How to Choose the Best Laundry Detergent for Your Family

Everything you need to know to get your whites whiter and your colors brighter.

Woman folding laundry.
Simplify laundry day with a detergent that fits your whole family’s needs.Sarah Brown, Unsplash

Before the invention of dedicated laundry detergent in the early 20th century, people washed their clothes with regular soap, or soda crystals—also known as washing soda or soda ash—a type of sodium carbonate that is readily available to this day and still used for a number of different cleaning tasks. But today’s detergents are designed to meet some very specific laundry needs. Take a look and find your new favorite formula here.

Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Hypoallergenic Liquid Baby Laundry Detergent (HE), Natural for Baby, Newborn, or Infant, 50 Ounce (32 Loads), 2 Count (Packaging May Vary)
Specially formulated for the youngest of children, this product is hypoallergenic and gentle on skin.Dreft

Do you really need a separate detergent for your baby’s clothes? It depends on who you talk to—and what detergent you usually use for the rest of the laundry in your home. Fragrance and dyes are common sources of irritation for little ones and adults, so a hypoallergenic wash free of both will work for the whole family. Remember that although your baby won’t be wearing your clothes, they will be held against them so it makes sense to take the same care with your detergent as with theirs.

Tide Laundry Detergent Liquid Eco-Box, Concentrated, Original Scent, 105 oz, HE Compatible, 96 Loads
The larger size uses 60% less plastic and 30% less water than the original bottle.Tide

If you have the space to store bulk packs of your favorite products, they make a lot of sense. A jumbo detergent cuts down on carbon emissions since you don’t need to repurchase it as frequently, and it also tends to be cheaper per use and longer-lasting than small bottles.

PODS 3 in 1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs, Original Scent, 81 Count Tub, Packaging May Vary
Combining washing power with stain remover and color protector in a single dose, these fruity all-in-ones are as effective in cold water as they are in hot.Tide

Pods make laundry day easier—just toss one or two in depending on the size of your load, and end up with clean, fresh-smelling clothes. Pods can be more expensive than liquid or powder detergents, but they make up for it in convenience and cleanliness.

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