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Which Tide Detergent Is the Best? (Top 8 Compared)

Are you comparing Tide detergents but can’t decide which one to buy?

Tide has so much to offer. With specialized formulas and scents in liquid, powder, and laundry pod form, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choices.

In this guide, you’ll learn which Tide detergents are the best for various situations.

By the end, you’ll know the differences between each detergent and have the facts necessary to decide which is best for you (and your budget).

Use the links below to navigate the guide:

Best Tide Detergent: Key Takeaways

In this comprehensive guide, I share the best Tide detergents for various needs, comparing them across several criteria. Here are the key takeaways from each section:

Tide Original: Tide’s signature formula is cost-effective for everyday cleaning and regular stains. While more affordable than other Tide variants, it lacks extra ingredients for tough stains. Media outlets like Reviewed.com praise its cleaning performance but say it’s not ideal for sensitive skin.

Tide Free & Gentle: This detergent is fragrance-free and dermatologist-recommended for sensitive skin, featuring an eco-friendly, biodegradable box. It’s endorsed by the National Eczema Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation as the most trusted detergent.

Tide Simply: Tide Simply is Tide’s budget-friendly line that offers powerful stain and odor fighting at a lower cost. It’s a thinner, less concentrated formula, recommended for everyday laundry, but it may not be strong enough to penetrate tough stains.

Tide Plus Febreze: This is the best choice for freshening your laundry with a long-lasting fresh scent. The Febreze-infused formulas effectively remove week-old sweat odors. The Sport Odor Defense variant is popular for its 4-in-1 formula catering to gym clothes and sports jerseys.

Tide Plus Downy: Tide Plus Downy combines the renowned fabric cleaning of Tide with Downy’s softening and protective qualities. It includes a sensitive skin formula without fragrance or dyes. Downy safeguards clothes from laundry cycle wear and tear, eliminating the need for an extra fabric softener.

Tide Ultra OXI: Tide Ultra OXI combines Tide’s stain-lifting enzymes with OxiClean’s pre-treatment power to create a potent formula for eliminating stubborn stains and odors, even from two-week-old stains. It offers all-in-one cleaning without requiring pre-treaters or separate odor-eliminating products.

Tide Hygienic Clean: Designed for deep cleaning, this is a concentrated formula with ten active cleaning ingredients. It serves as a stain remover, detergent, and color protector. It effectively tackles invisible soil like body oils and sweat, making it suitable for linens and bedding.

Tide purclean: This is Tide’s bio-based detergent, made up of 75% plant-derived ingredients with a USDA BioPreferred certification. It has no dyes, phosphates, or chlorine and earned an EPA Safer Choice certification. It’s more sustainable but more expensive than comparable eco-friendly detergents.

Bottom Line: The best Tide detergent depends on your preferences, needs, and budget. Whether using one formula for all loads or multiple for different outcomes, consider factors like scent, strength, skin sensitivities, and detergent type (liquid, powder, or pods). Starting with a small bottle to test different options can help identify your favorite.

Comparison Chart

The chart below provides a quick, side-by-side comparison of each Tide detergent.

DetergentKey FeatureTypesNumber of ScentsFragrance- and Dye-Free Version?
Tide OriginalReliable performance and good valueLiquid, powder, pods3No
Tide purcleanPlant-based formulaLiquid1No
Tide Free & GentleNo added dye or fragrancesLiquid, powder, podsNoneYes
Tide SimplyMost affordableLiquid, pods7Yes
Tide Plus FebrezeRemoves odorsLiquid, pods3No
Tide Plus DownySoftens fabricsLiquid, powder, pods3Yes
Tide Ultra OXIPowerful stain removing formulaLiquid, powder, pods2No
Tide Hygienic CleanRemoves body oils and sweatLiquid, pods3Yes

Best Everyday Clean: Tide Original

Tide Original laundry detergent
Tide Original laundry detergent

Tide Original is the brand’s signature and time-tested formula. It set the standard and established the company as a top-selling brand.

