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Posted: 10:48 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014

Best Laundry Detergent For Your Money

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By Clark Howard

If you're looking for the best laundry detergent for the money, look no further than the house brand at one of my favorite stores!

The latest issue of Consumer Reports  gives "best buy" checkmarks to 2 detergents for front or high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders. Both show that it's entirely possible to pay twice as much for roughly equivalent cleaning power from the industry leader...but why would you want to?!


  • Wisk Deep Clean (liquid) costs 14 cents a load and scored an 80 on a scale of 100.
  • Costco's Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean (powder) costs 9 cents a load and scored a 73.

Both of those "best buys" are much cheaper than Tide Ultra plus Bleach Vivid White + Bright HE (powder), the highest-ranked laundry detergent of all. At 23 cents a load, the Tide offering got an 82 yet failed to clinch the magazine's seal of approval.

Target's Up & Up HE (liquid) -- a previous "best buy" winner -- raised the price per load in the latest tally from 11 cents to 13 cents, but only scored a 67 this time out.

When it comes to laundry detergent for standard top-loaders, the only one to get the "best buy" checkmark was Tide Plus Bleach Alternative Vivid White + Bright. At 18 cents a load, it scored a lowly 61 -- still the best score in its class.

Not really into commercial laundry detergents? Try making your own at home to save even more money. We've got a great homemade laundry detergent recipe to share with you. It takes about 20 minutes to make and works out to cost only 6 cents a load!

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble is readying a new budget version of Tide. The new product, called Tide Simply Clean & Fresh, will be 35% cheaper than regular Tide detergent, according to The Wall Street Journal. It will be packaged in a yellow bottle like Arm & Hammer detergent, instead of Tide's traditional orange container.

To subsidize the cheaper version, P&G is going to sneak by a price increase on select fancier detergents in its Tide line. They'll do this by shrinking the size on versions that contain color-safe bleach, Downy, or Febreze.

Of course, the price will remain the same on those fancier detergents even though they'll contain fewer loads. It's a tried-and-true way to pass along a price increase without too many people noticing!

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