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.



More from ConsumerReports.org: 

Best and worst appliance stores

Washing machine buying guide

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on Yahoo!

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.

Dryers

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.

Washers

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.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Trump's Russia scandal takes an unexpected turn

      On Friday afternoon, FBI Director James Comey delivered a classified, hour-long briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Russia scandal, and soon after, the Senate Intelligence Committee sent "formal requests to more than a dozen organizations, agencies and individuals, asking them to preserve all materials related to the committee's investigation" into the controversy. Reading between the lines, this makes it sound as if the Republican-led panel is trying to knock down the idea that a special select committee is necessary to investigate the scandal without political interference. A day later, Reuters reported that the FBI is pursuing "at least three separate probes" related to Russian intervention in American politics, "according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation." Two of three, according to the report, relate to alleged cyber-crimes, while the third is the ongoing counter-espionage probe.

      MSNBC q
    • Dozens fired after skipping work to participate in 'A Day Without Immigrants' protests

      Across the U.S. employers fired hundreds of protestors who skipped work to participate in rallies.

      CNBC
    • Fox News Host Brenda Buttner Dead at 55

      Brenda Buttner, host of the Fox News show Bulls and Bears, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 55.

      People
    • When a Pimp's "Bottom Girl" Does the Dirty Work, She's Often the One Who Ends Up Punished

      A particularly poignant example comes from a 2012 case Melton tried as a San Antonio prosecutor. Melton went after a pimp who had sold a 16-year-old girl for sex over two years. The girl suffered horrific abuse at his hands—she was raped, impregnated, and forced to have an abortion. When she tried to run away, the pimp carved his initials into her forearm. The pimp got a 20-year sentence. A year later, the same girl was 19 and headed to prison herself. A federal judge sentenced her to three years for helping her new pimp recruit a San Antonio high school student. Melton said what happened to the girl, who never received treatment, broke her heart. "It's a great example of the cyclical nature

      ELLE q
    • Melania Trump's sister shows rare behind-the-scenes look

      (CNN)Melania Trump is beginning to forge her own path as America's first lady, assembling a team of aides and advisers. But the name of one longtime confidante, and perhaps her most trusted friend, won't be announced with a news release or statement or a new title: her sister, Ines Knauss. Knauss, Trump's older sister, lives just blocks from Trump Tower in the Trump Park Avenue property, public records confirm. She was Trump's maid of honor at her 2005 Palm Beach wedding, People magazine reported at the time. And the first lady called Knauss "an incredible woman and a friend" in her July speech at the Republican National Convention. And the sister of the famously private Slovenian-born first

      CNN q
    • First-Grade Teacher Suspended Over 'Illegal Aliens' Post: School District

      The elementary school teacher advocated reporting undocumented immigrants, according to school district officials, who suspended her.

      Inside Edition
    • ‘A Serbian Trap’: Freezing conditions in Belgrade are not the biggest problem for refugees in Belgrade (15 photos)

      Text and photography by Manu Brabo / MeMo BELGRADE, Serbia — A trip along the refugee track within Serbia reveals that the old route through the Balkans is still being used despite strong border control, harsh conditions and frozen temperatures. Near the center of Belgrade, hundreds of migrants and refugees, mainly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, live in tough conditions in abandoned warehouses and old factory buildings. Inside the buildings, the air is dense due to the smoke from the many fires lit to heat the space. Coughing can be heard at every corner like a constant soundtrack. Despite the existence of camps built by the Serbian state, the migrants are here trying to make their way into European Union countries illegally. So they cannot risk being identified and registered for fear that they will be sent back. This winter has been especially cold in the former Yugoslavian republic, and these below-zero temperatures have raised the prominence of this situation in the mainstream media. Once the frozen temperatures are gone, the images and stories of these people will disappear again. More pressing than the freezing conditions, they face the reality that the old Balkan route, the same path as the 2015 refugee wave, is now closed, and that the surveillance and control is stronger than ever. At an abandoned brick factory in Subotica where migrants gather and prepare for the border crossing, refugees talk about the severe beatings and abuses suffered by those who are caught attempting to cross into Hungary and Croatia. “I’ve tried 35 times in the last three months, and I’ve been beat up every single time,” a 24-year-old migrant from Pakistan says. A friend of his adds, “They throw the dogs on us, and they steal our shoes, so we have to come back here walking barefoot.” Still, every week dozens of refugees arrive in Serbia from Bulgaria and try to reach the neighboring EU countries. But very few make it. _____ See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.  

