OK, so I know this isn’t a food post, but I wanted to start posting some product reviews here and there when I find an off-brand product at a discount store that has good value for a cheap price.
Enter ALDI’s Astra liquid concentrated laundry detergent. I generally try to separate buying household items from my regular food grocery trips (it helps me track what I’m spending money on a little better), but sometimes you’re just out of something and don’t want to wait.
Last week, I was at ALDI and noticed they had two different liquid detergents. The Astra, priced about $2.69 for a 50-oz. bottle, said, “Compare to Purex.” A more expensive bottle ($5.99, I think) whose brand name I can’t remember, said, “Compare to Tide.” I normally use Tide, which is expensive as can be but one of the only things I trusted to de-scent my toddler’s potty training accidents. Just the same, I wasn’t betting the farm on whatever generic brand I found, so I just went with Astra, the cheap Purex knockoff.
Holy cow, was I impressed. Not only did it get the job done, I actually downgraded the remnants of my bottle of Tide at home to washing only our regular, grown-up, urine-free loads. Most of the time, no matter what brand I use, even mixed with Febreeze or Borax or baking soda or whatever else, I have to run my son’s loads at least twice to get all the smell out. (He goes to daycare and they put his soiled clothes in ziploc bags to take home, which means that ammonia smell sets in something awful in only a few hours’ time. It’s horrid.)
Not the case with the Astra. One trip through the washer on the warm water cycle (not hot, which sets in smells, by the way), and it was ready for the dryer. EVEN HIS SHOES.
Damn. That’s some good laundry soap. Particularly when a 50-oz. bottle of Tide can cost up to eight bucks if it’s not on sale, and is never below five bucks even on the best bargain days. And apparently I’m not the only skeptical shopper who’s been completely won over by Astra–just check out these product reviews I found after the fact:
Associated Content Product Review — Astra Laundry Detergent–I think this review, written in July 2008, was written before the detergents all became 2x concentrated instead of fully constituted (back when the bottles were enormous)…that would explain the $1.99 price for twice as many ounces only a year ago, and also the comment about the thinness of the liquid, which I did not notice with the 2x concentrate kind.
The Dollar Stretcher — Cheaper Laundry Detergents–This site, in addition to naming Astra the top value in detergent, has many handy tips for making clothes last longer and getting the best bang for your laundry buck.
Pinstripes and Polka Dots — Best Detergent rankings for Cloth Diapers–This site has some goofy CSS issues going on in its template at the top, but scroll down and you’ll get into the rankings just fine. Astra got rated four stars for effectiveness on baby diapers (not an easy feat)!
So…all things considered, I’ve only got one thing to say:
Goodbye, Tide — Hello, Astra!