Do You Need a Laundry Detergent Booster?

Laundry detergent boosters are supplemental products that can be used in conjunction with regular laundry detergent to help improve cleaning performance. Here is a detailed look at laundry booster ingredients, types, benefits, and whether they are necessary for your laundry needs.

What Are Laundry Detergent Boosters?

Laundry detergent boosters, also known as laundry enhancers or laundry additives, are products designed to be used along with regular laundry detergent. They contain special ingredients and technologies to help tackle specific laundry cleaning challenges such as:

  • Removing tough stains
  • Brightening whites
  • Eliminating odors
  • Softening fabrics

Some common types of laundry detergent boosters include:

Oxygen Bleach Boosters

Oxygen bleach boosters contain sodium percarbonate, a substance that releases oxygen when dissolved in water. This helps to lift and remove stubborn stains.

Stain Removal Boosters

These contain powerful stain-fighting ingredients such as enzymes and surfactants to penetrate, break down, and remove set-in stains.

Brightening Boosters

Brighteners contain optical brighteners that reflect light to make whites appear brighter and eliminate dinginess.

Softening Boosters

Fabric softener boosters help reduce fabric stiffness and static cling while making clothes feel softer.

Anti-Residue Boosters

These help prevent detergent buildup on clothes that can make them look dull over time.

Benefits of Using Laundry Detergent Boosters

There are several advantages to using laundry detergent boosters:

  • Enhanced cleaning power – The special ingredients in boosters provide extra cleaning strength to tackle specific laundry problems regular detergent may not handle as well on its own.
  • Stain removal – Boosters with enzymes and surfactants can penetrate set-in stains like food, grass, blood, grease, and more to help remove them.
  • Whitening – Optical brighteners reflect light to make whites appear brighter and eliminate dingy graying.
  • Odor elimination – Some boosters contain odor-fighting agents to leave laundry smelling fresh.
  • Softening – Fabric softener boosters reduce stiffness and static cling.
  • Anti-residue – Preventing detergent buildup helps clothes retain vibrancy and brightness.

When to Use Laundry Boosters

Here are some of the most common situations when using a laundry detergent booster can be beneficial:

For Heavily Soiled Laundry

If clothes are very dirty with ground-in stains, a booster provides extra cleaning power to get them clean.

For Brightening Dingy Whites

Using an oxygen bleach or brightening booster helps restore brightness to whites.

When Facing Hard Water Issues

Boosters can help overcome mineral residue and dinginess from hard water.

For Workout and Sports Clothes

The odor-fighting ingredients in boosters help eliminate sweat smells. Enzymes tackle stains.

For Baby Clothes

The powerful stain-fighting enzymes in boosters help remove food, formula, and diaper stains.

For Delicates and Fine Fabrics

A softening booster helps prevent stretching and damage to delicates in the wash.

Are Laundry Detergent Boosters Necessary?

Laundry boosters are not essential for every load of laundry, but they can provide helpful targeted cleaning power when you need it. Here are some guidelines on when to consider using them:

  • For stained, dingy, or heavily soiled laundry, boosters can provide extra cleaning strength.
  • If you regularly struggle with set-in stains, odor, fabric damage, or reside buildup, boosters can help overcome these chronic issues.
  • Boosters are useful if you have hard water or wash especially dirty clothes like sports uniforms.
  • For most everyday lightly soiled loads, your regular detergent is sufficient. Boosters give extra power when needed.
  • It’s a good idea to have boosters on hand for occasional laundry challenges, even if you don’t need them for every load.

How to Use Laundry Detergent Boosters

Follow these tips to properly use laundry detergent boosters:

  • Read label directions carefully as amounts vary by brand. Using too much can leave residue.
  • Add the booster at the same time as the detergent in the wash cycle.
  • For stain-fighting, apply booster directly on the stain first, let sit, then launder as usual.
  • Don’t mix chlorine bleach with oxygen bleach boosters as this causes chemical reactions.
  • Make sure to use the correct type of booster for the needed benefit (stain removal, whitening, etc).

The Bottom Line

Laundry detergent boosters provide helpful extra cleaning power when you need a little boost for tough stains, dinginess, odors, and other laundry problems. While not mandatory for every load, keeping boosters like oxygen bleach, stain removers, and brighteners on hand can give you the flexibility to pre-treat stains, brighten whites, and eliminate odors whenever the need arises. Following directions carefully, taking precautions with certain fabrics, and using them only when needed will allow you to benefit from these laundry helpers. With the right detergent booster, you can take your laundry cleaning to the next level when regular detergent alone just isn’t cutting it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are laundry detergent boosters the same as laundry detergent?

No, laundry detergent boosters are intended to enhance the performance of regular laundry detergent, not replace it entirely. Detergent contains surfactants to remove dirt and soils, while boosters use specialized ingredients to target specific needs like whitening or stain removal.

Can you use laundry detergent boosters alone without regular detergent?

It’s not recommended. Laundry detergent boosters work best to complement regular laundry detergent, not act as a standalone replacement. Using a booster alone would result in clothes not getting sufficiently cleaned.

How often should you use laundry detergent boosters?

Laundry experts typically recommend using boosters only when needed for heavily soiled, stained, or dingy laundry situations. For most average lightly soiled loads, regular detergent is sufficient. But having boosters available for occasional extra cleaning power can be useful.

What’s the difference between bleach and oxygen bleach boosters?

Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate) are different compounds. Bleach is stronger but can damage some fabrics. Oxygen bleach is gentler and releases oxygen to lift stains. You should not mix the two.

Can you mix laundry detergent boosters together in one wash?

It’s generally not recommended to combine multiple types of boosters in one load as this could result in chemical reactions or too much residue on laundry. Use boosters individually as needed for targeted benefits.

How do you get rid of detergent buildup from too much booster use?

To remove residue, wash laundry in hot water using vinegar in place of detergent. For the dryer, run a high heat cycle with damp towels to absorb buildup. Adjust your booster use per the product instructions going forward.

What colors should you not use laundry detergent boosters on?

Check labels to see which boosters are safe for colors. Avoid optical brighteners on darker colors as they may lighten the fabric. Oxygen bleach is typically color-safe, but test first on an inconspicuous area to be sure.

Can you use laundry detergent boosters when washing by hand?

Yes, you can use boosters when hand washing or soaking laundry. Mix them into wash water as you would regular detergent. Dose boosters carefully since it’s harder to rinse away residue by hand.

Are natural laundry boosters like borax as effective as commercial options?

Natural boosters like borax can help enhance cleaning, but may be less powerful on some stains than commercial options with specialized formulations and ingredients.

Can liquid laundry detergent be used as a booster?

No, regular liquid laundry detergent should not be used as a booster for powder or pod detergent. The formulations are different. Consider buying an actual laundry detergent booster instead for optimal performance.


Laundry boosters are specialty cleaning products designed to augment your regular detergent’s capabilities for Especially challenging laundry situations. While not an absolute laundry necessity, having the right booster on hand can provide stain-fighting, whitening, deodorizing, and softening power when you need a little extra cleaning muscle. Follow label directions carefully to avoid residue buildup. With the proper use of these laundry helpers, you can take on tough laundry cleaning jobs with confidence.