What is the best liquid laundry detergent

Detergent test 2021: the best products for shiny, clean laundry

Every week, tons of clothes, towels and bed linen end up in our washing machines. One calculates with 5 machines per week in a 4-person household with two adults and two children (according to the Association of Energy Consumers). Often many even wash significantly more - not necessarily because the laundry is dirty, much more out of habit. What we pay particular attention to when washing: The laundry should be really clean and smell fresh again.

Our reading tip: 7 Ingenious Household Hacks: Washing Clothes Has Never Been So Easy!

The right detergent is responsible for this. But which detergent is the best? And which is better: liquid or solid? If you even have question marks in your head, our 2021 detergent test will hopefully clarify the situation. We introduce you to the test winners from Stiftung Warentest and explain to you what is important when it comes to the right detergent.

In the video: Tips for washing white laundry

Video by Justin Amaral

Which detergent is used for what? The agony of choice

Those who stand in front of the detergent shelf in the supermarket are spoiled for choice. There are detergents for colored, white or extra black laundry. But that wasn't all. Here we will show you which detergent variants are available and what is special about them.

Full or universal detergent

Heavy duty detergent is particularly suitable for heavy soiling and also for light and white laundry. You can use it for both cold and hot laundry. Heavy-duty detergents contain, in addition to dirt-dissolving surfactants and enzymes, bleach and optical brighteners. This ensures that white laundry is really clean and does not get a gray haze.

Tip: You should avoid using heavy-duty detergents for colored laundry and delicate fabrics. Due to the brighteners, the colors may change or the fabric may suffer.

Color detergent

Color detergents or colored detergents are ideal for colored textiles such as jeans, T-shirts, towels or bed linen. They do not contain bleach and therefore protect the color. They wash from cold to 60 degrees and also protect the laundry from losing color during washing.

Detergent for black laundry

Detergent for black laundry has been specially developed for dark laundry and is intended to protect against fading. Mostly it is a liquid detergent so that no light residues can form due to poorly dissolved powder.

Note: Stiftung Warentest stated in 2013 that detergent for dark things washes or cleans no better than a good color detergent.

Our reading tip: Washing black clothes: the best care tips for dark clothes

Mild detergent

Delicates detergent is particularly suitable for delicate textiles such as silk. It does not contain optical brighteners or bleach. The detergent is normally used for temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees. It is therefore not suitable for heavily soiled laundry.

Wool detergent

Wool is very delicate and needs extra care. The material can be very damaged, especially when it is wet. If you often have woolen clothes in your laundry, you should definitely have a wool detergent in the house. The cleaner does not use proteases, a protein-splitting enzyme that can damage the wool over time. Instead, the detergents contain more soap. During washing, this forms a dense foam that protects the items of clothing in the drum from friction and matting. In addition, it contains moisturizing substances that protect the sensitive fibers.

Eco detergent

The topic of sustainability and environmental protection has also reached the detergent sector in recent years. In contrast to conventional detergents, which mostly contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment, eco-detergents do not use chemical additives. Its main ingredients are herbal ingredients that are biodegradable.

> Here you can find the Amazon bestseller Ecover in the area of ​​eco-detergents.*

Detergent in the test: powder, pods or liquid detergent

When you finally know which detergent you need, the next decision is just around the corner: Do you use liquid detergent, powder detergent or the practical pods? We bring light into the dark.

Almost all types of detergent are available as solid and liquid versions. Liquid detergent do not contain bleach and are therefore not so suitable for extreme stains or for light and white laundry. These can get a gray veil over time. They also often contain preservatives that can cause allergies in sensitive people. Bottled liquid detergents also contain preservatives to prevent microorganisms from multiplying. This is harmful to water and the environment. The big advantage, however, is that, unlike some powders, they do not leave any white residue on dark laundry.

Powder detergents are the classic and, compared to liquid variants, prevail in the fight against sweat and stubborn dirt. Washing powder also contains no preservatives and is therefore the better choice for allergy sufferers.

