Do you want to shift to a plastic-free and zero-waste laundry detergent and bid your traditional toxic soaps goodbye? You’ve come to the right place.
It can be confusing to determine which detergent brand is genuinely eco-friendly and plastic free while also being the best at cleaning.
Although it’s important to look for sustainable and plastic-free packaging, this alone is not enough to rank a brand as the best on the market. For your convenience, I’ve reviewed and ranked 11 popular plastic-free laundry detergent brands on the basis of their sustainability, ingredients, cost per load, cleaning performance, and contribution to environmental and charitable initiatives.
My weeklong analysis has resulted in a list of detergents you can try today.
Let’s get right into it!
1. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets — 9.77/10 (The best plastic-free laundry detergent)
Top-rated: 52,000 reviews.
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are the best because they use plastic-free packaging, are a part of We Are Neutral, and have ingredients that are tough on stains but gentle on the environment. Their eagerness to give back to the planet makes them top the list!
Earth Breeze puts the environment first in their packaging, shipment, and manufacturing methods. They come in plastic-free, minimal cardboard boxes that take up a tiny space in your cupboards. Unlike the bulky plastic laundry jugs, their lightweight and compact packages offset massive carbon emissions!
Earth Breeze is a part of We Are Neutral, making them 100% carbon neutral.
They use only safe and plant-based ingredients that pose no harm to the environment. Since the ingredients are gentle on all types of skin, Earth Breeze laundry sheets do not trigger skin allergies, and they’re 100% hypoallergenic.
These bleach-free sheets performed exceptionally well at cleaning my cotton, silk, and denim test swatches. All kinds of stains were effectively removed, leaving only fresh and bright clothes. Earth Breeze sheets worked well on both whites and colored articles.
They’re super affordable and priced at just $0.33 per load, which you can further reduce to $0.22 by subscribing to their monthly subscription deal. With free shipping and a money-back guarantee, you can try them out without the fear of losing money.
What separates them from other eco-friendly laundry detergent brands is they give away 1% of their annual revenue to planet regeneration by being a part of 1% for the Planet. They also donate 10 sheets to a charity of your choosing with every purchase you make, so you can indirectly help underprivileged communities with your purchase.
The only major drawback with Earth Breeze is relatively new to the market. Although many customers have tested their products and left positive reviews on their websites, you might hesitate to try them out if you want that nostalgic smell of what your clothes smelt like as a child.
Earth Breeze gets the award for the best plastic-free laundry detergent because of its zero-waste and minimal packaging, carbon-neutral shipping, safe ingredients, and unparalleled contribution to the environment.
Earth Breeze practices what it preaches! They are dedicated to reversing the environmental damage and they play their part by actively planting trees and cleaning oceans. Usually, companies stop making an effort after switching to sustainable packaging and carbon-neutral shipments, but Earth Breeze goes a step further and gives back generously to charitable and environmental causes.
Despite being new, they easily surpass the competitors by offering more value than other brands on this list, at just $0.33 per load!
If you want a plastic-free detergent that checks all the boxes of an eco-friendly product, I highly recommend you get Earth Breeze Eco Sheets now.
2. Net Zero Co. Laundry Detergent Strips — 8.80/10 (Highly eco-conscious but a bit pricey)
They were founded on the mission to prevent plastic waste from hitting landfills. Adhering to this, they’ve made sure all their products are plastic free and made from only recycled plastic removed from oceans.
Net Zero uses either no plastic or only recycled plastic in all their homecare products, and their eco-friendly laundry detergents are no exception. Whether it’s the packages, shipment procedures, or ingredients, Net Zero makes sure none of their activities harm the planet. Net Zero only uses plant-based and non-toxic ingredients in their gluten-free strips that clean well and give a refreshing smell to the laundry. They’re a 100% vegan and cruelty-free company that doesn’t use unethical sources for its ingredients.
