Top Laundry Detergents

5/27/2008 Whether you lug your clothes to the Laundromat or do your wash at home, consider we do a daunting 300 loads per year on average. That's a lot of clothes to get clean.

Consumer Reports knows a little bit about getting the laundry done. Testers did more than a hundred loads to find top-performing detergents.

In all, they washed more than two-thousand cotton squares stained with seven hard-to-clean substances, including red wine, grass, blood, and chocolate.

Of the 34 detergents tested, there were liquids and powders, ones for top loaders and others for high efficiency front loaders. Also included in the tests, more concentrated detergents, like 2x and 3x formulas.

Consumer Reports' Dan Diclerico says tests turned up big differences. "Some detergents did better on certain stains than others, but you want a detergent that's going to do the best job on most stains."

After washing, testers run the cloths through this machine to measure leftover stains, if any. The best detergents did a good job on a variety of stains. The laundry detergent used on this swatch is top-rated, while this was a lower-performing detergent.

In the end, Consumer Reports top-rated two detergents. For top-loading washers, testers recommend 2x Ultra Tide with a touch of Downey. And for front-loaders, 2x Ultra Tide with Color clean bleach alternative did an excellent job overall.

While front-loaders are more energy-efficient, testers found you can cut down on the amount of energy you use with your top-loader by using another liquid detergent from Tide. Its 2x Ultra concentrated for coldwater. It does a very good job without using hot water.

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