Mumsnet Logo
My feed

The 15 best laundry detergents according to Mumsnetters

Get your whites whiter and your colours brighter with our guide to the best laundry detergents for every budget and skin type, as recommended by parents. 

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated May 24, 2023

Three laundry detergents from Fairy, Vanish and Eco Cover on a bubble pattern background

We updated this guide on May 23rd to ensure everything was in stock, up to date, and still the very best of the best.

‘Which is the best laundry detergent?’, much like ‘Which is the best dehumidifier?’, divides opinion across Mumsnet and raises further questions for our users. Do liquid detergents really make your washing machine smell? Do washing powders actually clog up your drains? Is it even possible to remove stains effectively at 30 degrees? With so many questions that need answering, why not let us knock one or two off your list with our comprehensive guide to the best laundry detergents? 

Choosing between pods, powder, gel or liquid to get the best results is a decisive topic split by skin type, budget and personal preference, but at the heart of it all is a universal want to have clothes that are cleaner than clean and make us feel good. After all, it is one of life’s daily essentials, and with energy prices rising, no one wants to run multiple cycles trying to lift the stubborn stains of tomato soup from baby grows or grass stains from a school P.E. kit. So, how do you choose between those that’ll have you slipping between clean, scented bed sheets and those that’ll discolour clothing and irritate skin? 

Much like our guide to the best laundry detergent for babies, we have a laundry detergent for everyone from the best-smelling to the best stain remover to the best environmentally friendly. Using our three-step verification process, we’ve researched the real-world opinions of our 10 million Mumsnet users, cross-referenced their recommendations with the experts and investigated customer reviews of each product. The end result? The 15 best laundry detergents that’ll keep your colours bright and whites white, as tried and trusted by parents.

Here are our 15 best laundry detergents UK in 2023.

Best laundry detergents at a glance

  • Best powder: Daz Whites and Colours | Buy now £6
  • Best liquid: Tesco Bio Laundry Liquid | Buy now £4
  • Best pods: Smol Capsules | Buy now £5
  • Best gel: Bold 2 in 1| Buy now £10
  • Best sheets: Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets | Buy now from £9
  • Best budget: Almat Bio Washing Powder | Buy now £4
  • Best for stain removal: Ariel + Oxi Stain Remover All-In-1 Pods Washing Liquid Capsules 39 Washes  | Buy now £34
  • Best  for sensitive skin: Surcare Non-Bio | Buy now £6
  • Best for babies: Fairy Non-Bio Washing Capsules | Buy now £37
  • Best refillable: Ecover Non-Bio Laundry Liquid | Buy now £12
  • Best eco-friendly: Bio-D Non-Bio Washing Powder| Buy now £5
  • Best for delicates: Woolite Delicates| Buy now £7
  • Best for whites: Vanish Platinum Oxi Action Crystal White Stain Remover | Buy now £17
  • Best scented: Surf Tropical Lily and Ylang-Ylang Biological Liquid Detergent| Buy now £18
  • Best alternative to laundry detergent: Ecozone Soap Nuts| Buy now £10

1. Best overall powder laundry detergent: Daz Whites and Colours

A picture of the Daz Whites and Colours washing powder.

RRP: £6 | Buy now from Tesco

Key specs

Cost per wash: 11p | Number of washes: 40 | Size: 2.6kg | Format: Powder | Scented: Yes (Fresh) | Type: Bio

What we like

  • Value for money, lasts a long time 
  • Very effective on colours and whites, excellent stain-removing power
  • Takes care of clothing and leaves behind a fresh, clean scent

What we don't like

  • There is no scoop included 
  • Can be a little expensive online; you need to shop around for deals

What Mumsnet users say 

“I use Daz powder. It cleans better than anything else, it's very good value for money, and I love its old-fashioned clean smell. I get a giant box.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user 99icecream)

"After years of using various expensive liquids, pods, tablets etc. I've just returned to using good old Daz and wonder why I stopped. Amazing cleaning and lovely fresh, clean scent; it is excellent with the very hard water we have. Also very cheap. Will stick to that from now on. Also works very well with cold washes." (Praised by Mumsnetter TheFormidableMrsC )

Our verdict

Daz is a household brand that is benefitting from a resurgence in popularity. Previously known for getting the job done, it protects everything from the bright colours of your favourite summer dress to reviving the brilliant white of your favourite set of bedsheets.  Maybe that is why it is the most recommended washing powder on our forums, beating all of its competitors to our best laundry detergent top spot. 

