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Tips for buying laundry detergent

January 25, 2010

We are constantly reminded that non-food items are more expensive at grocery stores than big box stores. Is this true? Not at the stores I checked in central Iowa! The laundry detergent, Xtra, was cheaper than the store brands at 3 of the 4 stores, and only one cent more at Fareway. Also, the store brands were almost always more than the Xtra brand.

This just goes to show that sometimes you have to get out your calculator and do the math to figure out the best price. Unit price = cost/unit (loads, ounces, number of items). However,  unit price doesn’t compare quality or consider your family’s preferences.

So where should we go to get the most economically-priced laundry detergent? If you are grocery shopping and need laundry detergent, I would recommend purchasing it there. It will save you the time and fuel used in making the trip to a big box store. 

With laundry detergent, another way to save is to carefully measure out the recommended amount instead of just pouring directly into the washer.






per load price




$0.10 for Purex
(did not have Xtra)

Store Brand
per load price


Countryfare: $0.08

Great Value: $0.14


Unit cost for detergent (unit is one load). Central Iowa, January, 2010. 

 -advice from Amanda

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  1. I find it really frustrating buying laundry detergent. There’s a million different brands with all brands having a dozen different formulas, packages sizes, super sizes, extra clean, new formula etc. and all I want is reasonably priced laundry detergent that works.

    In some stores a larger box can cost more per kg or per load, you have to check the price yourself.