So-called Pods have become more and more popular in recent years. This detergent variant has a big advantage: It is super easy to dose, because one pod is enough for one wash load. However, since not every washing machine is fully filled immediately, this can also lead to an overdose. Like other liquid detergents, the capsules do not contain bleach, but mostly preservatives. They are also significantly more expensive compared to other detergent variants.


Note: Detergent pods are very attractive to children because of their bright colors. Therefore: Always keep detergents of any kind safely out of the reach of children.

Detergent test 2021: The test winners from Stiftung Warentest

We can anticipate one thing: good detergents do not have to be expensive. That sounds good.

In the color detergent test by Stiftung Warentest 2019, 21 products were examined. Criteria such as washing effect, color retention, textile protection, declaration and environmental properties were examined more closely. No less than four color detergents achieved a rating of 2.3 as test winners: Tandil Color (Aldi Nord and Süd respectively), Denkmit Colorwaschmittel (dm) and Formil Color (Lidl).

But well-known brands such as the Color Gel from Persil, Actilift from Ariel or the 2in1 color detergent Amethyst Blumenraum from Lenor were able to convince with “Good” in the area of ​​color retention.

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In 2018, 23 heavy-duty detergents were tested at Stiftung Warentest. Including 18 powders and five pods. Here, too, one thing in advance: cheap can also be good. Overall, however, the pods tend to end up in the rear. Many did not achieve the expected washing performance.

The two test winners are again discounter products. The Gut & Favorable Ultra heavy duty detergent (Edeka) and the Bravil Activ Plus heavy duty detergent (Netto Marken-Discount) both achieve a score of 2.0 with “Good”. Just behind with 2.1 in the overall result, however, also the branded product Powder Compact heavy duty detergent from Ariel and with 2.2 Universal Megaperls from Persil.

Detergent test 2021: our favorites for washing clothes

Of course, we also took a look around our own laundry room and introduce you to our favorite laundry detergents. Test criteria were stain removal, fragrance and color retention. Here are the results of our 2021 detergent test.

1. Detergent test 2021: White giant universal powder

Carolin's favorite laundry detergent: The all-purpose detergent Weißer Riese Universal Powder is particularly suitable for light-colored laundry. Even white laundry does not get a gray haze after repeated washes with the product. The heavy-duty detergent reliably removes stains (even stubborn ones such as chocolate) or dirt at low temperatures of 40 degrees. As the product contains bleach, a separate color detergent should be used for colored laundry. The scent is relatively neutral. The laundry smells fresh after the wash cycle, but not obtrusively perfumed or artificial. With a very good rating of 4.8 out of five stars, the detergent is also one of the top products on Amazon.

> You can buy the White Giant Universal Powder here at Amazon.*

2. Detergent test 2021: Perwoll Renew & Repair Color & Fiber

Jessi's favorite laundry detergent: The liquid detergent Renew & Repair Color & Fibers from Perwoll usually gets stains out of the laundry very well. Even at low temperatures. Even after repeated applications, we could not find any color difference to colored clothing. The colors look fresh and strong afterwards. We were particularly impressed by the scent in the 2021 detergent test: the liquid detergent smells slightly sweet and very fresh. The laundry also smells very much like the product after the wash cycle.

> You can buy the liquid detergent from Perwoll at Amazon.*

3rd detergent test 2021: Ecover detergent color apple blossom & freesia

Favorite detergent from Frieda: The color detergent Apple Blossom & Freesia from Ecover impressed in our detergent test 2021 not only with good washing results, but also with its environmental aspect. The sustainable detergent is based on plant-based, biodegradable ingredients and is vegan-friendly. Even the body of the bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic and including the lid is recyclable. The additional plus point: the scent is very pleasant and not artificial.

> You can get the color detergent from Ecover at Amazon, among others.*

Our reading tip: Detergents for allergy sufferers: products for sensitive skin

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As you can see, the choice of detergents is huge and confusing. The good thing, however, is that good detergents do not have to be expensive and sustainability is also playing an increasingly important role. Not only do we think that's good, the environment also benefits from the new eco-detergents.

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