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Best washing powders for pristine school uniform

Is Ariel laundry detergent the best at shifting stains or can supermarket own-brands do a better job?

Best washing powders for pristine school uniform

The first day back at school brings pristine white shirts, stain-free sports kits, crisp new blazers – and piles of laundry at home-time. We’ve tested over 30 laundry detergents to reveal the best for keeping school uniform bright and stain-free all term.

Mud, grass, drinks and school dinner splashes and stains on new school uniform can soon make it look tired – especially if white shirts turn grey and brightly-coloured jumpers lose their brilliance.

Our tests use these everyday stains to find out which laundry detergents really do clean up in the wash, and also keep whites white and colours bright.

Which? test results can save you money, too. We’ve found Best Buy washing powders, liquid capsules and laundry gels that cost half as much per wash as rival products.


Go to our Best Buy laundry detergents to discover our top picks


The best stain busters

If you often wash grubby sports kit, how effectively detergents remove grass and mud is important. So we test how well each product shifts these, as well as other everyday stains including sweat, blood and ink.

School dinner splashes are also a challenge for detergents – especially if they involve tomato sauce. The image below show the difference between one of the best and worst washing powders on test at removing tomato purée stains.

Tomato puree stains on clothes
A good washing powder (left) makes a big difference to tomato purée stains but the worst (right) leave an obvious mark.

Stains such as meat grease, chocolate and grass and mud are best removed by biological detergents because they contain enzymes that break down the stains. But if you’d rather not use bio, we’ve tested 12 non-bio laundry detergents too, including a Best Buy.


Behind the label: what’s in your detergents? – find out what the ingredients in your detergent actually do


Save money on laundry detergent

Keeping school uniform pristine need not be costly. We’ve found Best Buy washing powder and laundry gel for less than 10p per wash, while the priciest products on test cost more than double this.

Switching from a branded to a supermarket own-brand laundry detergent can save you money.

If you do four loads of laundry a week, the switch could mean a saving of more than £27 over the course of a year. Not only will you pocket a decent saving, you’ll also get superior cleaning power.

But if you prefer to stick to brands, such as Ariel, keep an eye out for special offers.

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