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Laundry detergent reviews

Want to find the best laundry detergent? Find out which one works best in our review. Don’t forget to use the filters on the side to select the products that suit your needs, including liquid or powder and environmental claims.

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In the latest laundry detergent review, 30/5/2019, I noticed that Coles brand detergent was not in the list, yet Woolworths’ and Aldi’s were. An oversight, or was it not assessed?

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@airedale, It seems (most? all?) detergents are now labelled for’ Front/Top’ loaders. They were previously labelled for either Front or Top loaders. Although the test results are filtered by Front and Top loaders, the package images I looked at show the Front/Top labelling so I presume that is the product tested.

The buying guide discusses too much sudsing in front loaders when top loader formulations are used. It seems that a dual purpose product might have insufficient sudsing for a top loader or too much for a front loader, or giving the manufacturers the benefit they know what they are doing, something else has changed in the formulations whereby related sudsing issues no longer matter. Any insights?

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I asked our product tester @RebeccaCiaramidaro about the absense of the Coles brand. Coles are reformulating this product, and unfortunately the new product wasn’t ready in tme for our test. Future updates should include this product though.

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You’re right about the sudsing, which is why they often include different dosing instructions depending on whether you’re using a front or a top loader. Even if they don’t, you should use less of a given detergent in a front loader than you would in a top loader for this reason.

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I just checked a box of Biozet - no different dosage specified for front or top. If Choice uses the instructions on the box for dose as expected, that alone would skew the results, would it not? Or could they be making all the detergents ‘front loader friendly’ and just labelling them front/top to reduce the different products that need to be kept and managed in inventories?

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@BrendanMays
It is always useful to be able to see the comparisons between products and assessments.

We use Earth Choice Ultra Concentrate Laundry Powder.

Is there a hidden bias in the results from Choice based on the test water temperature being only for a cold wash at 20C?

As we use an older style anaerobic absorption trench with grease trap, the sceptic safe options are important.

In a top loader with a warm wash it does the job with a half scoop.

For the outdoor heavy duty work gear used around our native forest revegetation work it also does the job, relying on a longer cycle and a hot wash (55+C based on the tempering valve setting) option to be sure to wipe out any stowaways. Never more than a 3/4 scoop needed.

We rarely cold wash.

It was great to filter on the septic safe options and see how well, relatively the other products performed in cold water only! And to consider the difference in cost per wash with the alternatives.

The significant difference between the performance of the same powder in a front loader when compared to a top loader was also an eye opener.

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We test detergents following the manufacturers dosing instructions, which is fairest to the manufacturer as it is using their product as they intended, and theoretically the way a conscientious consumer would also use it. You’re right of course, that using the same dose for a front and a top loader will usually result in different performance because of the nature of how these appliances work, though I’m not sure that you could really say this is ‘skewing’ the results. Rather, the results will be different. Irrespective of dosing instructions, it’s a good rule of thumb to use slightly more detergent in a top loader and slightly less in a front loader.
And you’re right, modern detergents have been made more frontloader friendly through the use of low sudsing formulae so manufacturers only need to offer one product, instead of two. This also helps consumers who now won’t find themselves inadvertently having bought a detergent that isn’t suitable for their washing machine.

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I would appreciate a filter for quickly finding just the “sensitive” detergents, as we have someone in the family who can’t tolerate the normal detergents. Thanks.

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I have long tried to bring Choice’s attention to the health problems of odourisers in detergents and other products but I have been routinely ignored or even rudely replied to. I too would like to see reviews of healthier/safer products included. I also wish Choice would take the health (including mental health) and safety implications of the products they review into greater consideration and make those a priority.

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Hi @ferij49, I’m sorry to hear you feel you haven’t been heard. We do our best to meet the needs for a large and diverse number of consumers, which is why we include environmental factors in the filters of our reviews and more-detailed info in our comparison tables. You’re welcome to suggest other issues or products that you would like to see included here in the forum if you wish.

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Reading the latest update to these tests (13 Feb 2020) I notice that Omo Ultimate powder is not included in the testing. This was previously recommended and is still available (I bought some today) so why was it dropped from the testing?

Incidentally, I notice that Coles branded detergents are still not included (10 months after Greenee mentioned it)

The detergent review was updated 23 July 2020. Some familiar names have reappeared and others gone or remain missing, consistent with Choice’s previous advice that they don’t test detergents being reformulated during test time.

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It is strange that Choice has rated the one we use at 72% for front loaders and only 49% for top loaders when it is sold for use in both types of machines.

https://shop.coles.com.au/a/earlville/product/radiant-whites-colours-top-front-loader-laundry-liquid-2399443p?adId=display_u-35u4velc1m9-jOHqBweuVxkrkyMzk5NDQzUA%3D%3D

Presumably they used the same product for both tests and it just works much better in front loaders which is what we have.

BTW. Does amyone else remember when washing powders were launched on the market in the 1960’s and each new brand would drop off a complimentary trial box at your door stop?

Rinso, Surf, OMO, Persil and even Fab before the lemon charging.

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It is probably related to the fact as stated in the pulldown regarding ‘recommended’…

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It could be a dilution issue. Usually the same recommended amount of detergent is added to both and as top loaders use significantly more water in the wash cycle, the detergent is dilluted more possibly making it less effective at lower concentrations.

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It was great to filter on ‘septic safe’ and also ‘ethical choices’.

The much better performance of front loaders vs top loaders is worth consideration. That the typical wash cycle and actions are very different (front loaders 2-3 times longer on regular cycles) may be one part of the explanation. We have no wash fails with a smaller sized top loader for wash quality using an average rated powder, including yard and outdoor farm wear.

Guilty!

What is more amazing is that you could wash clothes without such products. The copper boiler, a small wood fire, a well seasoned stick for ensuring the wash was submerged, shaved solid soap, borax, blue bags, and who knows what else? Oh that dreadful smell of boiled cloth, smoke, and sweat from the operator. Fortunately there was the mangle to ease the burden on the Hills rotary.

We advanced to an electric boiler which doubled to provide hot water for the bath. Half a bucket each. Those were the days … not to be repeated, but still common outside the first world?

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You overlooked the pennies which were beaten to shape and soldered inside the copper boiler to fix leaks.

And of course, by Murphy’s Law, they were probably 1930 pennies before anyone knew how valuable they would become.

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