Traditional detergents and their plastic packaging are brimming with chemicals that can affect aquatic life and pollute waterways for centuries! So, why harm the planet when you can buy safe products at the same or a cheaper price?
I’ve spent a week testing and ranking the best eco-friendly laundry detergents on the basis of the biodegradability of their packaging and ingredients, cost, cleaning performance, carbon neutrality, and overall impact on the environment.
Here’s what I’ve found.
1. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets — 9.6/10 (The best biodegradable laundry detergent)
Earth Breeze is the best biodegradable laundry detergent because its ingredients are certified biodegradable, nontoxic, cruelty-free, and safe for sensitive skin.
It’s affordable for an eco-friendly laundry detergent and cleans effectively, which is excellent for families. Furthermore, the packing is 100% biodegradable and plastic free, which is why it clinched first place on my list.
“Biodegradable” is a term used for substances that can easily be decomposed by living organisms and bacteria in the soil, preventing pollution. Because of the vast amounts of laundry detergent produced, purchased, and used by billions of people worldwide, biodegradability of ingredients and packaging is of the utmost importance, as well as cleaning performance.
Earth Breeze’s ingredients are natural, making their Eco Sheets safe for septic tanks, gray water, and oceans, which is where all the wastewater ultimately ends up. You won’t find any synthetic surfactants, phosphates, or phthalates in this eco-friendly laundry detergent, which are the main culprits that harm marine life.
Earth Breeze’s packaging is plastic free, and the material used is 100% biodegradable. This brand puts cautious effort into eco-friendly initiatives while not compromising on cleaning performance.
You won’t have to compromise cleaning power to get biodegradable ingredients. Despite containing only natural ingredients, it removed the toughest stains. I’ve washed several different fabrics and didn’t see any loss in color or integrity of the clothes.
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets quickly dissolve in water and the highly concentrated formula attacks the stains head on. One strip per load is enough for heavily soiled clothes, although for large loads you might want to use two or three strips.
These Eco Sheets are also compatible with HE machines. Despite the energy efficiency of such machines, it took only one rinse cycle to remove the detergent, saving me a lot of time and water.
The after-wash smell was also pleasant and gentle. But if scents bother you or you have allergies, Earth Breeze offers a fragrance-free version as well.
Earth Breeze detergent is dermatologically tested to be safe for sensitive skin.
Surprisingly, it’s quite economical! These easy-to-carry Eco Sheets are priced at only $0.33 per load for a one-time purchase. On buying their monthly subscription, you can reduce this rate to only $0.20 per load. They offer free shipping with no hidden charges. Moreover, if you’re not satisfied you can simply return it or ask for a refund.
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are lightweight and have a compact design that reduces the carbon footprint from shipping them, unlike if they were to come in a plastic jug. Also, they’ve partnered with “We Are Neutral,” an eco-friendly initiative that ensures the brand has a zero-emission supply chain.
Having the right ingredients isn’t enough to reverse the adverse effects of pollution. To counter this, Earth Breeze plants trees and, as a member of the “1% for the Planet” club, donates 1% of their annual revenue to additional green and eco-friendly initiatives.
They also contribute to society by donating 10 laundry sheets to underprivileged communities with every sale they make. What’s interesting is you get to choose where your donation should go. You can choose from women’s shelters, homeless shelters, developing countries, and more.
Many people stick to the traditional laundry detergents because they’re afraid to try new things.
Earth Breeze is relatively new in the detergent market scene, but that didn’t stop people from trying this eco-friendly detergent. Considering my own experience and thousands of reviews by the customers, I’d say it’s worth every penny.
Earth Breeze’s Eco Sheets earns its position on my list of biodegradable detergents. The ingredients are organic and decomposable, making it safe for septic tanks, gray water, and your local ecosystem. Similarly, the packing is also plastic free and biodegradable.
These detergent sheets pack strong cleaning power and remove the toughest of stains from my samples. It wasn’t harsh on delicate fabrics. Eco sheets are also highly economical for families as they’ll only cost you $0.20 per load on a monthly subscription.
