Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Some would say it doesn’t matter what a laundry detergent smells like.

As long as your clothes are clean, you are happy, right?

Well, that might be true for some people.

Yes, it is very important that a detergent works, but the right smell is also a huge part of the efficiency of a detergent.

And detergent companies know this, which is why they always try to create the best smelling laundry detergent.

Doing laundry is not something most of us like to do it.

After all, it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

But nobody hates freshly cleaned clothes that smell nice.

In fact, we all love them. 

Shopping for a laundry detergent that smells nice and does the work is hard.

Now, we are not here to determine what is the best scent.

Let’s be honest, some people have certain preferences, for example, they love citrus, eucalyptus, or lavender smell.

But you always have to remember that the best smelling laundry detergent also has to effectively remove stains from your clothes.

Now, do you have an hour or more to sniff through containers or detergents in the grocery store?

And determine which one works best for you?

If you do, stop reading here.

But if you like to save some time, and allow us to do the sniffing for you, read on.

Why do we need laundry detergent?

You can say that you do not really need one. If you were living 200 years ago, you might make your own soap or detergent, and wash your clothes.

After all, that was how the industry functioned back then.

Today, however, they are not effective, because soap does not work very well on porous objects like fabric.

Homemade detergents are nice, but with the washing machines we have nowadays, it is much more effective to use commercial laundry detergents made specifically for washing machines.

Laundry detergents are part of a billion dollar industry, but they do work on removing spots, stains, and smells from dirty clothes.

Does price equal quality?

When you look at the price of a detergent, and it is high, you might think, wow, this is a great detergent.

But the price is not always the best indicator of quality.

The key is looking at the list of ingredients.

The more active ingredients a detergent has, the better it is.

Make sure to look at the ingredients like surfactants, that help with lifting soil away from fabric and suspend it in the water, as well as enzymes that remove stains in the product.

Yes, these ingredients raise the price of a product, but sometimes, certain brands are just more expensive.

According to Consumer Reports Magazine, there are three tiers of detergents you can find in a store:

  • Expensive are heavy duty detergents that contain all the enzymes and surfactants to remove most stains and heavy soil
  • Mid-level detergents include some of the enzymes but contain far less than the heavy duty detergents. They work well only on light soil and require optimum water temperature to work correctly
  • Discount and low-end store brands rely heavily on surfactants that suspend soil until the water in your washer can flush them away. But they are not good at removing stains or body soil from fabrics

What to choose: Liquid or powdered, or single dose pack laundry detergent?

Laundry detergents are available in liquid, powder, or single dose form.

All will clean your clothes. However, there is a difference in their effectiveness.

For example, liquid detergents are great for greasy and oily stains.

Therefore, they are great for using as stain removal.

But they pose a challenge when it comes to dosing, as many people often overdose.

Powdered detergents are less expensive to use per load, and they are considered most effective for mud stains and ground-in dirt.

But if you use only cold water, they can be problematic, as they do not dissolve completely in cold water.

You have to add powdered detergent to the washer drum before clothes and water are added.

Single-dose packs are convenient when you use community laundry room.

In the same time, they are the most expensive to use per load.

And if you do large loads of laundry, you might need two packs.

What makes a laundry detergent good?

As we mentioned previously, the price is not always a good indicator of the quality.

With that in mind, what are some features that make a regular laundry detergent, a good or great detergent?

Well, it all starts with effectiveness, or the ability to remove stains fast.

For that, you have to look for more enzymes and surfactants in the ingredients list.

Another aspect of a good laundry detergent is one that will not irritate the skin.

You do not want your fresh and clean clothes to be itchy once you put them on.

And of course, good perfume.

Fresh clothes smell nice naturally.

But if you can make them smell even better thanks to your best smelling laundry detergent, you have a winner.

Understanding the labels

When you are out trying to choose a detergent, you need to read and understand the labels.

And that is the tricky part.

Many of us get confused once we start reading the labels. 

We assume you understand most of the classic labels, but there are some unique ones.

With that in mind, here is what you need to know to understand the labels of your laundry detergent.

  • Detergents that boast oxi, or oxy, are usually color-safe bleach alternatives. When the detergent does not contain a bleach alternative, add a mild oxidizing agent in powder form when needed bleaching
  • Some detergents have a label that they are designed for delicate fabrics. Do not trust them much. This is more of a marketing trick than a true detergent for delicate clothes. There is no set definition of what is delicate when it comes to clothing. Therefore, opt for the best smelling laundry detergent, and use delicate or gentle cycle in your washing machine
  • Some detergents also contain “fluorescent brightening agent” or FBA, which is an optical brightening agent, designed to make whites look brighter
  • If a product is labeled as “free and clear” that means it does not contain irritants for the skin such as dyes or fragrances

How to properly do the laundry

Sometimes, no matter how great laundry detergent you choose, your clothes just do not smell fresh and clean.

No laundry detergent can make up for bad laundry practices.

With that in mind, here are four rules that you absolutely have to follow when you are doing the laundry:

  • Sort your clothes, and start by separating lights and darks, paying attention to runny and red items. Keep items like towels and sweat pants away from smooth fabrics. Wash jeans inside out to minimize fading
  • Pretreat stains on your clothes, and always try to tackle the stain as soon as possible. The sooner you do it, the bigger the chances are your stains will be gone. You can apply liquid detergent directly to stains as a form of a pre-treatment. For those with a powder detergent, mix it with water to create a paste and apply to the stains
  • Load properly, as an overstuffed washer will not clean your clothes properly. Check the recommendation by the manufacturer. If you have a top loader, start by filling the tub with water, add detergent, and then clothes
  • Do not use too much detergent. It is not only a waste of money, but it can also leave residue on your clothes and extend the wash cycle. Read packaging for a proper amount of the detergent cap

How detergents clean clothes?

