Best Laundry Detergents in 2021
Whether we like it or not, laundry is a necessary part of daily life, and so we may as well use the best tools we can. You all loved it when I reviewed the best laundry baskets, so I thought I’d review the best laundry detergents in 2021.
Speaking of laundry, I want to invite you to our laundry challenge inside the Sweet Life Society that will run during the month of February. We’ll all be working together to create a manageable laundry routine (and we’ll even have prizes for challenge winners)!
I haven’t been brand loyal, so I’ve tried loads of laundry detergents in the past (pun intended ?). Especially in my couponing days, I would just get whichever detergent was the most affordable or nearly free with coupons. I have discovered 3 favorites that I’ll share with you.
First, I can't talk about the best laundry detergents in 2021, without sharing the two types of laundry detergents that I decidedly do NOT prefer.
- Laundry Detergent Pods. When I first started using these, I loved them. They’re not bulky, and it’s super easy to just toss one in the washing machine. There’s absolutely no mess, leaking, or spilling. They are a little more expensive than the traditional liquid detergents, but not by too much especially when you consider that you truly will get as many loads as the package says. The problem is that they can leave residue on your clothes that won’t come off!!! I recommend staying away from the pods.
- Traditional Tide (or other national brand) liquid detergent. What I love about Tide is that it really does clean clothes really well, doesn’t leave a residue or spots behind, and it leaves your clothes smelling amazing!! The two things I don’t love are that it can have a lot of chemicals that may not be great for our skin and that it’s huge. I don’t like storing a huge jug of detergent, and I really don’t like pouring from it. I will say that a lot of the jugs are designed such that you can leave them in place and dispense detergent right from the bottle into a cap. This works okay, but can be a pain if your detergent is up high or a place that’s not so easy to access.
Here are the best laundry detergents for 2021:
All Laundry Detergent.
I’ve enjoyed this detergent for years. It truly is, as the package says, small and mighty. I absolutely love how small the bottles are. It makes them easy to carry to your laundry area and easy to store. I also feel like it gets my clothes really clean. They also have a free and clear version that has absolutely no scent whatsoever, which can be a pro or con depending on your preferences. I personally prefer a strong scent, but if that bothers you, go with the free and clear.
Grove Laundry Dispenser.
We simply must consider the Grove laundry dispenser among the best laundry detergents in 2021. This is by far the most unique laundry detergent system I’ve ever seen. You get a special dispenser, and then refill it with their super concentrated detergent. I honestly have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this thing.
It looks super modern and cute, and I really love that you can see how much detergent you have left since it’s in a clear bottle. (I don’t know why all laundry detergents don’t come in clear packaging.) It’s also glass, so it’s super sturdy. Since it’s small, it’s easy to dispense. The thing that really stands out about it the most, is that it controls how much detergent you use. I’ve found that with most concentrated detergents, I use too much (thus making it more expensive per load). With this Grove laundry dispenser, that doesn’t happen, since it dispenses just the right amount.
The way that it dispenses is neither a pro or a con, although it does take a bit of getting used to. Make sure the top is in the closed position, and then turn the dispenser completely upside down for a few seconds. This will fill the top reservoir with detergent. Then turn it right side up, turn the top to open, and pour into the washing machine. Then, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, turn the top to the closed position while it is still over the washing machine. And flip it back over for a few seconds to refill it for the next time while over the washing machine. If you flip it upside down while it’s not over the washing machine, you’ll get detergent drips.
The major con, in my opinion, is that the lid dispensing part actually gets clogged over time, so you must thoroughly clean it out. I clean it out about every 20-30 uses when I refill it (although I probably should do it more frequently). And it takes a few minutes to thoroughly clean, so that’s a pain. Also, the refilling step is just an extra step that no other detergent has. You might think that it’s more environmentally friendly since you can keep using the same dispenser indefinitely. The problem is that you still throw away the refill bags (and almost one entire bag fits in the dispenser at once so not a lot of plastic saved there). I do think the plastic refill bag creates a bit less waste than a traditional jug of detergent, so it probably helps some.
The detergent itself is great. It cleans well, smells wonderful, and is free of harsh chemicals, so no complaints there.
Method Laundry Detergent
This is probably my very favorite laundry detergent. I love that it comes in a clear, fairly small bottle. The clear bottle is great so that you always know how much you have left. It’s also pretty concentrated, so you can get 64 loads from the bottle. Also, the cap itself is the perfect size. You’re just supposed to use one capful in one load, so it’s easy not to use too much. It’s also free of harsh chemicals, and it smells great! The scent is fairly subtle – not as strong as Tide or a scented All detergent.
Oxi Clean deserves an honorable mention here. I have a tub of Oxi Clean powder that I throw into the machine with my normal detergent for loads that are particularly dirty. I can tell that the Oxi Clean really works!
And don’t forget to join us in the Sweet Life Society, so you can join in our laundry challenge next month!
Sara Elder Says
THANK YOU for this! I’ve personally been on a quest lately trying to find the best laundry detergent for our family. I’ve always been a fan of All, and I’ve recently discovered the Oxi clean powder (how have I been missing this all my life! It works!) . We recently tried Tide and I was so surprised at how well it cleaned! However, I don’t like the price, chemicals, and my family is allergic to it! After seeing how clean my clothes could be I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ve just been lulled into thinking my clothes were clean, but they really weren’t. This article totally confirms my suspicions that All is great and I just need to use the OXI clean on my kiddos’ extra dirty clothes! (I also really love Costco’s environmentally friendly detergent, but it does come in a huge dispenser). Love your articles and the Sweet Life Planner!
K. Molick Says
Sara – i used to buy Costco’s “environmentally friendly” detergent to. But then I checked ewg.org and it turns out that detergent is not as environmentally friendly as the packaging would indicate. Also, it contains fabric softener – so you can’t use it all the time. I hated buying a separate detergent for items like towels and the increasing number of items I have where the manufacturer specifies no fabric softener. (You can’t use fabric softener on many new fabrics.)
(Plain vinegar is a great, no-chemical substitute for fabric softener.)
Linda Sparks Says
Question: I have hard water in my community and I have never felt the recommended amount of detergent was enough. Is this just because it doesn’t suds as much or should I use more to compensate for the hard water? I enjoyed your review. It was informative. I use the Oxi Clean spray stain remover and also have used the Grove stain remover. Both of these work well.
For those with super sensitive skin (or not), one of the biggest bargains I have used is the Eco Egg or Nellie’s Laundry Soda. The Eco Egg works with hot, cold or warm water where as if you use cold with Nellie’s, it’s best to run thru 2 rinse cycles. Both are great for high efficiency washers. I first purchased a small kit with 50 loads, loved it and bought a bucket with 1100 loads worth and we are still using it today 5 years later. It was about $135, which for over 5 years of laundry detergent, it’s a great buy. Works out to about $.05 a load. Then we saw the Eco Egg and it works out to $.02 a load, so we tried it. Works great so far. No heavy lifting ever again. I use unscented and the clothes are soft and fresh. I don’t use any fabric softener just wool dryer balls. I’m allergic to almost all detergents on the market so it’s taken a long time to find something that works with my skin, but also cleans well and these do both.