We Tried 9 Laundry Detergents, and Holy Sh*t, These Smell Like Expensive Perfume

Best-Smelling Laundry Detergents



I didn't care about what was in my laundry detergent or what it smelled like for years. Like most people, I'd buy whatever brand was at my local Target and would call it a day. But now, I'm changing all of that in a big way. I've recently discovered several nontoxic detergents that clean my clothes effectively and smell so good that I actually thought they were expensive designer fragrances. Now, I actively look forward to laundry day (it really is the little things in life). I'm also not one to exclude others, so I just had to share these incredible detergents that I've been using and loving lately. And that's not all—I convinced the rest of the Who What Wear beauty team to try a few more luxury-scented detergents for research purposes (obviously). Trust us, if you use one of these detergents on your clothes, someone might even mistake it for wearing Le Labo. Keep scrolling and read all of our thoughts on our favorites!

Ouai x DedCool Melrose Place Detergent

Ouai's recent detergent collaboration with DedCool is so good that it's now sold out (sad face). Luckily, a few of us on the Who What Wear beauty team were able to snag it beforehand. I love how fruity and floral it smells, with notes of pink peppercorn, berry, lychee, rose, freesia, and jasmine. The brand advises using a little bit more if you like a stronger scent, so I followed their advice. The scent is beautiful out of the bottle, and it leaves a very light fragrance afterward, but I almost wish it lingered just a tad longer.

"I love how this gives my clothes such a delicate, floral scent. It's rosy but not cloying, and it also happens to be the perfect complement to any perfume I'm planning on wearing. Notes like pink peppercorn give it a spicy edge, so it's like a complex perfume but for your clothes." — Katie Berohn, beauty editor

"I've been a fan of Ouai's Melrose Place for the longest time, so I was more than excited to get my hands on this detergent. Just like the brand's iconic fragrance, the detergent offers vibrant notes of lychee, peony, and red berries with a hint of pink peppercorn for some unexpected edge. Not only is the fragrance beyond enchanting, but it's incredibly long-lasting. If that sounds good to you, imagine how amazing you'll smell wearing this fragranced laundry detergent with a spritz of the eponymous perfume." — Maya Thomas, assistant beauty editor

Smells Like:

Key notes: Tangerine, freesia, lilies, rose, jasmine sambac, soft amber, musk, sandalwood

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Bright Colors Laundry Wash

"I can't get over how much I love this detergent. If you had asked me before trying it whether I would ever pay $45 to do my laundry, I would have thought that's an insane question, but now... I'm not sure I can ever go back to Tide. Aqua Universalis is one of my all-time favorite summery fragrances, and it always reminds me of line-dried laundry. This detergent makes my clothes smell amazing and keeps them soft. Like fancy candles and nice sheets, this might be categorized under my 'important for self-care purposes' budget." — Berohn

Smells Like:

Key notes: Lemon, bergamot, white flower accord, light musks

DedCool Dedtergent 01 Taunt

"I'm an absolute fan of DedCool, and my L.A. apartment is essentially one big showcase for the brand. You'll find approximately four of the brand's fragrances on top of my vanity, the room spray on my nightstand, the air freshener tucked into my closet, and this nontoxic detergent next to my laundry bin. Clearly, I really enjoy them. 'Taunt' (featuring notes of bergamot, fresh dew, amber, vanilla, cassis, and flowers) was the fragrance that captivated me when I was first introduced to and started wearing the brand, so it's no surprise that my enthusiasm has now extended to my laundry routine and linens as well." — Erin Jahns, beauty director

Smells Like:

Key notes: Bergamot, cassis, vanilla, amber

Dirty Labs Signature Scent Bio Laundry Detergent

"If you logged into my Amazon account, you'd instantly see that this nontoxic, biodegradable laundry detergent from Dirty Labs is the item I purchase most frequently. I've had bad luck with many natural and environmentally-friendly detergents I've tried, as they don't seem to remove stains or eliminate odors as efficiently as the traditional formulas I grew up with. But not this one! It not only makes your clothes and linens look and smell fresh, but it also has a luxurious scent that Team WWW has found to be almost identical to Le Labo." — Jahns

Smells Like:

Key notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, petitgrain, orange blossom, cedarwood, vetiver, musk

Attirecare Prima Delicate Wash

This detergent smells elegant and fresh. It has a strong floral scent (with notes of lavender) but also incorporates hints of pine, rosemary, sandalwood, and cedarwood, giving it the fragrance of a high-end perfume. It's light, floral, and airy—reminiscent of many of Jo Malone's offerings. Try this one and you'll feel as if you've enveloped yourself in a new perfume from the brand wherever you go.

Smells Like:

Key notes: French lavender, petitgrain, amber

Downy Infusions Laundry Softener Liquid Calm Lavender & Vanilla Bean

This was my go-to detergent before I switched to cleaner alternatives. The scent is uplifting, soft, and comforting with notes of lavender and vanilla bean. The fragrance is a bit strong for my taste, so if you have sensitive skin or are sensitive to fragrance in general, you may want to skip this one. But if you enjoy a lingering scent that instantly calms you down, you'll definitely want to give it a try. In many ways, it reminds me of one of my favorite Liis fragrances, Bo. Bo has a woodier scent, but the sweet and warm notes of vanilla bean stand out in both.

Smells Like:

Key notes: Elemi, tobacco leaves. redwood pine, Incense, white cedarwood, vanilla beans

Dirty Labs Murasaki Bio Laundry Detergent 

This detergent was my favorite among the options. It definitely performed the best in terms of removing stains and odors from my workout clothes, but it was the scent that truly kept me coming back. As we have already established, Dirty Labs detergents resemble Le Labo fragrances, and this one, in particular, reminded me of Le Labo's Thé Matcha 26—one of my favorite offerings from the brand. The scent is subtle on your clothes after using this detergent, but it's definitely present. The notes of jasmine, matcha, and vetiver in the detergent create a warm, floral, earthy aroma that is delightful to envelop yourself in after laundry day. Thé Matcha is slightly woodier, but both capture the scent of matcha in a beautiful way. Who would have thought? Matcha is not only for drinking, after all.

Smells Like:

Key notes: Matcha tea accord, fig, vetiver, cedarwood, bitter orange

Brooklinen Dream Clean Essential Laundry Detergent

"There's only one word that can describe the scent of this laundry detergent: warm. With notes of citrus, vanilla, and amber, it creates a cozy and uplifting experience." — Kaitlyn McLintock, associate beauty editor

Smells Like:

Key notes: Orange, pink pepper, lemon, cacao, bourbon vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli

DedCool Dedtergent Red Dakota 

"This detergent intrigued me from the start, thanks to its notes of clementine, gardenia, amber, and wild berries. The combination is both floral and fruity yet grounded, which I appreciate (a detergent with a sugary-sweet scent just isn't my preference)." — McLintock

Smells Like:

Key Notes: Gardenia, amber, bergamot