Best Laundry Detergent Consumer Reports

Good smelling laundry detergent contains complex ingredients that not only make your laundry smell fresh and clean; they also remove stains, dirt, and act as a fabric softener in some cases. When choosing one for your family, however, there are a few things to consider besides having pleasant-smelling clothes and linens. Often times the strongest smelling laundry detergent also contains the strongest chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and to human beings. What’s worse, these chemicals can be carcinogenic and pose serious threats to your family’s health in the long run.

So, before we fall in love with the catchy labels and enticing scents of the freshest smelling laundry detergent available in the market today, let’s consider the long-term effects these may have on our family’s well-being as well as the environment.

We have gathered ten of the most popular, high-efficiency laundry detergent out there to give you a comprehensive guide in choosing the best cleaning products that suit your family’s needs.

How to Choose the Best Laundry Detergent

While most laundry detergents work to remove strong, unpleasant odor, they do not offer the fragrance you are looking for in a freshly-washed fabric.

In this guide, you will encounter detergents that leave a powerful, fresh smell every time they come out of the washing machine. The market is flooded with all sorts of home cleaning products and you can choose the best laundry detergent based on factors like scent, stain removal, ease of use, and a lot more. Other brands would boast of their products’ gentleness on even the most sensitive skin, toughness on dirt, and ability to whiten whites with ingredients called optical brighteners. Whether you prefer a liquid or a powder laundry detergent, your choices are almost endless. However, as mentioned earlier, a lot of these may contain potentially harmful chemicals so it pays to check the label and choose to buy only from companies that disclose all of their products’ ingredients.

To find your way to some of the best smelling laundry detergents, I looked at the ten leading brands in the market preferred by the most meticulous homemakers today.

To make the most of what you want to buy, you need to get something that works on all kinds of fabrics, stains, and washers. That way, strong odors and dirt are washed away, leaving behind a fresh and aromatic scent on your laundry.

Products like these are for people who want their detergent to be efficient, convenient, and tough. They do not need extra rinsing or maintenance. All you have to do it set your washer, add the detergent, and it washes your clothes spotless.

Best Smelling Laundry Detergent

best smelling laundry detergent

Other laundry detergents that aren’t backed by testing don’t deliver the desired results. They might contain toxic chemicals that’ll leave your clothes colorless and patchy, so you wind up making more of a permanent mess if you don’t carefully research the detergent you buy first-hand.

This is why I’m here to help you. To most homeowners, washing clothes is a natural part of their daily lives, and chances are they don’t know the first thing about the detergent they wash their stuff with.

Take a couple of minutes to pick out the best-smelling laundry detergents that won’t cause a ton of problems in the future. These are very efficient cleaning materials that offer a long-lasting fragrance; there is nothing else you could possibly want.

1.Seventh Generation – A High-quality Laundry Detergent for Your Baby

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Geranium Blossom & Vanilla, 40 oz, Pack of 2 (106 Loads), 40 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

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All features that the Seventh Generation Detergent offers are beneficial for everyone. It comes with a hard-hitting yet gentle smell, which is fresher than most detergents out there.

So why wouldn’t you buy something that smells as good as it cleans out stains? The concentrated ingredients leave a flowery scent that stays for a very long time.

Plus, it’s a complete bio-based detergent with hypoallergenic properties. It does not contain any dyes, synthetic fragrances, or brighteners, which makes it environment-friendly.

I also liked the fact that this detergent works hard to remove tough stains for a deep clean in cold water. It also doesn’t leave any white patches, like many dry detergents you must have used.

The only drawback to this detergent is that you’d have to use a tad bit more than usual for a complete wash.


  • It does not offer a bleach-like after-smell.
  • The eco-friendly nature is suitable for all types of fabrics.


  • You need to use a lot of it to get rid of tough stains.

2.Gain Flings – Best for Sensitive Skin

Gain Flings Laundry Detergent Soap Pods, High Efficiency (HE), Original Scent, 81 Count

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The best part about the Gain Flings is that it comes with precisely measured packs. This will help those who are always unsure of how much detergent to use while washing.

That said, you don’t even have to use large amounts of the Gain Flings. A single drop is enough for a small load, while two drops work for an extra heavy load.

At the end of the deep clean cycle, you will find no liquid residue on your light-colored clothes. Plus, your clothes will smell amazing. The pre-measured packs have an incredible advantage over old detergents. This is particularly useful for those who suffer from sensitive skin problems.

