If you’re searching for a laundry detergent that will effectively remove stains and keep your clothes looking their best, consider using powder laundry detergent. This reliable and timeless option has been a popular choice for generations due to its affordable price point and superior stain-fighting abilities. Recent studies indicate that it is the most widely used form of laundry detergent in the United States, with millions of households opting for this classic formula. However, with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to determine which powder detergent is the best fit for you. Fortunately, we have done the research for you by analyzing consumer reviews and product performance data to compile a list of the top powder laundry detergents available. Whether you require a heavy-duty stain remover or a gentle, environmentally friendly formula, our recommendations will leave your clothes looking and smelling fresh and clean. Say goodbye to laundry day anxiety and hello to spotless, fragrant clothes with these powerful powder detergents.
Dr Suds Natural Laundry Detergent Powder
For individuals seeking an organic, natural, and safe alternative, the top pick for powder laundry detergent is Dr Suds Natural Laundry Detergent Powder. This detergent is composed of plant and mineral-based ingredients, and its cleaning capabilities match those of any conventional detergent. It is free of dyes and fragrances, ensuring that your clothes are cleansed without added scents or vivid hues. Regardless of the laundry load size, this detergent guarantees a fresh and immaculate outcome each time. With Dr Suds Natural Laundry Detergent Powder, keeping your clothes clean has never been easier or safer.
Tide+ Plus Bleach Powder Laundry Detergent
- Contains whiteners and color brighteners
- Effectively removes stains and dissolves in cold water
- Powder may spill easily and clump in moist environments
For those who prefer powder detergents, Tide+ Plus Bleach Powder is the ultimate option. In our evaluations, it effectively cleansed our cotton test swatches in cold water as well as warm water, earning the coveted Good Housekeeping Seal. Tide+ Plus Bleach incorporates a color-safe bleach and an activating agent that enhances the brightness of both whites and colors with each wash cycle. It does not contain chlorine bleach, making it safe for both washable fabrics and colors. This powder detergent is designed to dissolve and perform well in traditional as well as high-efficiency washing machines, and it passed our tests with flying colors.
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder is an exceptional laundry detergent that is both eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. This detergent delivers a thorough clean for all types of clothing while using plant-based ingredients to eliminate harsh chemicals, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. It has also been certified by the EPA as environmentally safe and is safe to use on cloth diapers. Its concentrated formula is effective on all types of laundry, including high-tech fabrics and delicate items, and only requires one tablespoon per dose. Additionally, it eradicates odors, stains, and residue from previous detergents, resulting in fresh and soft fabric. The fragrance-free formula is ideal for individuals who are sensitive to perfumes, and the powder is convenient to use and store, making it a top pick overall.
- Requires a minimal amount for extra-large loads
- Can save money in the long run
- Hypoallergenic; no scent added
- Effectively cleans heavily soiled clothes
- Does not leave any scent on clothes after drying
Gain Original Powder Laundry Detergent
- Pleasant fragrance
- High number of loads per container
- Easy to use
- Less effective in removing stains
- No unscented option
Gain Original Powder Detergent has made it to our list with its excellent fragrance and affordable price per load. Our tester found it to be effective in fading most stains, although not all. It can be used for regular washes or combined with a trusted stain remover for heavily soiled items. The package comes with a plastic handle for easy carrying, and the measuring cup included in the detergent box has markings for small to extra large loads. Most of the tested items were soft and pliable after being removed from the dryer. The fragrance was also well received, as it was in the Gain liquid detergent. Our tester reported a burst of fragrance upon opening the box, and although it faded after drying, it still left a pleasing clean odor on the clothes. If you want your clothes to have a fresh scent and feel soft, Gain Original Powder Detergent is a good choice.
Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Detergent Powder
If you have sensitive skin or prefer natural products, Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is an excellent choice. Unlike some natural detergents, it is effective at cleaning clothes, although it may not be the best at removing tough stains like foundation, grass, mud, and oil. However, it is unscented and made with all-natural ingredients, making it ideal for those with fragrance sensitivities or skin allergies. Additionally, the detergent leaves no residue on clothing and results in soft, pliable fabrics, even for items like towels. The user experience is also enjoyable, with clear instructions on the resealable bag and a convenient scoop included. At $15 for 70 uses, it’s a great value for an all-natural, unscented formula.
Things to Consider Before Buying Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent comes in various forms, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, ultimately depending on personal preferences. Here are some quick facts about each type of detergent to help you choose which one is best for your needs.
