Laundry Power Wars

Reporter: Lynda Kinkade

The supermarket price war has moved from the pantry to the laundry. The price of washing powders, liquids and concentrates are being slashed. And while price is one thing .. how well they perform is another, so we've tested the products to see which gets the best results. Lynda Kinkade reported.

"It's a real win, win, win here - customers win from lower prices, its good for suppliers and its good for our business," Jon Church said.

"A key point of difference with our laundry detergents is that we're also very green," Libby Hay said.

"Fantastic. I do a lot of washing so it's very handy for me," Sarah Styring said.

Proving there's no such thing as a clean fight, the supermarket giants have started a new cycle of price cuts.

"So laundry detergent the latest price to come down? Absolutely, it's something we all buy Australian households spend up to a billion dollars on laundry detergents every year so its going to make a real difference to households," Church forecasted.

The gloves are off after Coles' announced it would slash the price of selected washing powders and liquids by up to 42%.

Coles marketing manager Jon Church said "we have lead the way on doing that and we are going to continue leading."

Woolworths immediately followed suit. matching most prices.

Not to be outdone, Aldi also entered the fight claiming it continues to have the lowest laundry detergent prices of any retailer.

At Coles prices on leading brands including Fab, Radiant, Dynamo and Cold Power have all come down...

" How much can people save? If you look at the dynamo this was costing 15 dollars .99 its now 12 dollars," Church said.

Dynamo Ultra Laundry Liquid 2 Litre: was $15.99 now $12.00

"We've got Radiant here. This was $22.99 now $14.99" Church said.

Radiant Micro Max Laundry Powder 2.5kg: was $22.99 now $15.00

" And also on Coles brands, so Coles brand powder here: this was 8.99 now $7." Church exclaimed.

Coles Laundry Powder was $8.99 now $7

"So it's across all the major brands? Yes Fab was $11.99 now just $7," Church pointed out.

Fab Ultra Laundry Powder Sunshine Fresh 2kg: was $11.99 now $7.00

"What's been the response from customers since you lowered the price of laundry detergent?" Reporter Linda Kinkade asked.

"I was in this store earlier this morning and they were stocking the shelves up already after we cut the price yesterday," Church said.

"We buy washing powder every week so its terrific," one shopper said.

"It's really good for a shopper but I am sure they put the price up somewhere else," another shopper said.

"What do you say to customers who wonder why you can make such a massive price cut like that? Well we can invest in that obviously when we cut the price we can sell more products. If you make prices more affordable to help families buy the product - they'll buy more of it," Church said.

"At Aldi our prices were and remain the cheapest on the market," Libby Hay said.

Aldi's has the cheapest home brand detergents and claims it will soon be going green with all products.

Spokeswoman Libby Hay said "we've announced we are going to remove all phosphates from all our laundry detergents by the end of 2013"

In a statement Woolworths claimed it already had lower prices than Coles on some products and deliberately undercutting their rival on two products knocking another 26.6% off the 4 litre Dynamo and 4 kilogram Cold power.

Considering there are big savings to be made on laundry detergents, which ones actually work best?

"Your detergents activate with enzymes they need warm water 30-40 degree starting temperatures to activate the detergent otherwise you don't get the full effect of your detergents"

Exclusive tests conducted for Today Tonight put many of the leading brands of liquids and powders to the test

Larry Cavallaro from Chesser Chemicals conducted the tests and found the best top loader washing detergent on the market are Cold powder, Power of 4 and Omo Small and Mighty.

Cold Powder - cost 51cents per load, Power of 4 - cost 44 cents per load and Omo Small and Mighty - 45cents cost per wash.

The best front loader washing detergents are Power of 4, Cold Powder with advanced liquid and Dynamo with sar.

As for the supermarket giants the battle towards lower prices continues.

"How long can you keep the prices down?" our reporter Lynda Kinkade asked.

"We say at least 6 months they are staying down and the reason we say that is because there may well be some significant cost increase that a supplier sees that we really need to help them meet," Church said.

What's next remains a mystery...

"That's the question everybody wants to know, we'll tell our customers first when we are ready to. We can reassure them we will continue to lower prices across the store of the things they buy most," Church said.