The Laundress’s First New Detergent in 6 Years Is Now Here & We Have *Thoughts*
- Value: 13/20
- Scent: 18/20
- Quality: 19/20
- Aesthetics: 18/20
- Stain-Fighting Ability: 17/20
I’d never seen someone’s eyes light up—not even my stain-fighting-obsessed grandmother’s—over talking about laundry detergent. Until someone first told me about The Laundress, that is. “It’s divine,” she gushed. Gushed! Over detergent! I was confounded. Despite covering home content as an editor for eight years, to this day laundry remains a means to an end—a chore I never look forward to doing. So, when I heard The Laundress was launching its first new product in six years, I had to try it.
Known as No. 723, this limited-edition detergent is a highly concentrated cleaner that’s Damask rose-scented. At first glance, I had two thoughts: One, this was the first bottle I’d ever consider displaying in my laundry room, rather than tucking it away on the shelf, thanks to its understated, black-and-white design and elegant serif font. Two, the bottle was…small. Sure, it’s highly concentrated, but could 16 ounces really last 32 washes? It does—but that all depends on how you use it. If you’re handwashing clothes, you can get away with 32 “loads” of laundry. You’ll be table to tackle 16 full loads in a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine, or eight in a non-HE model. At $19 a bottle, that means you’re paying anywhere from $1.19 to $2.38 per load of laundry, making it much pricier than a lot of the brands you’d find at Target or Walmart.
So what are you getting at that higher cost, aside from a pretty package? I’ll be honest, my whites looked crisper and my clothes seemed softer after each wash. The standout, however, was how sophisticated the scent was—I anticipated unscrewing the lid and being punched with an overwhelming potpourri smell, as many rose-scented products tend to skew. Not here. It was a light floral, like what I’d expect every scene smelled like as Keira Knightley ran through the gardens in Pride and Prejudice. It turns out that’s because the Damask rose isn’t one-note; it also features geranium, jasmine, lily of the valley, and amber gives it a little spice. The end result is layered and subtle. You get a waft as you throw in the laundry, but it won’t, say, overpower your diffuser as you fold clothes afterward.
What’s also nice is that No. 723 is biodegradable, allergen-free and isn’t tested on animals. Like many detergents on the market today, it’s also phosphate and phthalate-free, so it’s less harmful to the environment.
My only "negatives" were the cost—it’s a bit more of an investment—and that while I liked the rose scent, I actually wished it was a little stronger. Some reviewers felt the opposite, but I enjoy being able to smell the fragrance as I take clothes out of the dryer. No. 723 is much more nuanced, making me realize that my laundry preferences are a bit like Taylor Swift’s description of parties in “The Last Great American Dynasty”: tasteful, if a little loud. Laundress, you can bump up the scent on that detergent for me any day. Oh, and if you decide to make that scent into a perfume, or a shampoo, count me in.