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Tide vs. Arm & Hammer: Which Laundry Detergent Is Better?

Are you shopping for a new laundry detergent and wondering whether to buy Arm & Hammer or Tide?

What’s the difference? Is one detergent better than the other?

In this comparison of Tide vs. Arm & Hammer, you’ll learn how these brands differ in terms of performance, product offerings, scents, and price.

I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about both brands.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Overview of Tide

David Byerly, a Procter & Gamble scientist, created Tide in 1946. The product quickly surged in popularity thanks to its advertising on dramatic daytime soap operas and other prime-time TV programs.

Tide versus Tide Simply

Today, Tide is the top-selling laundry detergent in the United States because of its consistent cleaning performance and stain-fighting power. The brand commits to creating high-performing formulas with superior stain removal properties.

While the brand began as a powder detergent, it has expanded its offerings. With Tide, you can also choose from liquid, laundry pacs, stain removers, and laundry boosters. The formulas are nuanced to handle everything from tough odors to promoting color retention.

Overview of Arm & Hammer

Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began making and packaging baking soda in 1846. By 1847, they formed a company, and today it is a global brand.

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

While Arm & Hammer is widely known for its baking soda in the iconic yellow/orange package, it’s also a leading laundry detergent brand.

Arm and Hammer Plus OxiClean
Arm and Hammer Plus OxiClean

Arm & Hammer’s phosphate-free powder laundry detergent debuted in the 1970s. It was the first nationally-distributed eco-friendly option. Between the 1980s and 1990s, the brand added liquid detergent to its offerings.

Today, you can buy a variety of Arm & Hammer laundry products, from liquid detergent to laundry boosters.

Performance

Arm & Hammer and Tide are both popular choices for laundry care. But which one is best at stain-fighting? Is one better for odor removal?

Let’s look at how independent reviewers rate both brands in terms of features and performance:

TideArm & Hammer
The New York TimesBest overall, Also greatNot Tested
Consumer ReportsBest for tough stainsNot Rated
NY Magazine (The Strategist)Best-rated, Best unscented, Best scented, Best boxed, Best laundry detergent pouchBest baking soda laundry detergent, Best baking soda laundry detergent for sensitive skin
ReviewedRanked #2 and #4Ranked #8
The SpruceBest DispenserNot Rated
Good HousekeepingBest Overall Single Dose, Best Overall Powder, Best Deep Cleaning, Best Liquid with BleachNot Rated

 

The New York Times Wirecutter tested 17 detergents on ten different stains and named Tide Ultra Stain Release the best overall detergent. They praised its superior stain-removing abilities, claiming it was a top-performer across all messes. They said it removed blood, sebum, and cocoa better than the other 16 detergents tested. Arm & Hammer was not included in the tests.

Consumer Reports tested several detergents against body oil, chocolate, coffee, dirt, grass, salad dressing, and other stains. They named Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release best for tough stains. They said it “aces our pretreat tests—that means you can pretreat stains with a dab of this detergent, and the results are better than most spray-on stain removers we’ve tested.” They also highlighted that it works excellent in hard water. Arm & Hammer detergent was not ranked.

The Strategist listed the best laundry detergents according to consumer reviews, and Tide came out on top. Tide was recognized as the best detergent in several categories, such as best unscented and best laundry detergent pods. Reviewers cited cleaning performance and scent as key benefits.

Arm & Hammer took the honor of the best baking soda liquid detergent, laundry pods, and best baking soda detergent for its sensitive skin. Reviewers like Arm & Hammer’s stain and odor-fighting ability.

In a recent list of the best laundry detergents of the year, Reviewed designated Tide Original as the best value brand. Reviewers praised its cleaning power but noted that the Original formula was not best for people with sensitive skin.

Arm & Hammer ranked eighth overall and third for stain-fighting and affordability. However, the reviewers pointed out some negatives. They said you must wash a garment multiple times before it’s clean, and the citrus scent was unappealing.