This pleasant-smelling laundry detergent will make sure you put a specific amount for each wash. (Laundry detergent facts)

That said, the only downside to this detergent is the pod quality. It leaves behind some visible residue on darker clothes. This is most likely to happen during the first few rounds of washing.


  • It is suitable for people with sensitive skin and allergies.
  • The pre-measured packs are easy to use.


  • The pod doesn’t dissolve in the water.

3.Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day – Best for Removing All Types of Stains

Mrs. Meyer's Liquid Laundry Detergent, Biodegradable Formula Infused with Essential Oils, Lavender Scent, 64 oz (64 Loads)

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The Mrs. Meyer’s Detergent is free of all dyes and chemicals. They deep clean clothes in a way that the clothes come out softer, fresher, and cleaner than other brands. It’s unlikely that you will find a detergent as gentle and caring as this one.

It’s also a stain buster, thanks to the essential oils and natural ingredients. The lavender herb scent has a reputation for relieving fatigue, exactly like how the smell of coffee has immune-boosting properties.

By using a tiny amount of this detergent, your clothes will come out clean and fresh in no time. You need only use one tablespoon of the detergent per wash. Its aroma-therapeutic ingredients, lavender smell, and essential oils make washing such a relaxing experience.

The dispenser bottle that this detergent comes in isn’t as durable as it should be. The spout and cap are a little difficult to maneuver.


  • The stain pre-treater is very efficient and long-lasting.
  • The essential oil ingredients work hard to remove tough stains.


  • The detergent bottle is hard to use, which often leads to spilling.

4.Tide PODS – One of the Most Versatile Laundry Detergent to Use

Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap PODS, High Efficiency (HE), Clean Breeze, 81 count

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This works as a detergent, stain remover, and brightener. The Tide PODS is a versatile and practical buy for most people.

If you’re conscious about what you use while doing laundry, this is your solution. It features a nurturing ocean mist scent that most people love.

I also like the way its concentrated ingredients work together. They fight dirty stains while brightening the clothes at the same time. This detergent works on all types of standard and HE machines. That said, you can use it to wash in all water temperatures, hot and cold.

If you need a cheaper alternative to measuring liquid each time you do your laundry. Tide PODS works as advertised.

In spite of this, buying a pod detergent has its drawbacks. It can leave behind color residue, which you might have to rewash to remove completely.


  • It uses very little water for washing.
  • Its multi-chamber property removes stains and replenishes the clothes.


  • It leaves re-washable stains on certain fabrics.

5.Presto 96% – The Greener and Safer Alternative for All Types of Fabrics

Amazon Brand - Presto! 96% Biobased Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent, Fragrance Free, 106 Loads (2-pack, 40oz/53 loads each)

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And if you want something greener, more practical, and efficient, I’ve got the Presto for you.

Based on our tests, it offers the most powerful fragrance and bio-based ingredients. It fights stubborn stains as much as it softens clothes for sensitive skin.

It even comes with its own EPA Safer Choice certification. This means that its plant-based enzymes offer safe and gentle properties. This laundry detergent is good at getting out stains. It doesn’t feel rough on the skin. In fact, even with a tiny amount, it increases the life of any fabric.

This detergent is safe from dyes, fragrances, and artificial chemicals. But its cleaning power for tough stains is a bit lacking. With a heavy load of dirty clothes, you’d have to use an enormous amount of the product, but if you are only washing a batch of clothes you and your family wore on an easy Sunday morning watching your favorite TV show in the living room, this eco-friendly product is your ultimate choice. 


  • It comes with a drip-resistant lid for easy pouring.
  • It works with standard and high-efficiency washers.


  • It doesn’t remove tough stains.

6.OxiClean HD – Best to Buy on a Budget

OxiClean High Def Sparkling Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent, 60 oz.

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If you want something tenacious, the OxiClean detergent is our budget dynamo. It’s more efficient than some higher-grade brands out there. Plus, it’s tested to be one of the most hypoallergenic detergents for all users.

It works as a whitener, detergent, and a fabric softener simultaneously. For the scent, it has a refreshing fragrance that lasts for a long time.

One of its most attractive qualities is that it works on dried stains. This includes food, soil, grass, coffee, paint, etc. It does a good job at removing tough stains with no odor.

