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Tide, Wisk, and Kirkland Wash Away Competition in Latest Tests of Laundry Detergents by Consumer Reports

Martha Stewart Clean 2X remains lowest-rated laundry detergent and few green cleaners cut it in tests; Plus, continued concern over pod detergents that look like candy

Consumer ReportsYonkers, NY – In Consumer Reports’ latest tests of laundry detergents, products from Tide and Wisk claimed the top two spots in Ratings of almost 80 conventional and high-efficiency detergents.

Products from Just the Basics and All landed at the bottom of the list for conventional detergents, but Martha Stewart’s Clean 2X clung to the lowest score overall for all laundry detergents.

Consumer Reports found that top detergents did best against multiple stains in warm water.  For conventional detergents, Wisk Deep Clean and Tide Plus Bleach Alternative Vivid White + Bright, both liquids, were very good overall for cleaning and effective at treating grass stains and collar ring.

For high-efficiency detergents that can be used in both front-loading and high-efficiency top-loading washers, Consumer Reports found seven very good options – all from Tide, Kirkland or Wisk.

Tide Ultra Plus Vivid White + Bright powder topped the Ratings but Wisk Deep Clean Free & Pure liquid performed nearly as well for overall cleaning and treatment of grass, blood and collar ring.  At 14 cents a load, Wisk Deep Clean Free & Pure liquid costs almost 10 cents per load less than the top-rated Tide Ultra Plus Vivid White + Bright powder and is a CR Best Buy.

In past tests, Tide Pods were the only pods/packs recommended by Consumer Reports.  This year, Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs from Costco are also recommended – they earned higher marks than Tide Pods and cost nearly 10 cents per load less.

While Martha Stewart Clean 2X remains the lowest-scoring laundry detergent in the high-efficiency category and overall with a score of 25, other detergents came close.  Unimpressive cleaning on grass, blood, and body oils helped send All 2X Ultra Stainlifter and Just the Basics 2X Concentrated to the bottom of Consumer Reports’ Ratings of conventional detergents.

Although there’s no federal standard for terms such as “natural” and “earth friendly,” marketers continue to use them.  Rockin’ Green Classic Rock powder, which calls itself “vegan” and “gluten-free,” flubbed Consumer Reports’ grass and body-oil tests.  Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent powder, which is certified to contain at least 95 percent renewable ingredients, was very good overall for cleaning and removed grass and blood.

Continued Safety Concerns About Pod Detergents

Consumer Reports continues to be concerned over laundry detergent packaging that seems suited for the snack aisle.  Pods are a glaring example – poison-control centers have logged more than 9,500 reports of ingestion and other contact involving pod detergents amongst children five years or younger since early 2012.  Eye contact can result in serious injury, and ingestion can lead to vomiting and has caused some victims to stop breathing suddenly.

Tide and Costco, manufacturers of pod laundry detergents that are top performers in Consumer Reports’ latest tests, have committed to changes in packaging.  Market leader Procter and Gamble, is replacing the clear container for its colorful Tide Pods with an opaque version that has a double-latch lid, a resealable sticker over the lid, and warning icons on the packaging. Procter and Gamble expects the original clear container to be unavailable by year’s end.

Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs, Consumer Reports top scoring pod detergent this year, comes in a clear plastic tub that resembles the containers for some of the brand’s snack foods.  Though the lid has a prominent warning label, it’s easy to open.  Costco says it plans to introduce an opaque container and enhanced safety icons in August, with a child-deterrent lid to follow in early 2014.

Consumer Reports continues to urge detergent manufactures to adopt child-resistant packaging for all pods and to stop making them look like candy.  Retailers should improve in-store signs to better alert consumers of the dangers of pods and remember, pods should always be kept out of children’s reach at home. And call the poison-control help line immediately (800.222.1222) if a child comes in contact with them.

The full report and Ratings of laundry detergents is available in the August 2013 issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.

Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


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