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Can You Mix Different Laundry Detergents? (Is it a bad idea?)

If you have two laundry detergents, such as Tide and Gain, or different forms, such as powder and liquid, you wonder if it’s a good idea to mix them. What if you have very little of each type? Can you combine them?

You can mix different laundry detergents. First, however, make sure they’re compatible with each other by checking both detergents’ ingredients lists. Then, look them up online and see if any ingredient from one detergent will react adversely to the other.

This article will answer all possible questions about mixing different laundry detergents, like what happens when you combine laundry detergents, which detergents mix, and which brands mix. After all that, I’ll touch briefly on whether all detergents work the same, whether it’s a good idea to change laundry detergents and how to pick the perfect detergent for you. 

What Happens if You Mix Laundry Detergents?

If you’re lucky, nothing will happen. If you’re not, you may end up with a bigger mess than 50 lbs (22.68 kg) of laundry.  

If you mix similar laundry detergents, nothing should happen. However, the ingredient in one detergent can overpower or neutralize the component in another detergent. So, for example, if you’re using a detergent for sensitive skin, avoid mixing that with more potent varieties.

Can you mix specific brands of laundry detergent, though? Many brands are made using the same formula, so they can be mixed. However, certain brands are completely unique in their formulation. 

What Kind of Detergents Can Be Mixed?

When mixing laundry detergents, you need to remember only one general rule. The more similar two detergents are, the more likely they’ll mix.

The kind of detergents that can be mixed should be similar. For instance, if you have powder versions of Brand X and Y and their ingredients are the same, you can use them for the same laundry load. However, if their scents differ, you should consider whether those two smells go well together.

Can I Mix Liquid and Powdered Detergent?

Is it a good idea to mix a liquid detergent and powdered detergent of the same brand with the same ingredients?

You shouldn’t mix liquid and powdered detergents. The powdered detergent doesn’t dissolve as quickly as liquid detergent. If you combine the two in cold water, the former might leave unwanted residue on your laundry. Also, mixing powdered and liquid detergents can damage your soap dispenser.

Can I Mix Tide and Gain?

Let’s say you have 2 cups (473.18 ml) of laundry detergent. They’re identical in every way, except one is Tide, and the other is Gain. Is it okay to combine the two?

You can mix Tide and Gain powdered detergents because they share similar ingredients. To maximize their cleaning power, use detergents with the same load capacity and efficiency. For example, high-efficiency Tide should pair with high-efficiency Gain.

Let’s see how Tide pairs with another popular detergent: Arm & Hammer.

Can I Mix Arm & Hammer and Tide?

What happens if you mix Arm & Hammer with Tide? Hint: It’s probably not good.

Arm & Hammer and Tide detergents can’t mix. Tide explicitly states on its website that it doesn’t use alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates, which are non-ionic surfactants, in any of its products. Meanwhile, Arm & Hammer has C12-15 alcohols ethoxylated in its powder laundry detergent. 

How about Arm & Hammer and Gain? 

Can I Mix Arm & Hammer and Gain?

To figure out whether Arm & Hammer and Gain go together, you need to know a little chemistry. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a chemistry whiz.

Arm & Hammer and Gain can be mixed. Arm & Hammer has C12-15 alcohols ethoxylated, a non-ionic surfactant. Meanwhile, Gain has anionic surfactants. They work together to remove tough stains like oil. Also, most of the ingredients are similar, so compatibility isn’t an issue.

If your brand of choice is Purex, can you combine that one with Gain? 

Can I Mix Gain and Purex?

On paper, Gain and Purex are a good match. After all, Purex has several ingredients Gain doesn’t have.

You may not want to mix Gain and Purex. If you’re concerned about eco-friendliness, more of Gain’s detergents are harmful to the environment compared to Purex. If you want to mix Gain and Purex, pick detergents that are equally friendly or not friendly to the environment. 

Now, let’s move on to the last detergent brand in this article: Seventh Generation. How does that stack up against Gain?   

Can I Mix Gain and Seventh Generation?

As established earlier, Gain isn’t the most environmentally-friendly brand on the market. On the other hand, Seventh Generation is proud of its “healthy solutions.”

Gain and Seventh Generation’s ingredients may work well together. Although Seventh Generation brands itself as an environmentally-friendly product, its ingredients list suggests otherwise. Seventh Generation has synthetic ingredients like potassium sorbate and sodium polyaspartate.  

Next, I’ll talk about the compatibility of Purex and Seventh Generation as detergents. 

Can I Mix Purex and Seventh Generation?

Purex is another brand you don’t associate with environmental friendliness. On paper, Seventh Generation is the complete opposite.

You can mix Purex and Seventh Generation. Seventh Generation shares active ingredients with Purex, such as sodium carbonate, sodium chloride, and fragrances. Unlike Purex, however, Seventh Generation discloses its fragrance list, which includes natural oils, beta-caryophyllene, and cedrenol. 

Finally, let’s determine whether Purex and Tide work well together. 

Can I Mix Purex and Tide?

If you’re wondering whether Purex and Tide are a good match, you’ve come to the right place. The short answer is: Yes.

Purex and Tide may not combine well. The two brands share similar ingredients, such as sodium polyacrylate and sodium Laureth sulfate. However, Purex contains alcohol ethoxy sulfates. That’s identical to the ingredients Tide doesn’t have on its list, like alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates. 

In the next section, I’ll talk about Oxiclean. 

Can You Use Oxiclean As Detergent?

