Smartly Fresh Scent Laundry Detergent Review

 Target is my favorite big chain store. It might even be my favorite store overall. The atmosphere of the place just feels so much nicer than Walmart or other budget brand chains.

I go to Target at least once per week to get the regular household essentials. I always love my trips to Target.

Target is a brand I associate with quality. 

It isn't always the cheapest. Some people I have talked to call Target the "Rich Man's Walmart". They have mentioned that they rarely go to Target because everything is so much more expensive than other stores.

I haven't really noticed stuff being that much more expensive at Target. If you went around with a list of prices from competing stores on the items you were there to buy, I would bet most items wouldn't be more than a dollar more than anywhere else.

And when you consider than Target pays their employees a minimum of $15 per hour, an industry leading wage for retail workers, it makes paying a little more much more palatable. I would rather spend a little more to support a company which pays its employees enough to do more than survive.

Walmart has been long known for paying their employees as little as they could legally get away with. And they would sometimes try to get around labor laws by encouraging their employees to do work for free while they were punched out after their shifts were over. In this way, Walmart was able to get more work done without increasing labor costs.

Walmart apparently used to have an internal policy of helping employees sign up for welfare and food stamps so that they could afford to live on what they were paying them. Walmart's official employee compensation strategy was to use government poverty assistance programs to make up the difference between what they were paying people and what people need to survive.

Because of that, and several other things I don't care for about Walmart, I choose to avoid Walmart. I do not go to Walmart for any routine shopping. I will occasionally go there to get something if they are the only store in the area that has something in stock, but that is pretty rare. I don't want to support Walmart by making purchases there.

But just because I don't like Walmart doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good deal. I like to save money. I don't like to arbitrarily spend more on stuff. If I have the option of spending less on something, all other things being equal, I will tend to choose the less expensive options.

In that spirit, I recently tried out a cheaper option for something I buy regularly. Laundry detergent.

Target has had several store brands for different categories of items. There was Archer Farms for some of their foods.

They have Good and Gather as a pretty general purpose brand, offering items from food to soap.

One of their recent store brands is meant to be a budget brand. It is called Smartly. Smartly offers basic versions of household essential products at bargain prices. Low prices for basic items.

They are not luxury goods. They are simple. But they are still supposed to be quality.

I decided to try out their laundry detergent. It was the Smartly Fresh Scent laundry detergent.

It was cheap. For a 100 ounce jug it was less than 5 dollars. I think a comparable sized name brand jug of something like Tide or Gain was somewhere between $8 and $10. That made the Smartly version around half the price.

I always think to myself that you get what you pay for and also that things that seem too good to be true usually are. Both of those thoughts occurred to me when I was grabbing the jug off the shelf. But I figured that it was a low risk experiment. 

It was very unlikely to cause any damage. The worst that would happen would be that it wouldn't work very well. And I would only be out around $4. And Target usually provides very good quality stuff, so I thought the chance of it not working was pretty low.

I was really excited to wash a load of clothes with this soap. If it worked well, I would make it my new regular brand for laundry detergent. And if I was able to save around $5 each time I bought laundry soap compared to the Tide I normally bought, I figured that was a great way to save money.

I threw in my normal load of dirty laundry. Some people have very dirty clothes that require an abnormally high strength detergent. People who get their clothes covered in dirt from jobs like construction or auto mechanics have a greater need for a quality detergent. My clothes stay relatively clean. They only need to be washed because of the odors and oils from my body. I figured that my clothes would be able to be adequately washed with even the weakest of detergents.

I added the Smartly detergent to my clothes and started the washing machine.

After I finished washing and drying my clothes, I checked them over to see how well the detergent worked. They looked clean, but then they looked clean even when I was putting them into the washer. They were not obviously soiled clothes. When I smelled the washed clothes, I found that they still smelled like body odor. They hadn't been cleaned. They were maybe cleaner on some chemical level, but they still smelled bad, and that meant they were not clean enough for me. The main reason I wash my clothes is so that they smell good.

I washed that batch of clothes a second time with the same Smartly detergent to see if that did the trick. Even after a second wash, they still smelled like B.O. I washed a different load of laundry to see if the first batch was just a fluke. The second load also seemed to be not much cleaner than before I washed it.

I decided that the laundry detergent did not work well enough for me to buy again, or even to finish the jug of detergent. I found a satisfaction guarantee on the jug which said that if I wasn't satisfied with the product that I could call their hotline and get a full refund. I called the number on the jug and explained to the person that answered that the Smartly detergent I bought didn't live up to my expectations and that my clothes smelled bad even after washing them with the soap.

The operator apologized for the inconvenience and emailed me a Target gift card for the amount of the purchase price of the soap.

I was able to use that gift card refund to buy the Tide laundry detergent I normally buy. In effect, I was out nothing but a little time.

Though the Smartly laundry detergent didn't work out for me personally, I recommend trying their products. It might be the case that people who have clothes that aren't so odorous would be very satisfied with this laundry detergent and that they could save some money by buying it. And Target proudly stands behind their products and offers a full refund if it doesn't work for you.

So you should try it, and if it doesn't work, simply get your money back. It never hurts to try a cheaper option when there is zero risk involved.

What is your favorite brand of laundry detergent? Have you tried any of Target's owned store brands? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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