Gain HE powder detergent opinions?

izeveJuly 5, 2011

My local Big Lots store has a lot of powder detergent at great prices - mostly various Tide and Gain powders, not the new ultra concentrated but the older variety. I picked up a box of Gain HE Original as I liked the scent when sniffing the box ;-) I did a few loads with it over the weekend and have to say that I'm impressed. Everything came out very clean, the whites were nice and bright, the detergent seemed to rinse out very well. And with a third rinse and unscented fabric softener the clothes had just a little of very pleasant clean scent left in them. I would say that the powder has done as well as Persil Classic Gold (or Dixan Classico Oro which is what I have) but I like the smell better than Persil.

I'm curious though how Gain HE powder does long term - any regular users out there who can weigh in?

Also, I have stayed away from Tide because of poor results I had with Tide HE liquid (F&C). Is Tide HE powder better than liquid? Should I give it a try?

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I've been using Gain HE powder for some while. I've also used Tide HE powder, both are good.

I also use Tide HE Coldwater liquid and Wisk liquid, no complaints about them, although the scents "stick" a little more than powders.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:13PM
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One thing I've noticed is that the F&C versions of any brand (except Persil 'Sensitive') usually don't clean as well as the 'high octane' versions. They never show up high in the Consumer Reports magazine ratings. I think not only perfume & dye is left out of F&C formulas, but possibly other boosters that can irritate, like enzymes, oxy type bleaches, etc., depending on the brand and their formula.

I've used ALL F&C and more recently Charlies Soap exclusively for the past several (ten?) years. (CS gave me dingy whites). With our new HE front loader, I've been experimenting with some HE detergents that have enzymes and oxy type bleaches. My laundry has never looked this good. Seriously. Unfortunately, I'm still itching and may have to go back to the ALL F&C if enzymes end up being the culprit in two F&C powders I've been using. (elimination study is underway) ALL F&C is not as good at cleaning (now that I see the difference-LOL), but it didn't make me itch, either, and did a fairly decent job. (and way better than CS)

I think all you can do is give a product a try and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:13PM
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Want to add that Persil 'Sensitive' is not a F&C formula. It has perfume.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Now they have a version of the All Free/Clear with Oxi. It may clean better and hopefully not cause skin issues.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:50PM
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I personally find Tide HE Powder and Tide HE liquids to work better than all Gain offerings. I like the smell of Gain a lot in the bottle of box, but once clothes and especially towels sit for a few days (or weeks)...they smell sour to me. I never get that with Tide HE powder or liquid.

Even though both products are made by P&G, I find Tide better at stain removal and cleaning smelly clothes (gym clothes especially).

My Mom really likes Gain, and uses the HE liquid and the Gain Softener...and I SO do not like the way her things smell. Sorry!!

Also, until Tide reformulated, and their powders were not concentrated...I could not use them. Maybe all the fillers they used, but my stainless wash drum in my Miele was always left murky and powdery. Now with the new Concentrated formulas...the powders leave my machine sparkling!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 1:06AM
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All, thanks for the feedback. I will see if I still like the Gain powder after a few weeks. I got a small box only.

@larsi, do you have any issues with Tide rinsing? That is my biggest complaint about Tide HE liquid - it just doesn't seem to rinse out well. It also left my whites dingy. But I admit that the dinginess may have been due to my prior washer which did not have a heater. I could never get a truly hot wash in it. So I may give Tide another try and see if I like it. In any event, if I try it, I think I would try powder, as it seems better at rinsing out.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 9:28AM
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I am a freak about rinsing, and I even stopped using my beloved Clorox Green Works detergent, since it was sudsing so much & not rinsing away.

For me, with both Tide he Powder and Tide he seems, feels and smells to rinse away very well.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 10:00AM
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@larsi, what is your non opitical brightener option right now (or do you have one)? I know you used to be concered about fading of darks (I still am).

My understanding is that Gain is a "cheaper" product in the P&G line up. Tide is the "premium" brand (FWIW).