Whether you can use Oxiclean as a detergent depends on the form you use. Oxiclean has a laundry detergent version and a stain remover version. 

The Oxiclean stain remover can’t work as a laundry detergent. Instead, it should supplement the detergent you already use. If you want a stain remover’s strength combined with a regular detergent, buy the Oxiclean laundry detergent. 

Suppose you like your current detergent brand, but you’d like to try the Oxiclean stain remover. Is it okay to mix them?

Mixing Detergent With Oxiclean

If you’re using the detergent version of Oxiclean, you don’t need to mix it with another detergent. If you’re using the stain remover version with your current detergent, I’ll walk you through how to combine your detergent with Oxiclean.

Most washing machines use up to around 19 gallons (71.92 L) per load. If your washer requires more or less than that, go with the recommended amount. If you’re going to run a cleaning cycle with bleach, I suggest you do it before using Oxiclean. 

Otherwise, the combination of bleach and Oxiclean might produce chlorine gas.

Pour the Detergent Into the Washer per the Instructions

Some guides recommend using about half a scoop of detergent when you’re washing with Oxiclean.

You’ll want to follow the instructions as stated on your detergent label. You should also consider the type of washer you use, the amount of clothes you’re loading, and whether your detergent is high-efficiency (HE) or not.   

Pour a Scoop of Oxiclean Into the Washer

For every laundry load, use one scoop of Oxiclean. But under no circumstance should you use Oxiclean on wool and silk. The reason for this is that it might damage these fragile fabrics. It’s better to use a gentle detergent on these instead.

Soak Your Clothes in the Detergent-Oxiclean Solution

If you’re dealing with minor stains, you can soak your clothes and run the washer as usual. If you’re dealing with tough stains, soak your clothes for at least 30 minutes. Even better, you can let them sit overnight, then wash as usual.

Wash and Dry Your Clothes As Usual

Once your clothes are pre-soaked, run the normal cycle on your washer. Remember that Oxiclean is a reactive substance. 

Avoid mixing it with similar chemicals like bleach and chlorine. Also, don’t pour Oxiclean directly onto your clothes. Instead, dissolve it in water first before you soak your clothes into the solution. 

Here’s an article I wrote on mixing laundry detergent and bleach that may interest you.

Do All Laundry Detergents Work the Same?

You might be wondering which laundry detergent brand works best. Alternatively, you might have a choice between powdered, liquid, or pod detergents

Most laundry detergents work the same way. Regardless of the brand or type you use, detergents have similar ingredients that work for one purpose only, which is to make your clothes as clean and fragrant as possible. Of course, powdered, liquid, and pod detergents have pros and cons.  

In general, it doesn’t make a lot of difference in which laundry detergent you use. 

Is It Bad To Switch Laundry Detergents?

Whether it’s good or bad depends on why you’re switching detergents and which new detergent you plan to use. 

It’s not bad to switch laundry detergents. You might be allergic to the ingredients in your current detergent, or you might be more environmentally conscious. In any case, make sure the new detergent is the right one for you.

So how do you pick a new detergent?  

How To Choose a Laundry Detergent

Choosing a laundry detergent can be daunting. Many brands and types, such as powder, liquid, and pod, are available in the market. Luckily, I’m here to help you out.

Here are the ways to pick the right laundry detergent: 

  • Think about what you need from your detergent.
  • Consider the kind of washer you use. 
  • Factor in your average load.
  • Check whether the ingredients are eco-friendly.
  • Choose between price and strength.

Ready to choose your detergent? Read on to find out more.

Think About What You Need From Your Detergent

In an ideal world, all detergents are jacks-of-all-trades and masters of everything. In reality, some detergents work for specific purposes better than others. Are you looking for something that’ll whiten your clothes? Do you need a more fragrant variant than what you have now? 

If you know what you want from a detergent, you can narrow down your choices. 

Consider the Kind of Washer You Use

You’ll notice that some detergents are “HE,” meaning they work well with high-efficiency washers. If you don’t have an HE washer and use an HE detergent for it, you might have to use hot water for the detergent to clean as well as it should.  

Factor in Your Average Load

Laundry detergent labels indicate how many loads a single pack has. 

On average, top-load machines can carry 12 lbs (5.44 kg) of laundry, while front-load machines can have between 15 to 22 lbs (6.80 to 9.98 kg) of laundry. Make sure to check your machine’s load size chart before loading your laundry and buying your detergent. 

Check Whether the Ingredients Are Eco-Friendly

If you’re ordering your detergent online, you can look up the ingredients. In general, if most of the contents are “plant-based,” “biodegradable,” or “mineral-based,” it’s a good choice as far as the environment is concerned. Most laundry detergents that are eco-friendly will only have ingredients that you can pronounce.

Choose Between Price and Strength

When it comes to laundry detergents, the saying “You get what you pay for” holds. There’s usually an inverse relationship between the price and strength of a detergent. You can get plenty of brands for cheap, but they often do the bare minimum cleaning.

On the other hand, if you go with more expensive brands, they’re more likely to have ingredients that can remove tough stains like soil.  

More on why laundry detergent is so expensive here.

Conclusion

Before you mix laundry detergents, make sure their ingredients are compatible with each other. That way, you’ll have the best of both worlds. Don’t forget to check whether you’re using the right detergent type and brand next time you’re out shopping. 

Here’s my comparison between pods, liquid, and powder detergent.

I have also written a complete guide on everything you can mix with laundry detergent that may interest you to read next.

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