How To Choose The Best Smelling Washing Detergent?

Even though it may not affect cleaning performance, it’s nice to use a washing detergent that leaves your clothes smelling great.

It keeps your clothes smelling fresh for days and keeps away any musty smells that develop in the closet.

In this buying guide, we recommend the best smelling washing detergents for use in your washing machine. Of course, we didn’t just focus on fragrance. All our top picks have excellent cleaning performance and they are safe for both colours and whites.

Before we get to our favourite fragrant detergents, here are a few tips for choosing the best washing detergent.

Key Considerations For You

A. Type of Fragrance

This one comes down to your preferences. If, like some people, you cannot stand certain scents such as vanilla, stay away from detergents with that fragrance.

Washing detergents come in a wide range of scents so you can find your favourite fragrance. Some common options include lemon, lavender and jasmine.

Some detergents combine two or more fragrances.

B. Formulation

Here’s what to consider when it comes to the formulation of the detergent.

  • Powder vs. liquid: Liquid detergents are the best for most laundry situations. Liquids work better in cold water, leave little to no residue on your clothes and don’t gum up your washing machine. However, if you often wash muddy clothes, powder detergent is more effective at getting the mud out.
  • Gentle ingredients: Look for a detergent that is gentle on your clothes, especially delicate ones like underwear, baby nappies and fabrics like silk.
  • Environmentally friendly: Many washing detergents nowadays are formulated with eco-friendliness in mind. Look for detergents lacking harmful ingredients such as parabens. If you want to go a step further, look for organic or plant-based detergents.

C. Colour and Fabric Safe

Make sure that the detergent is safe for colours. Most manufacturers will state in the product description or label that the detergent is okay for use with whites as well as colours.

Note: No matter what the label says, always do a test for colourfastness on an inconspicuous part of the fabric.

Also, check what the label or product description says about the type of fabric. Some detergents are not meant for use with delicate fabrics like wool, lace and silk and they could damage your expensive delicate clothing.

D. Water Temperature

Most of the detergents you’ll find in stores nowadays work fine in both cold and hot water. But, just to be sure, check what the manufacturer says.

Most will state in the product description or label that the detergent works well in cold and hot water.

E. No. of Washes

When comparing washing detergents, don’t use the amount of liquid or powder to determine how long each will last. That can be misleading since the dosage may vary for each.

Instead, check the number of washes. This will give you a better idea of how long the detergent will last and whether you are getting good value for your money.

A small detergent bottle will contain about 40-50 washes worth of detergent while large bottles and powder packs can provide between 100 and 200 washes.

If you have a large family and do a lot of laundry, a detergent with more washes will last longer and give you better value for your money.

Best Smelling Washing Detergents: Reviews

1. Bold 3-in-1 Pods Washing Liquid Detergent Capsules, 110 washes


If you prefer using liquid detergent pods, we recommend the Bold 3-in-1 two-pack. Each pack contains 55 pods for a total of 110 pods.

The 3-in-1 stands for cleaning, softening and freshening. Each pod includes the active cleaning ingredient, a built-in fabric softener and a lavender and chamomile fragrance.

The scent is not overly strong – just enough to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

The pods are easy to use. Making sure your hands are dry, place the pod in the drum then pile your dirty laundry on it. The outer layer will dissolve when the drum fills with water, releasing the detergent. The pods will dissolve even in cold water.

The manufacturer says the two-pack is good for 110 washes but the actual number will depend on the size of your loads. For small and medium loads up to 5kg, one pod is enough. For bigger loads, use two pods.

So if you wash a lot of clothes at a go, the two packs will last for 55 washes.

Considering the price and the fact that it has built-in fabric softener, you still get great value for your money.

What we like about it:

  • Good value.
  • Smells great.
  • Lasts long.
  • Low plastic and child-safe pack.

2. Surf Five Herbal Extracts Liquid Detergent, 200 Washes


The Surf liquid detergent combines five herbal extracts to add a refreshing accent to your laundry. The five extracts are lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, mint and pine.

The combined herbal smell is not at all overpowering. It leaves a mild but long-lasting fragrance on clothes.

Surf does not contain a fabric softener, so we recommend adding a softener to your washing machine.

The pack contains eight bottles of detergent. Each bottle is good for 25 washes for a total of 200 washes. Considering the low price, the Surf detergent pack is a good bargain especially for large families.

To measure the right amount of detergent, the Surf detergent comes with a dosing ball. Add 35ml of detergent for small and medium loads or when using soft water. For dirtier clothes or when using hard water, use 52ml of detergent.

Once you fill the ball to the right level, put it directly in the drum and place your dirty clothes on top.

Surf works great in both hot and cold water.

What we like about it:

  • Last long.
  • Clothes smell great and retain the fragrance for long.
  • Dosing ball included.
  • Ideal for use with cold water.

3. Method Concentrated Laundry Detergent Peony Blush, 39 Washes


If you are looking for a small bottle of good-smelling detergent, we recommend the peony-scented Method laundry detergent.

It’s cheaper than the other detergents and perfect for individuals and small families that don’t wash laundry often.

One thing we like about the Method detergent is that is mostly plant-based, 95% plant-based to be precise. This makes it gentle on the clothes and safer for the environment. Most of the ingredients used in the detergent are biodegradable.

Despite the gentler formula, the Method peony blush detergent is not suitable for washing wool and silk fabrics. It is safe for all other fabrics as well as both whites and colours.

The 1.5-litre bottle is good for about 39 washes. Pour one cap in the detergent drawer when washing small and medium size loads using soft water. Pour one and a half caps when washing larger loads or dirtier laundry.

The one and a half dosage is also recommended when using hard water.

What we like about it:

  • Great smell.
  • Low price.
  • Plant-based formula – gentler and eco-friendlier.

4. Faith in Nature Super Concentrated Laundry Liquid 5 litres, 150 washes


For large families, we recommend this 5-litre jerry can of detergent from Faith in Nature. For average size loads, it lasts about 150 washes.

Similar to the Method detergent, the Faith in Nature detergent is derived mostly from plants including Aloe Vera, making it a good choice for those looking for an eco-friendly washing liquid.

It’s also gentle on your clothes and you can safely use it with fine and delicate fabrics like silk and wool. It’s also safe for colours.

If you have sensitive skin, the Faith in Nature detergent will help. Since it doesn’t contain many harsh chemicals, your clothes are less likely to trigger any sensitivity.

The fragrance in the Faith in Nature detergent comes from rosemary and a variety of other plant-based ingredients. Unlike other washing detergent, it’s not very noticeable in clean laundry. It gives clothes more of a neutral fresh smell.

If you find most detergents to be too overpowering in terms of smell, you’ll love Faith in Nature.

What we like about it:

  • Gentle and eco-friendly.
  • Lasts long.
  • Safe for those with sensitive skin.
  • Leaves a pleasantly mild and natural fragrance on clothes.

5. Surf Washing Powder Tropical Lily & Ylang Ylang, 120 Washes


If you prefer using powder detergent, we recommend the Surf washing powder.

We find liquid detergents to be better at keeping clothes smelling nice for days or even weeks after a wash. But the Surf washing powder is not too bad.

It is infused with two flowery scents, lily and ylang ylang. The combination results in a mild but long-lasting fragrance on clothes.

The Surf powder pack is good for about 120 standard washes. The amount of powder you add to the dispensing drawer depends on the load size, how dirty the clothes are and whether you are using soft or hard water.

Generally, use more detergent for bigger and dirtier loads. Hard water also calls for more detergent.

What we like about it:

  • Pleasant scent.
  • Good value for money.
  • Lasts long – ideal for large families.