How to Choose The Best Laundry Detergent

Choosing a detergent is not as simple as selecting your favorite smell or price tag. The ingredients in your modern laundry detergent have a massive impact on how clean your clothes are and how long your washing machine might last. The wrong detergent may also cause skin allergies, so it is well worth taking the time to find the right detergent for your household’s needs.

Below, The Dutchman’s Laundry experts provide five helpful tips for choosing the right detergent.

#1 Which is Better: Liquid, Powder, or Single-Dose Detergents?

Most modern detergents offer convenience and stain-removal properties, but each type has its own advantages:

  • Washing powder is easy to measure and economical. It dissolves quickly enough for short washes but can become messy and clump in humid or damp environments.
  • Liquid detergents are excellent short-cycle options that dissolve instantly and offer effective spot treatments. However, the liquid is messy and difficult to pour for accurate doses (it wastes detergent and costs more).
  • Capsules are becoming popular for the convenience aspect—just throw it in and press the Start button. However, a detergent capsule does not always dissolve properly and could potentially stain your clothes. The capsule covering also causes skin irritation for sensitive individuals.

Your detergent choice largely depends on personal preference. Do you value convenience or money-saving potential, or is it more important to you to find ingredients that ensure cleaning efficiency?

#2 How Do Ingredients Affect The Detergent Choice?

There are two major components in detergents: surfactants and enzymes. Each detergent uses a different combination to provide a unique deep-cleaning potential. The two compounds work together to remove visible stains as well as invisible dirt, oils, and general grime.


Oil-based dirt and grime are difficult to remove because they repel water. Surfactants reduce water tension, which makes it easier to penetrate stains for removal in the machine. Most laundry surfactants also interact with fats for extra cleaning power.

When looking at the ingredients list of your detergent, try to find one that has multiple surfactants, especially those that work in different ways. For instance, combining one ionic surfactant (amine oxides and sulfoxides) and one anionic surfactant (SLS, SLES, or ALS) will be more effective than choosing two ionic compounds.


Laundry enzymes attack certain types of stains. For example:

  • proteases target proteins
  • amylases target starches
  • pectate lyases target plant tissue

A combination of these enzymes can dramatically increase the cleaning power of your laundry detergent. However, some enzymes are skin irritants that lead to allergies or reactions in sensitive skin. Why not select a detergent with plant-based and non-perfumed options for a product that is gentler on the skin and simultaneously better for the environment?

#3 Are Softeners and Other Extras Necessary?

There are plenty of laundry extras on the market. Each one claims to make your laundry day simpler or easier in some ways, and many of these products could add value in the right setting.

Let’s explore some of the most common choices to see whether the benefits are worth it:

  • A pre-wash treatment adds a concentrated cleaning dose before the wash cycle. It can help to combat tough stains, especially on cuffs and collars. However, a reliable prewash detergent may offer the same cleaning power.
  • Wash booster cleaning agents often use bleach for maximum cleaning power. However, you need to add these products at just the right time to avoid damaging and discoloring clothes.
  • Fabric softeners now feature as an option in combined detergents, which promises to simplify the laundry process by cutting time and effort. However, like a shampoo-conditioner mix, combining detergent with softener in one bottle usually means less effective cleaning and conditioning overall. Separate laundry detergents and fabric softeners offer far better results.

#4 How To Choose A Detergent That Streamlines the Washing Machine

Different washing machines deliver water and detergent to dirty clothes in various designs. You will need to choose the right detergent for your machine’s style and capabilities, especially for HE (high efficiency) washing machines that use less water. The incorrect detergent could leave you with undissolved detergent, ineffective washes, and stained clothes.

Some detergents have special requirements, like higher temperatures. If you only use the cold cycle, these kinds of features are useless. Rather, read through the fine print on the detergent label for one that matches your machine and washing habits.

#5 What Are The Alternatives?

Finding the ideal detergent requires research, time, and sometimes, a trial-and-error approach. If you would prefer to hand over the task, the professionals at The Dutchman’s Laundry already have the perfect detergent for our industrial-strength washers and dryers. We have what it takes to present with perfectly clean and pressed laundry at the most affordable rates in Clarksville, TN.

Call The Dutchman’s Laundry at (931) 896-2600 today for more about how we can help you simplify your laundry process with amazing results on every wash.