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 2:44PM
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I am, sadly, without a detergent with no optical brighteners! Yes, I too think they cause as much fading as washing in too hot of water, for repeated washings. Perhaps I should keep a bottle of 7th Generation liquid on hand, for all my blacks and navy items!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:22PM
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@larsi - Cheer makes a detergent for dark colors. (I don't know if it is in HE form, but only in liquid)
I used it once, several years ago. The perfume was too much for my über sensitive nose (like Persil 'color' formula) and I gave it away. Took more than three subsequent launderings to get the perfume out. It probably won't bother you, as I see it is still being sold.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 6:05PM
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@Larsi, give the Woolite Complete a try. I'm really pleased with it (of course not green though). I got mine at Costco here in Canada.

This is what Woolite says about powder vs liquid detergent; "Liquid detergents are often easier to use: they dissolve faster in the wash, they are simpler to dispense and they do not leave residue on the clothes."

Something about the 7th Gen detergents bothers me. I really want to love them but ... not sure. Something in the final smell. I'll try it again to see if things have changed. We don't have the 4X here yet so just 2X. They are reported to clean well though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woolite US site

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 8:02PM
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I agree with livebetter about 7th Generation detergents - I really wanted to love them as they do not have OBs, are green and I've been looking for a powder without OBs but the sniff test (several times) convinced me not to buy them. I have Green Works and Vaska that are OB free - Vaska is my definite favorite.

I've read that Cheer powder has no OBs but they don't make an HE version :-(

I do not use my powders (Dixan, Sears, Gain, Foca) on dark clothing, only whites, sheets and towels. I have noticed fading when I tried using powders. Vaska is my go to detergent for darks.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 8:43PM
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Cheer powder comes in an HE formula now at Sam's.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:14PM
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Ive used Gain HE and Tide HE, like them both equally, I dont care for the gain fabric softener, it doesnt smell as good as the detergent in my opionion, seems to stink as time goes on

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:56PM
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I ran a huge load of whites yesterday (*really* HUGE) that included numerous stained dishtowels and cloths and some rather nasty socks from yard work that had been sitting (outside) for two weeks. Set the incoming water temp at 128F (my machine does not have an internal heater to maintain it), used 2 tbsp each of STPP and oxybleach and a full dose of Gain HE powder per package directions for a large load (3/4 cup). I couldn't tell which socks were originally the two bad pairs when all was done. Been a while since I used Tide HE but don't think it would have done noticeably better. Note: I have not tried the new compact powders.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 1:03AM
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My opinion? I don't like Gain's scent -- at all. I think it's something you either love or hate.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 4:21AM
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I use Gain and I do not find that things stink after a few days or smell sour.. I have used it for years and still love the smell. Occasionally I will think I am tired of it and try something else but go back to Gain. For those of you that also like the smell you can now buy Mr. Clean in "Gain" scent. I got some yesterday and am going to mop my floor today....can't wait to try it. Is it possible that climate and humidity have a lot to do with the way things smell after a few days? We took a vacation to Hawaii a couple of years ago and stayed with some friends. Their towels reeked! No way to describe how horrible they smelled, really sour... so I decided to wash them and they smelled good after coming out of the dryer and I thought ok.. they had just been put up damp and they smell great now that they've been re-washed.. by the next day the smell was right back. We had bought beach towels as souveniers and used them as our bath towels the whole trip, never smelled laundry that horrible ever in my whole life...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 11:17AM
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Thanks for the great input everyone!

I suspect that the off smells after a few days are related to Gain FS and not detergent, especially powder. But I will definitely be on the lookout and will continue sniffing my laundry ;-)

@dbfirewife, as to smelly towels, in my experience, it is typically attributable to warm or cold washes, inadequate rinsing and using too much FS. If these towels were washed in true HOT or Sanitary cycle, after a few cycles the bad smell would be gone for good.

