The 9 Best Sustainable Laundry Detergents: Reviewed, Compared, and Ranked

June 13, 2023

Are you looking for a sustainable laundry detergent that has all the right ingredients and promotes eco-friendly initiatives, reduces carbon emissions, and uplifts communities?

These days, brands are often caught greenwashing their products, and it’s quite difficult to find an authentic one that also cleans well. 

I’ve spent a week trying out famous eco-friendly laundry detergents, analyzing, reviewing, testing, and ranking them so that you can shift to a safe and efficient laundry detergent.

Here’s what I’ve found!

1. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets — 9.5/10 (The best sustainable laundry detergent)

Earth Breeze Eco Sheets is the best sustainable laundry detergent on the market because of its nontoxic ingredients, hypoallergenic formula, exceptional cleaning performance, lightweight shipping, and sustainable policies.

“Sustainable” is an umbrella term used to cover a variety of concerns. It includes nontoxic ingredients, residual waste, reduced carbon footprint, green policies, and basically anything that has a direct positive effect on the ecosystem. Earth Breeze has these qualities in spades.

Pros

Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are a certified nontoxic, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free laundry detergent alternative to traditional laundry detergents. It’s made up of natural ingredients that are safe for septic tanks and greywater.

Earth Breeze covers all the aspects of being an eco-friendly laundry detergent—unlike the rest of the competition—while being efficient at cleaning.

All the contents of these detergent sheets are safe for babies and people with sensitive skin. They’re certified cruelty free and vegan, which means no animals were harmed or exploited throughout the manufacturing process.

Thankfully, Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are free from synthetic surfactants, which are quite harmful to the ocean, rivers, and other aquatic ecosystems. Such toxic ingredients promote the production of algae that consume oxygen in the water, thus starving aquatic life of oxygen and suffocating them.

It wouldn’t matter how eco-friendly these detergent sheets are if they couldn’t clean your clothes. But Earth Breeze’s cleaning performance is also extraordinary. During my tests, the sheets removed tough stains from my test samples. They weren’t harsh on delicate fabrics like silk, linen, and chiffon.

I also didn’t notice any fade in color. Unlike others on the list, these detergent sheets dissolve in cold water easily and produce adequate lather. Earth Breeze sheets are also compatible with HE machines, and a single sheet is enough for a heavily soiled bunch.

Earth Breeze eco-sheets will cost you around $0.33 per load for a one-time purchase and $0.20 if you go for a monthly subscription. With free shipping and a refund policy, Earth Breeze is highly economical.

These eco-sheets come in a compact, plastic-free packaging, which greatly reduces their carbon footprint. They’ve also partnered with We are Neutral, which ensures a carbon neutral supply chain. 

Being sustainable is all about promoting eco-friendly initiatives and policies. The brand takes this seriously and is a part of 1% for the Planet.

Earth Breeze also contributes to social causes by giving donations regularly. For example, with every purchase you make, Earth Breeze donates 10 laundry sheets to underprivileged communities.

Cons

Earth Breeze Eco Sheets have all it takes to be the most eco-friendly laundry detergent, but the brand is relatively new in the market.

People are often skeptical about trying out new products, and this is especially true when it comes to cleaning products. However, this didn’t stop thousands of customers from trying out Earth Breeze and leaving positive reviews. Considering the testimonials and my test, I would say that Earth Breeze is worth a try.

Overall

Earth Breeze is a well-rounded sustainable detergent that is safe for your family and environment. The ingredients are nontoxic, cruelty free, and vegan. Also, the residue wastewater is perfectly safe for septic tanks and aquatic life in the ocean or other local water sources. It comes in compact plastic-free packaging, which reduces the carbon footprint.

Moreover, Earth Breeze cleans really well and works fine on various types of fabrics. The detergent sheets come at an economical rate of $0.20 per load (that’s the subscription price).

If you want a laundry detergent that cleans well and is a sustainable alternative to traditional detergents, then head over to Earth Breeze

2. Tru Earth Eco-Strips — 8.2/10 (Good performance but quite expensive)

Tru Earth Eco-Strips detergent sheets are made up of natural ingredients that are biodegradable and hypoallergenic. The brand focuses on sustainability, but it’s quite expensive, which is why I’ve ranked it second on my list.

Pros

Tru Earth laundry strips are made of nontoxic, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. These sheets come in a compact design that is easy to carry and use. These little things add up to the sustainability of the product. Tru Earth comes in plastic-free and zero-waste packaging, which is sustainable for the environment.

