Fake laundry detergent: How to avoid buying it

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We’re all familiar with counterfeit handbags, counterfeit perfume and counterfeit just about everything else. But have you heard of counterfeit laundry detergent?

Read more: This trick will get you brighter, cleaner laundry at a fraction of the cost

Tide, Downy and Gain among the brands being counterfeited

ABC News reports that fake detergent is being sold online, at swap meets and at fundraisers nationwide. Authorities recently seized more than 400 buckets of bogus detergents around metro Los Angeles.

How can you know if you’re about to buy fake detergent? You can’t tell by the label because it’s a perfect facsimile of major brands like Tide, Downy and Gain.

Moreover, the fake stuff looks and smells like real detergent — even though lab tests have revealed that is has a much higher water content than legitimate detergent.

Fake laundry detergent: How to avoid buying it

The real clue is the size! The fake stuff comes in five- or six-gallon buckets, which is not a size of product sold by manufacturer Proctor & Gamble.  

The cost of making this bogus detergent is around $5 a bucket. But dealers routinely sell their wares for up to $25.

In lab tests, the impostor product failed to clean clothes any better than just plain old water.

In addition to hurting your wallet, there’s still a question about the safety of fake detergent.


A P&G scientist told ABC News there could be potential health hazards. ‘Without sounding too scary, the risks are quite large because we just don’t know. It would be like putting your family in a car that you have no idea where it came from,’ scientist Jack English said.

So watch out and beware of this hot scam!

To recap, here’s what you need to know about fake detergent:

  • Five- and six-gallon buckets are highly suspect as counterfeits
  • If the price seems too good to be true…it probably is!
  • If you’re really suspicious of a product, call P&G’s toll-free customer service number or visit their website to verify the authenticity

Read more: Why you’re probably washing your clothes all wrong

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