Dazzling laundry detergents

FRESNO, Calif.

The TV commercial for Dropps detergent promises to make doing laundry easier. You get 20 pacs in a bag. And Arm & Hammer is touting its new type of detergent that's a gel.

Many highlight that they're concentrated. You'll see "2-times" concentrated, "3-times Ultra,"and even "6-times" concentrated.

Consumer Reports says that while you use less of those detergents per load, they aren't necessarily less expensive. But they do use less plastic packaging, a plus for the environment.

To find out how well the detergents clean, testers use swatches soaked with tough-to-remove stains such as wine and grass and wash them with the detergent and a full load of towels. Testers found there were plenty of detergents that did a better cleaning job than the Dropps pacs and the Arm & Hammer Power Gel.

For conventional top-loaders, Consumer Reports recommends Wisk Deep Clean New Stain Spectrum Technology. It costs 17 cents per load.

And for high-efficiency washers, Consumer Reports named Target's Up & Up Fresh Breeze liquid laundry detergent a Best Buy at 11 cents per load.

These days there are more and more detergents that claim they're green, but Consumer Reports says to be skeptical. The fact is there are few regulations governing those claims.

As for their cleaning power, only one of the 14 Consumer Reports tested scored high enough to be recommended. That's the green detergent Seventh Generation's HE powder for high-efficiency machines.

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