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Liquid detergents don’t scrub up in our tests

Liquid capsule and powder laundry detergent

We’ve put laundry detergents through another spin in our latest lab tests. We found that liquids and gels can’t keep up with the all-round cleaning power of powder. So will you swap your liquid detergent for powder?

We’ve got a new, tougher Best Buy laundry detergent benchmark. To put this to the test we took all of the most popular liquids, gels and powders and threw them in our lab’s washing machines to see how they scrubbed up. Not every detergent came out smelling of roses.

None of the laundry liquids or gels could meet our new benchmark – this means that Ariel’s gel has been stripped of its Best Buy status.

Now, we wouldn’t want to blow this out of proportion, as its score (along with Aldi’s Almat liquid’s) isn’t much lower than the best powders. But our experts found that liquids just aren’t as good at cleaning coloured stains and they certainly won’t keep your whites as white.

Powder or liquid detergent?

I’ve always been a powder user (no, not that kind of ‘powder user’) but my mum’s been dabbling in the use of liquid capsules. Do I notice a difference in the cleanness of my clothes when I go back to visit? No – but then I don’t tend to get my garments covered in grass and blood stains. I’m just not that kind of guy.

And that’s the crux – since liquids and gels don’t contain bleach, they aren’t that great at banishing coloured stains, like grass, blood, red wine and fruit juice. They also struggled in our whiteness test, which measures how bright whites are after six washes.

Liquids aren’t a complete wash-out

The top liquids don’t have any trouble cleaning up food stains, grease or make-up. So your best shirt should be alright after a saucy date in Pizza Hut (as long as you stay off the red wine). They also won’t fade the colours in your football kit or evening dress.

Still, it looks like powder detergents are the way to go if you want to keep your tightie whities skid-mark free.

Do you use liquid or powder detergent to clean your threads? Will our latest test results make you pour the liquid down the drain? Oh, and you can see how your usual detergent shapes up in our laundry detergent reviews.

Janie gillespie says:
31 January 2019

I have a Samsung eco bubble wash machine it has a despenser in it where you pour liquid in 1 side and the detergent into the other side and it self despences on the weight of the wash I use daz liquid is this suitable for both whites and dark garments please any help would be appreciated 🙂