One of my favorite parts of teaching my Super-Couponing workshops is the Q&A portion of the class. I love answering questions from new couponers, and one of the topics that regularly comes up is laundry detergent. Everyone’s got their brand of choice, and certainly, by playing the coupons-and-sales game, you will find good deals on your brand of choice.
Inevitably, people then ask what I personally use. I usually answer, “Everything.” And I do! Here’s a current photo of the top of my washing machine:
The top of my washer is truly a laundry cocktail bar. I rotate brands and varieties of detergent based on what I’m washing. Whenever I suggest this to people, it’s like a proverbial light goes off — “What a great idea! I never thought of that!” Everyone asks how to save on Tide, and certainly, I like Tide too. Realistically though, Tide is a premium detergent designed not to excessively fade or show wear when washing your clothes. Do you need that level of fabric protection for everything you wash?
At the other end of the spectrum, bargain brands can also be surprisingly powerful detergents. They aren’t always as gentle to clothing as premium brands are, but they do get clothing clean.
I like to save my Tide for washing delicates, darks, or anything I’m very concerned about maintaining the appearance of. Mid-level detergents are good for just about anything — clothes that are at a “regular” level of dirty. For super-dirty items or whites, I break out the Ariel with phosphates to get these things extremely clean and bright.
I like scented detergents, but whenever I get a deal on unscented kinds, like the All shown above, I’ll use it for things that we don’t really care about the scent of (usually blue jeans!) Sheets and towels always get the good-smelling things. Items that can get smelly (kids’ sports uniforms, workout clothes, sneakers) get the Tide Sport, which seems to get bad smells out better than anything else I’ve tried.
Bargain brand detergents like Xtra and Purex are great for washing everything from garage towels to the dog’s bed to vehicle floor mats — you name it. We do a lot of laundry where the condition of the fabric or the resulting scent isn’t really a concern — we just need those things to be clean. You likely have laundry loads that don’t need “the good stuff” to simply get them clean too.
Obviously, if there are skin sensitivities to specific detergents, that should be taken into consideration too. However, in case you’ve never thought of having a “laundry cocktail bar” in your laundry room too, steal this idea. I bet you’ll never look at your laundry detergent sales the same way…
I’m just surprised they don’t all end up on the floor during the spin-cycle, lol!! :)
Coupon Maven says
They really don’t — I’m not a huge fan of this front-loader machine, but it IS balanced well and doesn’t shake too much :)
Like you I tend to mix it up. However, I am remodeling & having to go to a laundromat as well as rely on friends so things aren’t getting washed as quickly. I found that Persil – only sold at Walmart is phenomenal. Even on the sports uniforms – can you say two baseball players with white pants!!!! It has a nice smell too – helps fight the teenage boy smell… Before I was a Tide Sport gal but this is better. I was amazed at results so started using it on all the clothes. I also have to give credit to he laundromat front loader for the baseball pants that give me an extra wash option as well as rinse & in 30 mins they come out clean! I may be heading back there even after my remodel is done!
Persil was recently on sale at CVS too, and the $2 coupon could be used with the sale. I have recently gone to an Old Fashioned Top Loader Speed Queen without the HE, so I can no longer put my detergent on top of my machine. I was going to put in on my dryer, but the dryer warning says not to put anything on top. I have some great racks above my machines in the laundry closet and use those.
Just a little tidbit. When you replace your old washing machine and find that a bottle of laundry detergent was hidden behind it and leaked all over the floor, use a putty knife or spatula to scrape up the old detergent. Then, use clorox wipes or something similar to wash the floor and cut through any detergent left.
JUDY FISHER says
Would Ariel be good for cleaning whites in hot water & bleach? I use Tide Ultra Stain Release, and although water temperature isn’t recommended, I feel most detergents are made for cold water so I’m not confident my whites are getting as clean as possible. Thoughts….
Coupon Maven says
Yes — it’s excellent. I often use the phosphate Ariel on a hot water/sanitize cycle with bleach. Super bright whites! :)
how do you use Ariel in your HE washer?
Hey Jill! Where do you get your Ariel? Thanks!
Coupon Maven says
It’s getting harder to find! I was buying it at Meijer up until last year. Meijer still has it, but they are now carrying the no phosphate variety, so I’m done buying it there. I am down to my last bag at home now.
I have bought it at MexGrocer in the past too: https://www.mexgrocer.com/search.html?it=&kw=ariel
However, I can’t tell from their site if this still has phosphates in it or not.
Jill. Did you ever find a place that stocks the good stuff? I’m tempted to purchase from MexGrocer.
Coupon Maven says
No – the stuff MexGrocer sells no longer has phosphates :(
For whites or really dirty things, I now add STPP to regular powdered detergent (any brand) https://www.chemistrystore.com/Chemicals_S-Z-Sodium_Tripolyphosphate_STPP.html — I use one to two tablespoons depending how dirty things are.
More on Sodium Tripolyphosphate here: https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/2767047/what-is-stpp
Has anyone bought the Ariel from Mexgrocer yet? Does it have the phosphates? I am going to try Fiesta Market this weekend and see if they have it.
I just wanted to post, and tell you, that Ariel Powder DOES still have Phosphate. There’s two versions. One is sold at stores like Wal-Mart, Meijer and Jewel and is Phosphate Free. Not only does the bag say “Phosphate-Free”… but the bag is half-translated in English from Spanish.
The other bags, which are entirely in Spanish, have completely different dosing instructions, and still contain Phosphates, from what I read from another website (Houzz). They will also have a import sticker, in many cases, and a funny barcode with a extra number.
The stuff is absolutely amazing, still, at cleaning clothes. So much so, that I actually now have a small stockpile of it, that I paid Full Price for. Just thought I’d let you know.
Coupon Maven says
That’s great – could you share where you found it? Mexican grocery, or another store?
Sorry for the delay in responding. I went to a Latin / Mexican Supermarket. Fairly sure it’s called Fiesta Mart or Fiesta Supermarket. They’ve got a few locations.
One thing that is noticeable / has changed, is it does not suds up as much as it used to, but it’s definitely not HE. The real power is in soaking clothes from what I can tell, before washing them in Ariel.
Hope that helps.