EACH year Australians spend hundreds at the supermarket checkout on cleaning products for their kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
But when it comes to quality, not all products stack up to their claims — especially when it comes to getting more for your money.
Consumer watchdog Choice decided to put some of our favourite laundry detergents to the test to see which brands lived up to their claims when it comes to cleaning clothes.
Choice, which tested 100 brands of laundry detergent, said some brands performed so poorly during the experiment that they did little more than if someone washed with water.
Comparing brands like OMO, Trimat and supermarket brands, it was a $4 Coles product that came out on top.
Earning 81 per cent for ‘general detergency’, the Coles Ultra front product snuck in ahead of OMO Ultimate front, and OMO Ultimate top loaders.
According to Choice, the score for ‘general detergency’ is a measure of how well the detergent keeps soils suspended in the wash water and prevents them from being redeposited on your clothes.
It’s also a measure of how effective enzymes are at removing protein-based stains; and how effectively a detergent removes oil. The “general detergency swatch” is an “all-rounder”, stained with nut oil, milk and a colour pigment. Differences of 8 per cent or more in general detergency and soil removal are visible to the human eye.
According to Choice, detergent not only makes your clothes clean — but also makes up a third of the running cost of your washing machine.
For the test, specific loads of cotton materials were used with a variety of pre-stained fabric swatches attached to them. These stains were created in the Netherlands, and included 10 of the most popular stains found on clothing. Some of the stains include: natural oils and perspiration, grass, tomato, make-up, chocolate ice cream and aged blood.
After putting the recommended dose of detergent in either a front loading washing machine or a top loading washing machine (depending on the detergent), the test used a cold “standard” wash of 20C.
Following the cycle, each swatch was retrieved and compare for cleanliness post wash compared to when they entered the machine.
According to Choice, a spectrophotometer was used to measure the difference, which is a better measure than the human eye.
Another form of measurement is “perspiration” and how well the detergent removes smell from clothing. The final hurdle was the cost per wash, calculated based on the price paid for the unit, the pack size used, and the dose measured based on the manufacturer’s directions.
So how did the top 10 laundry detergents stack up?
1. Coles’ Ultra front, $4
2. OMO Ultimate front, $21.99
3. OMO Ultimate top, $21.99
4. Trimat Advanced laundry powder, $5.69
5. OMO Active Clean, $10
6. OMO Comfort, $10
7. Coles’ Smart Buy top, $3.70
8. OMO Active Clean, $10
9. OMO Comfort front, $19.99
10. Trimat Sensitive front, $5.69
In a statement to news.com.au, a spokesman for Coles said the research put in to products is being proven with top awards.
“In the past financial year, Coles brand launched 739 new products and won 110 consumer awards,” the statement read.
“Our research shows that the popularity of our Coles brand products is continually growing, with the majority of customers buying Coles brand products when they shop with us.”