The formula is ideal for everyday cleaning and regular stains, but there are no additional ingredients to deal with extra tough stains or foul odors. Therefore, it’s more affordable than other Tide options.

In general, Tide is more expensive than other detergent brands. But the simpler formulas, like Tide Original and Tide Simply (which I’ll get to in a minute), are less expensive than formulas with add-ons like oxygen bleach or fabric softener.

Tide Original is effective in any water temperature and offers a solid performance against stains and odors. Tide asserts that the powder version of this formula helps eliminate week-old stains.

You have a choice of liquid, powder, and pod-style detergent in three scents: Original Scent, Mountain Spring, and Clean Breeze. Some people complain that the Original Scent has changed and isn’t as pleasant as it once was (Tide changed the scent in 2019).

The product comes in two formulations: one is for standard washing machines, and the other is for high-efficiency (HE) machines.

Tide Original is the best value pick of Reviewed.com, a USA Today product testing website. Testers noted its powerful cleaning and fresh scent but pointed out that it was unsuitable for people with sensitive skin.

According to the reviewers, it performs better than less expensive detergents during cleaning tests.

Tide Original is a proven option if you want a more affordable detergent to remove everyday stains and odors and keep whites white and colors bright.

You can buy Tide Original at most grocery stores and online on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, and Walmart.com.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Tide Free & Gentle

Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent
Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent

Tide Free & Gentle is 100% fragrance-free and the best option for people who have sensitive skin. It’s a dermatologist-recommended laundry detergent available in liquid, powder, and laundry pods.

The National Eczema Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation recommended this sensitive skin Tide formula. Plus, it won a BrandSpark award for being the #1 most trusted detergent.

You can use this detergent in any style of washer (standard and HE). It delivers top performance no matter the water temperature, so you can save money by washing your fabrics in cold water.

Tide Free & Gentle is a winning formula, according to Reviewed.com. The product testing site noted its good stain removal and cleaning power, naming it one of the top five best laundry detergents for sensitive skin. Testers called it a solid alternative to regular Tide but noted that it still contained some irritants.

Popular Mechanics chose the eight best laundry detergents for sensitive skin, and Tide Free & Gentle earned second place. Besides its gentle formula, reviewers liked the eco-friendly, biodegradable box with an easy dispensing nozzle.

If you have sensitive skin, this is an option worth trying. It’s a hypoallergenic detergent that cleans clothes with fewer irritants than the original formula.

You can buy Tide Free & Gentle at most grocery stores and online on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, and Walmart.com.

Best Value: Tide Simply

Tide Simply laundry detergent
Tide Simply laundry detergent

Tide Simply is the brand’s value line. It’s the best value because, despite its lower cost, it still provides powerful stain and odor fighters.

This line comes in seven scents and multiple formulas. It’s available in liquid or laundry pods but not in powder, and you can use it in standard and HE washers in any water temperature.

With Tide Simply, you get different options depending on your cleaning needs. For example, there are formulas with OxiClean (oxygen bleach) and ones for sensitive skin like Tide Simply Free & Sensitive and Tide Simply Clean & Sensitive.

I recently spoke with a product specialist at Procter & Gamble (the company that owns Tide) to find out the main differences between Tide Original and Tide Simply. She said, “Tide Simply is a thinner, less concentrated formula — that’s the biggest difference.”

She further explained by saying, “Tide and Tide Simply both work great for normal laundry, but if you’re a mechanic or work in construction, Tide Simply may not penetrate those stains. Tide Simply doesn’t have as many cleaning enzymes as the original Tide.”

Recently, The Spruce selected Tide Simply Clean & Fresh as a top laundry detergent for its light scent and solid cleaning performance. Reviewers also liked the easy-to-use dispenser on the 4-liter container. It allows for a mess-free experience and offers clear directions for how much detergent is necessary based on load size. However, the formula is not free of dyes.