Food stains on your kids’ tops? Grass stains all over their school trousers? Wine stains down your lovely new jumpsuit; Daz dissolves stains quickly, even in hard water (with the help of the best water softener) and lower temperatures. Affordably priced, with a fresh, clean scent, Daz is a one-size-fits-all laundry detergent (available as powder, pods or liquid) that’ll make quick work of your family’s overflowing laundry basket

2. Best overall liquid laundry detergent: Tesco Bio Laundry Liquid

A picture of Tesco Bio Laundry Liquid.

RRP: £4 | Buy now from Tesco

Key specs

Cost per wash: 10p | Number of washes: 53 | Size: 1.8L | Format: Liquid | Scented: Yes (Fresh) | Type: Bio

What we like

  • Budget-friendly dupe for other big-name brands 
  • Value for money, with a low cost per wash
  • Effective stain remover, leaves clothing feeling fresh

What we don't like

  • Liquid detergent can cause your washing machine to become smelly if it isn't regularly cleaned

What Mumsnet users say 

"I've been using Tesco, and it works well, significantly cheaper than Persil (which was my previous detergent of choice)." (Recommended by Mumsnetter RedwineforSantaplease)

"I've used them all, but I always go back to Tesco." (Tried and trusted by Mumsnet user ponkydonkey )

Our verdict

At Mumsnet, we know that with the cost of living going up, we’re all searching for cheaper dupes for our favourite, more expensive products, which is why we’re recommending Tesco’s Liquid Detergent. According to the forums, you can swap it out for Persil and never be able to tell the difference. It’s even Which? recommended, too! 

Mumsnetters love Tesco’s Bio, Non-Bio and Colour Bio liquid detergents for their fresh scent and effective cleaning power. Available in large 1.8L bottles that’ll last up to 60 washes, it is great value for money for any family. Just use its discrete measuring cap to pour the right amount of liquid into your washing machine’s drawer alongside your favourite fabric softener to get fresh, clean laundry at half the price.

3. Best overall laundry detergent pods: Smol Capsules

A picture of the Smol Laundry Capsules.

RRP: £5 | Buy now from Smol 

Key specs

Cost per wash: 22p | Number of washes: 24 |  Size: 24 pods | Format: Pods | Scented: Yes (Fresh) | Type: Bio (but you can choose to have non-bio)

What we like

  • Delivered directly to your door via their subscription service
  • Plastic-free, recyclable packaging with child-lock closure 
  • Environmentally friendly and cruelty-free 

What we don't like

  • You need to keep an eye on when you’re getting low to adjust your deliveries in time
  • Only available online 

What Mumsnet users say 

“I’ve been getting the washing tabs and dishwasher ones for over a year now, and I really like them. They wash well and smell lovely, and I’ve had no problems with them arriving on time. You can easily adjust your order on the website as well if you start to run out or want to slow down the delivery.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user 40SomethingJBJ)

"Smol here too. They work fine at low temps. They offer a free trial, so you've got nothing to lose!" (Praised by Mumsnet user ReviewingTheSituation)

Our verdict

If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of getting home from a particularly muddy walk with your family only to discover you’ve run out of laundry detergent, then Smol’s subscription service could be your new best friend. Highly recommended by Mumsnet users and incredibly popular online, Smol has revolutionised household cleaning products and earned its place in our top three best laundry detergents. 

Smol's capsules are highly concentrated, meaning that although they look small, they’re still tough on stains. With a fresh scent made from essential oils, their formula is kind to clothes and cruelty-free! All you have to do is order online via their website, and your pods will be delivered right to your door in recyclable packaging that will fit through your letterbox - no plastic waste in sight. If you’re off on your holiday, you needn’t worry either. It is easy enough to change and tailor subscriptions to your family’s needs, and in the current climate, it’s also reassuring to know you’re not tied into a contract - you can cancel, pause or modify your order at any time.

4. Best gel laundry detergent: Bold 2 in 1

A picture of the Bold 2 in 1 gel.

