Best Laundry Detergents for Hard Water of 2022

Is hard water ruining your clothes?

Hard water can be a significant issue in certain areas. Issues such as dull laundry, white stains, and bad odors on clothing are only some of the problems you could be dealing with.

Washing your laundry in hard water can be tricky since some detergents don’t react well with the minerals, causing scum to form. To combat this issue, we’re here to help you find the best laundry detergent for hard water.

Our Top Picks

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Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder (100 Loads, 1 Pack) Fragrance Free Hypoallergenic Plant Based Deep Cleaning Laundry Powder – Biodegradable Eco Friendly Sustainable Laundry Detergent
Best Overall
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
  • Safe for all types of washing machines
  • Works in all water conditions
  • Phosphate-free
Product Image of the Charlie's Soap Booster & Hard Water Treatment (2.64 Lbs, 1 Pack) Natural Powdered Water Softener and Laundry Booster – Non-Toxic, Safe and Effective
Best Booster
Charlie's Soap Laundry Booster
  • Eco-friendly
  • Safe in septic systems
  • Reduces limescale
Product Image of the Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent, Mountain Breeze, 2X Concentrated, 2 Count, 252 Total Loads
Best Application
Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Tough on stains
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Long-lasting scent
Product Image of the all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Clear for Sensitive Skin, 2X Concentrated, 110 Loads
Best for Sensitive Skin
All Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Free from perfumes & dyes
  • Washes effectively at any temperature
Product Image of the Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent Plus OxiClean, Fresh Scent, 70 loads
Best OxiClean Formula
Arm & Hammer OxiClean Detergent
  • Contains non-ionic surfactants
  • Low-sud formula
  • Removes tough stains effectively
Product Image of the Rockin' Green 45oz (90 Loads) Hard Rock Laundry Powder Detergent for Hard Water - All Natural Laundry Soap Powder - Biodegradable & Vegan - Safe for Sensitive Skin, Lavender Mint
Best Powder Detergent
Rockin' Green Natural Powder
  • Natural formula
  • Low pH level
  • Free of parabens & phosphates
Product Image of the Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original, 75 Fluid Ounces, 96 Total Loads (Pack of 2)
Best Deep Clean
Persil ProClean Liquid Detergent
  • Deep clean
  • Can be used in cold water
  • Brightens whites & colors without damage

How Does Hard Water Affect Laundry?

Hard water is high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. The hardness is measured by how many minerals are present. Areas with hard water will experience several issues such as limescale buildup (1).

This can reduce the efficiency of your appliance significantly, causing them to use more energy. You might begin to notice an increase in your energy bills due to this problem (2).

However, one of the more embarrassing effects of hard water is that you might begin to notice that your whites aren’t white anymore, but gray. Colors might start to fade, white marks will show, and fibers will weaken (3).

Choosing the Best Laundry Detergent for Hard Water

To successfully clean your clothes without trouble, you’ll need an effective product. The following factors all play a role in how well such a product will work for you.


One of the main issues with hard water comes into play when it’s heated. This can be seen in your kettle or even inside a water heater. As you heat hard water, scale forms, which can be identified by small, white specks. When you’re washing laundry, you can reduce this effect by using a low temperature.

We strongly suggest that you choose a detergent that can be used in lower temperatures. Not only can this help to keep hard water issues at bay, but it’s also better for the environment. A washing machine uses a significant amount of energy to heat the water; this can damage your laundry, not to mention raise your energy bills (4).

Liquid vs. Powder

This can sometimes be an issue no matter the condition of the water. Some people prefer powder detergents, while others prefer liquid. However, we’ll let you in on a little secret: liquids are better when it comes to hard water. This is because liquid detergents contain non-ionic surfactants.

Non-ionic surfactants don’t hold or cause electrical charges in the water. This makes them unable to react with magnesium and calcium ions present in hard water — making the detergent more effective without you needing to add more (5). Powder detergents require you to use more to achieve the same results.

When washing in hard water, you actually don’t need to choose a product that’s marked for hard water. However, look at the label for non-ionic surfactants, such as ethoxylates, for the best result.

Softening Your Water

Softening your water is the most effective way to avoid hard water troubles. There are a few ways to do this without having to invest in a large softening system:

  • Borax: An effective way to combat hard water issues is by adding half a cup of borax to the load. Borax will raise the pH level of the water slightly, bringing it closer to neutral (6). Hard water is alkaline and, therefore, needs to be neutralized (7).
  • Vinegar: Another way to do so is by adding vinegar. Add one cup of vinegar for each gallon of water. The acid in the vinegar will help to neutralize hard water and thereby soften it.

Take Note

Borax and vinegar are effective; however, they should be used separately. Mixing the two can cause them to react, creating a salt.

