Consumer Reports - Laundry Detergent review 2010?

livebetterNovember 9, 2010

Does anyone have the information from this report? Just curious what this years "top performers" were (specifically in HE).

Do you feel this is a good "gage" of detergent performance or not really?

I'm really having a hard time finding a detergent that works for me.

I really love the cleaning of Persil but cannot stand the scent. I'm not alone - I gave some to 3 different friends with FLs to try and they all said, "too strong".

I am using Persil Sensitive Megaperls for whites and I really like the scent - light and pleasant. For colors is my problem. I have a Persil Sensitive Color formula but it is from Poland and I found out contains optical brighteners.

Does anyone know if the Sears Color formula contains optical brighteners?

I just want a good cleaning powder detergent that won't bowl me over with scent. It can be green or not green ...

I have to tell you, I've tried Ecover, BioKleen, Seventh Generation, Nellie's ... I don't know ... they just seem OK. Clothes need to smell clean days after they're washed.

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If you do not car for the Persil smell, than the P&G products that are scented will do you no good, as they have even more scent to them. I personally never smell persil on my clothes after I wash and dry them, they just smell clean. The only time I could smell it was when I was learning how to use it and I overdoesed it, but it still did not bother me. I understand that some people are more sensitive than others to scents. I do not know if sears detergents have optical brighteners in it, but my friend uses it, as she does not like her clothes to have a scent to them. I have used it with mixed results, sometimes I felt like it did a great job, other times I did not, just my opionion on that. Let yourself decide. Sears is great for putting it on sale at a super price too, all the time. I used the powder, not the liquids.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:59AM
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I too personally find the scent of Persil strong, but I LOVE it. Also, after beind dried, the smell is so faint and clean. Persil does a great job! Unless you are hunting at night, and do not want to glow....I do not think Optical Brighteners are the evil some of us think they are. Yes, yes I'm sure they are not "green", but most ingredients in detergent are not.

At Costco, Tide he liquid with Color Safe Bleach Alternative (labeled Advanced Clean) works really, really well. It is of course scented, but nothing fruity or sweet. I've tried a few loads with it, and it works as well as Persil. Scent is very, very mild after being dried. As much as I like powdered detergents, I am just sticking with liquids...they work better in my Miele and with our water hardness!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:26AM
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gates1, I have an older Frigidaire FL but I do use the extra rinse option (3 rinses total). I thought maybe it was my machine so I gave to 3 friends (one has Miele W4840, one has a new LG and one has a new Samsung). They all said it was too strongly scented.

I used to use Tide original scent and then several years ago switched to free & clear versions to avoid the overly scented results. I have also tried MANY greener versions as they all seem to be much more lightly scented.

larsi, I gave my Persils one final try this weekend. I used both the Megaperls and the Gel for colors ⦠ugh ⦠I even added a fourth rinse hoping that would help. The perls was not bad but the gel ⦠awful (IMO). ItâÂÂs official ⦠cannot do it. Must move on â¦

When it comes to cleaning products/laundry, while I think impact on the environment is important, IâÂÂm more concerned with my kids and their exposure to chemicals as well as keeping things looking their best.

IâÂÂve read several times how OBAs can make darks appear faded over time (even some colors). Look around at all the new detergents coming out to keep clothing looking âÂÂnewerâ longer (Zero by Woolight, Tide Total Care). Some of these do not contain enzymes or OBAs as both can be very hard on fabric long term.

I think maybe IâÂÂm looking for something that doesnâÂÂt exist so IâÂÂm trying to assemble the best âÂÂarsenalâ of products to do the different jobs well. IâÂÂm happy with my Persil Sensitive for whites (I ignore the chemical ladeness of this one) and my Vaska for sheets/towels and more delicate laundry (like my husbandâÂÂs dress shirts which are all custom made of fine cotton so need to be cared for well).

IâÂÂm looking for a good cleaning powder with no OBAs for regular wash (like my kidâÂÂs/hubbyâÂÂs casual stuff).

IâÂÂm starting to think IâÂÂm just crazy :)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:59AM
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PS - larsi, on an older post you raved about how good a certain Sears powder was. Did you really like it or was it a passing fling?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sears Ultra Plus Powder detergent is surprisingly Good!!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:02AM
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@ livebetter regarding Sears Ultra Plus Detergent. I think it is quite good actually, but found Persil and Tide to clean better. Also, I really do like a scented detergent, and the Sears is not scented much at all.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:37PM
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livebetter wrote, "I have to tell you, I've tried Ecover, BioKleen, Seventh Generation, Nellie's ... I don't know ... they just seem OK."