RRP: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 25p | Number of washes: 35 | Size: 1.29L | Format: Gel | Scented: Yes (Lavender and Camomile) | Type: Bio 

What we like

  • Gorgeous scent that lasts a long time on clothing 
  • Laundry detergent and fabric conditioner all in one 
  • Effective cleaning even at low temperatures

What we don't like

  • Strong scent, which some may not like 
  • Doesn't contain bleach, so washing machine will need regular cleaning to prevent bad smells 

What Mumsnet users say 

"I have recently been converted to the Bold 2-in-1 gels, and I really love what they smell of. Plus, just one bottle is required, so cheaper and less waste plastic. The pink one is my favourite, but I have also tried the purple one, which is nice too. The smell lasts on stored clothes too."  (Recommended by Mumsnet user TunnelOfGoats)

"Bold 2-in-1 lavender and camomile. And then line dry. Delicious." (Tried and trusted by Mumsnetter GrouchyKiwi )

Our verdict

In today’s economy, we’re all struggling with ways to save money where we can, which is why Bold’s 2-in-1 gel laundry detergent and fabric softener can be an absolute game changer. Why buy two bottles when you can buy one? Cutting back doesn’t have to mean sacrificing great-smelling laundry, especially if you love the relaxing, calming scents of Lavender and Camomile, perfect for pyjamas

However, Bold’s not just all about smelling good. They’re about helping your clothes look good too! Effective even at cold temperatures, Bold’s 2-in-1 gel promises to keep colours vibrant and lift stains with ease. The only hitch is that it is bleach-free, which means it can build up in the drum causing foul smells and mould to grow, so investing in the best washing machine cleaner is necessary. However, don’t let that put you off; this is another highly recommended Mumsnetter product that’ll help keep you on top of your laundry pile!

5. Best overall laundry detergent sheets: Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets.

RRP: From £9 | Buy now from Earth Breeze

Key specs

Cost per wash: 25p | Number of washes: 40 | Size: 20 sheets | Format: Laundry Sheets | Scented: No - Fragrance-free | Type: Non-bio

What we like

  • Entirely plastic-free, cruelty-free and kind to the environment
  • Non-bio, unscented and kind to sensitive skin 
  • Effective cleaning on a subscription 

What we don't like 

  • Is not as tough on stains as other detergents

What Mumsnet users say 

"I use Earth Breeze detergent sheets. They come in paper packaging and disintegrate completely in the wash. I'm on my second pack. It's unclear on the pack, but you only have to use half a sheet per load. They also give to charity for every pack sold. So much better than a big plastic bottle, and the clothes come out just as clean." (Recommended by Mumsnet user Pyjamageddon)

"We use Earth Breeze sheets for all our washing. Really easy to use and give good results at 30 degrees. As OP mentioned, they donate free sheets to women's charities for every pack you buy." (Tried and trusted by Mumsnetter AllAboutMargot)

Our verdict

Not to be confused with the sheets you pop in your tumble dryer, Earth Breeze’s innovative laundry sheets are an entirely new and environmentally friendly way to clean your family’s clothes - taking conscious-free cleaning to a whole other level! 

Popular with Mumsnet users for their ethical values, which include putting planet-before-profit and charity donations to homeless and women’s shelters,  Earth Breeze laundry sheets will take care of your clothes and skin and make you feel good simultaneously. But how do they work? Made from dissolvable washing powder, place them directly in the drum or inside the detergent draw on your washing machine for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic clean (alternatively, you can buy them freshly scented). We’d recommend them for lightly stained clothing, but for anything as tough as tomato or red wine, we’d definitely use a spot treatment first.

6. Best budget laundry detergent: Almat Bio Washing Powder

Almat Bio Washing Powder

RRP: £4 | Buy now from Aldi

Key specs

Cost per wash: 8p | Number of washes: 40 | Size: 2kg | Format: Powder | Scented: Yes (Fresh) | Type: Bio

What we like

  • Loved by experts and Mumsnetters
  • Effective and budget-friendly 
  • Cruelty-free and with less packaging 

What we don't like 

  • Some with sensitive skin found that it caused a reaction

What Mumsnet users say 

"Aldi’s own is brilliant!" (Recommended by Mumsnet user MeatyRvita)

"Aldi for washing AND dishwasher. At least as good as the big brands and far cheaper." (Vetted by Mumsnetter GladAllOver)

Our verdict

Humans are creatures of habit, which is why we’re often tempted to stick to what we know works - whether it is our favourite laundry detergent or best mould remover - we’ll stick by our trusted brands come hell or high water. However, this can be a costly mistake in the long run. Popular products often increase their prices over time without giving you anything extra in return and even change their formulas, becoming less effective. That’s why shopping around and looking at supermarket brands that provide more bang for your buck, like Aldi’s Almat Bio washing powder, is always worth the effort.

