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Tide vs. Persil: Which Laundry Detergent Is Better?

When many people think of doing laundry, the first brand they think of is Tide.

That’s understandable considering over 40 million households use Tide, and it’s the top-selling detergent in the United States by a long shot.

Persil, owned by German consumer goods company Henkel, has been the best selling detergent in Europe for decades. But it’s new in the U.S., hitting store shelves for the first time in 2015.

Although Tide dominates the U.S. market in terms of sales, Persil is slowly gaining popularity and recently beat Tide in several independent studies in which experts measured the cleaning ability of the top detergent brands.

If you’re thinking about trying one of these brands for the first time, or you’re a long-time customer considering a switch, you might be wondering:

What’s the difference between Tide and Persil?

In this in-depth comparison of Tide vs. Persil, I answer that question and explain exactly how their detergents compare in terms of:

  •     Cleaning power
  •     Fragrance
  •     Product offerings
  •     Price
  •     And much more.

Use the links below to navigate:

Persil vs. Tide: Quick Summary

If you only have a minute and are looking for a quick comparison of Tide vs. Persil, here’s what you need to know.

Note: I dive deeper into each of these categories later in the article.

History: Tide, owned by P&G, launched in 1946, and due to their effective branding and dedication to innovation, they’ve since become the best-selling detergent in the United States. Persil, owned by German consumer goods company Henkel, launched in 1907 but only recently hit the U.S. market in 2015. 

Cleaning Power: Both brands consistently rank at the top of independent tests for their superior cleaning ability. Here’s how each brand fared in recent tests:

TestTide ResultsPersil Results
Reviewed.comBest ValueBest Overall
Good HousekeepingBest OverallBest Liquid Detergent
Consumer ReportsBest for Tough Stains and Hard WaterBest for Sensitive Skin & Tough Stains
The WirecutterBest DetergentRunner-up

Fragrances: Tide detergent comes in 6 different scents while Persil offers only 2, Original, and Intense Fresh. Most customers find the smell of both brands delightful, although a small percentage say the Persil is overpowering. Tide and Persil both offer detergents that contain no fragrance or dyes for those with sensitive skin.

Product Offerings: The most significant difference between Tide and Persil is in their product offerings. Tide offers over 40 different detergents, while Persil offers a total of 7. Tide has specially formulated detergents for every cleaning need: odor defense, heavy-duty stains, cold water washes, hypoallergenic, high-efficiency washers, etc. Persil keeps their offering simple and designs their detergent to work in all types of washers (regular and high efficiency).

Price Point: Tide and Persil are considered premium detergents and tend to cost more than other brands. However, between the two, there is no significant difference in price. Shop smart, and you can get both at reasonable prices.

Distribution: Both Tide and Persil are available in supermarkets, big-box stores, and on Amazon. You can read reviews and check out the current price of each brand at the links below:

Tide’s Story

Procter and Gamble, the consumer goods giant that owns Tide, entered the household laundry detergent in 1933 with Dreft, the world’s first synthetic detergent.

In 1946, they released Tide as a heavy-duty detergent for everyday household use, and a product better suited to a washing machine than hand cleaning.

Tide original detergent from 1946
Tide original detergent from 1946

To build the Tide brand, they wisely invested in sponsorships targeting homemakers, including ads on soap operas and other prime time TV shows.

Besides smart branding and advertising strategies, Tide’s success stems from their dedication to innovation and continuously improving their products.

In 1968, P&G released Tide powder with enzymes directly targeting stains, so they break down more quickly in the wash. They followed with liquid formulas and Tide with Bleach.

But, that was just the beginning of their innovation story.

1988: Concentrated Ultra Tide arrives to address the waste in landfills. 1988 was also the year for Tide with Bleach Alternative’s birth.

1998: Tide Clean Rinse reaches consumers offering dirt removal even in the rinse cycle.

2000: Rapid Action single-dose Tablets hit the shelves.

2004-2006: Touch of Downy, Tide with Febreze, and Tide Cold Water join the rest of the P&G family. And if you’re taking cleanliness on the road, there is also Tide to Go, which is a spot stain remover that you can fit in your pocket.

Tide to Go Pen
Tide to Go Pen

Since then, P&G added different scents to Tide, reduced packaging waste, focused on boosting cleaning efficiency, designed Tide pods, created a plant-based detergent, and a Heavy Duty offering.

