Consumer Reports' tests have revealed laundry detergents that clean only slightly better than water, washers that use lots of water yet leave clothes dingy and dirty, and dryers that have a tough time doing their job, too, taking longer than normal to complete a load.

Such unimpressive performance results in you throwing money down the drain. 

To help you steer clear of laundry products that don't work as promised, here's a list of the worst laundry products from our tests—they scored 40 or lower overall out of 100. 

Check our buying guide and ratings for
washing machines, dryers, and laundry detergents.

Washing Machines

These washers earned only a fair score overall in our tests, with scores lower than 40. And while some of the prices are appealing, there are better choices in our washing machine ratings, often for the same price.

Front-Loading Washing Machines
The Electrolux EFLW317TlW, $660, is tough on fabrics and noisy. The bottom-rated Electrolux EFLW417SlW, $600, does a superb job cleaning but is tough on fabrics and doesn't extract as much water as the other front-loaders. That means the dryer runs longer—and costs more—to dry a load. 

High-Efficiency Top-Loading Washers 
The Samsung WA40J3000AW, $500, uses the most water of the dozens of HE top-loaders we tested, yet it still leaves a lot of stains on fabrics, putting it at the bottom of the HE top-loader ratings

Agitator Top-Loading Washers 
These washers make this list for a variety of reasons. Some score Good in washing performance and do a decent job cleaning, though they may have trouble with heavily stained items—pretreating will help. But they're tough on fabrics, use a lot of water, and tend to be noisy. Models in this group are the Hotpoint HTWP1400FWW, $450, Hotpoint HTW240ASKWS, $440, Kenmore 20222, $400, Maytag Centennial MVWC215EW, $400, Frigidaire FFTW1001PW, $500, and the bottom-rated Kenmore 20232, $300. 

The Fisher & Paykel WA3927G1, $800, and the GE GTW330ASKWW, $400, have a tough time removing stains, and differ in how well they perform in other tests. The worst from our tests leave many of the stains on our test fabrics, while using more water than a number of the other agitator machines, helping to put the Whirlpool WTW4715EW, $500,  Whirlpool WTW4816FW, $450; Amana NTW4516FW, $300; and Roper RTW4516FW, $275, near the bottom of the agitator washer ratings

Clothes Dryers

Any dryer will get the job done, eventually. But a money-wasting dryer might take longer, use higher heat, or overdry laundry when you want clothes a bit damp. All of this is harder on fabrics and uses more energy. Add in noise and design features or controls that make the dryer less convenient to use than other models, and the overall score in our tests ends up at 40 or below. Electric dryers on this list are the Amana NED4655EW, $350, Whirlpool WED4985EW, $550, and the Speed Queen ADE3SRGS173TW01, $730. 

The LG WM3997HWA, $1,740, and the Kenmore Elite 41002, $1,500, were even worse at drying, scoring 14 overall in our tests. Both are all-in-one washer/dryer machines. For more details see "An All-in-One Washer/Dryer Can Do it All, If You Give it Time."

Laundry Detergents

With laundry detergents, you can waste money in a couple of ways. Detergents that don't clean well might require you to redo a load. And, if you don't measure the detergent beforehand, you might end up using more than you need.

Scoring 40 or less in our tests, these detergents were no match for common stains from body oil, dirt, and grass. You'll find much better detergents at comparable prices in our laundry detergent ratings.

Among liquid detergents, Xtra ScentSations and Trader Joe’s Liquid Laundry HE detergent clean only slightly better than plain water. You can also skip Woolite Everyday, Home Solv 2X Concentrated, Xtra Plus OxiClean, and Sun Triple CleanArm & Hammer Toss ‘N Done Ultra Power Paks are the lowest scoring of the pods/packs we tested.