It was hailed by Which? in 2022 as a washing powder that rivals even the biggest household names and boasts rave reviews from Mumsnet users. It is effective, budget-friendly and value for money. For only 8p per wash, you won’t have to make any sacrifices on stain-removing power or need to purchase additional products. Praised by product review sites for lifting ingrained mud and grass from children’s jeans and food stains from well-loved t-shirts, it leaves behind a subtle scent and keeps your clothes looking brand-new. The only reported issue is that this bio powder sometimes causes a reaction for people with sensitive skin, so we'd recommend a skin test before switching. Aside from that, it is a potent washing powder that has received many accolades for being kind to clothes and your purse.

7. Best laundry detergent for stain removal: Ariel + Oxi Stain Remover All-In-1 Pods Washing Liquid Capsules 39 Washes

Ariel + Oxi Stain Remover All-In-1 Pods Washing Liquid Capsules 39 Washes

RRP: £34 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 28p | Number of washes: 120 | Size: 3.76kg | Format: Pods | Scented: Yes (Fresh) | Type: Bio

What we like

  • Powerful stain remover, even in a cold wash 
  • All-in-one pods, so there is no need for additional products
  • XXL pack is cost-effective 

What we don't like

  • More expensive than other competitive brands

What Mumsnet users say 

"I don't usually buy Ariel pods but was given them as a substitute in my shopping. The smell is gorgeous!" (Recommended by Mumsnet user ZigZaggyZoo)

"Ariel is generally regarded as the best detergent money can buy - by Which, GH and in the appliance (so, of course, washing machine) industry." (Brand vetted by Mumsnet user e1y1)

Our verdict

If your family are prone to creating really stubborn stains such as grass, curries, pasta sauce or dried-on mud, some traditional laundry detergents can struggle to remove them the first time, but not Ariel All-in-One Platinum Pods

Combining the power of a traditional Ariel detergent with an Oxi Stain Remover, they lift off dirt and remove stains easily that other detergents would leave behind (even on a cold wash!). Their pods are super simple to use; throw a pod on top of your washing for freshly scented clothing every time (with no need for faffing about with scoops and measurements). You won’t need to purchase additional products like fabric conditioners either, as they’re the perfect all-in-one solution to your family’s laundry pile. Although the initial outlay is expensive, this XXL bag will last a while and save you time on your to-do list.

8. Best laundry detergent for sensitive skin: Surcare Non-Bio

Surcare washing powder

RRP: £6 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Cost per wash: 27p | Number of washes: 25 | Size: 1.63kg| Format: Powder | Scented: No - Fragrance-free | Type: Non-bio

What we like

  • Approved by Allergy UK as a dermatologically safe brand for sensitive skin 
  • Recommended for babies and during pregnancy
  • Cleans your washing machine, as well as your clothes 

What we don't like

  • Fragrance-free - may miss the ‘clean’ scent you’re familiar with 
  • More expensive on a cost-per-wash basis.

What Mumsnet users say 

“I think it's marvellous stuff. I'm old and have sensitive skin and a sensitive nose (dislike the smell of most laundry products ), and it works equally well for a grandchild with sensitive skin.”  (Tried and trusted by Mumsnetter Footle)

"Surecare from Morrisons- no perfume, unlike the supermarket non-bio ones, I find it much better." (Vetted by Mumsnet user user1471504821)

Our verdict

Finding products that don’t irritate sensitive skin can be a lengthy (and painful) case of trial and error that results in carefully swapping between products for different family members adding hours to your laundry routine. However, that needn’t be the case with Surcare Sensitive

With no enzymes, no dyes, no acids, and no fragrance, they’ve nailed their gentle formula to create a simple detergent approved by Allergy UK. Whilst some may miss the familiar clean fragrance produced by some of the other detergents in our list, Surcare’s washing powder is far less likely to irritate your skin – and Mumsnetters even recommended this for use during pregnancy and with babies. However, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice cleaning power. Surcare Sensitive washing powder deep cleans your whole family’s laundry pile and washing machine simultaneously without needing separate products.

9. Best laundry detergent for babies: Fairy Non-Bio Washing Capsules

Fairy Non-bio capsules pack.

