Toxins in laundry detergents can stay on your clothes for days and absorb into your skin while you wear your clothes. There is even a chance of you inhaling or ingesting these harmful chemicals!
A toxic detergent can have you suffering from itchy skin and hives and can even trigger your allergies.
In my one-week research, I’ve investigated nine non-toxic laundry detergents that are 100% safe for your skin and the environment. I have ranked the brands on the basis of their non-toxicity, ingredients, eco-friendliness, sustainability, cost, cleaning performance, and contribution to earth-friendly or charitable ventures.
Here’s what I found!
1. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets — 9.68/10 (The safest laundry detergent)
Earth Breeze is far and away the safest laundry detergent because of its non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable formula, free of harmful surfactants, dyes, bleach, and fragrance. Moreover, it’s affordable and gives away generously!
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are made of safe, plant-based ingredients, such as glycerol, primary alcohol ethoxylate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium acetate trihydrate, and starch (corn). None of these materials are derived from petroleum, making them safe for the planet.
Most people use a different detergent for their baby’s clothes, but with Earth Breeze you won’t need to use another detergent because all of their products are safe for babies’ delicate skin. You can also use these Eco Sheets for handwashing your clothes because these ingredients are dermatologically tested to be safe for people with allergies.
Earth Breeze formula doesn’t form suds and can biodegrade readily, making it safe for septic systems and greywater.
Although the formula is gentle, it is strong enough to banish all types of stains from your clothes. On testing, I was surprised to see how fast the detergent could remove the dirt and dried stains from both white and dark garments.
I love how they package and ship their Eco Sheets in 100% plastic-free and eco-friendly materials, down to the ink they use! Earth Breeze uses compact envelopes that are lightweight and easy to store. Their mindful environmental policies have helped them achieve carbon neutrality.
What sets them apart even more is their motivation to regenerate the planet, reduce plastic from landfills and oceans, and plant more trees. Earth Breeze goes above and beyond in helping vulnerable communities by donating meals and laundry sheets. They have partnered up with many nonprofits and charities to achieve their goals, including We are Neutral and 1% for the Planet.
Earth Breeze makes it easier to switch to green detergents by keeping their detergent affordable to all. It costs only $0.33 per wash, which you can reduce to just $0.20 by signing up for their monthly subscription. With free shipping and a 100% money-back guarantee, Earth Breeze is great value.
Earth Breeze is new in town, so you might be skeptical about its performance. No products boast brand loyalty quite like laundry detergents, and it’s asking a lot to expect consumers to try a new one. But I have cross-checked their certifications and claims, and they are legitimate. In addition, you can always check out thousands of positive reviews people have left on their website.
Earth Breeze reigns supreme in terms of cleaning performance and ingredients. They are certified hypoallergenic and cruelty free. With carbon-neutral shipping, plastic-free packages, and sustainable policies, Earth Breeze is the most affordable eco-friendly laundry detergent you can try out today!
2. Tru Earth Eco-Strips — 7.40/10 (Safe for the skin but heavy on the pocket!)
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are free of allergens such as parabens, dyes, bleach, or surfactants. They are certified hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. However, they are pretty expensive.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are made of plant-derived, biodegradable ingredients, such as vegetable glycerin, potassium sorbate, cocamido propyl betaine, and glycereth cocoate. All of their ingredients are dermatologically tested to be safe for people with sensitive skin.
These sheets are compatible with all types of machines: front loader, top loader, or high efficiency. You can safely use it for handwashing delicates as well. Tru Earth is safe for baby clothes and babies’ sensitive skin.
One strip is concentrated enough to wash away stubborn stains from a large load. In fact, my clothes came out fresher and brighter than before. The sheets dissolve in a few seconds in both hot and cold water.
They use compostable paper envelopes for packaging the biodegradable sheets. This minimal and lightweight packaging reduces 98% of the carbon emissions caused by big plastic jugs!
