Which are the top 5 best washing machine detergents in India?

A washing machine alone cannot remove stains, it requires a partner. A partner which can pull out stains with the help of the force of water and friction created by the washing machine. That partner is the laundry detergent. Let’s have a look at all the different types of available partners, I mean washing machine detergents and find out which is the best detergent in India?

One of the first laundry detergents in India

One of the first laundry detergents in India

What are the different types of laundry detergents available in India?

Laundry detergents are available in three forms – detergent powder (most common), detergent liquid & detergent soap. Obviously, detergent soaps cannot be used with a washing machine. Although you can use soaps to “pre-wash” heavily stained clothes, we will only list out washing machine detergents – in powdered and liquid forms.

Heres the list –

  1. Liquid detergents
    1. For front-load washing machines
    2. For top-loading washing machines
    3. For baby’s clothes
    4. Special liquid detergents – enzymatic, eco-friendly, pods, etc.
  2. Detergent powders
    1. For front-loading washing machines
    2. For top-load washing machines
  3. Detergent soaps (for hand wash)

Which is better – liquid detergent vs detergent powder for a washing machine?

In all honesty – I think liquid laundry detergents are the better.

Liquids detergents have all the pros to call them the best laundry detergents.

However, they do have some cons. As a matter of fact, both liquid and powdered detergents have their own advantages and disadvantages.

BenefitsLiquid laundry detergentLaundry detergent powder
Easily dissolved even in cold waterYes, liquid detergent can easily mix in colder water. So if you stay in a cold region and don't use hot water for washing clothes, the liquid detergent will be the best.The detergent powder can dissolve easily in warm or hot water. For cold water, it does dissolve but takes longer time.
Using in older washing machinesOlder washing machines (more than 3-4 years old) may not perform as good as newer more powerful washing machines. Liquid detergent is better on these machines as it gets dissolved quickly and easily.Detergent powder takes a longer time to dissolve, so I do not recommend it in older washing machines which are already weak. I've seen powder residue on my clothes when I was using a 4-year-old washing machine.
Using in high-efficiency washing machines with low water consumptionLiquid detergent dissolves easily and can also be rinsed easily with a lesser amount of water.Detergent powders come with fillers - or useless stuff just to increase the quantity. Due to fillers, they take more water to rinse off completely. When using less water - you will notice residue powder on clothes.
Stain removing abilityLiquid detergent can be applied directly to stains for better removal of tough stains. Once the stain fades, you can wash clothes normally in a washing machine.You cannot apply detergent powder directly to stains. In fact, cheaper powders may cause more stain as they have added colors. 
For baby's clothes.There are specific liquid laundry detergents available for baby's clothes. They have germ killing ingredients and least amount of chemicals. Baby laundry detergents can be used for our clothes too if you want super safe detergent - but they are costlier.As of me writing this article, there are no baby safe powdered laundry detergents.
Environmental friendlinessThe liquid detergent is environmentally friendly as it has a lesser amount of chemicals and no fillers . In contrast, they are packed in plastic which is not so good for the environment.

Most of the liquid detergents are pH balanced - it means they are neither acidic not alkali!! In layman's lingo - they are safer on environment and hands too.
The detergent powder has more chemicals and fillers which can harm the environment. Conversely, the packaging can be made of recycled biodegradable cardboard which is better compared to plastic.

Detergent powders are more alkali and may cause temporary over-drying of hands when hand-washing clothes. Ever noticed temporary wrinkles on hands after washing clothes?
Special versionsEnzymatic liquid detergents are better at removing food related stains. Wool liquid detergents help wash delicate woolen fabric without shrinking them.There no special versions of powdered laundry detergents available.
CostLiquid detergents are costlier. Baby laundry liquid, enzymatic liquid, and wool friendly detergents are the most expensive. But, they still are the best money can buy.They are cheaper. If the washing machine is new and the weather around is warm and you do not have any special requirements - then powdered detergents are better. 
Factoid
Synthetic detergents were first discovered in Germany in 1917. It wasn’t until the late 1940s when detergents were commonly available for household use!

Source (Wikipedia Article on Laundry Detergents)

Why front load and top loading machines have different types of laundry detergents? Will it matter if I use top-load washing machine detergents in a front-loading washing machine?

The difference between washing machine detergents for front-loading and top-loading machines boils down to sud.

Yes, sud, foam or lather. Check this link for more information – front load vs top load machine detergent.

