Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Tide Original at Amazon
"It’s the number one recommended detergent."
Best Sensitive: Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent at Amazon
"It’s all-natural, it’s powerful, and it smells great."
Best Natural: Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated Lavender at Amazon
"This formula is made without dyes, fragrances, or artificial brighteners."
Best for Babies: Dreft at Amazon
"Reviewers praise its powerful stain-fighting powers."
Best Pods: Gain Flings Laundry Detergent Pacs at Amazon
"Fifty percent more scent than the standard liquid Gain formula."
Best Floral Scent: Mrs. Meyers Honeysuckle at Amazon
"This sweet-smelling detergent has earned nearly 350 five-star reviews."
Best Sports: Rockin’ Green at Amazon
"The detergent will kick even the strongest odors to the curb."
Best Scent Booster: Downy Unstopables Scent Booster Beads at Amazon
"The small granules add long-lasting freshness to even the dirtiest duds."
Best Fruity Scent: Method Ginger-Mango at Amazon
"Reviewers call the zesty, yet fruity scent of this detergent heavenly."
01 of 09
What’s the first thing you think of when you think about laundry day? Ok, besides the overwhelming pile of clothes staring back at you. Is it that fresh, clean scent wafting from your laundry room? If there’s any upside to doing loads and loads of laundry, it’s having clean, fresh-smelling clothes to show for it. And for many people, the scent of Tide Original has the ultimate association with clean laundry.
It’s a staple in so many households for a reason: It’s the number one recommended detergent by leading washing machine manufacturers, it performs well, and it has a refreshing smell that isn’t harsh or overpowering.
Reviewers praise Tide Original for its cleaning performance, but consistently note how refreshing the scent is. One reviewer says it's a neutral scent that’s neither masculine nor feminine. And another says loves that it smells like nothing more than clean laundry.
02 of 09
Nearly 800 reviewers give this liquid laundry detergent five stars, and for good reason: it’s all-natural, it’s powerful, and it smells great. The plant-based formula contains no harsh chemicals. That means no phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, gluten, tree nut-based ingredients, dyes, or allergens. It’s also safe to use in septic and greywater systems. Plus, you can feel good about your purchase: The formula has never tested on animals and is made right here in the United States.
Still, it gets the job done. Use the sweet-smelling detergent on delicate and dark clothing, microfiber towels, cloth diapers—you name your dirty dud, it can do the job. And when it comes to scent, reviewers say it’s reminiscent of fresh linen—a smell that’s soft, clean, and never overpowering.
03 of 09
The right scent can provide much more than clean-smelling clothes. There’s mounting evidence that smells like lavender have very real physiological effects. In studies, lavender has been shown to have both calming effects and mood-boosting properties. When laundry day has a tendency to be stressful, that sounds like a pretty nice perk!
On top of that, reviewers say the clothes come out fresh and clean, thanks to the formula’s powerful concentration. Just one compact 23-ounce bottle can tackle up to 66 loads of laundry. (For the average American family, that one bottle will last more than two months!)
You can feel good about the detergent you’re using, too: The advanced-enzyme formula is made without dyes, fragrances, or artificial brighteners, but is tough on even the most stubborn stains.
04 of 09
You could go for years using the same standby laundry detergent, but the second a little one enters the picture, many parents-to-be reevaluate their choice of laundry detergent. Babies have very sensitive skin and are prone to various types of atopic dermatitis, like eczema and cradle cap. Using a gentle, hypoallergenic laundry detergent can help minimize the chances of any flare-ups.
And when it comes to scent, some people go crazy for Dreft. It has a strong clean smell that many associate with a brand new baby. Some reviewers go so far as to call the scent “heavenly.”
There’s more to it than that, though. Reviewers praise its powerful stain-fighting powers. And you know anyone with a baby knows a thing or two about treating stains!Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
While some people prefer a scent that’s more subdued, others prefer a scent that lingers. If you fall into the latter camp, and want everyone you pass to know just how clean your clothes are, try a detergent like this one. Gain Flings laundry detergent pods have 50 percent more scent than the standard liquid Gain formula. Just what does it smell like though? Reviewers say it has an outdoorsy smell that really fights odors. One reviewer said it even strips any odor from her dog’s bed.
It has powerful stain-fighting ability, too. One reviewer says she has three very messy kids but has never had a problem with stains, thanks to this detergent.
06 of 09
There’s something to be said for a crowd favorite, and this one does not disappoint. Named as an Amazon Choice product, this sweet-smelling laundry detergent has earned nearly 350 five-star reviews.
Besides the natural formula’s stain-fighting abilities, reviewers tout the scent above all. Many say the honeysuckle fragrance is spot on, though not overwhelmingly floral. Others love how the scent lingers, even days after folding the laundry and putting it away in drawers and closets.
The plant-derived formula is gentle, too. One reviewer who says she has very sensitive skin, says this is the only detergent that doesn’t make her skin itchy or irritated.
07 of 09
When you lead an active lifestyle, you need something tough to power through odors and grime. That’s where Rockin’ Green laundry detergent comes in. The detergent harnesses the power of two strong scents—lavender and mint—to kick even the strongest odors to the curb.
Still, it contains no phosphates, bleach, dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, or SLS / SLES and is made with plant-derived ingredients, so it’s safe for babies, kids, and others with sensitive skin.
More than 350 reviewers give this special high-efficiency formula five stars, citing its fresh and masculine scent. Its stain-fighting powers also receive much praise, with many saying it’s the only detergent that gets the smell out of dirty cloth diapers.
08 of 09
If you’re someone that just can’t believe clothes are really clean unless they smell super clean, add this scent booster to any regular load of laundry. The small granules add long-lasting freshness to even the dirtiest duds—yes, even workout gear and baby items.
Simply shake some of the scent beads into the cap (a little if for a softer scent; a lot for a stronger scent), toss them into the wash drum at the beginning of the wash (before clothes, laundry detergent, and fabric softener), and wait for your clothes to come out smelling better than they ever have before. In fact, the company claims clothes will stay fresh-smelling for up to 12 weeks!Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
If you’re the type of person who thinks regular laundry detergent smells a bit too clean—sterile even—try Method’s ginger-mango liquid laundry detergent. Reviewers call the zesty, yet fruity scent of this detergent “heavenly.” If there’s any complaint, it’s that they wish the smell would linger forever.
Beyond the fragrance, customers tout the detergent’s power and longevity. Just one bottle of the highly concentrated formula can tackle up to 66 loads of laundry. Plus, the naturally-derived formula fights tough dirt and stains, without dulling colors of muddying whites.