There is a three-fold process of chemical energy, thermal energy, and mechanical energy that happens when you wash clothes.

The chemical energy comes from the laundry detergent.

This energy is affected by the ingredients in the laundry detergent.

The more enzymes your detergent has the more cleaning power.

Thermal energy pertains to water temperature, and some detergents are formulated to work at different temperatures.

Always read the directions of your detergent to be able to choose the best product.

Mechanical energy comes from the washer, or if you are hand-washing clothes.

That means that even if you get the best laundry detergent if your washer is not up to the standard, you might not get a good result.

How to select the best detergent?

Nowadays, there are many choices and options when it comes to selecting the best detergent for your home.

Usually, the best option is the one that suits your needs in terms of effectiveness, personal preference for fragrance, price, and form (be it powder, liquid, or single dose).

Start by assessing your family’s laundry, including the types of stains you are challenged with and the amount of body soil.

If your clothes are lightly-soiled with few stains, you can go away with a less expensive detergent and a good stain remover.

However, if you have heavy soil, gym clothes, and a lot of body odor and food stains, you need a heavy duty detergent.

Next on the menu is to read the ingredients of the detergent.

Read the enzymes and surfactants, and see how they work on removing soil and stains.

As mentioned previously, the more a detergent has, the better.

It is worth noting that most detergents work in cold water.

However, it is best to choose one that is formulated for cold water if you use only cold water for washing.

Last, but not least, many people chose the detergent based on scent and smell.

But do not prioritize smell over effectiveness.

Smelling clean is not the same as being clean.

Top 5 detergents

OUR # 1 RATED

Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Tide Original Scent Turbo Clean Liquid

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This is the most common product by Tide sold on the market.

The original scent could mean anything, and it is not very descriptive. Turbo clean is a description that tells a bit more about the laundry detergent.

According to Tide, the smell of this detergent is revitalizing and refreshing and contains aloe vera and floral notes.

PROS

  • The smell is very pleasant, and it is fresh and lightly floral just as the company describes
  • The smell is subtle and not too strong, yet very effective in taking care of existing bad smells
  • Effective as stain remover including blood, sweat, coffee, tea, and other stains
  • Protects color of your clothes and improves whites
  • You can get it in “free and gentle” option, which contains no added dyes and is good for those with sensitive skin

CONS

  • If you like a stronger fragrance, this product is not for you
  • Not effective when stains have set into the fabric

OUR # 2 RATED

Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated Lavender

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Ultra concentrated, this scent provides much more than clean-smelling clothes.

If you are looking for a stronger scent for your freshly washed clothes, this might be the right product for you.

The best part about the laundry detergent is it is made of natural ingredients.

But that comes at a price that is rather higher than regular and common detergents.

PROS

  • Efficient, one 23 ounce bottle can get up to 66 loads of laundry 
  • Made without dyes, fragrance, or any artificial brighteners
  • Great for removing stubborn stains
  • Easy to use thanks to the auto dosing technology

CONS

  • Can leave greasy spots on your clothes
  • Even though it uses natural ingredients, some of them can be allergens

OUR # 3 RATED

Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original Scent

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Persil is a premium brand, and this detergent lives up to the status of delivering premium cleaning results.

The product will also provide a pleasant smell, which is what you want from your freshly washed clothes.

The laundry detergent will help you get rid of any odors in your clothes. It can also make your clothes brighter, and prevent them from graying.

Most importantly, Persil helps clothes preserve their fibers.

Works in all types of washing machines.

PROS

  • Cleaning capability is awesome
  • There is no discoloration on dark clothing
  • You can use less of the product to get the job done

CONS

  • The odor is very powerful for some people
  • Can cause rash due to some of the ingredients

OUR # 4 RATED

Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent, Clean Burst

Quality

Price

Our Rating

If you can get pass the packaging, this product is actually very nice. But the packaging looks like something you’d clean hospital floors with.

The Clean Burst detergent is the most popular product in Arm & Hammer line, which is an old and trusted company for cleaning products.

The detergent contains baking soda, which gives it the freshening power, and leaves laundry smelling clean and fresh.

There is not some particular citrusy or floral scent, but the clothes do smell fresh and clean.

Can work in both standard and High Efficiency models.

PROS

  • The smell is subtle, fresh, and pleasant
  • Great for people that have allergy issues with detergents
  • Effective at removing stains and washing clothes
  • One of the cheapest products on the market, but still delivers good quality

CONS

  • Being a basic product, you do not get some special fragrance
  • The packaging can leak, so be careful if ordering online

OUR # 5 RATED

Top 5 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents to Make Your Clothes Fresh and Clean

Gain Flings Original Laundry Detergent Packs

Quality

Price

Our Rating

If you are looking for a smell that is more as a perfume than a laundry smell, this is the product for you.

The unique smell will make doing laundry a lot easier, and your clothes will smell perfectly after each wash.

Gain delivers original scent that helps stand out in the crowd of laundry detergents.

The detergent packs are very convenient, as you need no measuring and pouring of detergent.

Just grab one pack and add it to the washing machine.

PROS

  • Packs contain 50% more scent than normal Gain liquid products
  • Smell is retained in clothes through wearing and storing
  • Effective at protecting colors and whitening whites

CONS

  • The product is very expensive when compared to competitors
  • Can be challenging to use in front loading machines, as the packs do not dissolve properly

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