I Tried CleanCult Laundry Detergent—And My Clothes Have Never Been Cleaner

Looking for a laundry detergent that smells good, reduces waste, and actually cleans clothes? We found it.

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After a decade of depending on laundromats, I finally moved into an apartment with a washing machine and dryer. The convenience of washing and drying clothes at home changed my whole life, but I also had to make some new consumer decisions. Namely, what kind of laundry detergent should I buy?

For the laundromat, I used portable laundry pods. But they didn’t always fully dissolve in the washer and I didn’t like that the plastic-wrapped pods also came in a big plastic container. I wasn’t sure they did a thorough job of cleaning my clothes, either.

Since it was time to switch detergents, I decided to find a laundry detergent that uses less plastic and recyclable packaging. I also wanted it to smell really good and actually clean my clothes. Enter: CleanCult.

What is CleanCult laundry detergent?

CleanCult liquid laundry detergent is packaged and formulated with eco-conscious methods. It’s available to order individually or in an easy subscription model that includes cardboard boxes of refill detergent.

The non-toxic, plant-based, biodegradable detergent smells incredible in a range of three yummy scents (and a fragrance-free version if you want a laundry detergent for sensitive skin). The sweet honeysuckle scent has a wonderfully floral fragrance, but juniper and sandalwood or sea spray aloe are strong contenders with earthier or saltier notes.

CleanCult also supplies wool dryer balls made from 100 percent New Zealand wool. Pop them in the dryer to shorten the drying cycle and soften towels and sheets. They work like a dryer sheet, but are reusable and free of chemicals.

The clean keeps going beyond laundry: refills ship sustainably in recyclable packaging, and the laundry detergent bottle features a plant-based cap. A shatter-proof refillable bottle is easy to pour and looks much prettier than a plastic jug.

How did we test CleanCult laundry detergent?

By doing a lot of laundry! I’ve used the honeysuckle liquid laundry detergent in my top-loader washing machine and wool dryer balls in the electric dryer for about two months. In that time I’ve washed loads of darks, whites, delicates, bath towels, bed sheets, a down comforter, bed pillows, dog bedding and towels, sweaty workout clothes, kitchen towels, microfiber cloths, and a pair of tennis shoes.

I’ve washed clothes on multiple cycles and with hot and cold water. No matter what knob I turn, the laundry comes out clean with CleanCult detergent. I haven’t had issues with white marks on my darks (a telltale sign that the detergent isn’t dissolving properly) or stiff fabrics (a side effect of cheap laundry detergent.)

As for cleaning power, CleanCult has taken tomato sauce out of kitchen towels and muddy paw prints off of jeans. One 32-ounce box of concentrated laundry detergent is enough to do about 64 loads of laundry.

I also love the honeysuckle fragrance. I’ve used scented laundry detergents in the past that gave me a bit of a perfume headache. I don’t like drying my face with a towel that reeks of fragrance. With CleanCult, the scent is subtle and delicate. My clothes smell good and washed, but the scent doesn’t overwhelm.

In the dryer, the wool dryer balls do a good job of shortening the dry time, especially with heavy loads of sheets and towels. I don’t run the dryer without the wool balls.

The final verdict on CleanCult laundry detergent

I feel good about using CleanCult. Laundry detergent is something I use multiple times a week. It’s important to make sustainable choices that reduce waste and plastic. The formula is plant-based, smells delicious, and cleans my clothes thoroughly. I also like how pretty the black matte refillable bottle looks in the laundry room—a feeling I never had at the laundromat.

Where to buy CleanCult laundry detergent

CleanCult laundry detergent is only available direct to consumers on the CleanCult website, but there are multiple ways to buy products. You can buy a single box of laundry detergent refill in four scents: fragrance free, sweet honeysuckle, sea spray and aloe, and juniper and sandalwood.

But first-time purchasers should start with the Complete Liquid Laundry Bundle. It comes with four 32-ounce boxes of laundry detergent (all of the scents, so you can choose which one you like best for refills); three wool dryer balls; and a refillable glass bottle in a choice of colors.

When you finish the laundry detergent, sign up for a reoccurring subscription to have detergent automatically sent to you (the most cost-effective plan) or simply order a refill box. CleanCult also makes high-quality bar soap, dishwasher tablets, multi-purpose cleaning spray, dish soap, and hand sanitizer. If I ever have to go back to the laundromat, I’m taking CleanCult laundry detergent with me.

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Megan Wood
As Deputy Affiliate eCommerce Editor, Megan Wood helps Reader's Digest readers find the best products to make their lives better, easier, and more joyful. She has 10 years of service journalism and product review experience across a variety of national websites. When she’s not tracking down the best sales and deals, you can probably find her walking her dog.