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Purex vs. Persil: Which Laundry Detergent Is Better?

If you’re shopping for laundry detergent, you may be wondering what the difference is between Purex or Persil.

Both have been around for decades and are currently owned by the same parent company. So, which is better? What are the main differences?

In this comparison of Purex vs. Persil, you’ll learn how these detergents differ in terms of:

  • Cleaning performance
  • Scent variety
  • Product options
  • And price

Also, I answer the most frequently asked questions about Purex and Persil.

By the end of this article, you’ll know which brand will better serve your laundry needs.

Use the links below to navigate the comparison:

Overview: Purex

Purex was established in 1922 with the mission to make laundry care more affordable. The company provides a wide collection of laundry care products, including detergents, fabric softeners, fragrance boosters, and dryer sheets.

The company was started in a garage by a father and son team, who wanted to create laundry detergent at lower prices to pass savings back to American families.

Purex laundry detergent bottle

They used a liquid bleach variant that was cleaner and healthier compared to standard bleach. Its superior results got Purex off the ground, but its low prices are what made it a major brand in America.

In 2004, Henkel, a German consumer goods company that owns several other detergent brands (including Persil), bought Purex. Although the acquisition by Henkel brought new resources to Purex, they’ve allowed the brand to stay true to its origins: quality and sustainable laundry products at affordable prices.

Overview: Persil

Persil, also owned by Henkel, was established in 1907 when chemists successfully revolutionized washing by combining sodium silicate with sodium perborate.

That experiment resulted in pearling oxygen when the laundry was boiled — a safe and odorless alternative to bleaching. That innovative solution took away the need for strenuous rubbing, swiveling, and tumbling. Thus, the first automatic laundry detergent was introduced.

Persil laundry detergent bottle

In 1959, Persil introduced the first synthetic heavy-duty laundry detergent. That revolution cleaned clothes thoroughly and provided a fresh scent. Over the years, the company continued to create innovative products such as phosphate-free detergent in 1986, liquid detergent in 1987, and Persil ProClean in 2015.

Persil is dedicated to research and innovation, and that dedication is evident in its frequent product launches and superior cleaning performance.


Purex and Persil both get the job done. But which brand removes stains, odor, and dirt more effectively?

Let’s look at how Purex compares to Persil in terms of performance, according to independent tests.

The SpruceWorks well for low-price, available in both liquid and powder, best for lightly-soiled itemsWorks well in all water temperatures, comes in a range of scents, included unscented, uses enzymes and other ingredients to remove tough stains and soil.
ReviewedRanked #7 — It’s affordable with good cleaning power for the price, but it is weaker on stain removal than other productsRanked #1 and #3 — It removes more stains than Tide, and they have options for people with sensitive skin.
The StrategistRanked as the best budget laundry detergent — it’s affordable but still hypoallergenic and made with plant-based ingredients.Ranked as the best laundry detergent for HE washers, praised for working better than Tide, and being kind on sensitive skin.
Consumer ReportsNot ReviewedGreat options for sensitive skin, removes tough stains, including body oil, dirt, and chocolate.
Good HousekeepingNot ReviewedRanked #2 — Does an amazing job at removing stains, even in cold water, including coffee and egg stains.
NY TimesNot ReviewedRanked #2 — Super effective stain remover, eliminating tough stains like butter, foundation, and spaghetti sauce.
Bob VilaNot ReviewedNamed the Best Liquid Laundry Detergent for its ability to remove stains and hypoallergenic formula

As you can see, both get plenty of accolades, but Persil is clearly the winner in terms of cleaning power. Persil ranks in the top 3 in almost every cleaning test, while Purex is praised for its low cost and overall value. In fact, several outlets didn’t even bother testing Purex. 

Bottom line — if you’re looking for a detergent that can tackle tough stains, Persil is more effective than Purex.

Product Options

Persil only offers liquid detergent and laundry pacs, otherwise called discs.

Persil ProClean Detergent Power Caps

Purex liquid detergent, laundry pacs, powder laundry detergent, fragrance boosters, and laundry enhancers.

Both brands offer detergents enhanced with Oxi-Clean and “Free and Clear” formulas for sensitive skin that don’t contain dyes or perfumes.