Tru Earth offsets its remaining carbon footprint by participating in tree plantings and ocean cleanups. They volunteer in a few charitable ventures, including donating 32 loads to frontline workers and food banks with every subscription purchase. In addition, they help many nonprofit organizations raise funds for the welfare of society.
Tru Earth is true to their eco-friendly claims, but their hefty price sets them back. They cost $0.56 per wash, almost twice as expensive as Earth Breeze. Although you can reduce the price to $0.40 per wash by subscribing to their monthly deal, they’re still expensive. Switching to eco-friendly options shouldn’t be a burden!
Additionally, they donate 32 sheets with only first-time subscription sales, whereas Earth Breeze donates 10 sheets with every sale! Tru Earth can surely do better here.
Tru Earth is a fantastic eco-friendly and safe laundry detergent for you and your family. The ingredients are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free. Moreover, this detergent gets clothes clean! The only drawback is their hefty price.
You can learn more about Tru Earth here.
3. Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods — 6.80/10 (Eco-friendly but doesn’t clean well)
Dropps laundry pods are made of plant-based ingredients that are safe for the planet and sensitive skin. However, I put them at the third spot because their laundry pods don’t dissolve all the way in cold water and can damage your clothes.
Dropps is an EPA Safer Choice-certified brand that is highly transparent about its ingredients. They are free of parabens, surfactants, dyes, and chlorine bleach. Dropps has a separate range of detergents for sensitive skin, babies’ essentials, and delicate clothes in both scented and unscented versions.
The formula is highly biodegradable and strong enough to efficiently remove all stains without damaging or fading the fabric.
Dropps comes in compostable and plastic-free cardboard packaging. The lightweight packaging reduces their carbon footprint. In addition, they have partnered up with Oceana—an ocean conservation organization—to tackle the plastic in bodies of water. Dropps achieved carbon neutrality by aiding solar energy projects in Jackson, TN, in collaboration with Clearloop.
These pods are wrapped in polyvinyl alcohol (PVA/PVOH) that can stick to your clothes if not dissolved completely. You can avoid this by dissolving the pods in warm water before tossing your clothes into the washing machine. In addition, PVA has a controversial status among many environmentalists.
Dropps scented pods contain strong chemicals such as “citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil” and “abies sibirica (fir needle) oil,” which are not suited for people with an extremely sensitive sense of smell.
Dropps will cost you $0.46 per wash, which is a little too expensive compared to the top contender on this list for a pod that doesn’t always dissolve properly.
Dropps can definitely put more effort into regenerating the planet or helping vulnerable communities.
Dropps is 100% eco-friendly and safe for sensitive skin. They use only plant-based ingredients that pose no harm to the environment. If you don’t mind the cost and the extra hassle of dissolving the pods in the washer before putting in your laundry, you can definitely try out Dropps.
4. Meliora Laundry Powder
Meliora laundry powder piqued my interest because of their outstanding contribution toward saving the planet and helping those in need. In addition, they use only five ingredients, including glycerin, washing powder, baking soda, sodium cocoate, and coconut oil—all of which are safe for the skin and the planet. You can learn more details about their ingredients on their website.
The only drawback is their average cleaning efficiency. My whites still had a few yellow stains left after washing.
They’re priced well at $0.29 per wash, but they don’t offer free shipping until the order exceeds $49. However, they do offer monthly subscriptions that can reduce the price further.
Meliora detergent powder comes in 100% plastic-free and zero-waste packages. They use steel cans to pack their detergents and send paper bag refills with subsequent orders.
The main reason Meliora made it onto my list is their contribution to the planet. They donate 2% of their annual revenue to green initiatives and charities as a part of “1% for the Planet” and “Women’s Voices for the Earth.” They are Made Safe, Leaping Bunny, and B. Corp certified.
Overall, it’s a good detergent. But you will have to use more powder than recommended to clean your clothes well.
5. Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Detergent Powder
Molly’s Suds explains its ingredients like no other brand on this list. They have a detailed webpage explaining the origin of every chemical. The plant-based sources of this non-toxic laundry detergent make it safe for the environment and your skin. They use only natural fragrances derived from mineral oils. In addition, they are EPA Safer Choice and Leaping Bunny certified.
