You don’t have to spend a fortune on laundry detergent to get your colors to sparkle and whites to gleam. In fact, Costco sells a relatively cheap detergent that for the second straight year has been deemed the “best value” for your money, Consumer Reports says.
Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Liquid “cleans up nicely” at about half the price of what you would pay for similar products from Persil and Tide, CR says. The publication says the Kirkland suds earn an “excellent” rating for removing stains associated with body oil, one of the chemicals in sweat.
Although Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean does not perform as well on blood and grass stains, it cleans effectively in hard water, a relatively rare trait, CR says.
When testing detergents, CR staffers laundered fabric swatches saturated with blood, body oil, chocolate, coffee, dirt, grass and salad dressing. According to CR:
“We use stains that are exceedingly hard to remove so that we can detect real differences among detergents’ performance. (Even the best detergents can’t remove every stain completely.) Using cool water, we wash swatches in two identical washing machines with each detergent, then allow the swatches to air-dry.”
Another product from Costco’s house brand — Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Free & Clear — took the top honor as the best detergent for baby clothes. It has a hypoallergenic formula that does not contain dyes or perfumes, earned a “very good” rating for removing dirt and was among the most affordable hypoallergenic detergents CR has tested.
Other winners in the CR analysis were:
- Best for sensitive skin: Persil ProClean for Sensitive Skin
- Best for most tough stains: Persil ProClean Stain Fighter and Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release
At the other end of the spectrum, the detergents ranked worst were Era 3X Oxibooster (“one of the worst at removing stains from dirt and chocolate,” CR said) and Sun Triple Clean (“worst overall, earning the lowest Overall Score of the dozens in our tests”).
How badly do these lower-ranking detergents fare? According to CR, “They’re barely better than water when it comes to removing most stains.”
For more Kirkland Signature products worth considering, check out “9 Name Brands Behind Costco’s Generic Products.”