Throughout their history, P&G has evolved and advanced their products, such as Tide, based on consumers’ ever-changing needs.

Although competitors like Persil are carving out real estate on the store shelves, Tide is likely to remain an industry giant for a very long time.

Persil’s Story

In 1907, its parent company, Henkel and Cie, released Persil to the German market.

The first version of it included bleaching and washing agents for self-activation during hand washing. Persil created bubbles during washing making washboards and elbow grease less necessary.

Early on, Persil gave a manufacturer’s warranty to its consumers, boosting trust in the brand. To this day, they offer a Money Back Guarantee that allows you to get a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied with the product.

The face of Persil was the White Lady, who arrived with a smile in 1922. Her image appeared on metal signs and placards everywhere. After World War II, her image reappeared in 1950 as if to say “all is well.”

Persil White Lady
Persil White Lady. Image source: Henkel.com.

By the end of 1950, washing machines appeared at the home front with growing popularity. So, Persil mindfully responded with a suitable detergent.

In 1965, they released a heavy-duty formula with foam control based on temperature. This preserved “new-fangled” fabrics like nylon far better than other offerings.

Since then, Persil has been evolving its products and entering new markets (including the U.S.).

1986: Henkel introduces phosphate-free Persil setting the stage for all detergents in Germany going phosphate-free.

1991: Persil Color, the first detergent for colored clothing.

1994: Persil Megaperls, which are concentrated pears rather than powder and have flexible dosing for smaller loads.

1997: Persil Gel arrives in the market, followed by Tabs in 1999.

2006: Persil with Vernel for a fresh smell and softness

2007: The 100th anniversary of Persil

2015: Persil finally enters the U.S. market with its ProClean line of premium detergents.

2018: Persil makes a big splash with its Superbowl commercial, which touts its ability to tackle your “game day stains.” Since then, they’ve ramped up advertising in the U.S. to try to compete with the juggernauts like Tide.

Throughout the years, Persil focused on washing performance, bringing its brand into the next generations, and maintaining its brand image as pure and forward-thinking.

Which Detergent Cleans Better?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

The question you really want to know the answer to is, which detergent cleans better?

So how do Tide and Persil measure up? Which detergent removes stains, eliminates odor, and results in a better, fresher clean?

The good news—both products test extremely well and appear at the top of the “Best Detergents” lists year-in and year-out.

The bad news—there’s no clear cut winner. It all depends on who you ask.

Reviewed.com, which is part of the USA Today Network, ranked them 1 & 2 with Persil getting the blue ribbon. They noted, if “stain removal is critical, Persil is the undisputed winner.” In their tests, Persil removed 2% more stains than Tide, but both beat out some other impressive industry names and well-known brands like Gain and Arm & Hammer.

Good Housekeeping recognized both brands in its guide to the best laundry detergents, naming Tide the best overall detergent and Persil the best liquid detergent. In that same report, Tide Plus with Bleach Powder Laundry Detergent ranked as the best powder, and Persil ProClean Discs Laundry Detergent Pacs + Oxi was named the best laundry packs with oxi bleach.

The experts at Consumer Reports recently tested Tide, Persil, and several other brands to see which detergent is toughest on oil, dirt, grass, red wine, and blood.

Based on their testing, Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Sensitive Skin is the “Best for Sensitive Skin,” Persil ProClean Stain Fighter is “Best for Most Tough Stains,” and Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release is “Best for Tough Stains and Hard Water.”

Wirecutter.com, a New York Times Company, spent 85 hours testing 42 different detergents and ultimately named Tide Ultra Stain Release Free the “Best Laundry Detergent” and Persil ProClean Stain Fighter “Runner-Up.”

In a previous version of this report (screenshot below), the Wirecutter staff was not a big fan of Persil. They mentioned that Persil ProClean was just “okay at cleaning,” Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2-in-1 had an “absolutely horrific” odor, and Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin was “was average at removing odor.”

Wirecutter on Persil
Wirecutter’s take on Persil

In addition to topping the “Best of” charts, Tide has earned several impressive awards over the years and is the trusted brand for all 32 NFL teams.