The Spruce ranked popular detergents in terms of their cleaning power, and Tide Simply Clean & Fresh made the top ten list. Reviewers loved the dispenser, solid cleaning performance, and lack of overwhelming scent. They didn’t like that the formula contained dye. Arm & Hammer didn’t make the cut.

In a list of the 11 best laundry detergents based on testing, Good Housekeeping chose Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy 10x Duty Power PODS as the best overall. Tide Plus Bleach won the title of best overall powder laundry detergent. Reviewers celebrated both for brightening clothes without chlorine bleach. Arm & Hammer didn’t make the list.

Product Options

Tide focuses solely on laundry products and offers significantly more laundry detergent formulas than Arm & Hammer.

Tide PODS
Tide PODS

In addition to laundry detergent, Arm & Hammer makes baking soda, deodorant, antiperspirant, cat litter, and room deodorizers.

In terms of laundry products, Tide offers:

  • Liquid detergent
  • Powder detergent
  • Laundry pacs (PODS)
  • Antibacterial fabric spray
  • Stain wipes
  • Stain remover pen
  • Stain remove spray
  • Scent boosters
  • Washing machine cleaner

Arm & Hammer offers:

  • Liquid detergent
  • Powder detergent
  • Laundry pacs
  • Scent boosters
  • Dryer sheets
  • Laundry boosters

Tide features specialized cleaning formulas. For example, it has options for cold water washing for eco-friendly consumers.

Tide also partners with brands such as OxiClean, Downy, and Febreze to provide additional benefits like brightening, fabric care, and odor removal. Similarly, Arm & Hammer also offers formulas with OxiClean and Downy.

Arm and Hammer Plus OxiClean with Odor Blasters
Arm and Hammer Plus OxiClean with Odor Blasters

Tide offers sprays, wipes, and the popular Tide To Go pen if you require additional stain removal. Arm & Hammer does not have stain removal products.

Tide Fabric Spray
Tide Fabric Spray

Arm & Hammer mainly offers liquid detergent. It also features a few special formulas for sensitive skin.  

Check out Tide’s complete product line on Tide.com or Amazon and Arm & Hammer’s lineup on ArmandHammer.com or Amazon.

Scents

Tide offers more scent options than Arm & Hammer, including options like Original, Clean Breeze, and Mountain Spring.

However, all scents are not available in all formulas. For example, Tide Zero only comes in lavender scent, and Tide Hygienic Clean only comes in Original and Spring Meadow.

Arm & Hammer doesn’t offer as many scents, but they still provide plenty of pleasant options, including Fresh Scent, Fresh Burst, Clean Meadow, and Sparkling Waters.

Price

Tide is one of the most expensive detergents on the market, and, in general, it costs more than Arm & Hammer.

Tide is more expensive for a few reasons. First, its complex formulas have enhanced stain-fighting ingredients — there’s a reason it ranks at the top of best laundry detergent lists.

Similarly, because its formula is so effective, you can usually get away with using less of it.

Lastly, Tide spends a ton of money on advertising. It’s the biggest brand in the industry, and, to maintain awareness and promote its continuous new product launches, they have to spend money (and factor that cost into the prices).

That said, Tide also offers budget-friendly products like Tide Simply. The Tide Simply formula is thinner and less concentrated, but it’s still effective. Check out my comparison of Tide Original vs. Time Simply to learn more.

To gauge value, use the recommended amount for Tide and Arm & Hammer formulas and compare the results. If you are satisfied with the results of a lower-priced option, you can save money on each load.

But if you need to use more of a lower-priced product to get the results you desire, then the price per load or fluid ounce increases.

The chart below shows the current prices of both brands’ most popular detergents. Click the price to learn more about each product on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs About Tide and Arm & Hammer

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Tide and Arm & Hammer.

What are the active ingredients in Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents?

Each Tide formula includes surfactants, water softeners, and stabilizers. Key active ingredients include sodium laureth sulfate, sodium borate, and polyethyleneimines alkoxylated.

