7 Laundry Detergents That Only Wash Money Down the Drain

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Sometimes products fare so poorly in Consumer Reports’ testing that the nonprofit calls them out for it.

That was recently the case for a handful of laundry detergents. In an article made available to the general public — rather than just Consumer Reports subscribers — the consumer advocacy publication cites seven detergents that it advises you to simply “skip.”

Those products, along with some of Consumer Reports’ comments about them, are as follows. Note that Consumer Reports says the first two on this list “cleaned only slightly better than plain water”:

  1. Xtra ScentSations
  2. Trader Joe’s Liquid Laundry Detergent
  3. Woolite Everyday
  4. Home Solv 2X
  5. Xtra Plus OxiClean
  6. Sun Triple Clean
  7. Arm & Hammer Toss ‘N Done Ultra Power Paks — “the lowest scoring of the pods/packs we tested”

In case you’re wondering, the detergents that Consumer Reports rated most highly were Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2in1. Both of these liquid detergents designed for high-efficiency and regular laundry machines earned scores of 82 out of 100.

Consumer Reports subscribers can view all of the publications’ ratings of laundry detergents on its website.

But while those two detergents are highest rated, they’re also costly — at least compared with do-it-yourself detergent.

DIY laundry detergent

Yes, you can make your own laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar. As we explain in “Easy, Dirt-Cheap Ways to Make Laundry Detergent“:

“Well, here’s the dirty little secret that the suds salesmen don’t want you to know: Some people get OK results with no detergent at all. Others save 90 percent of the cost of store-bought by making it themselves.”

Check out that article for a recipe that requires only a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand.

DIY fabric softener

Fabric softener is even easier to make for pennies on the dollar.

As we detail in “9 Expensive Cleaning Supplies You Can Easily Make For Pennies,” adding a half-cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle will do the trick. And you can buy vinegar for a few cents an ounce.

Baking soda is another cheap and effective option. MarthaStewart.com has described it as “an effective cleaner, deodorizer, and fabric softener” that’s safe enough to use on baby clothing.

Another Martha Stewart publication, Whole Living, recommends both vinegar and baking soda as softeners:

“A quarter to one cup of white vinegar added to a final rinse (after any chlorine products have been washed away to avoid dangerous fumes) can help to fluff, deodorize, and prevent lint, and a quarter cup of baking soda added to the wash cycle can help to reduce static cling.”

White vinegar — and sometimes baking soda — is the only fabric softener I’ve used in decades. I buy both in bulk at Costco. That they are dirt-cheap is just icing on the cake for me, though.

Vinegar and baking soda are the only fabric softeners I allow in my home because I know what they are, and I know that they are nontoxic. Heck, both are used in cooking, so they’re safe enough to consume. Can you say that about your fabric softener?

Do you have any DIY laundry tips? Share them below or on our Facebook page.

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