Best & Worst Laundry and Cleaning Products

Consumer Reports

Here's our review of the top-performing products for your home's exterior and interior, for your kitchen, and for laundry and cleaning from more than a thousand tested over the last year.

In the Best & Worst sections we've included many of our best-value everyday products, such as lightbulbs and laundry detergents, so you'll know what to buy and what to avoid.

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Best and worst appliance stores

Washing machine buying guide

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Laundry & cleaning

Your laundry room has only a few basic components—washer, dryer, detergents, and other sundry items—but you need all of them to work well. Find the best cleaning equipment for your budget, and choose a detergent that gets your laundry clean.


Like washers, dryers have also been spruced up to tempt you into buying the matching washer/dryer pair. Most dryers use similar amounts of energy, which is why Energy Star doesn't apply to them.

Floor cleaners

Our most valuable vacuums picked up dirt, dust, and pet hair that others left behind. But regular filters often contained dust just as well as HEPA ones. Smaller vacs work for quick jobs but aren't powerful enough for deep cleaning. Steam mops eliminate much of the effort needed to remove messes from vinyl floors but aren't necessarily better than a squeeze mop.


No longer consigned to the dark corner of the basement or garage, washers have gotten a style makeover. Better yet, these are Energy Star models, which now must use 20 percent less water and 11 percent less energy than previous Energy Star washers.


The Best & Worst

Nature's Source & Target's Up & Up with Bleach
All-purpose cleaners

None aced all of our tough tests, so "all-purpose" might be a stretch. But at 12 cents an ounce, Nature's Source Natural Cleaner tackled caked-on soap scum without streaking or damaging most surfaces. Target's Up & Up with Bleach, 6 cents an ounce, left streaks and was only mediocre at removing soap scum.

Finish's Quantum tablets and Finish Gel

Dishwasher detergents

Formula changes lead to spotty cleaning in our latest tests, even within the same brand. Finish's Quantum tablets, 30 cents per load, were superb at ridding dishes of our tough monster mash and didn't leave water spots. But Finish Gel, 12 cents a load, had a tough time cleaning dishes and preventing washed-off food from resettling on them.

All 2X with Oxi-Active &
Ecos 2X Ultra Magnolia & Lily HE

HE laundry detergents

Regular detergents are too sudsy for front-loaders and high-efficiency top-loaders, so pick an HE formula such as liquid All 2X with Oxi-Active. At 15 cents a load, it delivers very good cleaning. Ecos 2X Ultra Magnolia & Lily HE liquid costs 9 cents a load but couldn't remove common stains.




Copyright © 2006-2011 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

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