RRP: £37 (Pack of 3) | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Cost per wash: 9p | Number of washes: 135 per pack | Size: 3.7kg | Format: Pods | Scented: No - Unscented | Type: Non-bio

What we like

  • Ideal for babies, dermatologically safe and accredited by the Skin Health Alliance 
  • Effective at cleaning clothes and easy to use 
  • Voted #1 laundry brand for sensitive skin 

What we don't like 

  • Because the capsules are pre-measured, you can’t make this detergent go any further

What Mumsnet users say 

"Always Fairy detergent (and softener) for new babies! It’s a family tradition. The smell is babies." (Tried and trusted by CoronaIsShit)

Our verdict

A baby’s skin requires extra care to keep it healthy, and new (and experienced!) parents often fret over how best to do this on our Mumsnet forums. Picking the right products can feel like a minefield, but Mumsnetters agree that Fairy is their most trusted brand for their baby’s clothes because it is kind to their skin, effective against stains and helps keep fabric huggably soft. 

Another household name that has been helping us look after our clothes for decades, Fairy Non-bio is renowned for its gentle, caring formula that is suitable for the whole family. Available as pods, gel and washing powder, they have been voted the number one laundry brand for sensitive skin, and the Skin Health Alliance has accredited their products (for extra peace of mind!). Here we’ve recommended Fairy non-bio wash capsules for their convenience (a parent’s time is limited!) as the detergent is already measured out for you with no scoops or dosing required.

10. Best refillable laundry detergent: Ecover Non-Bio Laundry Liquid

ecover washing detergent

RRP: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 25p | Number of washes: 42 | Size: 1.5L| Format: Liquid | Scented: Yes (Sandalwood, Lavender) | Type: Non-bio

What we like 

  • Eco-friendly and vegan-friendly, good for the planet 
  • Dermatologically tested and kind to sensitive skin 
  • Cost-effective, refillable bottles 
  • Leaves clothes smelling amazing 

What we don't like 

  • Washing machine may need more frequent cleaning
  • Ecover was recently purchased by Johnsons, leading many Mumsnet users to switch away from the brand 

What Mumsnet users say 

“I like Ecover. The products work, and the company researches farming methods and sustainability.” (Recommended by stripeypillowcase)

"I've been using Ecover for years and haven't had any problems with musty-smelling clothes. I use their non-bio concentrated laundry liquid and fabric conditioner. Plus a spoonful of their laundry bleach in my white wash." (Tried and tested by  WhatHaveIFound)

Our verdict

With temperatures rising and the effects of climate change being felt worldwide, more and more parents are looking for simple, affordable, eco-friendly product swaps on our forums, with Ecover being one of the most recommended brands. Although it may be on the pricier side, Mumsnetters promise the initial expense is worth it for the inner glow of goodness, delicious scent and the ability to buy cost-effective five-litre refills

Created in their Zero Waste  Factory, Ecover's laundry liquid is dedicated to saving the planet one recyclable bottle at a time with their vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, plant-based formula suitable for sensitive skin. We know you’ll particularly love its gorgeous lavender and sandalwood scent, leaving your laundry room smelling divine as clothes dry on your heated airer. Alternatively, for the ultimate sensitive skin care with no fragrance or colouring, there's a Zero version of the detergent also available on Amazon

11. Best eco-friendly laundry detergent: Bio-D Non-Bio Washing Powder

Bio D

RRP: £5 | Buy now from Ocado

Key specs

Cost per wash: 27p | Number of washes: 17 | Size: 1kg | Format: Powder| Scented: No - fragrance free | Type: Non-bio

What we like

  • Eco-friendly brand with recyclable packaging 
  • Hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin 
  • Vegan-friendly, plant-based formula 

What we don't like 

  • Can be challenging to find in-store and is limited to specific retailers online 

What Mumsnet users say 

"Bio-D laundry powder is eco-friendly and works well with coloureds. I buy it in bulk, and a little goes a really long way." (Recommended by Mumsnet user Okeydoky )

Our verdict

Bio-D washing powder is a true source of goodness for those who want to simultaneously save the planet and clean their family's laundry, with a lengthy and impressive list of expert endorsements. 

Loved by Mumsnetters, approved by the Vegan Society, accredited by Allergy UK, recognised as cruelty-free and awarded the Ethical Consumer Best Buy, it is a product you can trust completely to be kind to your clothes, skin and the environment. It is perfect for creating your own guilt-free laundry routine. Although you might have to shop online, tracking down in-store can be quite the hassle.

Read next: Our guide to the best rotary washing lines for an eco-friendly alternative to your tumble dryer.  

12. Best laundry detergent for delicates: Woolite Delicates

A picture of Woolite Everyday Delicates.

