How to pick the right laundry detergent
Don't trust your clothes with any old detergent!
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When it comes to laundry detergent, most folks tend to pick based on brand loyalty, preferred scent, or just because the product is on sale. Still, some detergents really do outclean the competition. That's why we rounded up six popular options and put them to the test in our laundry labs. We wanted to find out which detergent cleaned the best, smelled the best, and cost the least.
After subjected the detergents in this guide to various tests, including stain removal, scent ratings, and cost analyses, our tests and testers agree: These are the best laundry detergents available in Canada right now.
1. The best of the best: Persil ProClean
Across all our tests, Persil removed an average of 2 percent more stains than Tide detergents. While that difference isn't clearly visible to the naked eye, it does make a difference over repeated washings—and that's how Persil eked out a win over a longstanding favourite.
Unfortunately, at most retailers, Persil is more expensive than Tide, which works very well, despite its lower price. While the price gap isn't extreme, over a year's worth of washing with Persil ProClean power liquid can add up.
Our in-house survey and review of online opinions also show that many consumers think Persil smells "sweet"—which may be a turnoff. Still, if stain removal is critical, Persil is the undisputed winner.
Get Persil ProClean from Amazon Canada
2. The best value detergent: Tide Original
While Tide lagged slightly behind Persil in our stain-fighting test, it stood toe-to-toe or bested it in all other categories.
The Tide we tested was Tide Original—a product that's optimized for high-efficiency washers. Other detergents may cost less, but Tide out cleaned them by as much as 14 percent. There is also no substitute for the convenience of tide pods.
Get Tide Original from Amazon Canada
3. The eco-friendly option: Tide PurClean
Our testing showed that Tide Purclean came out on top when it comes to eco-friendly detergents, removing the most amount of stains.
Tide Purclean claims to clean as well as conventional Tide, and our tests proved that claim to be 100% true. In fact, it's far and away the best-cleaning eco-friendly detergent we tested.
However, there are two drawbacks: cost and content. Purclean is one of the more expensive detergents we’ve tested. It’s also technically a hybrid detergent—only 75% of its ingredients are plant-based, and some of the rest are petroleum-derived. If you want to do Mother Earth a small favour without sacrificing performance, Purclean is the best choice for clean laundry.
Get Tide PurClean from Amazon Canada
4. For sweet-smelling laundry: Gain HE Original
Gain is best known for its fresh scent. It's also decent at removing stains: of all the detergents we tested, Gain had the most liked scent and staying power, with its bouquet transferring strongly to our laundry.
While we found Gain to be superior to bargain-priced detergents, it lagged behind our winners. It was roughly 10 percent less effective than Persil. However, for the average urbanite that doesn't get that dirty, Gain will leave you with a more pleasant-smelling laundry experience.
Get Gain HE Original from Amazon Canada
5: The affordable option: Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent
Purex is well-liked for its affordability. Our testing showed that you get what you pay for with this product. It came in second to last in stain removal testing. We found that result surprising, since the same people that make Persil, our top performer, makes Purex. As for its price-to-performance ratio, we think Purex is on the mark. We'd recommend Purex to anyone on a budget who need a cheaper detergent with cleaning power.
Get Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent from Amazon Canada
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.