If you want a laundry detergent that cleans well and is 100% biodegradable, I recommend Earth Breeze Eco Sheets.
Sign up for Earth Breeze here.
2. Pardo Naturals Laundry Detergent — 8.9/10 (Good performance but lacks eco-friendly initiatives)
Pardo Naturals laundry powder is made of biodegradable materials and packs a high cleaning power, but they don’t contribute to any eco-friendly or sustainable initiatives.
Pardo’s Natural Laundry Detergent is all organic, and the formula is so simple that you can count the ingredients on one hand. Made mostly from castile soap, baking soda, and washing soda, it’s safe for sensitive skin conditions like eczema.
Also, it comes in a compact design with biodegradable packaging. This woman-owned brand has other cleaning products, as well, such as dishwashing liquids, house cleaning products, and body washes. They also have products for dogs and cats.
Pardo’s cleaning performance was above average, and it wasn’t harsh on delicate fabrics. It is compatible with HE washing machines, but you have to double the dose for traditional washers. Otherwise, it won’t clean efficiently.
They claim that their 32 oz. detergent pouch cleans 64 loads, costing around $0.20 per load. At first, it seemed highly economical, but I had to use a larger amount than recommended to remove all the stains. Moreover, by adding the delivery charges, the cost rises even further. The company doesn’t provide free delivery and has no refund policy, which is a bummer.
Pardo Naturals doesn’t take part in any green or environmentally friendly initiatives. A brand of their caliber should actively contribute to society and could learn a thing or two about philanthropy from Earth Breeze. Additionally, since their products are all handmade, you might face a shipping delay on large orders.
Pardo Naturals laundry powder has all the right makeup and is certified biodegradable. It has good cleaning performance and can get the tough stains out, albeit with extra product for really tough stains. However, they offer no refunds and they charge extra fees for delivery.
What I dislike most about the brand is that it doesn’t make any active donations and doesn’t partner with eco-friendly organizations
3. Tru Earth Laundry Strips — 8.2/10 (Quite expensive)
Tru Earth laundry strips have ingredients that are biodegradable and green. The recyclable packaging is compact and biodegradable, making these laundry strips an eco-friendly option. But they’re quite expensive, so I’ve ranked this product third on my list.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips have a concentrated formula of hypoallergenic and biodegradable ingredients, entirely safe for people with sensitive skin and allergies. There are no synthetic elements in their ingredients list, making it safe for drains, septic tanks, and gray water.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips come in minimal and compact packages that offset the huge carbon footprint of a traditional detergent.
Moving on to cleaning performance, the Tru Earth laundry strips were able to remove tough grass and soil stains from my samples. This gentle formula won’t damage your delicate clothes in any way.
It’s compatible with HE machines, but sometimes the sheets don’t dissolve in water properly. I’d suggest using warm water and breaking the strips into smaller pieces.
The brand also contributes to eco-friendly initiatives by being a part of “1% for the Planet” and donates 1% of their profit to causes that aid the environment.
Priced at $0.56 per load, it’s the most expensive laundry detergent on my list! Sure their ultra-concentrated formula cleans well and is biodegradable, but other eco-friendly laundry detergents on my list offer the same performance at a lesser price. It’s just not economical for families with messy kids. And sometimes the sheets form lumps or remain undissolved during the wash. For this price, they could work a little better.
The brand’s contribution to society and the environment is also lackluster compared to Earth Breeze. Considering the price, there should be more effort by them on the sustainable front.
Tru Earth is an all-rounder in all aspects. Its hypoallergenic and biodegradable formula is safe for clothes and the environment. I would definitely bump them up to second place if they weren’t too expensive. Even after adding the subscription discounts and free delivery, the price is higher than the top two options on my list.
So, there isn’t really a need to buy this product when you get the same cleaning performance and benefits at half the price from Earth Breeze. However, if this doesn’t bother you, get the details here.