RRP: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 41p | Number of washes: 12 | Size: 750ml | Format: Liquid | Scented: Yes (Floral) | Type: Non-bio 

What we like

  • Hypoallergenic formula, kind to skin, clothes and your machine
  • Suitable for hand washing and in your washing machine 
  • Renews fabric fibres, prevents shape loss and bobbling 

What we don't like 

  • Expensive, small bottle and limited number of washes 

What Mumsnet users say 

"I always handwash with Woolite." (Recommended by Mumsnet user Yseulte)

"Ecover do a woollen wash, but I find Woolite to be the best." (Tried and trusted by Mumsnetter WowIlikereallyhateyou)

Our verdict

Washing your super-soft cashmere jumper or brand-new silk blouse can be a risky business. They often come with lengthy tags and lists of dos and don’ts to keep them looking new. However, one wrong move and you’ll open up your washing machine to fuzzy fabrics and shrunken sizes. Okay, so some of it might be salvageable with a debobbler and a little stretching, but finding a way to prevent damage and protect your clothing is a must. That’s why we’re recommending Woolite Delicates laundry detergent. 

Recommended by Mumsnetters across the forums, Woolite are synonymous with high-quality garment care, much like a clothes steamer, with a formula designed to protect and renew and is safe to use as a hand wash or in your washing machine. This laundry detergent uses naturally-occurring keratin (found in your hair, nails and skin) to help your woolly jumpers and your lacey knickers retain their elasticity and stay soft whilst leaving behind a sweet floral scent. Oh, and it's hypo-allergenic, too, so perfectly okay to use for sensitive skin. Although this bottle is small and expensive for what it is, it does have fantastic cleaning power and is guaranteed to guard against laundry disasters giving you a little peace of mind.

13. Best laundry detergent for whites: Vanish Platinum Oxi Action Crystal White Stain Remover

A picture of the Vanish White Stain Remover.

RRP: £17 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: £1 | Number of washes: 24 | Size: 1.4kg | Format: Powder | Scented: Yes (Floral) | Type: Bio 

What we like

  • Powerful and effective stain remover even at low temperatures, whiter than white results
  • Chlorine-free formula, safe on everyday fabrics
  • Amazing as a pre-treatment or pre-soak 

What we don't like 

  • Specifically designed for whites and not safe to use on all fabrics 

What Mumsnet users say 

"I find Vanish powder really good for whites. Put a big scoop in with the detergent. For any greying tops or shirts, soak in Vanish overnight and then wash and they come out like new." (Vetted by Mumsnet user ILostItInTheEarlyNineties)

Our verdict

From collared work shirts to cotton summer dresses, it is known that white clothing can become grey and lifeless over time. Not to mention how easily they can become stained from misjudged lunch mishaps or happy hour glasses of red wine - taking care of your white clothing can be tricky. That’s why we are recommended Vanish’s Platinum Oxi-Action Crystal White washing powder as our best laundry detergent for white clothing. 

Tough on stains (even in a cold wash) and able to turn dull greys into sparkling whites, Vanish have nailed its chlorine-free formula to work on all everyday fabric types, from cotton to polyester. With just one scoop into your washing machine with your children’s white socks and your partner’s well-worn work shirts, you’ll feel like you have a whole new wardrobe. You can even use it for pre-soaking and pre-treating stains for the extra lift when you need it most; just be careful not to use it on silk blouses or woolly jumpers, as it isn’t safe for all fabrics. Versatile, powerful and effective, Vanish’s Crystal White laundry detergent is an absolute lifesaver for any family.

14. Best scented laundry detergent: Surf Tropical Lily and Ylang-Ylang Biological Liquid Detergent

Surf laundry detergent

RRP: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 21p | Number of washes: 85 | Size: 2.9L|  Format: Liquid | Scented: Yes (Tropical Lily and Ylang Ylang) | Type: Bio

What we like 

  • Its gorgeous, tropical scent leaves clothes smelling fresher for longer 
  • Concentrated formula that washes at low temperatures
  • Often is available on offer 

What we don't like

  • The smell is quite strong if you’re not keen on highly scented detergents

What Mumsnet users say 

Currently enjoying Surf Tropical as I love the smell, and it's often on offer. Also, I can get a giant bottle of the liquid or a huge box [...] at a really good price.”  (Recommended by Mumsnet user LadyOfTheFlowers)

Our verdict

We’d all prefer a week on a desert island, but if you want to be mentally transported to an exotic paradise each time you run a load of laundry, look no further than Surf. 

