippered pouch made with 30 percent recycled plastic. Method uses no chlorine bleach or caustic chemicals. They are hypoallergenic and safe for those with sensitive skin.

Method Laundry Detergent Packs are safe to use in all washing machines including high efficiency washers and top or front loaders. The laundry packs are formulated to dissolve in both hot and cold water. They are formulated to keep colors bright and whites white, all while being kinder to the earth than traditional detergent formulas.
If you enjoy having guilt-free clean clothes with a uniquely lovely fragrance, these little Method, mighty packs may be your new favorite! Tough on dirt, grease and grime, and kind to your skin. And all while being gentle to the earth! It’s a win all the way around. They are also available in beach sage scent for another uniquely “yummy” scent to freshen your clothes, sheets and towels.

Key Features
  • Uses naturally derived cleaning agents
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • High efficiency pods
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Pouch made with 30 percent recycled plastic
  • Brightens Colors
Specifications
  • Type: Pods or Pacs
  • Package Size: 24.7 ounces / 42 loads
  • Manufacturer: Method
Pros
  • Eco-friendlier package uses 30 percent recycled plastic
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Works in hot or cold water
  • Safety-lock pouch
  • Naturally derived cleaning power for tough stains
  • Lovely, distinctive scent
Cons
  • Not the detergent for you if you are scent sensitive

Arm and Hammer Clean Burst Liquid Laundry Detergent is another trusted name in both cleaning and odor removal. The hammer and arm logo is symbolic for strength, and Arm and Hammer Clean Burst Liquid Laundry Detergent powers out tough stains and persistent odors. Arm and Hammer is the brand to turn to for powerful odors from your smelliest laundry such as work clothes or sports clothes left for days in a gym bag. Arm and Hammer cleans, deodorizes, and leaves a light, fresh scent behind. No name is more trusted for odor removal than Arm and Hammer.
Arm and Hammer Clean Burst uses the time-honored power of baking soda to blast out strong odors, and powerful detergents to remove dirt, grime, stains, and body oils. It has a unique, low-suds formula for cleaner rinsing than traditional detergents, making it safer for sensitive skin.
Arm and Hammer liquid detergent is approved to perform well in both standard and high efficiency washing machines. It is a liquid detergent so no need to worry about pods that might not fully dissolve, or irritation from handling detergent pods. Unlike pre-measured pods, liquid detergents also allow user discretion as to the amount used. You can use less for light loads and a little more for large or heavily soiled loads.

If you trust time-tested, familiar name brands for results you can count on, Arm and Hammer Clean Burst liquid detergent is a good bet.

Key Features
  • Tough on dirt and odor
  • Low sudsing formula
  • Contains Arm and Hammer Baking Soda freshening power
Specifications
  • Type: Liquid
  • Package Size: 150 fluid ounces/ 100 loads
  • Manufacturer: Arm and Hammer by Church and Dwight
Pros
  • Low suds formula for clean rinsing
  • Approved for use in all machine types, including HE
  • Freshening power of baking soda
  • Contains agents to prevent resettlement of dirt on clothes
Cons
  • Clean scent does not last long in stored clothes

Gain is a familiar and trusted laundry detergent since 1969, with sales significantly increasing after introducing a new focus on leaving clothes with an unbeatable fresh scent.

Gain Flings with Aroma Boost take freshness a step further. This new version of Gain detergent contains Oxi boost and Febreeze, two other familiar names in freshness. If clothes, sheets, and towels aren’t clean to you unless they smell fresh, not just coming out of the machine, but weeks later when you retrieve them from your closet, then Gain Flings with Aroma Boost may be the detergent for you.

Gain Flings with Aroma Boost leave your clean laundry with a unique, long-lasting freshness for up to six weeks. It contains 50 percent more fresh scent than the original powder Gain detergent, and twice the cleaning power.
Gain Flings come in handy, pre-measured pods, so no messy measuring or pouring. There's also no sticky detergent splashes and spills or drippy bottle lids. These pods are approved for use in regular or high efficiency washing machines.

Gain flings should be kept out of reach of children, as young children are attracted to the candy-like colors and appearance of laundry pods. Make sure to handle pods with dry hands.

If you or your loved ones are sensitive to scents, this is not the detergent for you. If, like me, you don’t feel like your clothes and towels are clean unless they smell clean and fresh, this detergent will be your new favorite.

