Call it a wash! The Best Laundry Detergent in 2020

Laundry is one of the most time-consuming household tasks even before you begin the first washing cycle. With hundreds of choices in stores, it can be difficult to pick which one fits your personal style. Whether you need to wash grass stains from your kid’s soccer gear or you want a delicate wash for your skin, we’ve narrowed down some of the best laundry detergents in Canada to help you get started.

Our Top Picks

What to look for in Laundry Detergent

The chemical makeup of your detergent determines how quickly it acts on stains, how it reacts to your skin and how it affects the dyes in your clothing. So, there are some features that might be more important to you than others.

Smell: Some people are sensitive to highly-fragranced products whereas others say that long-lasting freshness in their laundry is a must.

Ingredients: What is the formula of the detergent? This includes the presence or lack of enzymes that fight stains, or surfactants to wash away soil.

Price: It’s important to find the perfect compromise between bulk size, fight power and your budget.

The Best Laundry Detergent Pods

Tide Pods 3 in 1 HE Turbo

Tide Pods have become famous for its triple-action ingredient list, which include enzymes, surfactants and polymers all compacted in a water-soluble film. It’s formulated to work in both hot and cold water. As a bonus, it doesn’t have phosphate, which it good for the environment. The Spring Meadows version has a mild floral scent to give your clothes a delicate freshness, which is why we also think it’s the best smelling detergent out there. Also available in original and hypoallergenic formulas.

Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Choice of scent.
  • Convenient.
Cons
  • Easily consumable by children/pets.

The Best Laundry Detergent for Colours

Woolite Darks

If you want to keep your favourite jeans black and not black-ish and prevent your reds from transferring, this detergent is for you. Woolite promises that this detergent won’t cause fading, shrinking or stretching and that the formula is designed to work in any temperature and is fit for a variety of washer models, meaning that your fashion will keep up with the trends.  

 

Pros
  • Safe for HE and regular washers.
  • Mildly fresh scent.
  • Gentle.
Cons
  • Pricey.
  • Fragile bottle cap.

The Best Laundry Detergent for Whites

Oxiclean White Revive

If you find yourself struggling against the dreaded deodorant stains on your favourite white tee, this detergent may be right for you. The phenomenal fighting power of OxiClean has long been established, making it a household name for its strong whitening power. Unfortunately, that strength means that for some machines and tubs, it has occasionally been reported to be corrosive or irritating. For best stain removal, you can also add it to warm water soak. As a testament to how effective it is as a detergent, one user commented that it even cleaned the bathtub as she soaked her clothes in it.  

*Comments regarding the scent was roughly evenly split between fresh, and cheap/chemically.  

Pros
  • Powerful.
  • Fresh Scent*.
Cons
  • Irritant.
  • Can be corrosive.
  • Strong Perfume scent*.

The Best Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

Seventh Generation Free & Clear

Seventh Generation tends to focus its ethos on being sustainability and naturalness making it one of the best eco-friendly detergents out there, with its biodegradable, plant-based, phosphate and chloride-free formulas. The detergent contains many plant-derived enzymes and cleaning agents, as well as mineral-based pH brighteners and preservative so it naturally gives you the best clean possible. It’s been dermatologically tested and contains no fragrance or dyes making it hypoallergenic. For this reason, we also recommend it as the best Laundry Detergent for Babies’ clothing, which means you can buy just one bottle for the entire family. Also available in laundry pods.

Pros
  • Eco friendly (EPA Certified).
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Dye free.
Cons
  • N/A

The Best Laundry Detergent Powder

Tide Original Powder Detergent

With high acclaim from its users, this detergent is one of the best on the market. It has a mild scent, leaving your laundry smelling fresh without being overwhelming. From stabilizers to surfactants to enzymes, the ingredients pull no punches with a more concentrated formula. However, only use this product with HE washers. 

Pros
  • Great formula.
  • Mild scent.
  • Portable/Ideal for laundromats.
Cons
  • Relatively pricey.
  • Not widely available.

The Best Detergent for Expensive Clothes

Soak

This low-suds gentle laundry detergent is suitable for your softest, richest or most delicate fabrics. It can be used for hand or machine wash and is available in a wide array of scents derived from plant-based ingredients. It only requires a capful to gently wash away stains and comes in a cute bottle to help you feel extra luxe. Also available in 2 Packs.

Pros
  • Available in 6 scents.
  • Small amount required.
  • Safe for handwashing.
  • Safe for machine washing (all types).
  • Feels luxe.
Cons
  • N/A.