Molly’s Suds is ranked fifth only because of its average cleaning performance.
I was expecting zero-waste and plastic-free packaging, but to my dismay, they use plastic pouches to pack their powder. According to them, some of their ingredients are not stable in paper or glass packs, so they have to use plastic. I’ve seen brands use steel cans or silicon bags, so Molly’s Suds can definitely find a plastic-free alternative if they try harder.
Molly’s Suds is pretty affordable and will cost you $0.32 per wash. They also offer a 5% discount on subscription purchases. However, you won’t get free shipping unless your order exceeds $75.
Their contribution toward charitable and eco-friendly causes is commendable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Molly’s Suds donated and volunteered to help affected families by washing the laundry of 850 families for free. Due to their many charitable efforts, Molly’s Suds is awarded a gold medal by Hey Social Good.
Although you’ll need more than one wash cycle and a little more detergent to wash the clothes perfectly, Molly’s Suds is still a good eco-friendly alternative to traditional laundry detergents.
6. Pardo Natural Laundry Detergent
Pardo sneaked into the sixth spot because it only uses three ingredients in its formula: castile soap, washing soda, and baking soda. However, you should know that they use citrus lemon peel oil in their lemon scented product, which can irritate sensitive skin. You can always go for their unscented laundry detergent, though.
If you have severe skin problems, I suggest you still do a patch test before using this detergent.
Although Pardo is safe for your skin and the environment, what use is a detergent if it doesn’t clean your clothes? Their formula is not strong enough to lift stubborn stains of grease and ink.
Moreover, I was very disappointed to see zero contribution from their side to save the planet or help people living in distressed conditions.
In these trying times, go for brands that reach out to charitable causes and donate a fraction of their profits for the betterment of this planet.
7. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap
What’s interesting about this laundry detergent is you can also use it for cleaning floors, dishes, pets, your body and even your teeth! At first, this seems like a very economical and convenient product, but would you wash your face or brush your teeth with the same soap that can clean floors? I would not!
In order to use this soap, you have to dilute the product very carefully, which is just an additional hassle. No one has the time to dilute the detergent every time they do laundry. And if you make a mistake, you can either damage your clothes or not get your clothes cleaned properly.
They may be safe for your skin, but it’s not a convenient option if you’re a busy person. I recommend you go for pre-measured laundry detergents specifically made for washing clothes.
8. Biokleen Liquid Laundry Detergent
Biokleen’s newer products in the catalog are safer and better. The brand uses 70% less plastic now and is also EPA Safer Choice certified. But it’s still not at the same level as the laundry detergents ranked higher on the list.
Biokleen didn’t clean my whites properly, and the stains remained after two wash cycles. It costs $0.34 per load without delivery charges, which is a bit pricey.
Moreover, the brand doesn’t contribute to eco-friendly or social causes. It’s better to buy products that give back to society and the environment.
9. Grab Green Laundry Detergent
Grab Green’s detergent pods are safe for sensitive skin and packaged in 100% plastic-free bags. The ingredients are EPA Safer Choice certified and are free from toxins like parabens, chlorine, and dyes. The brand claims that the product is not tested on animals, but there are no certifications to prove it.
Other than that, the cleaning performance was, at best, average, and I wasn’t satisfied with the end results. Grab Green pods failed to remove grease stains from my samples.
Grab Green isn’t the most economical detergent, either. It’ll cost you a whopping $0.50 per load for a one-time purchase and $0.42 with a subscription. In my opinion, there are better options available at half the price.
Other Detergents I Tested
The top nine safest laundry detergents aren’t the only ones I tested in my week-long research. Some laundry detergents couldn’t make the cut. Here they are in no particular order:
10. Botanical Origin Laundry Detergent
Botanical laundry detergent has safe ingredients made from plant-based essential oils and is packaged in a post-consumer recycled plastic jug. Recycled or not, plastic jugs are a safety hazard for the environment. Their plant-based ingredients also lacked cleaning performance.