They use compostable mailers to ship their zero-waste laundry strips, making the shipment 100% eco-friendly. This bag can biodegrade within six months, or you can use it to line your compost bins.
Net Zero is the only other brand on this list that actively runs different programs to make the earth a better place. In their Silicone Takeback Program, you can send any silicone waste and they’ll recycle it. Other than this, they plant one tree for every sale and they contribute to Carbon Fund’s initiatives to tackle global warming.
Net Zero detergent strips will cost you $0.56 for a one-off purchase, almost double the top contender on this list.
What’s more disappointing is they offer free shipping only above orders of $80. For someone new (like me), it’s not a very convenient offer. They do offer 10% off on the first purchase, but it only makes a slight difference in the overall cost.
Net Zero is my #2 recommendation for the best plastic-free laundry detergent because they use zero plastic in their laundry strips packages and delivery process. They use safe ingredients and contribute to environmental initiatives.
While they‘re not very affordable, they’re a reliable second option.
If you’d like to know more about Net Zero, head to their website here.
3. Tru Earth Laundry Detergent Eco-Strips — 7.12/10 (Plastic-free but expensive!)
Tru Earth is #3 because while they’ve done a commendable job going 100% plastic free in both their packaging and shipping, they don’t do a lot for environmental and charitable initiatives, and they’re pretty expensive.
Tru Earth laundry detergent strips come in a plastic-free cardboard box that is 94% lighter than an average plastic jug. They’re proud to share that their efforts are equal to taking 27 million cars off the road, offsetting a huge carbon footprint in the process.
They even have a calculator on their website showing how many plastic jugs they’ve prevented from going into the landfills because of their mindful packaging. The counter has reached 7 million now!
Their safe formula is free of toxic surfactants, palm oil, SLS, 1,4-Dioxane, parabens, chlorine bleach, and dyes. Tru Earth only uses plant-based and safe ingredients that are 100% hypoallergenic. Although they claim to be cruelty free, I couldn’t find any solid certification on their website.
Moreover, Tru Earth eco-strips perform a fair job cleaning all types of stains and grime from different fabrics. Although you might need to put two strips for heavily soiled clothes because their strips are not concentrated enough to remove stains from a large load at once.
Tru Earth contributes by donating 32 laundry sheets to nonprofits for every first-time subscription purchase. They also participate in fundraisers and ocean cleanups. Although it’s applaudable, I’m not sure it’s enough. Considering how much brands like Earth Breeze do for the environment, this seems rather unimpressive.
Tru Earth is priced at $0.62 per load, which is pricier than both the #1 and #2 recommendations. Although they offer a monthly subscription rate of $0.40 per load, it’s still twice the price of Earth Breeze’s subscription offer, which is only $0.20 per load. You can find other budget-friendly options offering the same or better features.
Tru Earth rightfully deserves third place because of its plastic-free, sustainable packaging and shipping, hypoallergenic ingredients, and good cleaning efficiency.
If this pricey laundry detergent doesn’t bust your budget, you can view their website here.
4. Brighton Wool and Honey Co. Laundry Soap
Brighton Wool and Honey Co. uses a different approach and goes plastic free by packing their powder detergent in reusable glass jars with wooden scoops. Although plastic free, the jar itself is heavy and takes up a lot of space compared to cardboard alternatives.
But they’re down at fourth place for two reasons: their average cleaning performance and almost zero contribution to the environment.
This detergent is made of only five simple ingredients that are safe and nontoxic for the environment and your skin. One jar of Brighton laundry soap will cost you $14, which is affordable ONLY if this amount could clean 75 loads or more (as claimed by them). However, I had to use two full scoops of the soap to take off even minor stains from the test articles. In my opinion, one jar is not nearly enough for 75 loads!
Although they’re 100% plastic free and use safe ingredients, their cleaning power is average, and they don’t do anything noteworthy for society. The heavy bottle results in high carbon emissions, and they’re absolutely not carbon neutral. You can get better value at this price somewhere else.