Arm & Hammer also offers different formulas, but the main active ingredients include sodium laureth sulfate, sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

To view the full ingredients list of each detergent, use the following resources:

Smartlabel.org (change the Brand dropdown to Tide)
EWG.org (search for Tide and Arm & Hammer)
Tide ingredients resource
Church & Dwight ingredients resource

Are Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents compatible with HE machines?

Yes, both Tide and Arm & Hammer offer HE formulas. If you have a high-efficiency washer, look for an “HE” symbol or “High Efficiency” label on the bottle. Using regular detergent in a high-efficiency machine can result in excessive suds.

Do Tide and Arm & Hammer launder well in cold water?

Tide has a specific formula for use with cold water called Coldwater Clean. However, the brand asserts that all its formulas perform well using cold water. Arm & Hammer makes two detergents specifically for cold water: Clean & Simple Coldwater Cool & Crisp and Clean Fresh, Coldwater.

Do Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents contain bleach?

Both brands have formulas that contain oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach is a color-safe option for brightening whites and colors. Check out this comparison of chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach to learn more.

Do I need to use fabric softener with Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents?

Using fabric softener is a matter of personal preference, but I don’t recommend it. There are other ways to soften and protect fabrics, such as using wool dryer balls. Some Tide and Arm & Hammer formulas feature Downy fabric softener.

Do I need to use stain removers with Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents?

If you have an intense stain, it’s a good idea to pre-treat it before washing. But Tide has powerful built-in stain fighters that have proven stronger than Arm & Hammer’s ingredients in independent tests. So, if you’re using Tide, you might not need additional stain removers.

Can I use Tide and Arm & Hammer laundry detergents with sensitive skin?

Yes, both brands offer sensitive skin formulas, including Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10X Free, Tide Zero, Tide Plus Downy Free, Tide Free & Gentle, Tide Simply Free & Sensitive, Tide purclean Unscented, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Plus, and Arm & Hammer Free.

Do Tide and Arm & Hammer kill bacteria?

No, they do not include bacteria-killing ingredients in their formulas. You’ll want to use a product like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer to kill 99.9% of bacteria.

Are Tide and Arm & Hammer cruelty-free?

Both companies may test on animals directly or via a third-party partner. They may also be required by law to test on animals depending on the location of the manufacturing facilities.

Who owns Tide and Arm & Hammer?

Tide is owned by Procter & Gamble. Arm & Hammer is owned by Church & Dwight.

Where can you buy Tide and Arm & Hammer?

You can find Tide and Arm & Hammer in most grocery stores, big box stores, discount stores, and online on Amazon (Link to Tide and Arm & Hammer).

Bottom Line: Should You Use Tide or Arm & Hammer?

Now that you’ve compared Tide vs. Arm & Hammer, it’s time to choose the best one for your needs.

But before you make a choice, let’s recap the key differences.

  • Both brands have long histories, but Tide made laundry detergent roughly 25 years before Arm & Hammer.
  • Tide and Arm & Hammer offer multiple laundry products, but Tide offers more detergent, scents, and specialized formulas than Arm & Hammer.
  • Tide is often rated as the best performing laundry detergent based on independent tests, while Arm & Hammer ranks lower or is not mentioned.
  • Arm & Hammer is less expensive than Tide.
  • Arm & Hammer includes baking soda in its detergents. Baking soda is a widely-recognized laundry booster to fight odor and stains. Tide does not offer baking soda in any of its formulas.

Bottom line — Tide is the best-selling laundry detergent of all time. The brand has earned numerous accolades, and they offer a variety of products to help you find a formula and scent you enjoy.

There’s no denying that Tide is highly effective, but Arm & Hammer removes stains and odors well, too. Plus, most formulas are less expensive than Tide.

My advice is to try Arm & Hammer or Tide’s lower-cost formula, Tide Simply. If those formulas aren’t getting the job done, try Tide Original or another, more powerful formula like Tide Ultra Stain Release. Those options will cost more but will do a better job removing tough stains and stubborn odors.

Learn more and check the current prices of both brands 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’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, 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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