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Don't Buy washing powder and laundry detergent

by Patrick Gallagher

Don’t Buy laundry detergents leave visible stains on your clothes, fade colours quickly and turn your whites dull grey. Find out which disappointing detergents you should avoid.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Just want to know which detergents are the best? Head straight to our Best Buy washing powders and laundry detergents.

Our stringent lab tests separate the laundry detergents you should avoid from those we recommend as Best Buys. The Don't Buy laundry detergents revealed by our tests can quickly fade whites and colours, and leave visible stains on your clothes. By contrast, Best Buy detergents are strong on stains and will keep your clothes bright. 

Price is no indicator of quality, as we've found great-value Best Buys that cost as little as 10p per wash. 

Washing powders and laundry detergents to avoid

Which? has tested laundry detergent from big-name brands – such as Ariel, Bold, Daz, Fairy, Persil and Surf – as well as supermarket own-brand detergents to uncover the very best and worst. Our test results show you which products are tough on stains and which Don’t Buys fail to shift everyday dirt.

  • Our lab experts put every laundry detergent through rigorous scientific tests, so you can quickly find the best washing powder, liquid, gel or washing capsule.
  • We give every laundry detergent an overall Which? test score, so you can see at a glance which are the best and worst of each type of detergent.
  • We test the most popular laundry detergents, from supermarket own-brands to the priciest big brands, so you can find the best for your budget.
  • We rate each detergent on how effective it is at removing common stains, including blood, curry, red wine and grass. So you can pick the best detergent for your laundry. You can see these ratings in our full list of washing powder and laundry detergent test results.

We test laundry detergents to help you choose the best ones. Here, we show you the worst - so you know which detergents to avoid the next time you're out shopping. If you're a Which? member, you can log in now to unlock our full list of Don’t Buy products on this page. 

Not yet a  member? Find out which laundry detergents are Don’t Buys and get access to all our independent and impartial reviews by joining Which? today.