5. Meliora Laundry Powder
Meliora laundry detergent is a fragrance-free, dye-free, and plastic-free laundry detergent that comes in a steel canister. You can buy refills, packaged in paper bags, which is quite a convenient and sustainable approach.
Meliora is a women-owned company, and their plastic-free and cruelty-free claims are supported by their numerous certifications. They’re the only other brand on this list that’s a part of 1% for the Planet and donate 1% of their annual revenue to conservation initiatives.
However, the reason they’re down at #5 is their average cleaning power. Meliora laundry powder couldn’t properly wipe out stains from the whites and it didn’t work well in my HE machine.
Priced at $0.28 per load, it’s economical, but they only offer free shipping over $49.
As much as I do like the concept of plastic-free, refillable steel cans, this packaging is quite heavy and results in a large carbon footprint, requiring more energy and space during the shipping process.
Overall, Meliora laundry powder has the right ingredients, but its lack of performance in HE machines is a downer. Since you’re going for an eco-friendly laundry detergent, why not try out a brand that is 100% carbon neutral, like Earth Breeze?
6. Ethique Flash Laundry Bar
Ethique laundry soap is a compact, plastic-free, and eco-friendly laundry detergent. It comes in zero-waste packaging, and the brand contributes to many environmentally friendly initiatives. Moreover, Ethique Flash has exceptional cleaning capability that rivals the top of my contenders on this list!
But there’s a catch—it’s only suitable for handwashing. And that’s the only reason why it’s so far down the list. The soap is not designed for HE machines, which is unfortunate, considering it efficiently removes the toughest stains. Let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time to hand wash clothes these days!
Using this soap can be a hassle if you’ve tons of soiled laundry. But it can be your best buddy in traveling and camping where you can only hand wash the laundry. Moreover, it can be used for spot cleaning and washing delicates that may get worn out in washing machines.
Ethique laundry soap is priced at $6, and the load isn’t specified.
Overall, it’s a good choice for limited use only. I would recommend going for laundry detergents that are capable of handling both big, soiled loads in washing machines and hand washing delicates.
7. Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods
Dropps is the original brand that introduced pods in the market. Their plastic-free detergent doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients. Dropps is a cleaning partner of Oceania and has carbon-neutral shipping.
Cleaning-wise, they’re good, and my samples smelled fresh after the wash. But the pods couldn’t remove tough stains from delicate silk samples.
Despite being a convenient detergent type, these pods often don’t dissolve in water. Instead you’re left with a messy and jelly-like substance inside your washing machines.
Dropps laundry detergent pods will cost you $0.46 per load for a one-time purchase and $0.36 if you go for their subscription deal. It’s certainly not an economical option considering you can get better performance by Earth Breeze at much lower rates.
8. Grab Green Laundry Detergent
Grab Green laundry pods are plastic free and made of eco-friendly ingredients, but these powder pods don’t dissolve in water easily and form clumps in the drain. This seriously hinders their cleaning performance and your articles might get destroyed with the sticky residue.
Furthermore, the laundry doesn’t smell fresh after the wash and may cause an allergic reaction. You can still opt for their unscented variety, but the cleaning performance won’t get any better.
Adding insult to injury, it costs $0.50 per load! Very pricey. You can easily find better value at half the price if you go for Earth Breeze.
9. Presto! Free & Clear Laundry Detergent Pacs
Presto’s Detergent Pacs are certainly an improvement over their traditional detergents, which contain all the harmful ingredients. They claim this detergent to be hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly, but the plastic packaging indicates otherwise. Although the plastic container is recyclable, this doesn’t make them completely “plastic free.”
In addition, the Detergent Pacs don’t dissolve properly, and you would need to use them in warm water. Despite their big name, they’ve a much lower quality product that doesn’t clean well.
If you can get past their deliberate misspelling of “pack,” Presto laundry detergent will cost you a whopping $0.58 per load. And don’t expect any subscription discounts from them. Besides, I couldn’t find any serious contribution to eco-friendly initiatives from their side. What a bummer!
10. Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder
Molly’s Suds laundry detergent comes in a recyclable plastic packing, which isn’t exactly plastic-free. They use safe ingredients but don’t put in any effort in environmental causes.
Molly’s cleaning performance across whites and darks was, at best, average. You’ll need to pretreat tough stains before the actual wash cycle.
It’s priced at $0.19 per load, which is lower than others, but if you add in the shipping cost, the price goes up. No need to waste your money on a product that offers such poor performance.
11. Nellie’s Vegan Laundry Detergent Soda
Nellie’s Soda comes in recyclable plastic packaging. There are some toxic chemicals in their formula, which made me suspicious of their hypoallergenic claim. This detergent soda caused my articles to appear dingy and faded. I also couldn’t find much in the way of eco-friendly initiatives.
It’ll cost you around $0.22 per load, but the overall price goes up by adding the shipping cost. I would recommend the top three contenders on this list instead.
Other Laundry Detergents I Tested
In my weeklong research, I have tested sixteen popular eco-friendly laundry detergents. Here I’ve listed the brands that couldn’t make it to the top 11.
12. Kind Laundry Detergent
Kind Laundry sheets were not kind enough on my delicate samples, as I noticed a fade in color. It’s plastic free but I didn’t discern any cruelty-free certification or eco-friendly initiatives. These sheets are priced at $0.33 per load, and they offer free delivery only on subscription purchases.
13. Clean People Laundry Detergent
Clean People Laundry detergent comes in both sheets and pods. They’re ridiculously expensive and priced at $1.03 per load, almost three times the price of Earth Breeze! Don’t bother spending your money on this if you can get a much better cleaning performance at half the price.
14. Well Earth Laundry Detergent
Well Earth laundry sheets lose points for their high cost and zero contribution to eco-friendly initiatives. They need to make their laundry detergent more sustainable.
15. Beyond Laundry Detergent Sheets
Beyond is a good brand, but it struggled in removing some tough stains, and I had to pretreat the samples to get the gunk out. The brand also needs to include some eco-friendly initiatives.
16. Space White
The Bottom Line
I have analyzed 16 popular laundry detergents, and Earth Breeze effortlessly ticks all the boxes of a plastic-free and eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Plastic-free packaging is just a baseline for judging a brand’s authenticity and commitment to making Earth a better place. Many other attributes make a brand the best in class. That’s why I scored these detergents on the basis of not only packaging, but also ingredients, cruelty-free and vegan certifications, effect on sensitive skin, cleaning efficiency on different fabrics, and financial contribution to environmental causes.
Earth Breeze laundry sheets come in thoughtful and compact plastic-free packaging. With the small size and light weight of their packets, Earth Breeze reduces 95% of the carbon emissions that would result from huge plastic jugs. These sheets are best for traveling because of the minimal package design.
The safe and gentle washing formula of their detergents can clean the toughest of the stains from all fabric types. One sheet is concentrated enough to wash one heavy load! All their ingredients are free of animal testing, and the Leaping Bunny Certification backs this fact.
Last but not least, Earth Breeze goes above and beyond in reversing environmental damage by taking part in cleanups and tree plantings. Their passion for helping the community has led them to become a part of 1% for the Planet, in which they happily donate 1% of their annual revenue to environmental causes. In addition, they donate 10 sheets to different causes with every purchase they make.
If you want a detergent that offers sparkling sustainability and cleans exceptionally well, try out Earth Breeze now.
Did you know? Only less than 10% of total plastic ever produced has been recycled!
Laundry detergents contribute a lot to plastic pollution in the world. Being more mindful of our plastic usage is the need of the hour, which is why I’ve tested popular “plastic-free” laundry detergents available for you to try today.
