Tide Laundry Detergent and Its Expense

Why is Tide so damn popular and expensive? I googled “why is tide so expensive” and came up with a bunch of forums, opinions and blogs…which really don’t serve to answer my question.

IMHO, Tide performs no better nor scents clothing better than a brand like say, Purex, which is half the cost (and what we use here at home).

What rigorous testing (if any) can one point to to explain the premium price of Tide laundry detergent, other than that it is a mega-hyped brand name within the fold of the Proctor and Gamble portfolio?

Anyone? Are there ingredients particular to Tide that other detergents do not have that cause it to be so much pricier than All, Purex, Gain, etc?

What’s the dope?

ETA: is this some kind of leftover branding mentality that came about before modern washing machines became so efficient?

I’m sure part of it is to make people think “It’s cheaper than Tide, so it must not be as good.” Not an unusual marketing ploy.

I’m sure branding has played a big part of it, but I also know whenever my mother tried to save some money by switching detergents, my father broke out in a rash wherever his clothes touched his skin. She’d go back to Tide (or Wisk – also Proctor & Gamble) and the rash would disappear.

I hate the smell of Tide and I think it makes me itch. I don’t get it at all.

Did she ever blind test him by switching detergents without his knowledge? The blogosphere seems to be rife with a married couple having a Tide-adherent in the marriage that claimed allergies to “anything other than Tide” but the other spouse sneaked in a “lesser” detergent with no ill effects.

The Consumer Reports ratings for laundry detergents have four varieties of Tide at the top of the rankings for conventional detergents (for standard top-loading machines) and two of the top five rankings for high-efficiency detergents. So it may be simply that Tide detergent is better. (And I buy a bottle of Tide detergent for about $5-6 that lasts several months and does about 39 loads, according to the label. That doesn’t seem very expensive.)

We buy the large-ish boxes of powder, and have an almost-new Fisher and Paykel high-efficiency washing machine that apparently does better with powder according to the manual. A 3lb 10oz box of Tide is about $9, the same sized-box of Purex is about $4.50. And I live in the P&G heartland, you’d think we’d get a hometown discount!


I’m seriously wondering if there’s ANY science behind something that’s double the price.

I used to think there wasn’t much difference until I quit Tide and used cheaper brands for a while, then switched back to Tide. It does work way better than most other detergents. Of course, maybe the cheap stuff is fine if your clothes don’t get that dirty, but ours do, and they need the good stuff.

In what way does it work better? Have you tested it against all the other brands?

We use Costco Ultra laundry detergent. It’s not as expensive as Tide. Ultra is made for Costco by Procter & Gamble. Tide is made by, … Procter & Gamble.

Ultra is just rebadged Tide.

Everything was a blind test. My mother did the laundry, my father had no idea what detergent she used at the time. I don’t think he even knew which detergents made him break out, and which didn’t.

I suppose if your clothes are filthy with grass stains, mud, and grease, Tide is supposed to be good. I buy the cheapest of the cheap, whatever’s on sale, $1.99 Purex, whatever. It works just fine for an office worker’s clothing, our weekly towels, our underwear. I am the rare consumer who is impervious to brand name shilling by advertisers. I pay $9 for a vat of laundry detergent and half of that - more? - is to pay the advertising company. Won’t do it.

My son has very sensitive skin, and anything but Tide Free would rash him right out. I have used other scent- and dye-free detergents, but they really don’t seem to get my clothing clean. Granted, I work in industrial construction, so this is some serious dirt I’m working on, and maybe it is all in my head, but it works for us.

Some of it may be marketing, but rashes or the lack thereof aren’t a marketing ploy. Can’t some things just be more expensive because they’re better? Even when better is subjective?

I definitely want to try the Costco version now, thanks Duckster!

Tide claims to use less inert ingredients in its detergents, specifically salts in the powdered and water in the liquid. While I can’t vouch for those claims, I don’t see their competitors refuting them, either.

It is quite common for manufacturers to make products for competitors, especially if they have excess production capacity. It does not mean the inputs and production process are of the same caliber, though. Just because a product is made in a P&G factory does not mean it is necessarily of the same quality as P&G’s flagship brands.

Costco’s Ultra may be a very good product (maybe even a superior product), but I would bet money it is not Tide in a different box.

After using other brands for years to economize, I do feel that Tide works better, defined as, my clothes are cleaner.

Over a year of washing clothes, I might save $5-10 using something cheaper. It doesn’t seem like a worthwhile savings, and anyway, I like the smell of Tide.

It was, however, very highly rated by Consumer Reports last I checked. Not proof of identical ingredients or even similarity, but some indication that it’s of high quality.

I use Tide most of the time but once in a while, especially in the winter when we don’t get our clothes as dirty, I’ll try something else. Tide just cleans my clothes better. I usually don’t buy brand names but in this area it’s worth it. Other detergents I’ve tried don’t even get perspiration odors out of clothes without using more than the recommended amount. (Wisk is second best for us and quite a bit cheaper.)

There’s probably some differences in water hardness and quality that make it not be such a stand-out at cleaning in certain areas, so if cheap detergent works for you that’s great but it doesn’t for everyone. It’s not that huge of an expense for most people.

I use a bit less than recommended though. They calculate the most they can get you to use without plugging up the washer. They are in the business of selling detergent after all.

Tide is IMO the only detergent that will get the smell, dirt and assorted grime that a horse gets on its blankets. The expensive “horse clothing wash” doesn’t do diddly.

I’ve started using it for the human’s clothes and it seems to work better than some of the other detergents I’ve used. I’ve been able to find it at the local Family Dollar for about $6 for a huge bottlefull.