Why Choosing the Right Laundry Detergent Matters

Whether you’ve always used the brands your family or friends have used, or you just buy whichever type’s on sale, it might not seem like there’s much difference in which laundry detergent you choose, especially if you already know the best laundry detergents out there to use.

Most people figure that if it gets the stains and smells out of your dirty clothes, there’s never really a reason to wonder if you’re using the right one. However, the truth is that it does, indeed, matter which laundry detergent you use.

right laundry detergent

Like anything else in life, balance is key, and there’s always a yin to fit your yang. Depending on your current laundry habits, your necessities, your budget, and your everyday situation, there is likely the perfect detergent out there for you that fits better than what you might use now.

For instance, regular detergents can cause excess suds in your laundry (which can cause other problems) if you aren’t washing with high-efficiency detergent for your high-efficiency washer. And if you learn to use them the right way, the many types of detergent, from powder to liquid to pods, can work wonders for the stains and quality of your clothes, causing them to smell amazing, look more vibrant, and feel brand-new.

Know Each Type of Detergent


Liquid. Liquid detergent is one of the most common, as they’re usually the most effective on food, grease or oil stains. And since it’s a liquid, it can be used as a pretreatment or spot treatment to those pesky stains. So, if you or your family are prone to food spills, whether you work in a restaurant or have messy children, a liquid detergent might be a better option for you.

However, the main issue with liquid detergents is that they are easy to overuse, due to the ambiguous markings on certain caps. This then causes residue in clothing due to too much product and ultimately leads to wasted money. They can also be messy to store, as the liquid can seep out of the cap and can get all over the place if you’re not careful.

Right Laundry Detergent
Powder. Powder detergents can sometimes be better on the wallet because they won’t cause the kind of waste liquid detergents do. It also works best on mud and dirt stains, so if you or your family deals with a lot of stains caused by outside factors like grass or dirt, this may be the best choice for you. Although it is important to note that when using powder detergents, warm or hot water is best to wash in since the powder will have a harder time completely dissolving in colder water.

Pods. The single-use detergent packs, tablets, or pods can be one of the more expensive types, as you may often feel the desire to use more than just the one, especially on large or heavy-duty loads. This is probably most convenient for those who live in a dorm or communal living, as it’s easier to carry around and store. If you have small children, it’s important to properly store this type of detergent away so it isn’t mistaken for food or candy for those who might ingest it.

Other Things to Note

Scent. One of the best parts about washing laundry is that good clean smell on your clothes after you’re done. Detergent brands have come up with some wonderful scents to delight whatever fragrant fancy you might have, with scents ranging from tropical to fresh to floral. But if you have sensitive skin, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and best to avoid fragrant detergents entirely, including dryer sheets that may have added fragrance.

If you find that a certain scent does not work well with your sensitive skin, preemptively rinsing your load before drying can work to get rid of any lingering scents. Be sure to run it through the washer twice to ensure it’s fragrance-free.

Your type of unit. If you didn’t know before, it’s important to check and know which type of washer unit you have, because believe it or not, this also makes a difference. If you have a high-efficiency washer, you should first be looking for and using detergents that are suitable for your high-efficiency washer. The difference between regular detergent and an HE detergent is that HE detergents are specially formulated to work in low-water environments to properly get rid of stains since HE washers use less water than regular washers. But, when in doubt, check your machine’s manual, as you can never go wrong by following its instructions.

Why Choosing the Right Laundry Detergent Matters

A little goes a long way. One last thing to take away is that a little detergent usually goes a long way. Many people, contrary to what they might believe, use too much detergent, whether it’s in the form of liquid, powder, or pods.

If you have a larger load, or a bunch of stains or smell you’re trying to wash out of your clothes, you might be tempted to dump in an extra capful or scoop a tad more product, but the truth is that you’ll need less than you think you might. Again, overuse of detergent can cause soap residue to later show up on your clothes, which can ultimately cause your clean-laundry plan to backfire.

And no matter which type of detergent you use, it’s also best to add in your detergent before you add your load and water to ensure that your soap properly dissolves so no over-foaming occurs. The less that happens, the easier laundry is on your washer, which will help to prolong the maintenance of your machine in the long run.

So, depending on your situation, desires, and necessities, whether it’s for spot treating, heavy-duty messes, or just for routine use, there are different products and ways to help make your laundry run smoother, work better, and hopefully feel a little less of a chore.

The sooner you’re able to follow these tips, you’ll be frolicking through your freshly-dried laundry like something one would see in a commercial and your machines will thank you for the extra care.

Resources: Speed Queen, The Spruce

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