Key Features
  • Double the cleaning ingredients of original Gain
  • Keeps clothes fresh for six weeks
  • Contains Oxi and Febreeze
  • 50 percent stronger scent
  • Dissolves in cold or hot water
Specifications
  • Type: Pods or Pacs
  • Package Size: 96 Pacs
  • Manufacturer: Gain by Proctor and Gamble
Pros
  • Double the cleaning ingredients of original Gain
  • Easy to use pre-measured pods
  • Long lasting freshness in laundry
  • HE machine compatible
Cons
  • Not for the scent sensitive
  • Pods can be irritating to fingertips

Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin is made to get your clothes just as clean and stain free as original Persil, but with zero dyes and perfumes. It is hypoallergenic and fragrance free; perfect for the most sensitive skin. Persil ProClean is excellent for removing dirt, grime and body oils from clothing and towels, while remaining gentle on easily irritated skin. The artificial fragrance-free formula is perfect for those who are sensitive to perfumes.

Persil ProClean Liquid is safe for both colors and whites. It is approved for use in all washing machines including high efficiency washers.

Persil ProClean Liquid is a liquid laundry detergent, so no worries about handling skin irritating pods or pacs. Another benefit of liquid detergent is the ability for consumers to judge how much they want to use per load. Use your own discretion to use for less for lightly soiled loads, and a little more for heavily soiled laundry.

Though Percil ProClean is free of artificial fragrances, the detergents used in the ProClean formula do have some natural scent which may be left behind on clean clothes. Percil ProClean is formulated for sensitive skin and therefore does not contain the stain-boost ingredient in original Percil Liquid Detergent.

If you want the deep cleaning power of a great liquid detergent, without the dyes and fragrances left behind to irritate your sensitive skin or sinuses, Percil ProClean Liquid Detergent may be the ideal choice for you.

Key Features
  • Dye and perfume free
  • Stain-fighting power
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Safe for whites and colors
Specifications
  • Type: Liquid
  • Package Size: 100 fluid ounces
  • Manufacturer: Persil by Henkel
Pros
  • Works in regular or HE machines
  • Fragrance free for sensitive users
  • Dye free for sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
Cons
  • May leave an unpleasant odor on clothes

Tide Pods Laundry Detergent Liquid Pacs, Spring Meadow Scent, offer the familiar stain (even grass-stain) fighting power of original Tide, but in a convenient, pre-measured pod. Tide Pods contain 90 percent effective ingredients, so there's no added water or waste. Why buy a product that contains water, only to add water?

Tide Detergent Pods offer three-in-one technology with powerful detergent, a tough stain remover, and a color protector and brightener, for the cleanest laundry without having to purchase additional products.

Tide Pods Laundry Detergent offer ten times the cleaning power of bargain brand detergents and a light clean floral scent to leave clothes, towels and sheets smelling fresh and clean.

Tide Pods come pre-measured with all three key formulas in one pac. The Tide Pod Pac comes with an easily dissolvable outer layer formulated to dissolve in hot or cold water. They are suitable for high efficiency machines, but work best when placed in the machine before adding laundry. Use one pac for small loads, and two pacs for large or highly soiled loads. Detergent pods save the inconvenience of measuring, pouring and the sticky mess of liquid or powder detergents.

Tide Pods are highly concentrated and may irritate hands if touched with wet or damp fingers. Keep out of the reach of children. Young children are attracted to the bright colors and candy-like swirls of detergent pods.
If you appreciate trusted, familiar brands and the convenience of Pods or Pacs, Tide Pods Laundry Detergent Liquid Pacs, Spring Meadow Scent, may be the one for you.

Key Features
  • 90 percent active ingredients in each pod
  • Ten times more cleaning power than bargain brands
  • Combines detergent, color protecting agent, and stain remover in each pod
  • Dissolves in hot and cold water
Specifications
  • Package Size: 3.62 pounds/ 72 pods
  • Manufacturer: Tide by Proctor and Gamble
Pros
  • 90 percent active ingredients with little water or waste
  • Ten times more powerful cleaning than bargain brand detergents
  • Contains brightening and whitening agents
  • Leaves light, fresh floral scent
  • Dissolves in hot and cold water
  • Approved for use in HE machines
  • Phosphate free
Cons
  • Pods may not dissolve in low water level machines

All Mighty Pacs 4-in-1 detergent pods blast away the toughest stains and odors. It’s great for all laundry, but specifically formulated with kids in mind. ALL Mighty Pacs are formulated to lift away tough kids stains like mud, grass and juice. It blasts away tough odors such as gym clothes left in a gym bag for days.