It won’t matter if you use front-load laundry detergent in a top-loading machine. But using top-loading washing machine detergent in a front-loading washing machine may not be a good idea.

The foam or lather generated by a top-loading laundry detergent may remain in a front-loading machine due to its design. The leftover foam has moisture, which can cause moulds, fungus, and bacteria to grow in the machine.

That being the case, avoid top-loading washing machine detergents in a front-loading machine,

Which are the top 5 liquid detergents available in India?

5. Tropical Breeze 6 in 1 Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent

What I liked about Tropical Breeze Eco-friendly detergent is that it is loaded with loads of benefits. Six benefits to be precise.

  1. It is made from coconut and other plant extracts which are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It doesn’t come with poisonous chemicals which will pollute our rivers and seas
  2. This detergent does not generate a lot of foam – so it can be used in both front-loading and top-loading washing machines
  3. Clothes stay soft – does not makes clothes rough after washing
  4. Safe on dark fabrics
  5. Baby-friendly ingredients ensure baby clothes stay soft and do not leave any harmful chemicals on the clothes
  6. Can remove tough stains

On the other hand, what I do not like about it is the price and availability.

It is a little expensive for my budget. Maybe once off I can buy this, but not regularly.

Secondly, this liquid detergent is only available online. For people staying in areas not covered by Amazon delivery – this can be a problem. You can check on Amazon if it is deliverable in your area.

Buy it if you can afford it. It is expensive but worth the money.

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Tropical Breeze 6 in 1 Eco-friendly Liquid Laundry Detergent, 1L

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

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4. Amway SA8 Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Amway SA8 liquid detergent is based on enzymes and soapy elements – that is the main difference compared to other soap only based liquids.

What are these enzymes and how do they help?

Lipases, amylases & proteases are the enzymes used in liquid detergents – they are biological compounds found in almost every living thing. These compounds help the body break down food which is digested.

Clever researchers thought of using these same digestive enzymes to break down stains! Smart people!

And here we have enzymatic detergents – they are very effective in removing food stains (and even blood stains) and guess what – most of the stains on a lazy adult’s clothes are food stains. Lazy adults don’t go out to play soccer in the rain, they watch movies and tv series sitting on a couch, munching food – loads of food.

Enough of my own criticism, let’s cover the benefits in bullet points –

  1. Easily removes food stains
  2. Can also remove stains from hard to reach places like collars, cuffs, etc..
  3. Gentle on clothes – can be used with delicate fabric
  4. Skin friendly – doesn’t overdry hands
  5. Baby-friendly – you can wash baby’s clothes safely with Amway SA8 Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent
  6. Safe on coloured fabric
  7. Also helps in making whites whiter! I am talking about clothes, not skin.
  8. Environment friendly – enzymes are biodegradable.
  9. Can be used in both top & front-loading machines as it doesn’t produce much foam.

Nice, loads of features – but it is expensive.

My wife buys it occasionally (whenever I have to attend a party wearing an expensive dress purchased at a discounted rate). I sometimes drop food (many times) as I uncontrollably gulp every dish offered in the buffet. Amway SA8 Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent helps save me (from my wife) and my dress (from food stains).

It is easily available online, but not so easily offline. We purchase it from either Amazon or Flipkart – whichever is offering a lower price.

Keep a bottle handy – very effective in removing food stains.

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Amway Home s 8 Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 624 Rs. 885

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3. Surf Excel Matic Front Load Liquid Detergent

Surf Excel Matic Front Load Liquid Detergent is also available as Surf Excel Matic Top Load Liquid Detergent.

I would recommend the front-loading liquid even if you have a top-loading washing machine as it is only Rs. 25/- extra per litre. The low foaming front-loading liquid will also benefit top-loading machines, so ignore that minor price difference.

Surf excel is one of the oldest detergent brands, but that doesn’t mean you buy their detergents. Then why buy Surf excel Matic liquid? Look at these benefits:

  1. Cheapest in cost – compared to other liquid detergents
  2. Very good at the basic job of cleaning clothes
  3. Dissolves easily and leaves no residue on clothes
  4. Top quality ingredients used as per Consumer Affairs report2
  5. No fancy features – only cost-effective washing
  6. I love the fragrance
  7. Easily available

Surf Excel Matic Front Load Liquid Detergent is not that friendly with the fishes in the sea and river. Also, avoid washing baby clothes as they may not turn out to be super-soft. Yeah, no fabric conditioner to make clothes super soft.