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • David Cassidy Reveals He Is Battling Dementia: ‘A Part of Me Always Knew This Was Coming’

      David Cassidy is battling dementia. The 66-year-old actor, widely known for his starring role as Keith Partridge on the 1970s series The Partridge Family, reveals to PEOPLE that he is fighting the memory loss disease. Of his mother’s struggles, Cassidy recalls: “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room.

      People
    • Dear Abby: He keeps insulting wife about her past

      DEAR ABBY: Because I had a promiscuous past prior to getting married, it was understandable that my husband and I have gone through some rough patches. It’s been three years since our wedding, and he still can’t let it go sometimes. A recent argument just escalated into his calling me a whore and stupid. We have a beautiful little girl together, so it’s not like I can just up and go whenever I want. When is enough, enough? Where is the point that I can give in to the thought that I can’t do it anymore? Or is this just what marriage is? We have already done counseling, and it just made it worse. I feel really alone, so can you please give me some feedback? — ROUGH PATCH DEAR ROUGH PATCH: If your

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • MYSTERY: Half-eaten shark on Florida beach raises speculation about what killed it

      A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water. A Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue lifeguard snapped a photo of the shark on New Smyrna Beach. Beach Safety spokeswoman Tammy Morris told News 4 Jax that the shark was “definitely” eaten by a bigger fish. She added that the shark was either a blacktip or spinner shark. A 14-foot great white shark named Katherine was spotted off the Florida coast in January. Another great white shark was spotted in the waters on Feb. 1, Florida wildlife officials said. Morris said half-eaten sharks do not wash up on the beach often, but she has seen it before. Officials said

      Fox News q
    • Dexter Fowler: “I didn’t say anything wrong.”

      Dexter Fowler stands by a statement he recently made about how President Trump's attempts to institute a travel ban have adversely affected his family.

      HardballTalk q
    • Greta Van Susteren To Donald Trump: “Back Off”

      “Mr. President, back off,” Greta Van Susteren said as she wrapped her MSNBC program addressing Donald Trump having taken to calling the press the “enemy” of the American people. Meanwhile, over at her former network, Fox News Channel, Trump was applauded and defended for the remark by Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly went with the argument the press is aligned with “with a political movement” and therefore is no longer objective or free. Hannity chose an even more…

      Deadline
    • 5 Things to Know: The Case of Slain Indiana Teens Abigail Williams and Liberty German

      When Liberty German and Abigail Williams were reported missing last Monday, authorities initially did not suspect foul play. Since their alleged murders, state police have announced that a man photographed on the hiking trail near where the girls were last seen alive is now “the main suspect” in the case. Here are five things to know about the homicide case of Abigail Williams and Liberty German.

      People
    • Miss Manners: Couple didn’t RSVP until I’d already invited another couple

      DEAR MISS MANNERS: I invited a couple to a dinner party and requested an RSVP. Despite two follow-up phone calls to determine if they would attend, I got no answer. As the table had two empty places, I went ahead and invited another couple who responded affirmatively. At less than 24 hours before said party, the first couple finally responded that they would attend. I replied that unfortunately as I had not heard from them, I assumed they were not coming and invited others. Did I handle this correctly? Should I not have invited the other couple? GENTLE READER: Evidently, you should not have invited the first couple. Rather than performing the minimal duty of answering your invitation when it

