The most effective laundry detergent, according to Consumer NZ

Consumer NZ has tested a whole range of different detergents.
Consumer NZ has tested a whole range of different detergents. Photo credit: Getty

If you've tried all the laundry detergent brands on the market and are still clueless as to which one is best, you can now rest easy.

Consumer NZ has tested a whole range of different detergents and has rated the top performers.

To see how they fared, the organisation applied 10 common stains - including grass, blood, baby food and chocolate ice cream - to samples of fabrics. Testers then washed the fabric at 20C, the most common wash temperature, using the amount of detergent recommended on the packaging. 

In order to get consistent results each detergent was tested twice, using the "normal" wash cycle.

Bath towels were also added to the washing load to match common wash conditions.

To replicate "everyday grime" a mixture of nut oil, milk and a colour pigment was applied to a sample swatch. The other categories measured were collar and cuff grime, grass/mud, olive oil, tomato, make-up, chocolate ice cream, and blood.

Because the fabric swatches used were pre-stained, the results reflect the relative wash performance rather than the actual amount of grime removed from the fabric, testers noted. The organisation stressed that it is likely that the detergents will perform better at home than in the tests, because the stains would typically have spent less time on garments than the pre-stained fabrics used.

Sixty-three detergents were measured in the test, with results differing for top-loading and front-loading machines.

The results

 

Front-loading

Persil - With a Touch of Comfort Inspired Freshness

Persil - Ultimate

Dynamo - Professional Deep Clean

Dynamo - Superior Stain Removal

Persil - With Built-in Pre-treaters

 

Top-loading

Persil - Ultimate 

Cold Power - With Built-in Pre-treaters

Persil - With a Touch of Comfort Inspired Freshness

Persil - with Built-in Pre-treaters

Ecostore - Extra Clean Powder

Of the two top-rating detergents, Persil - With a Touch of Comfort Inspired Freshness received the highest score, at 84 percent. It was rated "excellent" for removing grass, and baby food; "very good" for removing everyday grime, collar and cuff grime, tomato stains, and chocolate ice cream; "good" for removing olive oil and make-up stains; and "OK" for getting rid of motor oil and blood stains. It had "no obvious bad points".

Persil - Ultimate was given an overall score of 83 percent. It was rated as "excellent" at removing grass and baby food stains; "very good" at removing everyday grime, collar and cuff grime, tomato stains, and ice cream stains; "good" at getting rid of olive oil and make-up stains; and "OK" at eliminating motor oil and blood stains. It also had "no obvious bad points".

Both top-rating detergents sold for an average of $7, according to Consumer NZ.

Three detergents Surf Tropical Tiger Lily liquid, Ecostore’s Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid, and Essentials Laundry Liquid Clean Wash, produced results that were worse than washing with water alone.

Ecostore's research and development manager Huia Iti says that although the company appreciates the work that Consumer NZ does, it has doubts about the testing method in this case.

"We test through independent experts to give us assurance of the quality of our products. As well as performance results, we provide consumers a guarantee of product safety from a people and planet perspective ensuring they are respectful, responsible and ethical throughout the entirety of their life cycle."

A spokesperson for Countdown says its Essentials Laundry Liquid Clean Wash Apple Fragrance was recently removed from stores "to make more room on the shelves for the wide variety of washing powders and liquids that we stock".  

Surf has also been approached for comment on the issue.

Consumer NZ is an independent, non-profit organisation focused on testing consumer products and providing general consumer advice.

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