11. Presto Laundry Detergent Packs
Presto’s big plastic container is a big turn-off for me. You need to use warm water because the detergent packs don’t dissolve easily. Plus, they are super expensive! It’ll cost you $0.58 per load, and the brand doesn’t offer any discounts. They also don’t contribute to eco-friendly causes.
12. Seventh Generation Laundry detergent
Seventh Generation is a safe, non-toxic liquid detergent and has natural fragrance but it simply doesn’t clean well. I had to pretreat stubborn stains to get the gunk out. It also comes in a plastic jug, which is not safe for the environment. A better formula and repackaging could score this product higher on my list of the safest laundry detergents.
13. Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent
Tide cleans laundry well. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so popular. But its ingredients aren’t always safe for the human body and environment. Tide’s free and gentle laundry liquid detergent might be the only safe choice in their line laundry products.
The majority of their products have harsh chemicals like surfactants and sodium lauryl sulfate. Also, they sell laundry detergents in plastic jugs.
The Bottom Line
Now that you’ve gone through the list, buying a non-toxic laundry detergent will become easier. Out of the nine safest laundry detergents, Earth Breeze stood at the top.
Earth Breeze packed a powerful trio of hypoallergenic ingredients, compostable packaging, and eco-friendly ventures. Free from harmful chemicals, it’s safe for fabric and skin. The brand is cruelty-free and vegan with Leaping Bunny and EPA certifications.
The formula is also ultra-concentrated, so a single pack goes a long way. These Eco Sheets didn’t affect the delicate fabric or fade the color of my test fabrics. The laundry detergent sheets dissolve easily in cold water and their fresh scent leaves the clothes smelling like fresh air in the morning. However, you can go for a fragrance-free version if the smell bothers you.
Moreover, this product is economical for families with above-average laundry needs. What you do pay is put to good use by the company thanks to their consistent and generous donations to vulnerable communities and environmental causes.
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets come in compact packaging that is recyclable and biodegradable. The brand took sustainability concerns seriously and reduced its carbon footprint to a minimum.
However, it’s new compared to traditional eco-friendly detergents, and people are reluctant to try out new things. Nonetheless, thousands of customers have used it and were satisfied with the performance of Earth Breeze Eco Sheets.
If you want a safe laundry detergent that is economical and contributes to environmentally friendly initiatives, then I recommend you try out Earth Breeze.
Here’s the seven-step methodology I followed to sort out the safest laundry detergents with natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals.
Step 1: Listing all the popular and safest laundry detergents
Starting with the basics, I searched all the popular non-toxic laundry detergents that claimed to be safe and eco-friendly. I was overwhelmed at first but still managed to jot down thirteen of the best-selling eco-friendly and safe laundry detergents available on the market and in online stores.
Step 2: Checking the ingredients and certifications
Since being safe means a lot of things, the first step in my research was to define this term. As a caring customer, you aren’t looking for a product to be safe just for your family but for the whole environment as well.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), most laundry detergents these days are filled with toxic ingredients, and laundry detergent manufacturers use harmful processes that are destroying our planet.
I had to go through the ingredients and certifications of each product to determine the authenticity of their claims.
Generally, toxic chemicals in laundry detergent that cause concern and make it less safe can be divided into two categories: those that harm the environment and those that harm people.
Ingredients harmful to the environment
- Plastic packaging doesn’t decompose and adversely affects the planet. In fact, only 9% of plastics are recycled, which is alarming!
- Dyes, optical brighteners, fabric softeners, and artificial fragrances pollute soil and groundwater and are not biodegradable. These toxic chemicals can even damage septic tanks and gray water systems.
- Phosphates harm aquatic life by encouraging the growth of algae in the ocean, which reduces oxygen levels in the water.
- Surfactants have long been considered toxic to aquatic life.
Ingredients harmful to people
- Parabens damage the endocrine system (hormones).
- Phthalates are toxic to the lungs, liver, and kidneys.
- Synthetic fragrances cause eye and skin irritation.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are skin and eye irritants.
