Disappointed With Costco Laundry Detergent: Didn't Clean Well

by SR101 Reader

Below are several reviews of Kirkland laundry detergent liquid, in the scented version, shared by readers.

SR101 Reader says:

This detergent is okay. My colors look bright, but the clothes are still showing signs of not being clean in the underarm area, and other high perspiration areas.

I though I had a winner until we started to fold tees, socks and thin tops.

However, the towels and heavier stuff did much better with this detergent.

Because of the issues with the perspiration areas though I won't buy this one again.

Taylor says:

Thanks so much for sharing this review of Costco detergent.

Most of the reviews I've received previously have had to do with laundry detergent allergy issues, so I am happy to hear one sharing how it worked for cleaning your clothes, although it doesn't sound like it worked too well for you.

***Update: I've gotten another review from another reader, now, who also reported allergy issues from this version. You can read it here (warning, there is a non-graphic picture of an allergic skin reaction).

I would love to hear from even more people sharing how Kirkland laundry detergent, from Costco, worked for cleaning their clothes. You can share your laundry detergent review here, for this or any other brand, telling me your experiences with it, good or bad.

Photo courtesy of m01229

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Costco Laundry Pods Are Great

by Kathy

For those of you who don't want to make their own detergent, the Consumers Report gave the Costco pods a high rating over Tide pods.

I have been using them for months and our family laundry is not noticing any change at all.

It is much cheaper than the Tide Pods and so convenient for me. It is another choice.

I have extremely sensitive skin and this does not bother me either, which is a HUGE plus!

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Who Is Kirkland Liquid Detergent Manufactured By?

by SR101 Reader

An SR101 Reader asked me this question about Kirkland liquid laundry detergent.

SR101 Reader's Question:

Does anyone know who Kirkland liquid laundry detergent is made by?

I've been told to stay away from all SUN detergent manufactured products (the manufacturers of both Sun and All) due to a severe allergic reaction I had to a product manufactured by Sun Detergent (HomeLife that is Albertson's generic brand).

Or if anyone has an 800 number on the back of the bottle, can you please provide that ... if no one knows who actually distributes it? Thanks!

Taylor says:

I searched and searched and I couldn't figure out who manufactures this product either. I would assume its not highly publicized since many companies don't want others to know they sell private brand labels rights for a cheaper price than the brand name many of the times.

I did find one article from a blog, called EasyEcoBlog, which stated:
Costco lists all active agreements. Coconut and palm oils ingredients as well as natural plant oils are used. MSDS documents are tough to get. Calling Costco at 800-774-2678 lead to a recommendation to call their supplier for these products, Huish detergents – Sun Products, at 800-776-6702. You can call them and ask for the MSDS documents.
This suggests at least some of the detergents are manufactured by Sun, but I wouldn't really say this blog is anything close to official, so I'm not sure of its accuracy.

In additional, this blog was referring to the Kirkland Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent, so I don't know that it has the same manufacturer as the Ultra and Free & Clear versions.

My suggestion would be to call the Member services 800 number, which is 1-800-774-2678, and hopefully they will be able to answer your questions, or transfer you to someone who can. If you do find out for sure who manufactures this product I'd love to know!

I've answered this question (at least to the best of my ability) as part of my laundry questions section of the site. You can ask me your own questions here, or read answers to other questions I've already answered.

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Comments for Who Is Kirkland Liquid Detergent Manufactured By?

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house brand
by: Donna

Costco's house brands are reasonably priced and they are always highly rated by Consumer Reports.

works great
by: Julie

Costco brand "Kirkland" liquid laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets work great.

Kirkland Institutional Laundry Detergent - Concentrated
by: Vaughan

It's been removing color from colored cotton tee shirts in a splotchy fashion. Looks like a marbleizing effect.

Give me my Tide pods!!
by: Anonymous

Sorry, but not happy with Kirkland pods. Our Costco in Montebello, CA is only carrying Kirkland pods, and not happy with the results!!!! Tide !!!!!!!! 100X better.

Kirkland Washing Pods Odor
by: Anonymous

I noticed a sour odor on my clothes and towels after using the pods, thought it was my washer but that was not the case, so I stopped using the Kirkland pods and went back to my regular washing liquid detergent and the odor was gone. Tried it again with pods the odor was there again, I have so many left but will not use them.

Not HE compatible
by: Anonymous

I purchased this after reading the Costco magazine. My laundry smells nice and have not noticed a problem with cleaning. HOWEVER, it does not seem to be HE compatible. I have to rinse loads a couple of times to remove soap even though I use less than directed!!