4. Blueland Laundry Tablets
Blueland laundry detergent has all-natural and biodegradable ingredients. The formula is concentrated and free of synthetic content. I was impressed by their sustainable policies, and they are “B. Corp” and “cradle-to-cradle” certified.
Traditional laundry pods have polyvinyl alcohol, a plastic-based substance that some consider harmful to the environment. Blueland’s tabs, on the other hand, are shaped in a similar fashion but are much more eco-friendly and free of PVA/PVOH.
Blueland works fine in HE machines, but if you have a regular front-loading machine, you might need to add an extra tab for proper cleaning.
The detergent costs $0.45 per load, which is a tad more expensive than the rest of the biodegradable cleaners on the list, and almost twice as expensive as Earth Breeze and Pardo!
The brand has carbon-neutral shipping, but I don’t see any active contributions by them on the sustainable front. With a price tag like that, I had hoped for a better contribution by them to eco-friendly and social causes.
Lastly, they are packaged in a tin can, which is recyclable but not biodegradable.
Blueland tablets check all the basic boxes of a biodegradable laundry detergent with good cleaning powers and certified ingredients. But the cost and lack of sustainable initiatives make it less appealing than others on my list. Learn more about them here.
5. Biokleen Eco-Bottle Liquid Laundry Detergent
Scoring the fifth spot on my list, this laundry detergent has certified biodegradable ingredients and is safe for sensitive skin.
This variation of Biokleen detergent comes in a recyclable cardboard box but has a plastic cap that still contributes to pollution. However, the fact that all its other laundry detergent products come in a plastic bottle disappoints me.
The cleaning performance was good, but I noticed a fade in my cotton swatches. Other than that, it’s compatible with HE machines.
Biokleen laundry liquid costs $0.18 per load, which seems economical, but you won’t get free shipping. In addition, there is no refund policy offered by the brand.
6. Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods
Dropps is a pioneer in detergent pod technology and makes biodegradable and safe laundry detergent products. They are pretty clear about their decomposable ingredients and are certified cruelty free and vegan.
Their packaging is biodegradable, but the polyvinyl alcohol (soluble plastic) used to bind the pods together is somewhat problematic. It cleans well, but sometimes it doesn’t dissolve properly, and leaves sticky lumps in the machine.
Dropps detergent pods will cost you $0.41 per load and $0.33 if you opt for a subscription discount. For the price, you don’t get the expected quality. I would recommend any of the top three from my list.
7. PUR Home Laundry Detergent Pacs
PUR Home’s laundry detergent comes in small packs that are compact and biodegradable. They are made of safe and mild ingredients that won’t harm the planet or your skin.
The detergent is priced at $0.43, which is too expensive considering it offers an average cleaning performance. They offer free delivery but only over the purchase of $50. Overall, it’s quite pricey and doesn’t provide value for money.
PUR laundry detergent has a strong fragrance, so if this bothers you, buy an unscented version.
The brand takes part in some environmental philanthropy, but not anything that really impressed me. If they want to compete with top brands like Earth Breeze, they really need to step forward and put more effort into eco-friendly initiatives.
8. Net Zero Co. Detergent Strips
Net Zero Co. does a great job going zero waste and plastic free in terms of packaging. They have successfully prevented tons of plastic from going into landfills. In addition, their formula is free of paraben, dyes, and chlorine bleach. They use biodegradable plant-based ingredients.
However, they’re down at this position because of their bad cleaning performance. You might need two or three sheets to wash off all the troublesome grime.
Another reason why I had to bump them down is the hefty cost of $0.56 per one wash. I’d suggest you save your money and buy a detergent that offers better value at half the price—Earth Breeze.
9. Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent
I am impressed by how Molly’s Suds is transparent about its ingredients. You can check out the details of all their ingredients on their website easily. On skimming through the list, I found no chemical that could harm the ecosystem.
What you need to know is that their packaging is not 100% biodegradable. In addition, I was a tad disappointed by the cleaning performance of their detergent. It couldn’t wash away the heavy grime of grease and made my test articles smell bad after drying.