- Benzothiazolinone is a skin allergen that can trigger hives and eczema.
- Methylisothiazolinone causes skin irritation.
- Formaldehyde harms the throat and eyes.
- 1,4-Dioxane is carcinogenic and causes skin inflammation.
Now that I had the list of culprits, it was easier to read through the ingredients disclosed by the supposed non-toxic laundry detergent brands. I even went a step further and reviewed the ingredients using the US EPA’s database.
Step 3: Reading online reviews
To add a fresh perspective to my research, I next turned to buyers’ reviews. To keep things legitimate, I preferred reviews on online stores like Amazon because brands often put fake testimonials on their own websites.
By going through thousands of comments, I noticed how different laundry detergents caused different problems for different people. Some folks got allergic reactions while others noticed faded laundry. Their detailed reviews about the products really gave me the insight I was looking for.
Step 4: Interviewing real customers
Even though online reviews are verified and somewhat authentic, I still couldn’t accept them as absolute truth.
So, I contacted real customers and conducted live interviews with the ones willing to share two cents about their eco-friendly laundry routine. Some got hives and eczema due to certain allergens. Many people weren’t satisfied with the cleaning performance of plant-based laundry detergents. This really assisted my research, and I gave credence to their comments in my ranking.
Step 5: Interviewing the brands
Keeping things fair, I gave the laundry detergent brands a chance by contacting them about their eco-friendly policies. I wasn’t expecting much, but some brands, like Earth Breeze and Pardo Natural, were really transparent about their ingredients. It was refreshing.
However, I also got shunned by many other brands. Some didn’t even reply to my emails. I’ve included the quality of customer service by the brands in my scoring system as well.
Step 6: Test driving
The point of laundry products is to clean laundry. Now that I had done the preliminary research, it was time to do actual laundry. I was skeptical about the cleaning performance of plant-based laundry detergent. That’s why I made the testing elaborate.
I prepared thirteen sets of swatches containing denim, linen, cotton, and silk fabric. Next, I soiled all the swatches with tough stains like food, grass, soil, and ink.
After washing all the samples in high-efficiency (HE) machines, I let them dry naturally. The cleaning experience reveals a lot about detergent’s efficiency. Some liquid-less laundry detergents took time to dissolve, while others gave a bizarre post-wash smell.
After drying, I observed the stains through the naked eye and then used ultraviolet (UV) light to find the remaining gunk. The observation I made here helped me score the safest laundry detergents better.
Step 7: Safest laundry detergents analysis and rating
Out of thirteen non-toxic laundry detergents, only nine made the final cut. The rest scored too low and were barely safe for the environment or the human body. Also, some had a really subpar cleaning performance. To summarize my analysis, I inspected laundry detergents based on the following aspects:
- Safe ingredients
- Authentic certifications
- Biodegradable and recyclable packaging
- Cleaning performance
- Cost, delivery charges, and discounts
- Customer service and refund policies
- Environmental and sustainable policies
Each aspect had specific points which helped me rank the top nine non-toxic laundry detergents.
If you are tired of liquid or powdered detergents and want to switch to laundry sheets, check out my article on the eight best laundry detergent sheets available on the market today!
The Safest Laundry Detergent With Best Cleaning Performance
Using the detailed seven-step research methodology, I sorted the best and safest eco-friendly laundry detergents out there so you don’t have to. After going through this rigorous process, one product scored the highest and was the clear winner.
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are the safest laundry detergent out there and ranked number one on my list. These laundry detergent sheets scored the highest on all fronts. Some of the key benefits of Earth Breeze laundry detergent are:
- 100% safe, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable ingredients
- Paraben-, phosphate-, and dye-free formula
- Certified cruelty free and vegan
- Exceptional cleaning performance
- Recyclable and compostable packaging
- Budget-friendly price and free shipping
- Generous donations to charities and eco-friendly causes
If you are looking for a laundry detergent that is safe for you and your family, then I’d recommend Earth Breeze. They have a flexible refund policy, so there is no harm in trying out this product today.