I think it might be causing bleach marks
by: Barry

We've had 3 sets of sheets ruined by what appears to be a bleach stain when using Kirkland Ultra. I've had some solid color polo shirts to show a faint splotchy bleached stain. Wondering if a whitening agent is stratifying. Tough to try shaking this big container each time.

Kirkland Pacs - I think they're made by SUN
by: Lee

I would say that the Kirkland Pacs are indeed made by SUN - if you look at the tub - it is almost identical the the tubs of ALL (a SUN brand) and the pacs themselves look just like the ALL ones.

I am allergic to this detergent
by: Jenny

I got a very bad reaction from using Kirkland detergent. It started from my ankles first, I felt itching so much, then few weeks later my legs, full of red bumps. I felt I wanted to die. I could not stop scratching, I didn't not know what caused it. Second day I went to the doctor. He could not figure out what caused it. I have no changing diet, just even in a regular life, thought it might be bug bites since I went to a boat, I used friends blanket to cover my legs. I got ointment for that, but second day it got worst. I woke up at night, too itchy, in the morning I found my lips swollen. I called Doctor, she saw me through video but only told me it's an allergy, not sure what caused it. I started 4 kinds of medicine, it didn't help me. Then I started searching online to seek what caused my allergy, finally I locked in detergent I started to use few month ago. It made sense. I washed all bedding and cloth without detergent. I felt better that night, had a good sleep. I post my experience here to help people know about detergent allergy.

Kirkland Scented Laundry Detergent
by: Tim Arnold

OK. I'm not a stranger to scented detergents. I used Tide for decades and the scent was a mild clean fragrance. Kirkland Scented Laundry Detergent is a full out assault on the human olfactory system. It smells as though I tossed about 1000 fabric softener sheets in the dryer. The smell (which is more odiferous than a French Bordello) could knock a crap-drunk buzzard off a manure wagon at high noon. Am I being fairly clear on how strong and pungent the "scent" is on this stuff? I don't appreciate all of my clothes smelling like I took a bath in women's perfume...god save the queen!

I will NEVER EVER EVER buy this stuff again, and I hope to god I can get a rebate on the unused gallon and a half.

can laundry detergent CAUSE stains?
by: Phyllis Moraros

On a number of occasions, grey stains have appeared on clothing just washed. Appliance repairmen have told me that no way this could be caused by washing machine. Stains do not disappear with subsequent washings. Has anyone else experienced this?

response to Phyllis re detergent potentially causing stains
by: Taylor

Phyllis, thanks for your question. There are a lot of instances people have complained about where washing clothes in a washing machine had actually caused stains. It can be really tough to figure out what is happening, and there are often multiple possible causes. Here's an article about washing machine stains that can hopefully help you more.

Costco Ultra clean scent
by: Anonymous

I wound up with a sinus infection because the scent has become so strong. At first I would rinse the clothes an extra time or two but I still wound up with an infection and have been on an antibiotic.

by: Anonymous

Like some of the other comments, I experienced bleaching splotches on cotton bed linens and recently two pairs of jeans. I'm guessing that it might be due to adding detergent before the washer is completely filled with water but I never had this problem with other detergents. Even though it's cheaper than other laundry products, when you factor the costs of the ruined sheets, pillow cases, and other items, it's highly expensive. I'm switching.

Overpowering Scent
by: Anonymous

I agree about the super strong scent of the Costco Liquid detergent. My wife washed my underwear and socks in it and I can smell it emanating from underneath my desk. It is WAY too powerful - people want a light lingering odor of cleanliness, not to get hit with a sledgehammer of fake floral stench. I'd rather pay more for an unscented, undyed version of All than this stuff - never again!

Kirkland pods allergic reactions
by: Anonymous

My wife bought the Kirkland pods. All three of us have now broken out with painful lumps in various places. Switching back to our old brand.

Stained clothes
by: Anonymous

Was a good detergent until the formula was changed. Ruined many cothes with light blue stains. At first thought it was Downy. Stopped using Downy, still more stains. Thought it might be the washer, until out of town. Used a different washer and more stains.

Itchiness and burning using Kirkland Detergent
by: Anonymous

I have been eliminating foods, clothing and everything I can think of that could be causing my arms and legs itch and burn. I had problems with another detergent a few years ago. But I forgot about it until I could not get rid of the itchiness and burning on my skin. I do not seem to have problems with Tide which I have used for years. The moment I switch to another detergent I seem to come across this problem. This has been a miserable experience this pass month and a half, which I don't intend to go through again. I'm taking my Kirkland unopen pod box back to Costco and I will never buy it again.