This section will walk you through the research process I followed to get the best plastic-free and eco-friendly laundry detergent. Here’s my seven-step methodology:
Step 1: Listing all the popular plastic-free laundry detergent brands
I started with basics and gathered all the popular “plastic-free”-labeled laundry detergents available online and in supermarkets. I’ve also included some of the detergents with the least recyclable plastics.
After that, I shortlisted them based on their sales and popularity among verified customers. By the end of this preliminary scrutiny, I had 16 competitors for the race of best plastic-free laundry detergent.
Step 2: Online reviews
In the second step, I started gathering data about each detergent’s cleaning performance. For that I analyzed verified customers’ responses about the product on popular e-commerce websites.
I purposely restricted myself to only authentic e-commerce retailer websites because many brands put fake reviews on their own websites.
Reading hundreds of online reviews gave me a deeper insight into what people have experienced regarding cleaning performance, ease of use, and allergic reactions.
Step 3: Interviews with real customers
The next step was an extension of the previous one, and this time I interviewed real customers. Many people were active environmentalists and had concerns about plastic toxicity in the environment.
It came to my attention that even when the brand claims to be plastic free, some plastic lining is still in the packaging. Real customers gave an in-depth review of their actual experiences with detergents.
Some detergents weren’t as sustainable and safe as their online reviews made them look. Many had harsh ingredients that erupted allergic reactions in people.
Talking with real customers helped me score the laundry detergent even better.
Step 4: Environment-friendly certifications of the brand
Next, I verified which brands owned authentic certifications.
Many third-party organizations give their certification to brands that follow a standardized, clean, and green manufacturing process. Some of these organizations are USDA Organic, Compact by Design, Leaping Bunny, and Fair for Life.
Brands with certifications grabbed higher ranking on my list.
Step 5: Interviews with “plastic-free” laundry detergent brands
To give an unbiased verdict, I considered each brand’s side of the story. I contacted various brands’ customer service departments and asked about their environmentally friendly initiatives, ingredients, and certifications.
Some of them responded positively, like Earth Breeze. They were very open to questions and shared their ongoing efforts for a better environment. Others didn’t respond as well. I’ve included customer service as an important factor in my ranking.
Step 6: Test drives
Finally, after a week of research, it was time to practically test the plastic-free laundry detergents. I made 16 sets of identical swatches. Each set had 5 samples made of whites, wool, linen, silk, and denim, soiled with grass, food, and oil stains.
The tests were performed both in warm and cold water and only in HE machines. After washing and rinsing, I let the samples dry in the open air.
Next, I observed the dried samples first through the naked eye and then under UV lights.
The top three were true to their claims and performed well, while the rest lacked in cleaning performance.
Step 7: Ratings
This step will discuss the performance parameters I used to rank all the detergents:
- Plastic-free and zero-waste packaging
- Cleaning performance (both in cold and warm water)
- Scent after wash
- Need of pretreating the tough stains
- Effect on sensitive skin
- Cost per load
- Eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives
- Shipping costs, subscriptions, and refund policy
The scoring system helped me sort out the BEST plastic-free detergents available on the market right now.
The Best Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent That Actually Cleans!
Among the many eco-friendly laundry detergent brands on the market today, only a few are sincere and transparent with their customers. Keeping in mind the authenticity behind their claims, I’ve ranked 11 brands that you can try out today. Better yet, you can save your time and simply go for the #1 on this list, Earth Breeze.
- Earth Breeze uses 0% plastic in their compact packaging, which offsets huge carbon emissions.
- They are 100% carbon neutral!
- Earth Breeze only uses safe and nontoxic ingredients that are cruelty free and certified vegan.
- Their plant-based formula is hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin.
- Earth Breeze is a part of 1% for the Planet!
- They donate 10 eco sheets to charity with every purchase.
- They’re the most economical option on the market.
If you want to swap your powdered or liquid laundry detergents with eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets that are super easy to use, check out my article on the eight best laundry detergent sheets.
Although Earth Breeze is a new name in the laundry business, many customers have already endorsed their products. Why not give them a try and see for yourself?