Plus, you won’t even need bleach to do the kind of cleaning other detergents are unable to do. The OxiClean handles it all.

However, the scent can be a little overpowering due to its concentrated but safe ingredients. It has an unyielding yet sparkling-fresh scent.


  • It offers incredible stain removing properties.
  • It also works as a fabric whitener.


  • The scent is too overpowering.

7.GreenShield Organic – Best for Doing Laundry for Babies and Toddlers

GreenShield Organic USDA Certified Organic Laundry Detergent, Free and Clear, 100 Ounce

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When you have a baby in the house, finding something that’s non-toxic is essential. For organic features, the GreenShield detergent is appropriate. It offers ingredients that are non-volatile, non-toxic, and septic system safe.

As far as testing is concerned, it’s animal-safe. This means it’s not tested on animals.

This detergent has a reputation for its effectiveness. It does not create any lumps or suds while washing. It leaves a good refreshing smell that’s not too strong.

What makes it even better is that it features healthy ingredients. For babies, you can use it to wash diapers, baby clothes, and other items you use. It also cleans baby stains faster than any other brand I tried, leaving no stain unturned as one might say.

This laundry detergent, however, does present a downside. It’s perfect for washing baby clothes, but not as useful for soiled clothes.


  • It is free of petrochemicals and others toxic chemicals.
  • It protects the color and fresh scent of all types of fabrics.


  • It only works for removing food and other stains on baby clothes.

8.Arm & Hammer – It Offers a Long-Lasting Scent with Hypoallergenic Properties

The Arm & Hammer laundry detergent is a powerful and efficient performer. Your clothes will feel much cleaner and longer lasting after this. It works with HE washers, standard machines, and septic tanks.

If you want to get through a heavy batch load in a short amount of time, this is your quickest bet. It doesn’t only leave a pleasant scent on clothes; it also has that kind of aroma one longs for in the home.

It is a long-lasting detergent suitable for people with allergies. It features cleaning agents that trap the dirt in water by penetrating deep into the fabric. This helps rinse and wash away tough stains in an efficient manner.

The packaging of this detergent lags behind with regards to durability. The spout and cap areas leak while pouring. And the base of the container is not stable enough.


  • Good for getting out soil dirt and stains.
  • It leaves a clean and gentle smell for longer hours.


  • The packaging is fragile.

9.Purex Liquid – Best for Fast Deep Cleaning

Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent, Mountain Breeze, 300 oz (200 loads)

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This is the best smelling laundry detergent for quick deep cleaning. It offers a gentle and fresh scent that does not irritate the nose.

With its active fighting agents, it is a perfect laundry detergent for daily use. Using this​ detergent naturally offers a manifold of benefits. Beware of some {Bad laundry myths} that tell you to do a bunch of other things that don’t necessarily make cleaning more efficient.

Purex Liquid fights different stains in all water temperatures, hot, warm, and cold. It beats most of the competition in getting out the constant wear and tear, feel, and look of clothes.

Plus, it’s a good stain buster. Stained fabrics, when washed with average detergents, spread and form a giant patch. This detergent prevents such from happening. It’s our bleach alternative for penetrating into the stain and destroying strong odors.

But, its most glaring problem is that the pour is tricky hard to handle. This makes it difficult to pour when the container is still full.


  • It offers a refreshing and lasting smell.
  • It is a mild detergent with high stain-busting properties.


  • The pouring spout leaks and is difficult to handle when the container is full.

10.Charlie’s Soap – Great for People with Skin Problems and Sensitivities

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder (100 Loads, 1 Pack) Fragrance Free Hypoallergenic Plant Based Deep Cleaning Laundry Powder – Biodegradable Eco Friendly Sustainable Laundry Detergent

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Our last, but not the least, laundry detergent is Charlie’s Soap – Eco-Friendly Laundry Powder. It comes with an efficient scent-free, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable properties.

It stands out for its functional, environmentally safe ingredients. These ingredients are safe and effective for all types of fabrics. This includes cotton, silk, microfiber, etc.

This laundry detergent is free of harsh chemicals that may irritate the skin or pollute the environment. Without the strong chemicals present in most detergents, rinsing out stains gets tough. Thanks to Charlie’s Soap, gone are the days when laundry took most of the energy out of you. It keeps an eye out for small issues that lead to long-term miseries.

This detergent does bleach clothes and may cause discoloration, but only when you sprinkle the powder on top of dry clothes. To prevent this from happening, have the water running while you add this detergent to the tub. That should prevent the bleaching.