Kirkland detergent PODS
by: Anonymous

Terrible product. Used once and ruined my entire load of laundry. Stained each item and stains do not come out. Company does not stand behind their product. Do not buy! Stick with non generic brand!

doesn't compare to Tide at all
by: Steve

Made to look like Tide, but not even close. It's what I call a Chinese knock off. It doesn't clean like Tide does, but that's why price is half. So be aware, this doesn't compare to Tide at all.

by: Anonymous

Did Kirkland change the scent of liquid laundry soap cause it smells different (in a not good way).

Kirkland's liquid detergent skin irritation
by: Deb

I developed a terrible skin rash up my shins and thighs which took about 3 weeks to realize it was the laundry detergent. It has been the worst skin rash with the most intense itching, I thought I had been bitten by fleas, chigger (even put clear polish on the areas) in hopes it would stop all the intense itching. Even steroid cream didn't help because I was exposing myself over and over until the light bulb came on! Lol Today I am switching back to Tide but know it will be a while before the itching goes away. Costco should remove this from the shelf.

Very upset with this product
by: Anonymous

Kirkland ruined my brand new towels!! Very disappointed and upset with product!!! I will stick with TIDE! It’s never ruin any of our clothes. Don’t buy.

Love this detergent
by: April

We recently became Costco members, and homeowners! We don't visit Costco too often but last time we did I made sure to pick up another set of the Kirkland detergent and fabric softener. I enjoy the smell but wish it was stronger! We have a top load machine and I wash everything on cold and add Borax or Arm & Hammer booster and use a rotary outdoor line to dry. The first set we have we purchased in December 2020 and are still using it (6/28/21.) I do 2-3 loads a week for a total of 4.5 people. In the past I've used Persil, Arm & Hammer, Gain, etc. We have septic now so haven't used bleach in months. I miss that smell and have used OxiClean White Reviver on our whites and this scent is also very mild. I've looked for ways to get my laundry to smell stronger but the scent is mild enough to enjoy. I have also noticed splotching on our sheets but nothing to really say looked like bleach? Air drying stuff sometimes causes fabrics to fade so it's hard to say which is the factor. So far none of my family has experienced allergies. I guess I still have the unused set I bought to go through before changing but for now we are satisfied with the quality of these products.

Pure tee stinks
by: Anonymous

My son's dad has been washing my son's clothes in this for a few years. The smell on his clothes when I pick him up smells like a terrible putrid incense smell. I cannot place the scent, but this scent honestly makes me heave. I had my son show me what the detergent was finally. All I see is fresh scent on the label. Not fresh at all. Ugh.

I like it
by: Anonymous

I have sensitive skin, so I buy the Kirkland Free and Clear and just finished one jug. I double rinse to avoid any residue whether it's Tide or another brand. My clothes are clean, and I don't smell any lingering scent.

Kirkland Signature Refreshing Scent allergy
by: Anonymous

At the age of 71 I have never been allergic to any laundry detergents (or foods). This detergent was driving me nuts in that the welts, red bumps, itching!, distortion of face including lips swelling, eyes shutting to just slits for swollen eyes, severe itching. I am POSITIVE this Kirkland Liquid affected me this way. (Then I went to Tide Original liquid & after 4 wks affected me also.)

Kirkland UltraClean has made me miserable
by: Zofia

Took me a week of suffering, two visits to UrgentCare/clinic, loads of prescription drugs -- oral and topical - and another half week of constant laundering -- and I still don’t see an end in sight.

It’s the red plastic bottle --the Kirkland UltraClean (and I didn’t ‘over use’ as it’s labeled for ‘HE’ appliances and I followed the usage instructions.) Don’t have sensitive skin and never had allergies or such an allergic reaction to something.

I wonder if all these people posting have taken their complaints to the corporations / corporate offices? Or the federal governing agency that supposedly watchdogs these types of situations. I’m surprised no one has started a class-action lawsuit.

Couldn’t eat and/or sleep. First thought I had some sort of infestation (like others have written), then some contact with poison ivy / oak. Scheduled an exterminator, drove myself and my husband crazy -- he had no reaction (yet) and told me to go to a motel for a night as a ‘control’. Things were getting ridiculous. These products should not be on the shelves -- removed even if (only) 10% of consumers are having these reactions. This is unconscionable. What is it back to ‘caveat emptor’? That the responsibility and fallout of safety in product usage falls strictly on the buyer?

I lost my measure for Kirkland liquid detergent
by: Sylvia

How much should I use, approximately?

measurement of liquid
by: Anonymous

I, too, lost the measuring cup. How many ounces per load?

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