      MercuryNews.com q
    • The Rock called CM Punk after Raw went off the air

      Without appearing on the main USA Network broadcast of Raw, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sure has had an eventful night with WWE at Staples Center. He kicked off the evening with a segment with Vince McMahon before the televised portion of the show began, and he came out to keep the crowd fired up before shooting started on the in-ring scene for Fighting With My Family started (a recreation of Paige winning the Divas title in her main roster debut the night after WrestleMania 30). I guess since that scene will feature his wife, AJ Lee, the Los Angeles crowd started a CM Punk chant. And, since he’s The Rock and can do whatever the f*** he wants, Johnson got out his cell phone and called Punk. Sadly,

      Cageside Seats q
    • Elderly Woman Stuck in Chair for Months Found `Molded` to Chair

      Residents in a Springfield Township neighborhood had no idea one of their neighbors was living in squalor until emergency vehicles lit up their typically quiet street, the Toledo Blade reported.

      Tribune
    • All 23 TV Shows That Have Been Renewed or Canceled This Season (Updating Photos)

      RENEWED: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)The seminal Shondaland drama will return in the fall for Season 14.

      The Wrap
    • She tried to divorce him since 2005, had to move out of Mississippi to do it

      In 2001, Elizabeth Freels knew her marriage of seven years was over, and she wanted a divorce. But her husband, David, felt otherwise. He didn't want one. Elizabeth said he told her: "I will not give you a divorce until the day you die. If I can't have you, no one else will." And in Mississippi, one of only two states without a true "no-fault" divorce law — the other is South Dakota — if one spouse doesn't want a divorce, he or she can often stave one off for a long time. In the Freels' case, it was more than a decade. State lawmakers are attempting to make some small reforms to Mississippi divorce law. But such efforts have failed in the past, and a measure to create a no-fault divorce based

      USA Today q
    • 'I'm Terrified!' 'Teen Mom 2' Star Chelsea Houska Shares A Bizarre Photo Of Newborn Son Watson

      Oh wow! Teen Mom 2 star Chelsea Houska shared a new photo of her son, Watson Cole, that is raising a lot of eyebrows!

      OK! Magazine q
    • Brazil's race to save drought-hit city (22 photos)

      The shrunken carcasses of cows lie in scorched fields outside the city of Campina Grande in northeast Brazil, and hungry goats search for food on the cracked-earth floor of the Boqueirao reservoir that serves the desperate town. After five years of drought, farmer Edivaldo Brito says he cannot remember when the Boqueirão reservoir was last full. But he has never seen it this empty. “We’ve lost everything: bananas, beans, potatoes,” Brito said. “We have to walk 3 kilometers just to wash clothes.” Brazil’s arid northeast is weathering its worst drought on record and Campina Grande, which has 400,000 residents that depend on the reservoir, is running out of water. After two years of rationing, residents complain that water from the reservoir is dirty, smelly and undrinkable. Those who can afford to do so buy bottled water to cook, wash their teeth with, and even to give their pets. The reservoir is down to 4 percent of capacity and rainfall is expected to be sparse this year. “If it does not fill up, the city’s water system will collapse by mid-year,” says Janiro Costa Rêgo, an expert on water resources and hydraulics professor at Campina Grande’s federal university. “It would be a holocaust. You would have to evacuate the city.” Brazil’s government says help is on the way. After decades of promises and years of delays, the government says the rerouting of Brazil’s longest river, the São Francisco, will soon relieve Campina Grande and desperate farmers in four parched northeastern states. Water will be pumped over hills and through 400 kilometers of canals into dry river basins in Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, and Paraíba, the small state of which Campina Grande is the second-biggest city. Begun in 2005 by leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the project has been delayed by political squabbles, corruption and cost-overruns of billions of dollars. Brazil’s ongoing recession, which economists calculate has shrunk the economy of the impoverished northeast by over four percent during each of the past two years, made things even worse. Now, President Michel Temer is speeding up completion of the project, perhaps his best opportunity to boost support for his unpopular government in a region long-dominated by native-son Lula and his leftist Workers Party. In early March, Temer plans to open a canal that will feed Campina Grande’s reservoir at the town of Monteiro. The water will still take weeks to flow down the dry bed of the Paraíba river to Boqueirão. With the quality of water in Campina Grande dropping by the day, it is a race against time. (Reuters) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr

      Yahoo News Photo Staff