Molly’s Suds is priced at $0.22 per wash, but you need to pay a hefty shipping fee unless your final order is greater than $100.
10. Grab Green Detergent Pods
Grab Green has done a commendable job keeping the ingredients and packaging safe and biodegradable.
However, I had to place them at the end of the list because of their poor cleaning performance and high price. If you don’t mind dishing out a whopping $0.50 per wash to get an average cleaning performance at best, go ahead and try out Grab Green. Otherwise, scroll back to the top and try the first three recommendations.
11. Ethique Flash! Laundry Soap Bar
Ethique Flash laundry soap is biodegradable and comes in zero-waste packaging. This laundry soap bar is incompatible with HE machines and works only for spot-washing, making it convenient for traveling.
Unless you’re camping or planning an outdoor activity, Ethique soap is not a good investment. You can always find a detergent that works well for both heavy laundry and spot washing and cleans all the stains in one wash.
Other Detergents I tested
This section includes the brands that couldn’t make it to the top eleven.
12. The Unscented Co. Liquid Detergent
While so many brands strive to be more sustainable, companies like Unscented Co. still use harmful chemicals like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) in their detergents. I urge Unscented Co. to replace such ingredients with more eco-friendly options or stop advertising themselves as eco-friendly.
13. Nature Clean Powdered Laundry Detergent
Nature Clean is very transparent about their ingredients, and they don’t use SLS, dyes, or artificial fragrances. However, they have mentioned using methylisothiazolinone in a few of their variations, which is an irritant. In addition, Nature Clean’s cleaning power is just bad.
14. Tide Purclean Liquid Laundry Detergent
Tide is an old name, but they deserve no better than the last spot on my list. Just as I jumped to their website, I saw plastic jugs, non-biodegradable packaging, and sodium lauryl sulfate! Considering they have been in the laundry detergent business for about 70 years, one can expect better packaging and sustainable ingredients, but Tide has no intentions to improve its products, and their claims are bogus.
They don’t put much effort into environmental and charitable causes. And their product is certainly not eco-friendly! They’re on this list because they claim to be eco-friendly and a lot of people fall for it, but don’t be fooled.
What goes down the drain at your home can affect ecosystems for centuries! Swapping a toxic detergent with a safe one may seem a trivial effort, but many little hinges swing a big door.
After trying and testing 14 detergent brands, I could easily conclude that Earth Breeze takes the lead on all fronts. It’s highly affordable, offers free shipping and a refund policy, cleans exceptionally well, contains safe and biodegradable ingredients, and helps vulnerable communities.
Earth Breeze generously donated 1% of its annual revenue to green causes by collaborating with 1% for the Planet. The team has achieved 100% carbon neutrality by actively participating in carbon offsetting ventures. What’s best is their affordability and exceptional cleaning performance!
No other brand on my list could tick off all the boxes for the best biodegradable laundry detergents.
I’d highly recommend trying out Earth Breeze if you want to switch to a greener lifestyle.
Allow me to walk you through the research process I used for this article. My one-week analysis helped me cut through the clutter and prepare the best list of laundry detergents you can confidently try out today.
Step 1: Listing famous eco-friendly laundry detergents
The first step was finding the most popular eco-friendly laundry detergent brands that claimed to be “biodegradable.” This was easily accomplished by searching out the best laundry brands on online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. I included only the ones that had the most sales and reviews on their websites and online stores.
To make my list of detergent brands even better, I consulted a few environmentalist friends on my team to put in their two cents on my selection.
By the end of this step, I had a roundup of 14 eco-friendly laundry detergents.
Step 2: Checking ingredients
My preliminary research on “what makes a laundry detergent biodegradable” helped me determine the key aspects that distinguish a good detergent from a bad one. Ingredients and packaging play an important role in the overall sustainability and biodegradability of the laundry detergent.
From plant-based to hybrid ingredients, my list included all sorts of detergents that people commonly use nowadays. In this step, I skimmed through the components of my selected detergents and confirmed their toxicity status on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.