Each Mighty Pac is made to provide four cleaning levels in one. It contains an in-wash pretreater for stains, so no need to pretreat separately. It also has tough odor fighting agents, and promises to whiten whites and brighten colors.

All Mighty Pacs are safe to use in all machines and at any temperature. Pacs work best when tossed into machine before adding laundry. Avoid touching pacs with wet or damp fingers to avoid irritation.

ALL is a trusted name in detergent, and Mighty Pacs combine the best qualities of several different ALL brand detergents and pre-treaters in one, easy to use, pre-measured pod.

If you want a trusted name and familiar detergent with the ease of all four levels of clean laundry in one little pod, this is the detergent for you. Directions state that one pod is perfect for normal loads with average soil levels. For larger loads or heavily soiled clothes, toss in two for super clean clothes, towels and sheets.

Key Features
  • Fights stains and odors
  • Brightens colors and whitens whites
  • Made with cleaning enzymes
  • Detergent and stain lifters in each pac
Specifications
  • Type: Pods or pacs
  • Package Size: 2 containers of 64 pacs each
  • Manufacturer: ALL by Sun Products
Pros
  • Detergent and stain-lifter in one, so no need to pre-treat
  • Formulated to fight kid stains like juice, mud and grass
  • Enzyme cleaning formula
  • Dissolves in all water temperatures
Cons
  • Pods stick together in pack during hot weather
  • May not fully dissolve if not placed at the bottom of washer

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent may not be the brand your mother used, but it speaks to today’s consumers who want clean, fresh-smelling laundry without worrying about causing further harm to the sensitive eco-system. Mrs. Meyer’s believes in compassionate cleaning. This detergent is a concentrated formula that is highly effective in removing dirt, grime, body oils, and odors; and all with a natural, plant derived formula and stain-blasting enzymes.

Mrs. Meyer’s leaves your clothes with a unique garden-fresh honeysuckle fragrance that’s long lasting even on stored clothes, towels and linens. Mrs. Meyer’s is concentrated and effective on dirt and odors, yet gentle on both clothes and the environment.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Detergent is formulated to work safely and effectively with washing machines of all types, including high efficiency washers, front loaders and top loaders.

This is a liquid detergent, allowing the user the freedom to use a little more or less depending on their laundry needs. Unlike pre-measured pods, with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Detergent you can use a little less for lightly soiled loads, and a bit more for large or heavily soiled laundry loads.

Mrs. Meyer’s company cares about the earth and all products are animal cruelty-free and plant-derived. The unique scents are formulated to give the user the extra boost of aromatherapy while doing the laundry. This is an all-around great choice of detergent for those who both care about their carbon footprint, and about having clean, fresh smelling laundry.

Key Features
  • Concentrated formula
  • Plant-derived cleaning agents
  • Biodegradable
  • Unique honeysuckle fragrance
  • Garden-inspired products
Specifications
  • Type: Liquid
  • Package Size: 64 fluid ounces (64 loads)
  • Manufacturer: Mrs Meyers
Pros
  • Plant-derived enzyme action
  • Deep cleaning performance
  • Concentrated formula
  • Works in all machines including HE
  • Eco-friendly company
  • Aromatherapeutic formula
Cons
  • Some might be sensitive to its fragrance

Seventh Generation is the “new familiar ”name in cleaning products. Unlike the older, traditional brands, Seventh Generation creates eco-friendly cleaning products that work to clean your toughest messes, while being gentle to the earth.

Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent, Ultra Concentrated Easy Dose-Lavender has the light, comforting scent of lavender in an ultra-concentrated liquid detergent. Seventh Generation’s ultra-concentrated formula is made using half the amount of water of regular detergent. Less water means less plastic packaging to be more environmentally friendly.

Seventh Generation uses an advanced enzyme-based formula, for a natural clean without caustic chemical agents. It removes tough dirt and grime and fights stains with enzyme power.

Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated comes packaged in a unique, compact bottle built to use less plastic than traditional. It has a one-of-kind pre-measured squirt technique. You simply hold the lightweight bottle upside down and give a single firm squeeze to release enough detergent for the perfect load. This gives you the pre-measured benefits of a pod, without the skin irritation sometimes associated with handling detergent pods, or the possibility of a pod not being fully dissolved in your wash load.

This bottle is smaller and neater than traditional ones for easy storage, and there is no messy dripping, spills, or measuring required.