So, should you buy Tide Simply? If you have active kids, pets, or work a dirty job, Tide Simply may not have enough cleaning power. But if you’re not dealing with major stains regularly, it’s a great option that will save you money.

You can buy Tide Simply at most grocery stores and online on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, and Walmart.com.

Best for Freshening Fabrics: Tide Plus Febreze

Tide Plus Febreze Fresh Sport Odor Defense HE Turbo Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Active Fresh Scent, 2.04 L (44 Loads) - Packaging May Vary

Tide Plus Febreze is the best option if you’re looking for laundry detergent that can eliminate odors. Not only does it target strong odors, but it also provides a lasting fresh scent.

Tide claims the Febreze-infused formulas can remove odors from week-old sweat on fabrics. That means you don’t have to rush to put your sweaty clothes in the washing machine. And if you are pressed for time, that can be a relief.

The formula comes in three scents. You can use the liquid form or convenient laundry pods.

One of the most popular scents in the Tide Plus Febreze line is Sport Odor Defense. It features a 4-in-1 formula that combines detergent, stain removal, color protection, and odor-fighting ingredients. It’s a helpful product for gym clothes and sports jerseys.

You can buy Tide Plus Febreze at most grocery stores and online on Amazon and Walmart.com.

Best for Softening Fabrics: Tide Plus Downy

Tide Plus Downy laundry detergent
Tide Plus Downy laundry detergent

Tide and Downy are two iconic brands. Tide has a reputation for cleaning fabrics, and Downy is known for softening, protecting, and maintaining them. Tide Plus Downy offers the best of both worlds.

This detergent is available in April Fresh and Clean Breeze scents. Plus, there’s a formula for sensitive skin with no fragrance or dyes. You have a choice of liquid, powder, or laundry pods.

Downy protects your clothes from the motion and heat of the laundry cycle. It smooths rough fabric fibers, helping clothes and linens keep their shape and colors longer. Using this formula saves you money since you won’t need an additional fabric softener product.

Combined with the cleaning power of Tide, this formula allows you to save a step on wash day.

You can buy Tide Plus Downy at most grocery stores and online on Amazon and Walmart.com.

Best for Tough Stains: Tide Ultra OXI

Tide Ultra OXI laundry detergent
Tide Ultra OXI laundry detergent

Tide has built-in stain lifting ingredients, like enzymes, which remove dirt from clothes at the fiber level — even two-week-old stains. OxiClean is synonymous with stain removal. It works as a pre-treatment for stains.

These ingredients combined within Tide Ultra OXI create a powerful cleaning formula to eliminate stubborn stains and odors.

It’s ideal for people in households who work or play hard. From sweaty shirts to muddy pants, this is an all-in-one choice for cleaner clothes.

Just like other Tide products, you’ll get the flexibility of using this formula in any water temperature without losing its effectiveness. The line comes in liquid, powder, and pod form.

There isn’t a range of scents with this option. It only comes in Refreshing Breeze and the Ultra OXI signature scent.

Tide Ultra OXI is a time and money saver since there is no need to buy a pre-treater, oxygen bleach, or an odor-eliminating product. It’s an all-in-one solution.

You can buy Tide Ultra OXI at most grocery stores and online on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, and Walmart.com.

Best for Deep Cleaning: Tide Hygienic Clean

Tide Hygienic Clean laundry detergent
Tide Hygienic Clean laundry detergent

Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy 10x Duty is a concentrated mix of ten active cleaning ingredients.

It’s an all-in-one stain remover, detergent, and color protector, and it’s one of Tide’s best detergents for deep cleaning.

Tide Hygienic Clean comes in Original and Spring Meadow scents and is available in a sensitive skin formula (fragrance- and dye-free. You can use it as a liquid or laundry pod.

The formula is ideal if you want to remove soil that’s not visible, such as body oils and sweat. This is helpful for bedding and other linens, such as sheets and towels. Plus, the formula is so powerful that it can whiten or brighten clothing without bleach.