Purex also features a product that contains Clorox bleach: Purex® plus Clorox 2® Original Fresh.

Purex laundry detergent
Purex Plus Clorox 2

In total, Persil offers six liquid detergents and three laundry pacs. Purex offers 11 liquid detergents, three laundry pacs, three powder laundry detergents, seven fragrance boosters, and two laundry enhancers.

Check out each brand’s full-line up on Amazon: Persil, Purex.


If laundry scent is important to you, Purex offers more variety than Persil.

Persily only features the Original and Intense Fresh scents, as well as an unscented option for sensitive skin.

Purex, on the other hand, has several scent options in addition to its unscented detergent.

Below are some of the scents available with Purex:

  • Linen and Lilies
  • Fresh Lavender Blossom
  • Fresh Spring Waters
  • Mountain Breeze
  • Fresh Morning Burst
  • Fabulously Fresh
  • Fresh Vibes
  • Fabulously Fresh
  • Fresh Spring Waters
  • And more


Purex’s biggest advantage over Persil is its low price. Since Henkel owns both brands, they position each to fit different market demographics.

Persil is Henkel’s premium brand. It has the most advanced stain-fighting formula. It also costs the most.

Purex is Henkel’s value brand. It works well, comes in fresh scents, and comes with an affordable price tag.

When comparing the cost of laundry detergents, always look at the price per load. If it’s not easy to find, calculate the cost per fluid ounces (although this can be deceiving with stronger formulas that don’t require as much product per load).

Below is a pricing chart so you can compare the current costs between both brands.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs About Purex and Persil

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Purex and Persil.

Can Purex and Persil be used in my High-Efficiency (HE) machine?

Yes — both brands work in standard and HE washing machines.

Are Purex and Persil good for sensitive skin?

Persil Sensitive Skin and Purex Free & Clear are both designed for sensitive skin. These detergents don’t contain any dyes or perfumes.

Are Purex and Persil good for washing white clothes?

Both are good for white clothes, especially the detergents with built-in stain removers. The top product is Persil ProClean Stain Fighter Liquid Laundry Detergent.

Do Purex and Persil kill bacteria?

Laundry detergent isn’t typically antibacterial, but tumble drying on high heat can kill bacteria, depending on how hot your dryer gets.

If you’re looking to disinfect clothes, I recommend Lysol Laundry Sanitizer.

Who owns Purex and Persil?

Both brands are owned by the Henkel Corporation, a German chemical and consumer goods company.

Are Purex and Persil cruelty-free?

Henkel avoids testing its products, including Persil and Purex, on animals whenever possible. However, neither brand is cruelty-free.

You can find more information about their approach on Henkel.com, including this direct quote:

There are some countries where animal testing is still mandatory to obtain market and/or regulatory approval for products such as cosmetics, detergents and cleaning products, or adhesives. We are working together with industry associations to convince the authorities to abandon animal testing.

Are Purex and Persil chlorine-free?

Yes. Neither products contain chlorine. Even Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent Plus Clorox does not contain chlorine bleach.

Do Purex and Persil launder well in cold water?

Both Purex and Persil laundry detergents can be used in cold water, so if you want to be more eco-friendly, both allow you to skip the high heat.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Purex or Persil?

Now that you know how Purex and Persil stack up, it’s time to make your decision.

The main differences include their performance, product offerings, scents, and price.

Purex has quite a selection of products, including liquid and powder detergent, fragrance boosters, and laundry enhancers.

Persil only features liquid laundry detergent and pacs. But when comparing performance, Persil takes the lead.

Persil has unmatched stain-fighting ability with the power to remove tough stains like chocolate, grease, and body oil. While Purex can certainly remove stains, its formula is not nearly as effective at removing stubborn stains.

If scent is important to you, Purex provides a much wider variety of options than Persil.

Finally, Purex is significantly more affordable than Persil. And, although a bottle of laundry detergent isn’t a big-ticket purchase, it adds up over the years.

Bottom line — if you need a powerful detergent to tackle tough stains, Persil is the better option. If you’re looking for a basic clean and are on a budget, Purex might be the brand for you.

You can read more reviews and compare current prices of both brands on Amazon at the links below:

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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