You’ll find these sheets to be ultra-concentrated, which helps clean even the toughest stains. However, you might want to use warm water to help it dissolve faster. Tru Earth Eco-Strips are compatible with HE machines and efficiently removed the gunk from my sample swatches during my tests.

However, it’s quite expensive and will cost you $0.56 per load for a one-time purchase and $0.40 on a monthly subscription. Tru Earth also has a flexible refund policy and offers free shipping. I also liked the fact that they donate 32 laundry sheets with every subscription sale they make.

Cons

Tru Earth is quite expensive compared to other laundry detergents on my list. It has a lot to offer and covers almost everything you’d expect from a sustainable detergent, but the price makes it less appealing.

Even by adding the subscription discount and free shipping, it’s still twice as expensive as Earth Breeze Eco Sheets. Earth Breeze also contributes far more to eco-friendly causes than Tru Earth. 

Another drawback is that you might need to use warm water because the sheets don’t easily dissolve in cold water.

Overall

Tru Earth laundry detergent sheets are the second-best sustainable option on my list, and rightly so. Its paraben-, phthalate-, and surfactant-free formula is good for sensitive skin and the environment. Being all natural also doesn’t affect its cleaning performance, and it was able to wash my samples efficiently. Tru Earth detergent sheets come in a biodegradable box and have a carbon-neutral supply chain.

Overall, it’s a complete package, but it’s quite expensive, and it may affect your budget. If you’re fine with the price, then check it out here.

3. Blueland Laundry Tablets — 7.9/10 (Lacks cleaning performance)

Blueland laundry detergent is a sustainable and eco-friendly option that comes in an easy-to-use, convenient tablet form. I’ve ranked it in third place because its cleaning performance is lackluster compared to the top detergents on my list.

Pros

Blueland laundry detergent tablets are free of parabens, ammonia, artificial dyes, optical brighteners, and chlorine bleach. They’re sustainable and have the cradle-to-cradle certification. In addition, they’re also B Corp certified and have transparent sustainable policies.

The brand claims that its innovative tablets are better than other detergent pods available on the market and are free of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA/PVOH). During tests I found it easy to dissolve and much more convenient than pods and liquitabs.

You may need to use more than one tablet for heavily soiled clothes. I recommend pretreating them for tough stains because they may not get clean in one go.

Blueland will cost you $0.45 per load, which is a bit pricey considering that you can get better cleaning performance at half the price from Earth Breeze. This laundry detergent comes in a recyclable tin can.

The brand offsets the impact of their shipping by minimizing the use of water and single-use packages in their products. Moreover, they use lightweight and plastic-free packages that significantly reduce carbon emissions.

However, I didn’t find any active social contribution from their side, which is disappointing.

Cons

Even though it is a considerably better sustainable laundry detergent than leading traditional brands, it still has a few cons. 

First, it lacks in performance and requires pretreatment of tough stains. For a regular load, it works just fine. 

Second, it is quite expensive, especially compared to the number one on our list that offers much more at half the price. 

Third, I didn’t find any active contribution by them to eco-friendly causes, which is essential to establishing a company’s commitment to the sustainability of the environment.

Overall

Blueland laundry tablets are third on my list because while they lack cleaning performance compared to the top two, they’re still a certified plastic-free and phosphate-free product. 

These tablets are easy to use and have environmentally friendly and green ingredients. Learn more about this product here

4. Net Zero Co. Detergent Sheets

Net Zero Co. detergent sheets secure the fourth spot because of their sustainable, plastic-free packaging and ingredients. However, they don’t contribute much to eco-friendly causes.

These detergent sheets are free from common toxic materials such as parabens, phthalates, and chlorine bleach. This generally makes them safe for septic and greywater. Net-zero detergent sheets quickly dissolve in water and are compatible with HE washing machines.

I noticed that it was a little harsh on my silk and wool samples during my testing phase. Depending on the type of cloth and color, you may see a slight fade.

They get all the points for zero-waste packaging because theirs is completely compostable and biodegradable. At $0.56 per load, Net Zero’s product is not light on the wallet but is the most expensive price on this list. They also don’t offer subscription discounts. The best they offer is free shipping for over $80 worth of shopping, which is a bummer.

This company was founded on the mission to prevent plastic bottles from hitting the landfills, which is why they use only plastic-free and recycled packages. They have a Silicon Takeback Program, which aims to recycle your silicon pouches. Although it’s a good effort for a sustainable cause, I still think they need to do more, considering the hefty price they charge for their sheets.

Overall, Net Zero has a good product with sustainable packaging and ingredients but to get better value for money. I would recommend the top two on my list.

5. Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods

I had to mention Dropps laundry detergent pods because the brand is pretty transparent about its sustainable ingredients.

