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Some laundry detergents ‘no better than water’ says consumer watchdog

Detergents discovered to wash no better than water, NZ consumer watchdog finds
(Source: Canva)

Several brands of laundry detergent have been found to perform no better than plain water in a study by advocacy group Consumer New Zealand.

Detergents that performed poorly include Essentials Laundry Liquid (2L), Value Laundry Detergent (2L) and Re.stor Concentrated Laundry Detergent Sheets Tropical Breeze (60 sheets).

Top performers in the study included Persil original powder (1kg), Dynamo Professional Oxi Plus (1.5L) and Ecostore Extra Clean Laundry Powder (1kg).

According to the group, the detergents were scored on how well they removed collar and cuff marks, everyday grime, grass stains, olive oil, and tomato residue. 

“Not all laundry detergents are created equally, and our testing found there is a broad range in performance,” said consumer product test team lead James Le Page. “Our top detergent scored 91 per cent while our lowest scraped in with 26 per cent performance.

The products that performed worse than a wash with only water have landed on the report’s “do not buy list”. 

Despite being ranked as the worst, Re.stor costs more than the top laundry performer, costing $12.50 on average. By comparison, the highest-ranking product, Persil With a Touch of Comfort (1kg), costs $6.49 on average.

According to the consumer group, the independent laundry testing found no correlation between the price of a detergent and the performance quality. 

“Laundry detergents can have persuasive marketing, with everything from ‘natural elements’ to being an ‘odour fighter’ or ‘plant powered’, explains Le Page. “Our advice is to look for independent results to determine how well a detergent performs.”

 Consumer laundry detergent testing is conducted annually and the results are accessible for free to the public.

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