Bottom line—both brands are constantly being recognized for their cleaning ability. Some tests may give a slight edge to one or the other, but both brands get the job done. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be ranked so high in independent tests, and they wouldn’t be leading the detergent market after so many decades.

Which Detergent Smells More Pleasant?

When it comes to fragrance, neither Tide or Persil is King. As I talked about in a recent article comparing Tide vs. Gain, that title goes to Gain with their 11 difference scents.

However, both Tide and Persil provide you with different fragrance options. While you may prefer the smell of one brand over the other, in general, they all leave behind a delightful scent.

Tide has six total scents including:

  • Original Scent
  • Tide Plus A Touch of Downy
  • Tide Plus Febreze Freshness
  • Tide Plus Febreze Sport Odor Defense™
  • Tide Plus Febreze Botanical Rain
  • Tide purclean™ Honey Lavender
Tide Scented Liquid Detergents
Tide Scented Liquid Detergents. Image source: Tide.com

Persil only offers two different scents, Original and Intent Fresh Scent.

Persil ProClean Original and Intense Fresh
Persil ProClean Original (left) and Intense Fresh (right). Image source: PersilProClean.com

Both brands offer detergents with no fragrances or dyes for people with sensitivities: Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin and Tide Simply Free & Sensitive.

Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin and Tide Simply Free and Sensitive
Image sources: PersilProClean.com and Tide.com.

Customers on Amazon rave about the fresh, clean, but subtle scent that Tide Original leaves behind. It’s one of the reasons they buy it over and over again. 

Most of Persil’s customers share a similar sentiment. They say it has that clean-clothing smell without being too floral-y. However, a small percentage of customers agree with TheWirecutter staff saying that it’s way too strong and gives off a chemical-like odor.

Nonetheless, whether a detergent smells good or not is very subjective, so I’ll leave the sniff test up to you.

How Do Their Product Lines Compare?

Besides varying scents, both Tide and Persil have different formulas depending on your goal.

Let’s first take a look at Tide.

Tide covers the laundry detergent spectrum from end-to-end with products like fabric spray, laundry boosters, a portable stain remover, and washing machine cleaner.

Their detergent selection is expansive. In almost every store that carries detergent, the Tide section looks something like this:

Tide Product Selection
Tide section at the market

In total, they offer the following:

  • Liquid Laundry Detergent: 30 (14 for standard machines, 16 for high-efficiency machines)
  • Laundry Packs/Pods: 10
  • Powder Detergent: 5

Note: You can see all of Tide’s offerings on Amazon.

Here’s a peek and some of their most unique detergents:

Tide 10x Heavy Duty (see on Amazon)

As the name implies, Tide Heavy Duty goes after tough laundry problems. Hands-on professionals, particularly in heavy-duty jobs, love this stuff. The product works in both regular and high-efficiency washers. Tide Heavy Duty is a work-horse.

Tide 10x Heavy Duty
Tide 10x Heavy Duty

Tide Ultra Oxi 4-in-1 Pods (see on Amazon)

These pods contain detergent, stain remover, pre-treaters, and a color protector. You can use it in cold and hot water and both standard and high-efficiency washers.

Tide Ultra Oxi 4-in-1 Pods
Tide Ultra Oxi 4-in-1 Pods

Tide Plus Febreze Sport Odor Defense (see on Amazon)

When you have an odor problem, the Febreze Sport Odor Defense comes to the rescue, leaving you with a fresh scent. Tide Plus Febreze has scent-renewal aimed at keeping fabrics smelling clean longer.

Tide Plus Febreze Sport Odor Defense
Tide Plus Febreze Sport Odor Defense

Tide Simply Clean and Sensitive (see on Amazon)

For those with sensitive skin, this is a product just for you. It cleans well and doesn’t cost a fortune. Tide Clean and Sensitive contains no dyes and has a gentle cotton-like aroma.

How do Persil’s product offerings stack up?

Persil doesn’t offer nearly as many detergent products as Tide does, which is apparent when you compare the amount of space their products take up on the store shelves. 

Persil Product Selection
Persil section at the market

Instead of developing an expansive product line, they decided to focus their efforts on the handful of products that meet the needs of almost every household.

Unlike Tide, who makes separate products for regular and high-efficiency washers, Persil designs their detergents to work well in all types of washers.