  • It fights all kinds of noticeable odors.
  • All the ingredients are safe, natural with environmental-conscious properties.


  • It bleaches light and dark clothing if applied without water.

Laundry Detergents Buyer’s Guide

To make things easier​ for you, now that you know which the best smelling laundry detergents are, let’s see what I know so far.

While detergents aren’t costly, they do contain multiple ingredients that seal the deal. Those that offer good smell may not be as efficient at removing stains as you’d want them to be, while those that are tough on stains may not smell the way you expect them to.

​​Laundry detergents seem like an ‘easy-to-buy’ product for most people, but there are a few important considerations that you need to keep in mind before you commit yourself to one.

Types of Laundry Detergent

Powder Detergent 

If you’re buying a powdered detergent for good smell, you’ll find a measuring scoop along with it. Powder laundry detergents are less expensive than liquid detergents. Based on the amount of clothes you wash, it is easy to measure and use. Plus, powder detergents dissolve very fast and are effective at leaving a good scent.

Some advantages and disadvantages of powder detergents:


  • They dissolve very fast.
  • They are cheaper than liquid detergents on the market.


  • They clump in damp areas.
  • They need to be kept away from water.

Liquid Detergent

If you’re buying a liquid detergent, they’re more durable than powder detergents. They come in more concentrated versions, which means less quantity used for washing. Whether you have a big load or a handful of garments to wash, you only need a small quantity of the liquid detergent.

Some advantages and disadvantages of liquid detergents:


  • They leave a stronger perfume.
  • They contain concentrated ingredients for quick washing.


  • They’re more expensive to buy than powder detergents.
  • They are a tad bit messy to work with.

How do You Know Which Laundry Detergent is Safe?

best smelling laundry detergent

This is a common question most homeowners ask before buying a laundry detergent. Detergents may cause allergic irritations or other skin sensitivities. Instead of opting for a brand that has been around for years, you need to test each laundry detergent for suitability. However, testing a laundry detergent yourself isn’t a foolproof way to avoid rashes. There can be other challenges to your washing methods such as the water type, washer, or even the fabric. There are lots of possible causes of irritation that come into play.

Would you want to buy a product, test it out on your skin, and throw it away in case it sparks some sensitivity? Of course not.

If you wash a garment only to find yourself covered in rashes, it can be that the amount you used is causing the reaction. Again, it will be difficult for you to place blame on the detergent when doing your laundry. Since I have featured detergents with fragrances, it might lead to sensitive skin. But the only way to pin down the cause is by finding out the right way to do the laundry.

Another thing you can do would be to stay away from products with ingredients that might cause rashes. You can do this by looking at the product description for its list of ingredients.

This is cheaper and quicker than buying different brands and testing them on your own.

Is Smelling Laundry Detergent Bad for You

Now, just because it smells clean and nice doesn’t mean it’s good and safe. Generally, any cleaning solution that emits strong scents usually contains harmful chemicals that can have long-term damaging effects on your family’s health. Strong perfumes have often been the cause of many respiratory problems among infants and adults alike.

This is not to say you have no hope of ever having fresh-smelling laundry all your life. One possible solution, if you have a family that’s particularly sensitive to some of the ingredients found in your home cleaning products, is to make your own homemade laundry detergent. Heck, you can even make reusable homemade dryer sheets using natural essential oils for softer, fresher-smelling laundry that’s safe for everyone in your home.

Final Review of the Best Smelling Laundry Detergent 

Editor’s Choice: Seventh Generation Detergent

These laundry detergents contain active ingredients and oxidizing agents that work together to give you odor-free, soft, and stain-free clothes.

The difference between bleaches and detergents is that bleaches can be a bit too strong to use. This is where softening qualities of detergents come to play. For household cleaners, buying laundry detergents that have a good smell is perfect.

Even a tiny amount of this laundry detergent can improve the quality of your clothes. It gets all kinds of stains and odors off of your garments, and they have been around for years now without causing any harm to most people.

I also found that many detergents contain water softeners. This means that if you’re washing with hard water, it fights dissolved minerals in the water. This may prevent your clothes from losing color and shape in the long run.

Next up to make a compelling case for detergents is the Seventh Generation Detergent. It improves the quality of clothes, gets all stains and odors off, and offers a refreshing scent after.

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