If you are looking for a new trusted name in environmentally friendlier cleaning products, look no further. Clothes are left clean, fresh, and deodorized, and less of a carbon footprint is left behind to impact the environment.

 

Key Features
  • Enzyme formula
  • Ultra-concentrated
  • Easy-dose squeeze bottle
  • No dyes or artificial fragrance
Specifications
  • Type: Liquid
  • Package Size: 23.1 fluid ounces/ 66 loads
  • Manufacturer: Seventh Generation
Pros
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Powerful enzyme cleaning for less caustic chemicals
  • Easy squirt bottle for pre-measured dosing
  • Easy to store compact bottle
  • Thorough clean with light scent
Cons
  • Becomes difficult to squeeze out the proper dose toward the end of the bottle
  • Pre-treating may be necessary for toughest stains

All Free Clear Laundry Detergent is a great option if you’re dealing with mounds of smelly laundry (soccer uniforms, anyone?) but you also have people in your household with sensitivities to chemicals or fragrances. This hypoallergenic formula comes highly recommended by dermatologists, pediatricians, and allergists for its effective cleaning power that won’t cause rashes or other allergic reactions.

It’s a liquid formula, so you can measure as much or as little as you need, depending on how dirty your load is, and as with other, harsher detergents, it does the trick, getting whites white, and keeping colors true. It just does it a little more gently! All Free Clear Laundry Detergent with Odor Relief is a good option for households with young kids or even babies, as it’s gentle on skin of any age.

Key Features
  • Recommended by dermatologists
  • Free of dyes and artificial fragrances
  • Tough on odor, gentle on skin
Specifications
  • Type: Liquid
  • Package Size: 141 ounces / 79 loads
  • Manufacturer: ALL by Sun Products
Pros
  • Powerful cleaning while gentle on sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Perfume and dye free
  • Gentle enough for baby's laundry
Cons
  • Leaves no scent, so if you prefer fragrant clothes, this one isn't for you

Though many people refer to what’s in their laundry room as “Laundry Soap,” you may not be aware that laundry detergents have not contained actual soap since people stopped using traditional soap flakes around World War II. While soap used such ingredients as fat, lye, and plant saponins, detergents became strictly chemical compounds during shortages of fat products during the second world war. This same shortage of fat during World War I was what inspired the development of the very first, soap-free chemical detergents.

The laundry product market today is in what could be called an agitation cycle. While many of us automatically reach for the familiar names on the store shelves, often the traditional detergents that our mothers and grandmothers used, a new wave of detergents are beginning to take up more space on those same supermarket shelves.

What’s new in Laundry Detergent

Today’s consumer is much more aware of the negative effects of chemical detergents, and the packages they come in, on our environment. We’ve heard of the toxic effects of phosphates on our aquatic system. We’ve worried about how our loved ones react to the chemicals left behind in their clothes, and we care about the safety of ingredients that enter our detergents, and therefore, our homes. Many of us are torn… do we reach for the familiar products that we’ve always depended on? Or do we try one of the newer, greener options and worry about not getting the results we’ve become accustomed to?

Eco-Friendly Exotics, or Familiar Favorites?

Thankfully, detergent manufacturers have also followed the market trends, and new products have been developed that are eco-friendly, all-natural, and often plant-based and chemical free. We can choose from a variety of new options with exotic sounding ingredients such as essential oil fragrances and enzyme-based agents. Or we can shake our heads in confusion and then reach for our old standards in the familiar green or orange containers. Or is there a middle ground?

Yes. Many of our favorite traditional detergents have decided to offer us both their classic detergents, and newer versions of detergent that carry their trusted and reliable name, but contain new recipes to offer many of the same benefits as the greener detergent companies.

Those of us with sensitivities to chemicals and fragrances can now choose our favorite familiar brands and still find hypoallergenic and fragrance-free varieties. Or we can be a little daring and reach for an all-natural, plant-based, enzyme-activated detergent with a unique essential oil fragrance, like lavender, sage, or honeysuckle.

Detergents have come a long way since our mother’s phosphate detergent powder, or our great grandmother’s soap flakes. We can now choose not only between traditional and greener variety detergents for our laundry, we also can decide if we like the convenience of tossing in a detergent pod, or prefer the freedom of measuring out a preferred amount liquid or powder, into the washing machine.

Explore your options and maybe experiment with some new brands, or some new twists on older brands until you decide which is the absolute best option for your family.

Resources—Speed Queen, American Cleaning Institute

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