We put Whirlpool's laundry detergent to the test
Its well-designed bottle will keep your hands clean—but what about your laundry?
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Outside of a few exceptions, washing machine manufacturers don't make their own detergent. Miele is the company that immediately springs to mind, as their proprietary brand of detergent is able to be used on their TwinDos washer and a few others. Of course, since it only can be used for specific Miele washers, the detergent doesn't see wide-spread use. Think of Miele's suds like a Keurig K-cup: You can't really use them with, say a Nespresso machine.
Whirlpool is taking a different tactic with their detergent, Swash, which doesn't have these limitations. Since we're laundry nerds, we were excited to see just how well Swash stacks up against other detergents.
Swash’s ultra-concentrated formula currently comes in two varieties, Pure Linen and Free & Clear, both of which are Amazon exclusives. Swash is safe to use in any washer, whether it's a front-loader, top-loader or even a non-Whirlpool model. One bottle of this concentrated detergent will last 83 loads, and since its bottle is designed to dispense pre-measured amounts, you're guaranteed to get all 83 loads out of it.
How we tested Swash
We were curious to see if having a strong understanding of how washers work would translate to making excellent liquid laundry detergents, so we brought the detergent to our laundry testing lab.
We used a Maytag MVWC565FW top-loading washer for testing purposes, because it’s the standard machine we use for all our laundry experiments. We set the cycle to Normal and used warm water. To ensure consistency, we used some industry standard dyed swatches that are covered in common household substances like sweat, oil, blood, red wine, and cocoa.
After running the strips through a Normal wash cycle, we scanned each swatch with a spectrophotometer to determine how much of each stain had been lifted. This is the exact same procedure we use for all our detergent testing and washing machine testing.
So: Is Swash any good?
Compared to Tide, which is our second-highest ranked detergent, Swash removed, on average, about 3% fewer stains across the board. It did as well as Tide on getting rid of cocoa stains, but lagged 5% behind on oil.
At first glance, these numbers may seem small, and you probably won’t notice a difference if you make the switch. However, the small advantage that detergents like Tide and Percil have will become noticeable over the lifetime of your clothes. Still, these were some impressive results from a company's first attempt.
While it isn’t the most powerful detergent on the market, Swash does have some distinct features going for it. It comes in a no-mess squeeze bottle, meaning that you squeeze it once for a regular load—no need for inaccurate and messy measuring. If you hate having to clean liquid detergent off the side of its bottle, you'll definitely appreciate Swash's elegant design.
At the time of publication, Swash costs around $15.99 for a 30-ounce bottle, which translates to 19 cents a wash. This is very affordable: For comparison, Tide averages closer to 35-40 cents a wash.
Is Swash good for people with sensitive skin?
During testing, we found that the ingredient list of Swash Free & Clear to be similar to other detergents designed for sensitive skin. However, if you have any concerns, it is best to consult your dermatologist.
Should you buy Swash detergent?
Yes, if you’re tired of getting detergent on your fingers. Swash detergents are affordable compared to better-known brands, while still providing a good degree of stain removal. It's just an all-around great value.
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