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With inflation driving prices higher and shrinkflation resulting in smaller sizes for the things that have stayed the same cost, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re buying the best products possible. The last thing you want to do is throw away money on brands that don’t provide good results.
To help boost your confidence in a sizable routine expense, Consumer Reports has done another one of its deep-dive tests, this time focusing on laundry detergent. While people’s preferences may vary regarding factors such as fragrance and types of detergent — like powders, liquids or pods — the publication tested top laundry soaps to find out the most crucial aspect: Which brands clean best … and worst?
Consumer Reports had its testers saturate fabric swatches with several common stubborn stains, like blood, dirt, body oil and coffee. They then washed the swatches in a pair of identical washing machines using cool water and each detergent brand. They tested liquid detergents and pods, citing the overwhelming popularity of these two types in the market.
Using a colorimeter, which measures color intensity, the testers measured stain-removal levels by comparing swatches washed in detergent with swatches they’d washed only with water.
While the publication also tested laundry detergent sheets, these were not included in the results, as Consumer Reports considered a niche product.
The results showed that the best detergents did an excellent job removing tough stains, while the worst ones were just slightly more effective than water alone.
The final list revealed the six best — and three worst — performers. The winner, according to Consumer Reports, was Persil ProClean Stain Fighter, at least when it came to truly tough stains. The testers reported that it works better at pre-treating than most spray-on products and easily tackles the toughest dirt and grime.
If you’re a laundry pod person, Tide’s Power-Pods 10x Heavy Duty were singled out as the best of that growing category. These powerful pods erased stains from body oil, salad dressing and chocolate, according to the publication. However, they were also the most expensive option of all detergents tested.
Meanwhile, Sun Triple Clean ranked at the bottom of the list. Although it costs less than most of the detergents Consumer Reports tested, it also performs the poorest when it comes to stain removal. It appears you get what you pay for in this case.
Top brands in the list were singled with various superlatives, such as best value, best for baby clothes and best for sensitive skin. You can check out the complete rankings from Consumer Reports.