Mumsnet users love that the Surf tropical lily and ylang-ylang fragrance stays present on fabrics long after your clothes have dried, giving you that comforting ‘fresh out the machine’ feeling the second you open your wardrobe doors. Bonus: it's available as pods and a washing powder and is not that pricey compared to many other detergents, and you'll often find it on offer in the shops! 

15. Best alternative to laundry detergent: Ecozone Soap Nuts

Ecozone soap nuts

RRP: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Cost per wash: 3p | Number of washes: 300 | Size: 1 kg | Format: Soap nuts | Scented: No - Fragrance free | Type: Non-bio

What we like

  • Cost-effective and affordably priced 
  • Eco-friendly, natural alternative to laundry detergent 
  • Dermatologically safe for sensitive skin and hypoallergenic 

What we don't like

  • Not as effective against stains as laundry detergent 

What Mumsnet users say 

“I've used soap nuts lots of times. I find things come up looking just as clean as with detergent (including washable sanitary pads). The only thing I miss is the laundry powder smell.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user JaneEyre21)

"I have been using Soapnuts for years now for all of my children. They are great. You do need to add a white vinegar and bicarb mix or soda crystal for really heavy stains but for 80% of washes, you don't need to add anything." (Tried and trusted by Mumsnetter Theodsia)

Our verdict

Soap nuts have as many lovers as loathers on Mumsnet, but hear us out. While they may not be as good at removing stains as some of the more technical brands, they are a great, naturally-sourced alternative to your usual powders and liquids that will do the trick on your daily washing.

They're also organic, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. Compared to traditional laundry detergents, you get a huge amount of washes for your money, too - working out at just 2p per wash load. Most advice says to treat heavy stains before loading them in with soap nuts and adding an essential oil if you'd like a fresh scent.

What does laundry detergent do? 

Laundry detergents come in various forms (pods, liquid and powder), but all work similarly. When combined with water in your washing machine, they penetrate deep into the fabric of your clothes, lifting stubborn stains, dirt, bacteria and allergens before the rinse and spin cycle washes them away. Good quality laundry detergents are effective even at low temperatures, brightening whites and refreshing clothes whilst protecting fabrics and colours. 

How can I save money on laundry detergent? 

During a cost of living crisis, we’re all trying to find ways to make our weekly shops go further. Here are some ways to save money on your laundry detergent:

  • Buy in bulk - Whilst larger laundry detergent packs may be a little more challenging to store, it often works out far cheaper on a cost-per-wash basis. 
  • Take care not to overdose - Some detergents come predosed, such as laundry pods, whilst others require careful dosings, like liquids and powders, to avoid using more than you need.  To prevent this, read the packaging carefully and follow the dosing instructions to make your purchases last longer. You could even reduce the amount by a fraction to gain an extra wash or two. 
  • Make the switch - If you are shocked at the price of your big brand's detergents, you may want to consider switching to a supermarket’s own brand alternative. Many Mumsnet users couldn’t tell the difference in cleaning capabilities but found it saved them significant money on their weekly shop.
  • Opt for an alternative to laundry detergent  - If you really want to reduce the cost of cleaning your family’s laundry, products such as the Ecozone Soap Nuts make a great alternative. You may miss the ‘just washed’ fragrance, but it’ll easily cut your shopping bill and free up funds for use elsewhere. 

How do I choose the best laundry detergent?

There are many laundry detergents, so how do you know which is right for you? Here are some things to consider when making your choice:

  • Scent - How strong is the fragrance? Would you like your clothes to have a noticeable scent fresh out of the machine, or would you prefer a fragrance-free option instead? 
  • Eco-friendly - Is the brand eco-friendly? How much plastic waste does it create? Is the brand an ethical choice that is vegan-friendly and not tested on animals? 
  • Family’s needs - If you have nappies to wash or a child with eczema, you’ll want something without dyes and fragrances or for sensitive skin, for example. On the other hand, if you have football kits and mucky nursery clothes to deal with, you want a reasonably robust non-bio to get the job done. 
  • Type of detergent - You’ll need to choose between liquid and powder detergents, which both have pros and cons. Liquid detergents (particularly liquid capsules) are thought to be bad for the long-term health of your washing machine. Still, powders don’t dissolve so well and occasionally leave streaks on clothing. On the other hand, liquids are better for coloured and dark washes and powders for a brighter white. 
  • Alternatives - There are other options, such as soap nuts, which aren’t detergents but will still clean your clothes.
  • Bio or non-bio - You’ll also need to decide between bio and non-bio products (more of that below) and natural detergents, which will all depend on your laundry needs.
  • Hard or soft water - It's helpful to look into the kind of water you have in your area, as those in particularly hard water areas (hello, Milton Keynes and Bath) may need to choose their detergent more carefully. You can find more information on this here.
  • Fabric Type - It's also common to use a different kind of product for various clothing items – as your gym wear or the kids' school uniforms may need that little extra cleaning oomph.
  • Ease of Storage - How will you store your laundry detergent? Being able to buy in bulk will make laundry detergent much cheaper, but if you don’t have somewhere to keep it, this can become a huge pain. You could try one of the letterbox subscription services, such as Smol; however, if you are out all day, this can be a nuisance, too. 