Are you aware that Bi-O-Kleen (maker of Biokleen) makes several "flavors" of its laundry detergent? There are several versions of Biokleen powder, including "All Temperature Citrus," "Free & Clear," and "Premium Plus," and on the chance that heretofore you have tried only one, you may wish to see if another of then will address your concerns.

[We prefer a liquid and, like you, tried Ecover and other brands before settling on one; we now have used the "Biokleen All Temperature Laundry Liquid" version for years. There is also a cold water version of the Biokleen laundry liquid, but that contains enzymes, whereas the all temperature version, which washes quite adequately with cold water, is enzyme-free and as a bonus is less expensive than the cold water version.]

Here is a link that might be useful: Bi-O-Kleen laundry home page

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 3:43PM
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hi, herring_maven... how did you discover that biokleen cold water liquid has enzymes?

I like biokleen, but like their old website better! They used to list all of the product ingredients. I wish they still did.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 4:04PM
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I haven't seen the 2010 Consumers Report on Laundry Detergent, but I have clipped and saved the next best thing and that is the 2009 version. I know things change on the list from time to time but this might give you something to build from.

From the July 2009 issue:

Top rated conventional detergents-(p=powder l=liquid)

1. Tide 2x ultra with color clean bleach alternative (l)
2. Tide 2x ultra for cold water (l)
3. Tide 2x ultra with dawn stain scrubbers (l)
4. Tide 2x ultra with a touch of downy (l)
5. Simplicity hypoallergenic non-toxic 2x (l)
6. Era 2x ultra with oxi booster (l)
***note-these last three were only rated as fair to good***
7. Gain 2x ultra with bleach alternative
9. Cheer 2x ultra dark formula color guard (l)

  1. Tide with bleach with color clean (p)

Top Rated HE detergents

1. Tide 2x ultra with color clean bleach alternative HE (l)
2. Cheer 2x ultra color guard for high efficiency HE (l)
3. Tide 12x ultra original HE (l)
4. Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE (p)
5. Gain 2x ultra original Fresh HE (l)
6. SA8 Premium with Bioquest HE(p)
7. Kirkland signature free&clear ultra 2x (l)
8. Wisk dual action 3x concentrated HE (l)
9. Method squeaky green 3x concentrated HE (l)

  1. Seventh Generation 2x ultra blue eucalyptus&lavender HE (l)
    The worst rated conventional detergents were from the bottom up, Xtra, Sun Burst, and Arm&Hammer. The bottom three on HE detergents were Purex and All.
    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 4:24PM
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cryptandrus wrote, "how did you discover that biokleen cold water liquid has enzymes?"

[grin] I cheated: I read the label.

(The last time we needed to buy laundry detergent, the Biokleen cold water version -- but not the all temperature version -- was on sale for $3.00 off, so I decided wot' the hey, might as well see if I have changed my mind about which I prefer since the last time we tried a comparison with the all temperature. Nope: when we run out of the cold water version, we'll go back to the all temperature.)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 5:19PM
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The scent of Persil is magnificent. Its the price that stinks.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 7:27PM
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I have stated before that liquids clean better than powders and the Consumer Reports tests certainly back that up.

I don't understand why so many people on this board insist that powders clean better. They don't.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:07PM
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I don't know that powders clean any better, but they sure as heck dont leave a residue buildup like liquids can that lead to a very smelly washer from my past experiences with liquids. However I have changed laundering habits a lot all at once so I can't attest to that 100 percent.

Its kind of like replacing a bunch of parts to fix one fault on a machine. You corrected the problem but you dont know exactly which one was the problem or if it was a combination of two or more them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:21PM
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Would be nice if CR will also checkout the "itch factor" of detergents.

I don't need the "fabulous" cleaner because I don't get that dirty as I don't "muck around"; no grease or grass stains; don't do much of anything that will acquire the dirt (except for the microfiber car wash/dry cloths & steam floor microfiber mop).

Tide doesn't get my stuff cleaner than Sears & Tide does cause itching. No idea about Persil & as it is too expensive to try & doubt that my laundry will get cleaner. Quite unlikely Persil will get the "mop" of a steam floor mop back to "looking like new".