Here’s what Persil offers:

  • Liquid Laundry Detergent: 5 (all 5 work in all washer types, including high-efficiency)
  • Laundry Packs/Pods: 2 (Persil calls them Discs)
  • Powder Detergent: 0

Note: Persil offers other types of detergents across the globe, but for this article, we’re just focusing on what’s available in the U.S.

Since Persil has such a limited lineup of detergents, let’s take a closer look at each one.

Persil ProClean Original Scent (see on Amazon)

This is Persil’s bread-and-butter, best-selling detergent, equivalent to Tide Original. It has a deep cleaning formula, a fresh but not-too-powerful scent, and works in all types of washers on all settings. It comes in liquid form or discs. If you’re new to Persil, I recommend starting here.

Persil ProClean Original Liquid Detergent
Persil ProClean Original Liquid Detergent

Persil ProClean Intense Fresh Scent (see on Amazon)

This detergent has the same deep-cleaning formula as the Original, but it packs a stronger punch in terms of fragrance. Customers seem to love the scent it leaves behind on each clean load of laundry.

Persil ProClean Intense Fresh Liquid Detergent
Persil ProClean Intense Fresh Liquid Detergent

Persil ProClean Odor Fighter (see on Amazon)

As its name suggests, this detergent contains unique odor elimination technology in addition to the original deep cleaning formula. It’s perfect for particularly smelly loads of laundry, like gym clothes.

Persil ProClean Odor Fighter Liquid Detergent
Persil ProClean Odor Fighter Liquid Detergent

Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin (see on Amazon)

The same cleaning ability as the Original but with no dyes or perfumes. This dermatologist-tested formula is tough on stains and odor, but gentle on your skin. Tide has a similar detergent called Tide Free and Clear.

Persil ProClean Stain Fighter (see on Amazon)

If you have young children, pets, or a job that requires you to roll up your sleeves and get dirty every day, this is the Persil detergent for you. It’s formulated with Pro10 Technology, which delivers ten dimensions of clean: stain fighting, whitening, brightening, anti-graying, clean-rinsing, long-lasting freshness, odor-fighting, cold water cleaning, clean fresh scent, and fiber care. It comes in liquid form or discs.

Persil ProClean Stain Fighter Liquid Detergent
Persil ProClean Stain Fighter Liquid Detergent

Which Detergent Costs More?

Tide and Persil are both considered premium laundry detergents due to their superior cleaning power. Therefore, both cost a little more than the rest of the competition.

In general, Tide and Persil are close enough that the price should not be a factor in determining which brand to buy.

If you’re concerned about the cost, opt for the larger size container, which tends to be cheaper per load. Tide comes in 4.43 Liter jugs (see on Amazon), and Persil comes in 5 Liter jugs (see on Amazon).

Another way to save money is to run the wash with cold water instead of hot. All Persil detergents work well in cold water, and Tide has a unique formula for cold water washes called Tide Coldwater Clean (see on Amazon).

To compare the prices of all Persil and Tide detergents, check them out on Amazon at these links:

And the Winner Is?

If you’re deciding between Tide and Persil, there is no wrong choice.

Both detergents provide deep cleaning and stain removal, knock out nasty odors, and leave behind a pleasant scent.

That’s not just my opinion, the results of several independent tests say so.

The main difference between Tide and Persil is in their product offerings.

If you’re looking for a particular type of clean, I recommend going with Tide.

They offer a whopping 30 different liquid laundry detergents. One for darks and colors, one for delicates, one just for coldwater washes, one for heavy-duty jobs, the list goes on.

It may take some experimenting to figure out which Tide detergent(s) is right for your household, but once you find it, I guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the results.

If you’re looking for a high-powered detergent that’s tough on stains, eliminates odor, and works in any type of washer on any setting, Persil is an excellent choice.

With Persil, you have fewer options so you can test and figure out which one is best for you quicker. The best part—if you’re not 100% satisfied with the results, you get a full refund with their Money Back Guarantee.

At the end of the day, the best laundry detergent is a very personal choice. So, if you’re still not sure which one to choose, give them both a try for a handful of loads and compare the results for yourself.

Tide and Persil are available in almost every supermarket, big-box store, and pharmacy. But more conveniently, they are available on Amazon at the links below.

If you found this article helpful, you should also check out:

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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