You can use Tide Hygienic Clean in any water temperature. It works in standard and HE washing machines.

Based on my testing, Tide Hygienic Clean performs better against ketchup, grass, and dirt stains than Tide Original.

Tide Hygienic Clean vs Tide Original against ketchup stains
Tide Hygienic Clean vs. Tide Original against ketchup stains
Tide Hygienic Clean vs Tide Original against dirt and grass stains
Tide Hygienic Clean vs. Tide Original against dirt and grass stains

Good Housekeeping chose Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy 10x Duty Power PODS as the best overall laundry detergent. The testers praised the detergent for its cleaning and whitening power. They also said the laundry pods were perfect for large loads but might be too powerful for small ones.

Good Housekeeping Cleaning Labs tested the effectiveness of the detergent with a UV light. The tests proved that the detergent cleans clothes better than regular detergent. Hence, Tide Hygienic Clean has earned the coveted Good Housekeeping Seal.

If you frequently wash large loads and want the peace of mind of a deep-cleaning detergent, Tide Hygienic Clean is a proven formula.

You can buy Tide Hygienic Clean at most grocery stores and online on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, and Walmart.com.

Best for the Environment: Tide purclean

Tide Purclean Plant-based Laundry Detergent, Honey Lavender Scent, 50 Fl Oz

Tide purclean is the brand’s only bio-based option, with plant-derived ingredients making up 75% of the formula. So, if you’re looking for the best detergent for the environment, this is it.

The term bio-based means that its ingredients come from plants and other renewable materials. This formula has a USDA BioPreferred certification because of its sustainable ingredients.

The detergent does not contain dyes, phosphates, brighteners, or chlorine. It has earned the EPA Safer Choice certification, a label for products that are safer for human health and the environment.

Tide purclean is a lightly scented liquid detergent with notes of lavender and honey (there’s also an unscented version). Despite its bio-based ingredients, it still has the excellent cleaning and deodorizing power of most Tide products — even in cold water.

Tide uses wind and steam power to make this product. It’s also packaged in an eco-friendly box that uses 60% less plastic per ounce than standard plastic bottles. Although, you can choose to purchase it in a standard plastic bottle, too.

USA Today’s Reviewed.com calls Tide purclean the best eco-friendly choice in a top-five list of the best laundry detergents. Testers stated that it had the best cleaning performance among plant-based detergents. However, it costs more than most other eco-friendly laundry detergents.

The Spruce named Tide purclean as the best liquid detergent for sensitive skin. Reviewers praised the product for its cleaning power and sustainability but did not like the inclusion of a fragrance.

Tide puclearn is more difficult to find in stores than other detergents, but it’s available on Amazon.

Bottom Line: Which Tide Detergent Is Best for You?

Now that you know the unique benefits of each Tide detergent, it’s time to pick the best one for your home.

Here are some thoughts to consider before making a purchase:

  • Tide Ultra OXI is the best stain-fighting detergent.
  • Tide Plus Downy provides enhanced color care.
  • Tide Plus Febreze and Tide Hygienic Clean are the best options for sweaty, stained clothes or linens.
  • Tide Free & Gentle is the best detergent for sensitive skin.
  • Tide purclean is the most eco-friendly formula made with mostly plant-derived ingredients.
  • Tide Simply is the best value, although it’s a less concentrated formula.
  • It’s hard to beat Tide’s original formula for an everyday clean at a great value.

Bottom line — the best Tide detergent is the one that meets your needs and budget. That could mean you use one formula for all loads, or multiple based on how you want your clothes and linens to look, feel, or smell.

It will also come down to your preferred scent and detergent type: liquid, powder, or pods.

Since all Tide formulas are available in liquid form, it might be wise to buy a small bottle and try out the ones that interest you. That way, you can pinpoint your favorite options.

You can compare prices and learn more about each Tide detergent on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, or Walmart.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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