The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

I received a package from Tide which included some samples of their new Tide Simple Pleasures Vanilla & Lavender scented laundry detergent for review. It was a nice little package including a Tide To Go pen (a necessity for any mother’s diaper bag!) and two cute Tide retro t-shirts that had their logo on the front and a, “You’re Dirty” message on the back. You have to love a company that has a sense of humor like that!

I admit that I never buy brand name detergent and getting enough free brand name detergent to accomplish my laundry this week was a nice surprise. Since I never buy the big name detergents, I was very curious to see how this detergent would perform against my usual generic.

The first difference that I noticed, for me, was how great the scent of the detergent was. With my generic detergent, there is usually a scent when I throw it in, but rarely a scent when it comes out. In fact, the scent of my clothing remains neutral after being washed and dried. The clothes washed in Tide held their scent throughout the washing and the drying, and they just smelled cleaner. Environmentalists would say that this is a poor indication of a good detergent, and to aim for detergents that do not contain fragrances, but I secretly enjoy the scent of a good detergent.

The second difference that I noticed was the amount of lint in my dyer was considerably less with the brand name detergent. When I would use the generic detergent, I could practically make a blanket out of the lint that comes out after doing a load of laundry. When I used the Tide, however, the amount of lint was minimal and I almost didn’t need to even clean the vent at all. This indicates to me that this detergent might be easier on my clothing than the generic detergents.

I am no expert though, so I looked to Consumer Reports for the real scoop on laundry detergents. Consumer Reports performed the studies under controlled conditions and washed clothing in a variety of stains that every mother would cringe to see listed- chocolate syrup, blood, grass, coffee, purple grape juice, spaghetti, mud. If you see these items regularly, can you please raise your hand? They ran the clothes through rigorous testing and pitted the brand names versus the generics to see which would perform the best.

In the top three listed, Tide was listed the best for performance. Their top three products were Tide with Bleach, Tide Cold Water (washed in cold water), and Tide HE. To my surprise, the powders topped the charts over their liquid competitors. As someone who has always purchased the liquid detergent, this was very interesting to me.

Unfortunately, Tide is also listed as the tops for cost per load at $.33, $.31, & $.36 per load for the top three choices. Consumer Reports did name Great Value Ultra Mountain Fresh liquid (Walmart), Kirkland Signature Ultra HE (Costco), or Ultra Plus with Fabric Softener HE (Sears) detergents as achieving very good ratings and named those brands the Consumer Reports Best Buys for detergent. The cost for loads was between $.09-$.14 per load for these best buy winners.

My normal detergent, Purex, was near the bottom for their performance report and received pretty bad reviews overall. The cost was the same as the ones I listed for best buys for detergent, so buying this brand doesn’t really save me any money and it does not perform as well.

Whether you buy the name brand goods or the generic, you can always reduce the amount of detergent you use and see if it performs the same as the recommended amount. You can also wash your clothing in cold water and save yourself ten cents per load. Throwing a cup of vinegar into your fabric softener dispenser will save you on the cost of the softeners and will allow you to omit the fabric softener sheet altogether. A cup of baking soda is also a great addition to help the cheaper brand perform better. I just sprinkle this on top of my load and run the cycle.

I thank Tide for giving me the opportunity to try their new scent! This new fragrance is neither too floral nor too strong. The vanilla and lavender complimented each other well and the clothes smelled wonderful. This is great for the scent-conscious consumer and, as noted above, Tide is the best there is when it comes to the performance of detergents!

Share your thoughts on detergents. What is your favorite? Do you have any money-saving tricks when it comes to washing your clothes? How about any homemade stain fighting remedies?



  1. 1

    I love Tide! I always spend the extra dollar or two because I do think it’s worth it. Although, I am intrigued by the generic brands that received good ratings… I’ll tell you what I have become addicted to – Tide w/Downy! I was amazed the first time I used it because it really did the job of detergent plus fabric softener. Since I made the switch I quit buing fabric softener all together. Try it and you’ll be surprised!


  2. 2

    I can be a bit of a laundry soap snob and I LOVE the Tide Lavendar & Vanilla detergent! I usually only use it on sheets/blankets/towels & mine & my daughters clothes. I like it for the scent, but my boys could care less!! Did ya happen to see Dynamo in that report? I always stock up on it when Meijer has it’s “buy one get two free” deal on it.


  3. 3

    Great comments, ladies! Mama K- I agree extra chemicals do make me a bit nervous too. I actually have extremely sensitive skin (as does the rest of the family) and we all have done fine with the detergent switch. I did try the Aldi detergent and my husband had hives for weeks until we figured out what the problem was. That was pretty horrible.

    Jena- The vinegar does act as a softener and helps reduce the static clean in your clothes. There is no scent left of the vinegar on the clothing either.

    I hope that helps!


  4. 4

    This is the third time recently I’ve seen the tip about vinegar. And I see how it would freshen, but does it eliminate static cling?


  5. 5
  6. 6

    Great article Amy! Laundry detergent is currently on my shopping list, so I think I’ll try the Walmart brand this week!


  7. 7

    First I tend to be more “green” so the extra chemicals and do make me nervous. I have sensitive skin too so anything that clings to the fibers like fragrances and optical brighteners can be irratants.
    But like you, I do like the clean detergent smell. I use 1/2 cup vinegar with a few drops of lavendar or orange essential oil for a green and economical fabric softener replacement.
    I also use Charlies soap which is supposed to “clean to the fibers” and leave no noticable residue on clothes.


  8. 8

    Thanks for this informative review! I’ve been looking for ways to cut my laundry costs and I love that you did all this research for me! :)


  9. 9

    Well my DH works for the Amway factory here in Ada, Mi and they supply their soap to us for free but my first choice– if I had to buy it would always be Tide and the Arm and Hammer. I am curious as to why you buy the cheap soap? Just last week tide was 3/8 and then with coupons it made it around 1.50— so it is feasible to afford the good stuff and for anyone reading this just because the sign says 3/8 you can still buy 1 and get the sale price– they mark the sign otherwise if you can’t. Also, if you have Dollar Generals in your area you might want to go in there and check the name brand prices..they also take coupons– can you tell I am a coupon junkie? I enjoyed your blog it was interesting.


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