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:02PM
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I can certainly attest that CR's lowest-rated detergents didn't perform well here -- though I do remember All powder working great decades ago. It has definitely changed, in more ways than one.

I haven't tried Tide Coldwater, so don't know how that would be, and I haven't seen Cheer ColorGuard detergent on any store shelf in at least a year.

I am quite satisfied with the detergents I presently use. I did like Cheer's scent and especially their Darks formula. Woolite's Darks formula is also very good, but I haven't seen it in an HE formula.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 12:58AM
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My FL has had liquid detergent running through it 98% of its life, no build up or smelly issues with it at all. I read that for oily greasy stuff, liquid is better, and powder is better for dirt and that kind of soiled laundry. Personally I have never seen a difference between powder VS liquid. I can say though that Persil and Tide HE run hand in hand in cleaning whites and bright colored items. Persil may have the advantage on the whites. The reason I love it so much is the scent and lack of suds that you get with it where Tide HE will suds more.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 8:48AM
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I agree with gates1, regarding NO issues using primarily liquid soaps for over a decade. I think smelly issues and build up is ENTIRELY from incorrect washer usage and preventative issues. A few times a month, or best once a week, wash something with true HOT water or SANITIZE cycle. When the washer is not in use, keep the door ajar at ALL TIMES, and clean/rinse the soap & softener dispenser after each use & let air dry and wipe around the rubber seal when done with the washer, so no water is left sitting in the rubber. These steps take a matter of seconds, and I have not had a single issue of mold, smells, build up, etc....

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:10AM
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My Neptune has a drain in the boot so no water stays standing long. It also has a vent duct inside the door that vents the seal area and the machine to the outside through vent grilles built into the top of the door and thus the machine is not sealed in. As a result this machine does not have a window for that reason, as well as the balancing device built into the door.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 1:25PM
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The issue is the July 2010 one if anyone has it.

I managed to find this info from it ...

"Tide outshone a plethora of other brands when it came to delivering the cleanest clothes. But our latest tests of more than 50 detergents show that you can pay far less for comparable cleaning - or waste your money on a celebrity brand that washed about the same as plain water.

We test all laundry detergents on seven common stains and soils, using a color-sensitive instrument called a colorimeter to see how much stain remains after washing. Several versions of Tide 2X Ultra topped our tests of conventional detergents and those made for high-efficiency front and top-loading washers. Price: around 23 cents per load.

Looking to spend less? Gain Original Fresh HE cleaned almost as well as the top-scoring Tides for just 15 cents per load. And it edged out several pricier competitors among high-efficiency detergents, including Target's Up & Up HE Fresh Breeze.

Our tests also include more detergents that claim plant-based, hypoallergenic formulas. Kirkland Signature Free & Clear Ultra 2X (Costco) and Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE are two "greener" detergents that cleaned reasonably well. But products by Biokleen, Ecos, Method, and, yes, Martha Stewart delivered spottier results. What's more, manufacturers can make green claims without checks or federal standards. In fact, safety warnings for almost all detergents we tested include eye, skin, or respiratory irritation."

Funny video on testing of Martha Stewart Laundry - if you're interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Martha Stewart's Dirty Laundry

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 5:41PM
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@ Livebetter: Ouch. I watched the video, tough going for Martha. Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 8:57PM
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I've never paid 23 cents per load for any detergent; I always buy them on sale, with a coupon, often at a warehouse store that accepts coupons (both theirs and those from manufacturers). When I buy Tide, I usually get it for about 10 cents a load.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 12:38AM
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Gain. That was the surprise. I'm not into Consumer Reports, but I did pick up this issue. I use Persil but am quite happy with Tide too. And I think CR has a few Tide products at the top of the 2010 list.

I did try the Martha Stewart detergent when it came out. It was horrible. Seriously, I thought I didn't add it to the dispenser.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 7:40AM
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Good ol Martha for you, she thinks just because her name is on it, that it is good and people will buy it. I laughed when I watched that video. Im glad her name is all over that detergent LOLOL!!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 7:48AM
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westvillager, why are you not into it? Just curious ... do you think it is not accurate/fair testing?

You have no idea how much I wish I could use the Persil. I really do love the way the clothes look and feel ... it's just that smell ...

For now, I'm sticking with the Persil Sensitive Color from Poland even though it contains optical brighteners and (according to Henkel) is "cheaper" than the German version. It still cleans nicely and leaves everything with a pleasant (light) scent.