As to Gain scent, I like it but not enough to seek it out in other products. I also use Extra Rinse so that the smell is not very strong in my laundry.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:09PM
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I had been using the Sears powder which I like a lot.....I ran out of that and bought a box of Tide HE, which I also liked (not crazy about the scent, but I liked the way it cleaned) then I bought a box of Gain He powder. Out of all three, it's my favorite. I LOVE the way it smells. A VERY clean smell, not too chemically smelling. I've been using Gain He powder ever since. Love it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 4:26AM
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The prices are getting ridiculous for name brand detergents though. One would think we are purchasing Persil rather than Tide. I just stocked up on some more Sears Ultra Plus... getting the last of the inexpensive but effective cleaning detergent. I feel sorry for those who wont be able to afford clean laundry down the road.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 10:03PM
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I know several people who use Gain products and are happy with it. I tried it but I couldn't take the smell. Performance-wise, it worked just fine. I can't stand scented laundry detergents. I switched to Tide Free/Sensitive skin several years ago and haven't been disappointed. No need for the myriad of additives I had to use with other brands. I don't find that it's any less effective than the "original" Tide. I don't believe that perfume and dye contribute to cleaning. They still have enzymes in it so I doubt there's a significant difference other than pulling the stink and color out of it.

I used to itch really badly from Tide so I didn't touch it for decades but after the compaction I tried it and it worked fine, no itch, but again, I couldn't stand the smell. When my clothes are washed I don't want them to stink - stench is when you're supposed to wash clothes. So I went to the Free?Sensitive and been happy. That's now changed to Free & Gentle but I haven't tried that version as yet but I suspect the name change was a marketing idea rather than a formula change, at least any significant change.

I also have Era Free but haven't tried it yet. I'm sure I'll be pleased with it, and if it doesn't handle the toughest jobs, no problem. 150 oz jug only cost about $6 or $7 so I can use it for lighter duty if needed. I have so much laundry detergent built up that I won't be buying for a long time.

Yes Tide is P&G's flagship brand. However, each of them have their own niche it aims toward. Tide of course is the big dog, do everything. Gain is for smell. It's formulated to hold smell longer. Cheer's market is toward bright whites and anti-fade. Dreft and Ivory Snow are targeted for babies and super-sensitive. Era was for stains but became the redhead stepkid until lately when they've decided to start marketing it a little more aggressively and gain back some lost market share. I used to use Era years back but then they upped the price so much I said nope. Now it's a bargain brand again. Personally, I think there were people who wanted to kill off the brand and that's why they dropped advertising and support for it until recently. Seems to be quite a coincidence that about the time of a CEO change came that they started pushing it more. Purely speculation, but makes sense to me.

I'm trying to remember, maybe someone here will know for sure. Did Woolite used to be a P&G brand? I was thinking it was years back. I know it's not P&G now. I can't really find anything definitive on it either. I suppose I could contact Reckitt Benckiser but thought maybe someone here would know.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:33AM
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I tried the gain HE powder. It seemed to work fine but it made us break out so I had to give away what I had left. The tide HE powder seems to work fine too, but I had to make sure I did an extra rinse and used unscented dryer sheets or vinegar in the rinse. I haven't tried the more concentrated types yet.

My favorite is still the sears powder. Very affordable and very little scent. Although, we are finding there are some scents we can tolerate quite well. It is hit or miss with my family, some scented things we are allergic to, some we are not.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 8:55AM
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I can't seem to get Gain to rinse well out of my loads w/o and extra 2-3 rinse cycles, which is making laundry day take much longer. The sink if full of suds when the load is done rinsing. The waste of water with the extra rinse cycles bugs me too!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 3:29PM
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Both ERA and Wisk have been mentioned here. I got a great buy on an ERA HE club-size container w/dispenser at a local warehouse store. It is very effective on laundry which is extra dirty, stained, and/or has greasy stains. It leaves a clean, fresh scent.

Wisk HE was so cheap as a loss leader at a local drugstore, I had to try it. To me it seems to be very similar to ERA HE. I use them interchangeably and get great results with both.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 1:21AM
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@ dadoes

STPP is a bit of an equalizer among detergents. STPP makes even Charlie's Soap a good detergent, so I don't think you can make an accurate assessment of detergent quality when you are boosting the detergent with phosphates.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 12:27PM
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If STPP improves Charlie's Soap for you, with your softened water, this contradicts your assertion that STPP has no benefit for those with soft water.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:28PM
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