What is the most effective type of laundry detergent (powder, liquid, gel or pods)?

A popular talk topic on our forums, the general consensus is (between Mumsnetters, laundry experts and washing machine brands) that washing powder is the most affordable and effective laundry detergent format that’ll clean your clothes and take care of your machine. 

However, that does not mean you should pour away your liquids and chuck out your pods because they have their advantages, too. For example, gels and liquids are kinder to different fabric types and coloured or dark clothing, whereas pods are convenient and quick to use for a family on the go. 

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference. You know your family’s needs and laundry routine best, so using our guide to make an informed decision is probably your best bet for finding one to suit you. 

What is the difference between bio and non-bio?

Simply put, biological laundry detergents contain an enzyme that actively works to break down stains and remove them from fabric. While this is obviously great news for the more (ahem) sullied of clothes, it is by definition a little bit harsher, so it can be damaging to delicate clothing (wool and silk, for example) and more sensitive skin. Although some disagree, the rule of thumb is that it's best to try different types and see what works for your family.

Non-bio washing detergent does not contain this enzyme, meaning it's gentler on your clothes and kinder to your skin. Because of this, it's not quite as powerful at getting dirt out of clothes, but it will generally be more forgiving. If you want a really neutral detergent, natural, non-bio detergent is your best bet.

Which laundry detergents are eco-friendly?

Picking an eco-friendly laundry detergent requires you to think about the following: 

  • The company’s carbon footprint and mission statement 
  • The ingredients and chemicals it uses
  • Whether they test on animals 
  • What awards and accreditations it has 
  • The packaging it comes in 
  • Whether it is refillable 

Laundry detergents such as Bio-D Non-Bio Washing Powder and Ecover’s Non-bio Laundry Liquid are eco-friendly, as are the Ecozone soapnuts

How much laundry detergent should I use?

How much laundry detergent you use depends on how soiled the clothes are, how big your drum is and how hard your water is, but a basic rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Tablets and liquitabs - 1 per wash
  • Powder - 110ml per wash
  • Liquid detergent - 30-35ml per wash

You can always add a little more if you think the wash needs it, but remember that most of us are using too much detergent regularly, and water does a pretty good job on its own, so you don’t need it to overdo the detergent. 

Which is the best laundry detergent?

Obviously, the best laundry detergent is a very personal choice, so what’s good for you and your family may not be the best for someone else. That said, we recommend Daz as our best overall laundry detergent that is effective even at low temperatures whilst protecting colours and brightening whites. Affordably priced and with great value for money, many families are rediscovering the fantastic cleaning power of this brand. 

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users 

Before we recommend new products, we start our research using recommendations from  Mumsnet users, of which there are more than 10 million each month.  We sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users to get their feedback on their favourite laundry detergents, including the brands they rate, recommend and use in their homes. We investigated Mumsnet users’ preferences around powders, liquids and pods and researched the products they felt worked best on stain removal and whitening whites. We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsetters highlighted products that they felt were overpriced, hard to dose or struggled to tackle those more stubborn stains the first time.

Expert opinions

Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning or well-regarded products, including those recommended by laundry experts, washing machine brands and consumer champions such as Which. We also looked for Allergy UK and The Vegan Society accreditations, which showcase brands' suitability for sensitive skin and their policies relating to animal testing.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best laundry detergents on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon to get broader consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist.

Celebrated Laundry Detergents

Ultimately, this left us with the best laundry detergents available today as recommended by parents, trusted by experts and rated by previous customers. 

Why you should trust us

All Mumsnet product reviews are written and informed by the opinions of real parents - brands can't pay us to be featured in our articles or to be awarded our best overall title. 

That's why we spend hours researching, analysing and comparing products to ensure that every product is worthy of making our shortlist. 

Transparency is at the heart of Mumsnet, and that's why we work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice our readers can trust. 

Although, we do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more extensively researched articles like this one.