All the detergents and the laundry systems were rated on how well they eliminate a variety of stains. The detergent-less systems couldn’t handle the stains. They were only slightly better than just plain water.
And when it comes to detergents, some didn’t shine, including Tide’s lower-priced Simply Clean and Fresh. Far better and top rated, Tide’s Ultra Stain Release, a liquid, and Tide Plus Bleach Alternative, a powder. Both are for high-efficiency machines.
The tests found some other winners that are close behind and work in any type of machine. Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean from Sam’s Club and Wisk Deep Clean. They cost about half as much per load.
If you’re a Costco shopper, Consumer Reports named the Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Powder a Best Buy. It is available except in the Northeast, but it will be discontinued sometime in August. Another worth trying is Kirkland Signature’s Free and Clear. While not as quite as good a cleaner as Consumer Reports’ recommended detergents it’s still able to handle some tough stains.