As a mother, I typically spend most of my day running around trying to prevent potential safety hazards before they happen. By the time I put the kids to the bed, the mental and physical stress of it all has me wound up so tight I’m ready to explode on to the nearest person (or kitchen appliance) that dares cross my path.
Needless to say, I’m always looking for new ways to help my very stressed-out body relax. I remember seeing an ad for Gain Essential Oils on my Facebook feed and being very intrigued- a laundry detergent that has essential oils? It seemed like a good enough idea, though I couldn’t help but feel skeptical about whether it would be any different from your standard scented detergent.
I did a little more digging and found out there were three different scents to choose from: Lavender & Calm Chamomile, Eucalyptus & Mindful Mint, and Orange & Energetic Grapefruit. Each scent boasted a different potential effect on those using it, similar to how essential oils have different specific benefits.
The science behind it all is really fascinating. The scents are extracted from plants and flowers that produce fragrance. Any part of the plant may be used for this, including the bark, petals, leaves, or fruit. Once the oil is made, it can be either massaged into the skin, or, in this case, enter the body through the nose, reaching the brain.
Different scents will carry different effects, making a person feel more relaxed, energized, or clear-headed.
At this point, I was more than just a little curious, and wanted to try this stuff for myself. Who knew, maybe Gain Essential Oils could join the likes of our baby sound machine and become a staple in the household? There was only one way to find out for sure.
Value for Money: 8/10
Each bottle was listed for a little less than $10 on Walmart, with the standard size being 42 fluid ounces.
Although the product listing and the Gain website itself did mention 42 loads of laundry could be washed with one bottle, I was still a little unsure. From my experience, the bottle looked a little too small to be able to churn out that many fresh loads. When I tried it, however, it did seem to live up to its claim. It’s very concentrated instead of being dilute, which means it saves some space in the laundry room as well.
Even so, the price was a little bit higher than what I usually spend on my standard Tide detergent, at about 24 cents per load. Compared to other scented formulas on the market like Dedcool and The Laundress, however, the price is pretty standard, slightly less even. In the end it boils down to how important it is to you to have clothes with scents that enliven your mood, and whether you would be willing to pay a little extra for it.
For me, this is what would make or break the product. You can’t feel relaxed or energized from a scent if you don’t enjoy it in the first place. Thankfully, all three scents were quite pleasant, being strong but not overbearing. It definitely made my laundry room smell nice- but wasn’t so powerful that it left me gasping for fresh air in the already cramped up space.
The scents were also refreshingly unique, and I was surprised to see that I didn’t dislike any of them. Lavender & Calm Chamomile was by far my favorite. The whole reason I got into trying out Gain Essential Oils detergent in the first place was for added relaxation, and this lavender scent really delivered. I especially liked using it to wash my sheets and pajamas with, for a really relaxed, night’s sleep.
If you’re looking for a scent that is more along the lines of a “typical” detergent scent sprinkled with a little extra, Eucalyptus & Mindful Mint is a great contender. It gave off that fresh and clean aroma but with a stronger minty flavor – kind of like the scent those luxurious facewashes that you use only for special occasions give off.
My least favorite of the three was Orange & Energetic Grapefruit, though the reason may just be my complete aversion to citrusy fruit. Like the others, this was a light but powerful scent, intended to make me feel brighter and more awake.
Now it’s time for the million-dollar question: do Gain Essential Oil detergents really do what they claim? Aromatherapy in general is always such a controversial topic, with some swearing it does wonders while others pass it off as nothing more than a gimmick meant to pull money.
Now, I’m not sure whether it was the compounds in the detergent sending messages to my brain, or just a placebo effect working on a very tired mother, but I did feel a noticeable change in my moods from the scents these detergents gave off. My sleep was more restful on days when the sheets had been washed with lavender scent, and I liked the effect of using towels washed with Eucalyptus & Mindful Mint.
I think If you’re someone who’s into scents and fragrances, it will probably have a good effect on you, one way or the other.
Stain-Fighting Ability: 8/10
Keeping its mood boosting superpowers aside, for me to adopt Gain Essential Oils as my go-to detergent, it would need to be able to clean sufficiently well.
The first battle was Gain Essential Oils vs. dirty pants stained by mud in the neighborhood park. The detergent faired pretty well in this test, and the stains were almost completely gone in one wash. The same goes for dusty bedsheets and sweaty t-shirts- Gain Essential Oils not only cleaned, but left the clothes smelling great as well.
It also did a lot better than I expected with food stains. It was clear from the start that the pleasantly scented, prettily packaged detergent would be no match for my 4-year-old daughter’s dress- a masterpiece which donned the remnants of yesterday’s lunch mixed with glitter from one of her art projects.
Still, it did considerably well, removing about 90% of the stains from laundry – that too, without any kind of spot treatment. Not a flawless liquid detergent by any means, but it does the job, and does it well.
The formula contains no dyes, phosphates, parabens, or CFCs, all of which claim to contribute to a gentler wash. As someone with sensitive skin myself, I’ve had bad experiences with stronger detergents in the past, so this was definitely a major benefit.
Whatever I washed with the liquid detergent always came out very soft as well, which I assumed was a result of the formula being free of parabens. No phosphates and CFS mean using this as compared to other alternatives is a safer choice for the environment as well.
If there is one thing I would want to change, however, it would be the absence of a measuring cup. I have zero sense of how much product is “enough” for one load, and am usually confused on whether I’m pouring too much or too little. Adding something with clear measurements might even make the amount last longer.
The bottle itself is really sleek and pretty, so I know adding a boxy cup wouldn’t fit with the current packaging- but it would still make my life in the laundry room a tad bit easier.
Total Score: 43.5/50
After assessing the Gain Essential Oils liquid detergent through five different categories, including value for money, scent, functionality, power against stains, and quality, the scented mood-swaying cleaner was able to get a score of 87% from yours truly.
Although initially started as a desperate mother’s attempt to gain peace from the chaos of her everyday life, the results have proved that this product is more than just a one-off solution. The scent lasts in clothing for a long time and leaves them just as clean as any other standard detergent.
No one can claim that this is the best washing liquid in town, but it is a great choice for those who want to try something a little different without compromising on clean sheets and clothing.
If you can spare a little extra cash and have the ability to eyeball how much liquid it takes to clean a few loads of dirty laundry, I’d say go for it. There’s no guarantee on whether you will feel calmed, or energized, or more mindful, but at least your clothes will smell a lot nicer.