Best Laundry Detergents for Hard Water of 2022

1. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder

Best Overall

If you’re looking for a laundry detergent to combat hard water issues, this could be your go-to. Its concentrated formula uses biodegradable surfactants that are plant-based to reduce the effects of hard water, such as dullness.

This formula can be used in regular washing machines as well as high-efficiency washers. HE washers use less energy and water while washing; therefore, they require a low-sudsing detergent (8).

You’ll get 2.64 pounds of powdered detergent with your purchase — this should last for up to 100 washes. Use a two-thirds tablespoon of detergent straight into the washer. However, it may take up to three washing per item to achieve the deepest clean if this is your first time using this product.

We love the fresh scent this detergent leaves on the laundry. It isn’t as overpowering as other brands, yet it’s long-lasting.

One downside to this product is that it’s tricky to pour. The large opening can cause a few spills if you’re not careful. To combat this, we highly recommend pouring the contents into a measuring cup or tablespoon before adding it directly into the washer, not the machine dispenser.


  • Safe for all types of washing machines.
  • Can be used in hand washing.
  • Works in all water conditions.
  • Phosphate-free.


  • Unscented, which others with preference to scented ones won’t like.

Additional Specs

Size 2.64 lbs
Number of Loads 100
Safe to Use in Standard and HE washing machines
Scent Fragrance-free
Form Powder

2. Charlie’s Booster and Hard Water Treatment

Best Booster

Sometimes, our regular laundry detergent just needs a little boost to overcome the effects of hard water. This booster from Charlie’s Soap is both environmentally friendly and highly effective.

The formula contains an eco-friendly phosphate that removes stiffness and white marks caused by hard water. Some detergent boosters tend to leave an annoying residue on darker clothes; however, this product will rinse off completely during the wash.

You can use this booster in any type of machine, whether yours is an HE model, or a front- or top-loading one. All you need to do is add half a tablespoon to each load, and it will control the minerals present in the water.

What makes this product even better is the fact that it reduces limescale within your machine and pipes. Because the formula is non-toxic and soluble, it’s perfectly safe to use in septic systems as well.


  • Eco-friendly.
  • Safe in septic systems.
  • Works for all types of washing machines.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Reduces limescale.


  • The main ingredient is phosphate, which puts many customers off.

Additional Specs

Size 2.64 pounds
Number of Loads Not specified
Safe to Use in Not specified
Scent Unscented
Form Powder

3. Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent

Best Application

Purex is a well-known brand loved by many homeowners across the U.S. Although this formula isn’t made specifically for hard water, it’s still highly effective at reducing issues such as stains, due to the surfactants in the formula. They go deep into the fabric to lift and dissolve tough stains, such as white water marks.

You can use this detergent for every wash without worrying about wearing out color or fabric. The long-lasting Mountain Breeze fragrance will freshen up your laundry and eliminate bad odors caused by hard water.

It’s easy to pour the detergent into the dispenser using the spigot and cup. You get two 82.5 ounces, which should last you up to 220 washes.


  • Tough on stains.
  • Safe for everyday use.
  • Long-lasting scent.
  • Easy to pour.


  • Bottle tends to leak.

Additional Specs

Size 2 bottles of 82.5 ounces
Number of Loads 110 each
Safe to Use in Standard and high-efficiency machines
Scent Mountain Breeze
Form Liquid

4. All Liquid Laundry Detergent

Best for Sensitive Skin

If you have young children, be very aware of which detergent you’re using. Strongly perfumed formulas can cause skin irritations for the little ones, so you should go for something milder (9).

All’s liquid laundry detergent is a hypoallergenic formula that’s recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians. It cleans effectively while leaving your laundry residue-free.

One of the main reasons we like this detergent is that it can be used in cold water. Washing laundry in hot temperatures can increase hard water issues such as white stains. As the minerals are heated, they form scale that adheres to the laundry, machine, and pipes.

A downside is that it’s unscented, so you shouldn’t expect any particular fragrance on your laundry.


  • Hypoallergenic formula.
  • Free from perfumes and dyes.
  • Washes effectively at any temperature.
  • Can be used in any washing machine.


  • Small bottle.
  • Fragrance-free.

Additional Specs

Size 82.5 ounces
Number of Loads 110
Safe to Use in Any type of washing machine
Scent Unscented
Form Liquid

5. Arm & Hammer OxiClean Liquid Detergent

Best OxiClean Formula

Baking soda is effective at removing hard water stains from different surfaces such as glass and drains (10). We love using this Arm & Hammer detergent to reduce hard water effects on laundry.

The formula uses a combination of baking soda and OxiClean ingredients that keep whites white and colors bright. Ingredients include non-ionic surfactants that are highly effective at combating the effects of minerals (11). It’s also a low-sud formula that rinses off easily without leaving a residue, and is safe for both standard and HE machines.