I'm hoping to have my new laundry pair in the next month so I'll give it one more try in the new machine when it arrives but I don't know ...

Could you share the top HE detergents if you still have the issue?

As far as Martha goes ... I was really disappointed in the whole Martha Clean line (I haven't tried one thing). She could have done SOOOO much better. I believe she partnered with The Hain Celestial Group and I'm curious what went into this product developement. I mean really ... it looks cheap and I'm sure it performs cheaply. Too bad ... she has a large enough following that it could have been a nice line.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 8:38AM
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From the July 2010 issue of CR. I only did the top 10 in each category. I have the name of the detergent, their score, and if it is a liquid or powder. The scoring is based on a 0-100 scale.

Conventional Detergents
Tide 2x Ultra for Cold water score 59 Liquid
Tide 2x ultra with Dawn Stainbusters 57 Liquid
Tide 2x ultra with a Touch of Downy 54 Liquid
Era 2x Ultra with oxi booster 52 liquid
Tide Total Care 51 Liquid
Tide 2x Ultra with Color Clean Bleach alternative 51 Liquid
Gain 2x Ultra with Bleach alternative 50 liquid
Tide with Bleach with Color Clean 47 powder
Cheer Bightclean for Darks 46 liquid
Cheer Brightclean with bleach alternative 46 liquid

HE detergents

Tide 2x Ultra with color clean bleach alternative HE score 74 liquid

Tide 2x ultra original HE 67 liquid
All 2x with OxyActive HE 63 liquid
Gain Original Fresh HE 63 powder
Up and Up HE Fresh Breeze (Target) 60 liquid
Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2x HE 59 liquid

Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE 57 poweder
Gain 2x ultra original Fresh HE 57 liquid
Legacy of Clean SA8 Premium with Bioquest HE 56 powder
Kirkland Signature Free and Clear Ultra 2x HE 55 liquid

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 9:29AM
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@livebetter: Sorry for the delayed response! In terms of CR, I'm just not their target reader. I'd prefer the full data and methodology. (Not only do I want to see that Tide left 1 part per million of soil and Martha Stewart left 500 parts but also a point of view from their test lab about why scent and concentrate level contributed to the outcome. Lol.) I won't know what to buy unless I see the best next to the worst. Is there a better HE detergent than Tide 2x ultra available? Think the pub is more about availability and value, which is great, but doesn't give me enough. Does that make any sense? :\

And that Martha Clean line isn't great. The only thing I've kept using is the dish/hand soap. Nothing has fragrance which is a plus but, you're right. Her whole shtick is education and care. It could have been amazing.

Sorry for the OT post!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 7:46PM
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These ratings by CR don't mean anything to me. I just make sure I use a product that will clean clothes to my satisfaction. That's all you really need.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 3:28PM
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First I take issue with P&G having scents on everything. Not true at all. I have been using the Tide Free/Sensitive Skin for years now and there's no scent there and no itching. Even the stench version has no itching for me anymore, and even a cousin and another friend with psoriasis have no troubles with Tide anymore, one did with the stench version but not with the "free"; My sister who is also sensitive has no trouble with Tide, though both she and I did have big troubles with Tide 20 years ago. And I'm finding I'm a lot more sensitive to more detergents as I get older so that suggests to me that Tide has improved and not me becoming less sensitive.

Consumer reports? Line a birdcage with it. That's all they're good for in my opinion.

I've found that detergents perform differently for different people and their particular needs. Generally speaking, enzyme detergents clean far better than non-enzyme. Virtually all P&G products have enzymes. Wisk has enzymes. Ultra Plus Sears has them as well as the Great Value powder (or at least used to) as do some other brands. But there's more to getting clean clothes. Using your machine properly, using the proper temperature, water conditions, pretreating and other variables all make a difference. One brand will work well for one person and work poorly for another. Sometimes, expectations play a big roll. (To me, Persil at $1-$2 per load is expected to wash, dry, fold, hang, put away the clothes and dress me while it's at it.)

I will say that since switching to Tide (which cost me about 1â per load or less) now called Free & Gentle, I don't use anywhere near the additives I used to use with more expensive detergents. Sun required a lot of additives, Great Value some, Arm & Hammer quite a bit, etc.

I use the gauge that clothes should not smell days after washing or right after washing for that matter. When they smell is when you should wash them IMO.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 1:22AM
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Where is Tide HE powder on this list?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:35AM
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