Pods: Pre-measured and easy to use, pods are the most convenient option. However, they can create a mess if they come in contact with water and start to dissolve. They are also the most expensive per load, with Gain Flings Laundry Detergent Soap Pods being our top choice.
Liquid: Liquid detergent is ideal for pre-treating stains, as it can be poured directly onto the affected area. The amount used per load can be customized, and it is a cost-effective option. However, liquid detergent can be messy and difficult to transport. Love Home and Planet Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent is a great choice if you prefer scented options.
Powder: Powder is generally the most affordable per load. Similar to liquid, the amount used per load is adjustable. However, it may not dissolve well in cold water, leaving a residue on clothes or the washing machine. It’s also easy to spill when pouring into the machine. Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Detergent Powder is the only powder on our list of winners.
Sheets: Sheets are pre-measured, but they can be cut to fit the load size. They are the smallest to store and the most environmentally friendly option. They are typically the most expensive per load, with Grove Co. Laundry Detergent Sheets being our favorite.
Scent: Laundry detergent scent can evoke feelings of nostalgia, but it can also irritate sensitive skin due to added fragrances. During our tests, Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap Pods and Love Home and Planet Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent were our favorite scents. If you prefer unscented options, Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Detergent Powder is the best choice.
Price: In our tests, we spent between $9 and $69 on the 29 laundry detergents we tested, with costs per load ranging from $0.09 to $1.08. As you can see, the more expensive options were not always the best at removing stains. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear is the most affordable detergent we recommend, at just $0.09 per load.
Q: Is powder detergent strong enough to remove stains?
Yes! As long as you get to it quick enough, like any detergent. “As much as possible, pretreat stains!,” stress Theresa and Corinna Williams, cofounders of Celsious. “The sooner we spot-treat, the better our chances of actually getting rid of a stain. Don’t leave a stain to set. Once that happens, there’s no guarantee the stain will come out in the wash. A common misconception is that ‘natural’ detergents aren’t strong enough to fight stains, but a stain that has set will be tough for any detergent to fight, regardless of the ingredients.”
This is also where the aid of a booster or stain-removing soap bar can come in handy. And for an extra-deep clean, try McNerney’s hack: “Soak clothes in the sink or tub with laundry powder prior to washing in the machine.”
Q: What is a laundry booster and what does it do?
“Historically, laundry boosters were mostly made of chlorine-based bleaches. They are strong oxidizers that decompose the organic or biological molecules and hence whiten, brighten, and help restore the original color of clothing and fabrics. However, chlorine-based bleaches are made with harsh chemicals that can have negative health and safety implications for people and the environment,” explains He. “In recent years, ‘oxygen bleaches’ have gained popularity as an alternative to chlorine-based bleaches—with safer ingredients and less damaging environmental effects. The active ingredient is activated oxygen, which is released from sodium percarbonate or hydrogen peroxide. The activated oxygen decomposes the organic or biological molecules in stains and turns itself into water at the end.”
Q: Should I add a booster to every load of laundry I do?
“We recommend using boosters only when needed, specifically for exceptionally soiled, stained, or smelly laundry,” clarifies He. “Most of your laundry should be fine being washed with just detergent. Because many laundry boosters contain chlorine or oxygen-based bleaches, which tend to react and break down biological molecules, we recommend avoiding the use of laundry boosters on protein-based fabric materials such as silk, wool, and other delicate or hand-wash-only fabrics. Additionally, certain color-dyeing technologies such as batik may not be colorfast and should be avoided from being treated by laundry boosters as well.”
Q: Are there certain types of washing machines I shouldn’t use powder detergent with?
One of the caveats of using powder is dissolvability—which can commonly be misconstrued as being only suitable for certain types of washers—but this type of detergent is actually suitable for any type of machine, even those labeled as HE. In fact, at Celisous’s Brooklyn laundromat, the only front-loading machines you’ll find there are Electrolux’s top-rated for energy efficiency. What the sisters do warn against is that you may have trouble when running a cold cycle. If you notice some residue on your clothes, they recommend dissolving it in a bit of warm water before adding it to the drum or even the detergent compartment.
Q: How much powder detergent should I use per load?
This depends on the size of your load, the size of your washer, and even just how soiled your garments are. And while generally you only need about a tablespoon worth for a normal pile of clothes, it’s important to check out the maker’s instructions first. We discovered that each had its own variation of a proper “serving size,” or came with an easy-to-use, predetermined scoop.