Arm & Hammer claim the detergent will remove over 101 types of stains, and we don’t doubt that claim. Customers were very pleased with how thoroughly their laundry was cleaned compared to other detergents.

One downside to this product is its scent. It’s very pungent, and several customers found it to be too much.

Multiple customers also received a product that had leaked into the packaging, so this is something to consider as well.


  • Contains non-ionic surfactants.
  • Low-sud formula.
  • Removes tough stains effectively.
  • Safe for all types of washing machines.


  • Very strong scent.

Additional Specs

Size 122.5 ounces
Number of Loads Not specified
Safe to Use in Standard and HE machines
Scent Fresh scent
Form Liquid

6. Rockin’ Green Natural Powder Detergent

Best Powder Detergent

If you’re looking for a detergent that’s gentle on your laundry but tough on stains, this is it. This powder detergent is a strong but natural formula that’s popular with parents of young children.

When washing children’s clothes, be wary of strong products. However, because this is natural, it won’t cause any skin irritations or leave behind a residue — it’s also safe to use with cloth diapers.

A little goes a very long way with this detergent. It’s a concentrate and therefore contains no fillers or dyes to pump up the content. Rockin’ Green claims the 45-ounce bag will last up to 90 loads if used as directed.

There are no phosphates, parabens, SLS, brighteners or bleach in the formula. It’s a simple vegan, biodegradable, gluten-free, and animal-cruelty-free detergent.

Rockin’ Green has also reduced the pH level of the powder detergent to make it gentler on fabrics.

A major downside to this product is the price. It’s significantly more expensive compared to other products. Some customers also found that they needed to use more of it than instructed.


  • Natural formula.
  • Low pH level.
  • Free of parabens, phosphates, and other harmful ingredients.
  • One bag will last a long time.
  • Excellent for kids’ clothing and cloth diapers.


  • Pricey.

Additional Specs

Size 45 ounces
Number of Loads 90
Safe to Use in All types of washing machines
Scent Lavender and mint
Form Powder

7. Persil ProClean Liquid Detergent

Best Deep Clean

The Persil ProClean detergent is excellent for everyday use. It’s a powerful formula that consists of surfactants and enzymes. These ingredients lift and dissolve stains efficiently while brightening laundry that might’ve been affected by hard water.

You can use this detergent at cold temperatures as well. This will help to reduce the effects of hard water, such as limescale and white stains. As water is heated, scale is formed within the washer; this can linger on the machine, pipes, and laundry (12).

We also really like this because it’s a liquid detergent. It provides a deeper clean without leaving an annoying or skin-irritating residue behind.

This packet includes two 75-ounce bottles of Persil ProClean — enough for 96 washes. The detergent has a fresh scent that you’ll surely recognize if you’re a Persil fan.

Persil ProClean is safe to use in any standard or high-efficiency machine. But, if you’re doing a large load or dealing with tough stains, you might need to add a bit more detergent.


  • Deep clean.
  • Fresh scent.
  • It can be used in cold water.
  • Brightens whites and colors without damage.


  • Scent isn’t long-lasting.

Additional Specs

Size 75 ounces
Number of Loads 48
Safe to Use in All machines
Scent Original Persil scent
Form Liquid

Laundry Detergent For Hard Water Comparison Chart

Product Best Size Number of Loads Safe to Use in Scent Form
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder Overall 2.64 lbs 100 Standard, HE washing machines Fragrance-free Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster Booster 2.64 lbs N/A Standard, HE washing machines Unscented Powder
Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent Application 82.5 oz 220 Standard, HE washing machines Mountain Breeze Liquid
All Liquid Laundry Detergent Sensitive Skin 82.5 oz 110 All types of washing machines Unscented Liquid
Arm & Hammer OxiClean Detergent OxiClean Formula 122.5 oz N/A Standard, HE washing machines Fresh scent Liquid
Rockin’ Green Natural Powder Powder Detergent 45 oz 90 All types of washing machines Lavender and mint Powder
Persil ProClean Liquid Detergent Deep Clean 75 oz 48 All types of washing machines Original Persil scent Liquid

The Verdict

Washing your laundry in hard water can result in a few unwanted surprises such as white marks, stiffness, and dullness. However, by using the best laundry detergent for hard water, you can reduce or even eliminate these effects.

When looking for the right detergent, we recommend that you choose liquid over powder due to its non-ionic surfactants. These work efficiently against the effects of hard water and will give you a better result.

Headshot of Sylvia Jones

About the Author

Sylvia Jones

Sylvia Jones is a hands-on, DIY aficionado from Indiana. She is passionate about home improvement, gardening, and environmental conservation. In her spare time, you can find Sylvia getting involved in home improvement projects around the house with her husband, or spending quality time out in the yard.