Persil ProClean Odor Fighter

If you need a stain fighter that can go toe-to-toe with the best of them, Persil ProClean is the way to go. The brand works just as well as the other top brand, but the reason we said it’s the best for smelly clothes is because of what would ordinarily be a drawback. Many users complain about the strong scent, signature to the brand. If you’ve got a sensitivity to fragrances or certain detergents, maybe stay away from this brand. Also available in Intense Fresh scent.

Pros
  • Good stain fighting power.
  • Will change the smell of your clothes to say the least.
Cons
  • Strongly fragranced.
  • Fragile bottle cap.

Why trust us

We are a digital buying guide focused on the Canadian market. We carefully choose our sources so we can give you all the right information. After over 20 hours of research we’ve come up with this list that will suit (ha!) any household.

How We Picked

To select the best laundry detergent, we went through more than 10 digital buying guides all over the Internet and on many retail store websites to view customer laundry reviews. After more than 30 hours of research, it was now easier to present with its features.

Frequent Laundry Detergent Questions

What is Laundry Detergent and how does it work?

Laundry Detergent is a cleaning agent that lifts stains and debris from household fabrics and clothing with the help of its specialized ingredients. They typically consist of an aqueous solution of builders, enzymes, surfactants and bleach.

  • Surfactants are the active agent that dissolves stains from the fabric
  • Oxidizing agents react with coloured molecules to remove the colour
  • Enzymes are proteins that boost the reaction rates of stains
  • Polymers protect fabrics from greying and staining
  • Brighteners molecules that glow in UV light to make colours appear more vibrant.

Detergents can come in different forms with different benefits: liquid, powder or pods. Liquid detergents are more effective on oil and grease stains and can be used for spot treatments because of how easily it dissolves. However, it can be a hassle to put the correct amount in your laundry load, and it can be quite messy.

Powder detergents are typically cheaper compared to the rest. Powder detergents perform well on most stains, such as mud and grass, and are easy to transport making them ideal for those who have to go to laundromats. But they need to be stored in a completely dry area to prevent them from clumping, and they don’t tend to dissolve well in cooler temperatures.

Pods are single-dose packets of pre-measured detergent making them convenient, but more expensive. They tend to not dissolve and can get lodged in the door of front-loading washers. They can also be hazardous to children and pets if consumed, so they must be securely stored.

What are alternatives to laundry detergent?

Whether you’re concerned about environmental impact or have allergies or sensitive skin, non-detergent laundry soap is a good alternative for laundry detergents. It uses oxidants and cold water to disinfect clothes, and as such, doesn’t require you to add fabric softener, bleach or laundry soap to wash the loads.

What are the best laundry detergent brands?

According to The Spruce, higher-end brands like Tide and Persil combine enzymes and surfactants to make a reliably strong detergent, but can bring the price of 2L bottle as high as $15. Mid-tier brands like Purex and Arm & Hammer are slightly cheaper at $10, but uses fewer active ingredients. Discount brands that you can find for less than $5, like Kirkland, rely solely on surfactants to suspend soil, which, depending on your lifestyle, may do the necessary job.

How much laundry detergent should you use?

It depends on the load size and the soil level, especially because overusing detergents when there’s not enough water to rinse it can cause your clothes to feel stiff and irritate your skin. For small loads use a little or just one laundry pod, for large loads use a lot or three pods. If you have any additional soiling, you can use some detergent to do a quick spot treatment or add in a bit extra.

Powdered laundry detergent comes with a measurement cup in the box. Liquid detergents use measurements inside the cap.

Where is the best place to buy laundry detergent in Canada?

You can find a big selection of laundry detergent at nearly every retail store like Walmart, Superstore or Costco. However, there is also a wide selection of laundry detergent on Amazon.

Can laundry detergent cause rashes?

Yes. Some chemicals in the products can be harsh and irritating to the skin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rashes, dry skin, itching and an eczema or contact dermatitis breakout.

What are Tide Pods?

Even though the laundry pod has existed for decades now, the Dropps brand pioneered the current form of the pod in the beginning of the 21st century. In 2012, with the release of Tide Pods – the Tide formula more concentrated in a dissolvable pack – the popularity of the laundry pod skyrocketed. Today, most laundry detergent companies have followed suit with their own take on the laundry pod.

What are the risks of eating detergent pods?

Upset stomach, vomiting, gasping and even death. The ingredients in the pods are very concentrated and can be caustic to the mouth and throat as a result. If consumed call your local poison control centre immediately.

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