11 Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents
Skip the harsh chemicals and go straight to these extra-gentle, all-natural formulas.
Whether you're trying to go green or reduce the irritants in your home, it's smart to examine your laundry detergent. Inside that dayglow bottle (which sounded so promising in the store!), you might just discover phosphates, parabens and other harsh ingredients.
And if you find a particularly nasty surprise? Well, then it's time to switch to an eco-friendly detergent. Here are 11 brands we love that will refresh your clothes without all the heavy-duty chemicals.
What to Look for in Eco-Friendly Detergent
INGREDIENTS: Eco-friendly laundry detergents are formulated without harsh chemicals and irritating ingredients. (Think phosphates, parabens, sulfates, added dyes, optical brighteners and artificial fragrances, which then get passed onto our planet.) Always check the ingredients list and look for terms like plant-based, biodegradable, fragrance-free, etc.
TYPES: Once you know which ingredients to look for, you can choose your preferred type of laundry detergent. Liquid laundry detergents are the most cost-efficient and offer about 60 to 100 loads per package, but they need to be measured out every time. (The same goes for powdered laundry detergents.) Meanwhile, pods, strips and sheets tend to be more expensive and offer about 30 to 60 loads per package, but you can lose the measuring cup and toss them right in the wash.
PACKAGING: The goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, right? Skip the single-use plastic tubs and opt for compostable or recyclable containers whenever possible. Some options include cardboard boxes, glass bottles, aluminum canisters and even solid laundry detergent bars.
Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
It's true — we love Mrs. Meyer's Liquid Laundry Detergent just as much as you do. Every bottle is made with powerful, plant-based ingredients, plus dirt- and stain-fighting enzymes. The concentrated formula helps save on packaging, too, so you can feel really good about this detergent. A single bottle will last about 64 loads, though we'd definitely shop the two-pack and get 128 out of it.
Best Budget Eco-Friendly Detergent
Imagine getting 300 loads out of a single bottle of detergent. That's an incredible bang for your buck, and it's possible thanks to Biokleen. Their Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent is made from plant-based ingredients, comes in a 1.2-gallon bottle and costs just $26.99. In turn? You can easily go green and reduce your monthly spending.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent Pods
Laundry pods are convenient, but not exactly eco-friendly. So we found the ultimate sustainable solution: Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods. These babies are made with powerful plant-derived ingredients, and even come sealed in biodegradable pod covers. (Read: That means no phthalates, no parabens and definitely no plastic.) They also arrive in a compostable box for a truly zero-waste product. You can buy the pods in packs of 32, 64 or 140.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent Sheets
If you're tired of pouring (and regularly spilling) liquid detergent, then you need to try this mess-free alternative. Sheets Laundry Club's sheets have all the cleaning power of leading liquids but leave out phosphates, parabens, dyes and fragrances. You'll simply drop a sheet into the wash, wait for it to dissolve and then enjoy naturally clean clothes. A box will last for about 100 loads, and you can cut the sheets in half for smaller cycles.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent Strips
Some people do pretty small loads. And if you're one of them, then you should try laundry strips. Tru Earth's Eco-Strips are the best around and essentially let you customize how much detergent you use. (One strip for a full load, a half strip for a half load, a quarter strip for just a few items, etc.) They're paraben-free, vegan-friendly and even come in a recyclable cardboard box. You can buy them in packs of 32, 64 or 384.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent Powder
It's hard to beat Molly's Suds Original Laundry Detergent Powder. This eco-friendly detergent contains just five ingredients, dissolves quickly in warm water and deodorizes and deep cleans clothing. Best of all? Every bag includes a measuring cup, so you don't have to worry about making a mess or wasting product. (Which is an issue for other powders.) One 47-ounce bag of Molly's Suds will last about 70 loads.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent for Delicates
For delicates (like undergarments, silk blouses, sweaters and more), we highly recommend the Ethique 'Flash' Laundry Bar. This solid detergent is made from biodegradable ingredients and gently removes stains without ruining the fabric. The laundry bar is extremely convenient for travel, too; you can throw it in your bag or suitcase and treat spots on the go. And yep! The box is compostable.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent for Baby Clothes
There's a reason why so many parents love Babyganics 3X Laundry Detergent. (Seriously, just look at the 3,500 positive reviews on Amazon.) This liquid detergent is made with plant-derived ingredients, is incredibly tough on stains, dermatologist-tested and thoughtfully fragrance-free. In turn, you can tackle that pile of newborn clothes without worrying about surprise rashes. A single bottle will last for about 60 loads.
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent for Sensitive Skin
If you're looking for something that's eco-friendly and extremely gentle on skin, then try Dirty Labs 'Signature' Laundry Detergent. Every bottle is consciously formulated with biobased ingredients, and completely free of parabens, preservatives, dyes and other common irritants. A little goes a long way, too, so you can get more than 30 loads out of just 8.6 ounces. And P.S: The container is made from recyclable aluminum.
Best Scented Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
"Eco-friendly" doesn't mean you have to forgo fragrance completely. If you love that fresh-from-the-wash smell, then switch to Method Laundry Detergent. Their products are made with quality, plant-based ingredients and come packaged in recycled bottles for good measure. You can shop the liquid detergent individually or in sets of four, and choose from eight fresh scents, like Beach Sage and Ginger Mango. One bottle will last for about 66 loads.
Best Natural Bleach Alternative
If you want to brighten your clothes without harsh chemicals, then opt for Molly's Suds Natural Oxygen Whitener. Each bag is formulated with exactly four earth- and plant-based ingredients: Sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, citric acid and pure lemon essential oil. (That's right, no heavy-duty chlorine here.) Simply add two scoops to the wash, and watch your plain white tees pop.