Surfactants in the detergents are only acceptable if they are biodegradable and safe for aquatic life. Keeping in mind the Safer Choice Criteria for surfactants, I ranked the detergents that had the highest biodegradation rate in the ecosystem.
Step 3: Checking packaging
Packaging is the next most important thing in determining the sustainability of brands. Most conventional brands still come in one-use and non-recyclable plastic jugs and packs. I included the brands that package their detergents in only biodegradable and recyclable boxes, pouches, and bottles. Packages with plastic lining or bottle caps were ranked accordingly.
Step 4: Reading online reviews
The next step was to check customers’ online reviews.
I gave more weight to the reviews on online stores such as Amazon than to those the companies provided on their own websites. Some people are quite generous in writing their opinions and experiences on the internet about the products they use. (I really want to thank them!)
This opened up many new discussions that I would never have considered including in my ranking otherwise. People faced allergies and skin rashes from certain ingredients. They also faced issues with delivery and customer service representatives.
I have factored all these reported experiences in my ranking.
Step 5: Interviews with real customers
Online reviews are the first impression of the product, but I don’t take them at their face value. Brands can easily post fake testimonials, and there is no way to validate their authenticity. The best way to counter this was to have real-time interviews with customers. I contacted a few customers who had previously used the detergents and gathered some helpful information.
Step 6: Interviews with eco-friendly laundry detergent brands
Talking to brand representatives themselves cleared up many doubts regarding the ingredients and their sources. Some brands were happy to discuss my queries, while others were quite equivocal in their responses.
This helped me conclude that brands that are open about their ingredients and raw materials are certainly true about their claims, while brands that shy away from questions always have something to hide.
Step 7: Test drives
A detergent loses its purpose if it’s unable to clean all the stains and leave your articles looking fresh and new. In addition, extremely concentrated and strong detergents can damage the clothes and fade the colors.
To test the detergents on this list, I prepared cotton, denim, silk, and wool test swatches—each covered with stains of grass, blood, gravy, and grease. A total of 14 batches were prepared to test the performance of each detergent brand.
The swatches were washed in an HE machine using the amount of detergent mentioned on the label. After one wash cycle, swatches were retrieved, air dried, and observed under UV light. In addition, I factored in the fragrance and the final look of the test fabrics after drying.
The top three recommendations on this list perfectly cleaned all the stains and left the clothes looking as bright and colorful as new. In comparison, the rest of the detergents could not satisfy me with their cleaning efficiency.
Step 8: Ratings
By the end of my research, I had gathered enough information to start scoring each brand on my scoreboard. Following are the important factors that were included in this rating system:
- Biodegradable ingredients
- Biodegradable and recyclable packaging
- Cleaning performance
- Cost per load
- Delivery charges, subscription discounts, and refund policies
- Sustainable shipment and manufacturing methods
- Environmental and societal contributions
Each factor was given a certain weightage, considering its importance in an eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Brands that couldn’t cut it were not included in the top 11 list.
A biodegradable laundry detergent that actually cleans!
Swapping your traditional laundry detergents with biodegradable and eco-friendly detergents is not easy. There are tons of brands on the market claiming to be 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly, while only a select few are true to their claims.
I have listed the top 11 biodegradable detergents that you can try today to save you time and money.
Earth Breeze takes the lead with its cleaning performance, safe ingredients, eco-friendly packages, cost-effectiveness, and environmental contributions. They:
- Use only safe and biodegradable ingredients, free of harmful surfactants, parabens, optical brighteners, and dyes.
- Use lightweight, compact, and zero-waste cardboard boxes.
- Are 100% carbon-neutral brand.
- contribute to the planet by giving away 1% of its annual revenue to environmental conservation programs.
- Help vulnerable communities by giving away 10 sheets with every purchase you make.
- Only costs $0.20 per wash, making it the most economical brand on the market.
While Earth Breeze is a new player in town, people have already left thousands of positive reviews on their website.
If you’re ready to ditch your environmentally damaging laundry detergent and start getting clean clothes with a guilt-free conscious, head to Earth Breeze now.