Can’t wash woolen clothes with this, you will need a separate detergent for delicate clothes.

Can’t expect more from a cost-effective detergent liquid.

Cheap, very good for everyday use.

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Surf Excel Matic Front Load Liquid Detergent - 1.02 L (with Rupees...

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 218 Rs. 225

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2. Ariel Matic Liquid Detergent

Just like Surf, Ariel is a very old and experienced laundry detergents brand.

Ariel Matic Liquid Detergent is compatible with both – front and top-loading washing machines. Compared to Surf Excel Matic, Ariel Matic Liquid is a bit more costly.

  1. It was rated number # 1 for cleaning ability in detergents costing less than Rs. 250.002
  2. Least amount of phosphate – a toxic chemical harmful to the encironment2
  3. Produces an extremely low amount of lather/ sud which means it is very safe to use in front-loading washing machines2
  4. Dissolves easily and leaves no residue
  5. Easily available both online and in local shops.

Ariel Matic liquid detergent is just short of being my favourite. It is affordable, removes stains easily, produces least foam and it is environment-friendly too.

The only feature that is missing is – the fabric conditioner. It does not soften the fabric, so you will need to buy a fabric conditioner/ softener separately. But if do not need soft clothes – go for this!

Safe for the environment and superb stain removal (but no softening of clothes).

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Ariel Matic Liquid Detergent - 750 ml

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 230 Rs. 260

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1. Genteel Liquid Detergent🏆🏆🏆

Genteel was designed to be gentle on clothes – and that’s what the name suggests. It is one of the first fabric friendly detergent liquids launched in India. Check the benefits –

  1. Safe on delicate clothes – prevents shrinking of clothes and it is safe on coloured fabric too
  2. It has a fabric conditioner which softens clothes
  3. It is cheap compared to buying a detergent liquid and fabric conditioner separately.
  4. Works well in hard water too
  5. Easily available – in local stores & online
  6. Best cleaning action as per tests by Delhi University Researchers1

Whereas, it is not baby safe and environmentally friendly.

Genteel is tested to be safe on top-loading machines. It may not be suitable for front-loading machines, so avoid if you have a front-loader.

I have a small baby at home – as if not all babies are small, I mean I have a 6-month-old baby at home and I wash her clothes separately in anti-bacterial baby detergent. As far as the environment is concerned – Genteel passed in two out of three tests – failed in only one test for toxicity.

I wish I could switch to a 100% environmental friendly laundry detergent – but I can’t afford them.

In conclusion, Genteel is the best liquid detergent available in India.

🏆🏆🏆Genteel is my choice of detergent – Best cleaning action + colour safe + gentle on delicate fabrics + affordable!🏆🏆🏆

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Genteel Liquid Detergent - 1 kg + 1 kg (Buy 1 Get...

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 305 Rs. 320

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Which detergent powder would I recommend for washing machines?

Well, I do not recommend using detergent powders for washing machines. Still, for some reason if you have to buy a detergent powder instead of liquid – then I would recommend:

Ariel Matic Front Load detergent powder

This detergent powder is good for both front & top-loading machines.

Compared to other detergent powders, this Ariel Matic Front Load powder has least fillers to stain your clothes. And produces the least foam so it is safe for washing machines.

But again, go for detergent powders only if the budget is too tight. And among detergent powders – Ariel Matic front load detergent powder is the best choice.

Otherwise, liquid detergents are the best choice.

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Ariel Matic Front Load Detergent Washing Powder - 1 kg

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 224 Rs. 249

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Which are best baby safe liquid laundry detergents?

No, never bath babies with laundry detergents. 😛

By baby safe detergents, I meant detergents which are safe enough to wash baby’s clothes.

Baby safe detergents are gentle – because baby clothes are super soft and light enough to be comfortable to the babies. They also contain safe anti-bacterial ingredients to kill any germs present on baby’s clothes.

Mee Mee (Choice for my baby)

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Mee Mee Mild Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent (500ml)

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

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Johnson’s (Alternative choice)

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Johnson's Baby Laundry Detergent - Ultra Gentle Clean (500ml)

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Last update was on: October 17, 2019 11:55 PM

Rs. 236 Rs. 295

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That’s all folks.

I hope this guide will help you buy the most suitable detergent for your washing machine as per your budget and needs.

Sources1Comparative Study of Detergents in India-A Step towards More Sustainable Laundry – University of Delhi.

2Consumer Affairs India – Research on detergents.