/ Home & Energy

How do you sniff out a good laundry detergent?

Woman smells clothes

Crystal rain, moonflower and ylang, ruby jasmine – not words that are normally associated with washing your clothes. Are you enticed by laundry detergents with fragrant-sounding names?

During your most recent trip down the supermarket aisles, did you notice how many laundry detergents have names that you’re more likely to associate with aromatherapy than with washing your whites?

Take Asda’s ‘star fruit and amber’ range. Star fruit is so exotic to me that I have no idea what it smells like. And amber? I wasn’t aware of it having a fragrance at all.

Choosing laundry detergents

I’m a bit practical when it comes to cleaning my clothes. I want a detergent that I can rely on to get my laundry clean, and stain removal is important to me. I know I should be able eat chocolate without dropping it on my trousers by now, but there you go. And don’t get me started on cooking bolognaise sauces while wearing a white top…

What’s the most important factor to you when you’re deciding which laundry detergent to buy? Many of us are attracted by special offers and tend to buy the detergent that offers the best deal that week, rather than staying loyal to just one brand.

But then there are those of us who really like how a particular detergent makes our clothes smell. If you’re really attached to a fragrance, trying another brand doesn’t make sense until the dreaded day when the packaging of your favourite powder or liquid boldly declares ‘new and improved!’.

Sold on a scent

I’m used to fabric softeners having exotic and enticing names, but to me one of the main purposes of fabric softeners is to make my laundry smell lovely. It makes sense that the fragrance of a particular product needs to be distinctive, and fancy-sounding names are more appealing.

By contrast, laundry detergents seem like a very practical product and I’m intrigued to see if products with impressive names are also impressive at cleaning. We’ve just tested 12 liquid capsule detergents to see how good they are at tackling tough stains, protecting colours and keeping whites white. We even looked into the level of fragrance left behind on your clothes.

Are you loyal to particular laundry detergent? If so, is it because you like the fragrance or is the cleaning power more important? Is a strong fragrance more likely to put you off?


I’ve been using Persil Non-Biological Powder since my uni days, so that’s over 30 years now.

The reason for using that rather than anything else at the time was being a poor student 4 of us used to use one machine all in together, colours whites you name it. One girl was allergic to most others but no the Persil non-bio. So we used that, and I’ve been using it ever since. But I only buy it when its on offer and then get 2 large packs at a time, unless I’ve still got an unopened one at home in which case I just get the one.

In fact I’ve been using the packets I bought before I was made redundant 3 + years ago, so I’m going to be in for a huge shock when I need to buy more 🙁 Oh well.

I specifically avoid strongly perfumed products because I am an asthmatic and certain odours affect me. Scented candles and plug-in air fresheners can leave me gasping for breath when visiting friends.

I avoid fabric conditioners (for this and other reasons) and have a sniff at unfamiliar laundry detergent packets in the supermarket. Many of us who are sensitive to smelly products find the smell extremely strong, so it is very easy to avoid buying these products.

The cheaper brands are often less perfumed and seem to do an adequate job at cleaning for me, even if more effective detergents are available.

I swap and change all the time due to Amazon.

Amazon will stock something and have it on at such a cheap price loads of people (including me) will buy 3-4 boxes of it. It will never be sold on Amazon again at that price. But a few months later another brand will come on at the cheap price. It happens all the time. You just need to keep a look out. Sites like http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/amazon-uk are amazing.

What I find funny is the last lot, Daz, was cheaper than Tesco’s own brand. It’s crazy!!!

Interesting subject.

Following on from Which? ‘s articles on the poverty in the UK :
“In our most recent Quarterly Consumer report, 43% of you told us that you’ve reduced spending on food in order to manage your household budget. And 75% of you told us the food prices are one of your biggest financial concerns.”

I thought as Which? does not test the bulk market we would and purchased 40 toilet rolls. 10 kilos of dishwasher powder and 8.1 kilos of laundry powder from BroschDirect who deal with hospitals , nursing homes etc.

The clothes washing powder I am just about to start using as I have finished my Aldi powder.
The cost per wash will be just under 9p. That is 100 washes for £8.95p Smells like laundry powder. Should save around 10p per wash. Interestingly I note that the on my reference site buying smells costs:
Bold 2 in 1 Professional Mega Pack
LS0157B – Crystal Rain and White Lily – 85 wash
LS0153B – Lavender and Calamine – 110 wash
both at £16.95

The dishwasher powder comes out at just over 2p per 15mg dose and has a very clean smell – as in antiseptic. Works very well in my Miele dishwasher. I have a theory that a good dishwasher probably makes most powders look good. Branded tablets are in the 20p up to 30p bracket and the cheapest own label is around 11p.

On the dishwasher powder I should save around £72 based on 400 washes per year compared to someone who buys the branded tablets. Less perhaps £5 for liquid additive.

Test show that the toilet paper at around 20p per roll are just as good for the task as the other stuff we buy from Waitrose and Aldi and have equal or more sheets per roll.
Andrex I see is around 50p per roll at Tesco’s so on an average use in this household we will save around £90 p.a

I have always used Ariel for washing and I flit between Comfort and Lenor for fabric conditoner. It all depends on what is on offer at the time.
I have a box at home that I put my special offers in and keep it topped up. Definitely saves me money.

Ally says:
17 July 2017

I used to like Ariel long time ago but I found that they changed the scent a bit so I dumped it.
Now I’m a fan of Surf, like to smell the clothes fresh either on me or others.