Dropps detergent pods are sustainable, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly. They come in a plastic-free cardboard box and they claim to have carbon-neutral shipping.

Although the pods are compact by design, they contain polyvinyl alcohol, a soluble plastic with a controversial reputation.

Cleaning wise they were good and were able to remove the gunk from my test swatches. However, these pods take time to dissolve.

Make sure to use warm water, or you’ll get a sticky gel of undissolved detergent pods. If you are sensitive to fragrance, then it’s best to avoid these because they have a pretty strong scent.

Priced at $0.41 per load, they are certainly at the higher end of the price spectrum. There is a subscription discount that lowers the price to $0.33, but it’s still pricier than the top detergent on my list.

6. Meliora Laundry Powdered Detergents

Meliora laundry detergents are made-safe and cruelty-free certified. They are one of the few brands on this list that donate 1% of their annual revenue to earth-friendly initiatives through the environmental advocacy group 1% for the Planet.

They use refillable canisters for packaging their powdered laundry detergent, which is a great plastic-free approach. However, cans are heavier than cardboard packages, and it adds to the carbon footprint, making them less sustainable.

They’re highly transparent about their ingredients. You can read about every chemical on their list. They are truly nontoxic and hypoallergenic. But what good is a laundry detergent if it can’t clean well?

Meliora is highly affordable, and with subscription deals, you can go as low as $0.27 per load, but they don’t have a refund policy. Overall, Meliora is not a bad option if you want to try out a sustainable laundry powder detergent, but you could get better cleaning power from Earth Breeze.

7. Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Pods

Molly’s Suds offer a great price of only $0.19 per load, subscription offers, and free delivery for orders above $75. They use only safe ingredients packed in plastic pouches. Although this packaging is recyclable, it’s still plastic.

According to their website, Molly’s Suds is well aware of their plastic use and how it’s not the most sustainable option, but they downplay it by saying their ingredients are only safe in plastic packages. 

Molly Suds deserved a place on this list because of their active contribution to charitable and eco-friendly causes. To reduce the environmental impact of their product, they have launched a refill store called “The Refillery” based in St. Petersburg, FL, where customers can refill Molly’s products. In addition, they help nonprofits and vulnerable communities by donating their detergent and volunteering to clean their laundry.

Although it’s a good sustainable option, Molly’s Suds laundry pods could not clean heavy grime like oil and grease. If you want to learn more about them, check out their website.

8. Happi Earth Liquid Laundry Detergent

Happi Earth sneaks into the eighth spot because I like how they use refillable paper pouches for their liquid detergent. They are super affordable and are priced at only $0.25 per wash. Happi Earth’s liquid detergent pouch can last about eight months (400 loads)! This alone can reduce a significant amount of carbon emissions since customers won’t need to order so frequently.

Although they use sustainable packaging, these pouches are not 100% plastic free and are lined with plastic to prevent leakage. Moreover, I noticed that the cruelty-free bunny logo on their website is not an authentic Leaping Bunny logo. This may just be a trick to deceive customers. And if they’ll deceive customers on this, what else?

Happi Earth’s ingredients list consists of only certified organic essential oils and cleaning agents, safe for the skin, but they don’t clean heavy stains. I could still see grease and protein stains on my test articles. The clothes smelled of essential oils, but the stains remained.

Happi Earth does nothing extraordinary for the environment except plant one mangrove tree with every sale. This is nice, but not enough. They can do better. 

Although it’s super affordable, you can get better value for your money somewhere else. 

9. Truly Free Laundry Wash

I added Truly Free to this list because they use gentle ingredients that are safe for skin and the planet. They also do a lot for society and give back by donating money to many causes, such as providing food and shelter to orphans and supporting a deaf village in Jamaica.

However, they are in the ninth spot because they couldn’t clean well. This detergent left my dark-colored and black articles faded and dull. Bright colors lost their pop, and stains were still left on some clothes.

What’s worse is they come in a recyclable plastic bottle. They can surely take inspiration from the top contenders here and incorporate more sustainable options.

Other Detergents I Tested

Apart from the nine detergents mentioned above, I have tested five more detergents.

10. Grab Green Laundry Detergents

Grab Green doesn’t give back in any form and will cost you a whopping $0.50 per wash. They may not be entirely safe for the skin because some customers complained about their detergent causing skin allergies. 

These laundry pods could not dissolve well in water and left sticky residue on clothes. Furthermore, the detergent left an unpleasant lingering smell. They offer a fragrance-free variation, but the stains still won’t come off. 

Grab Green needs to up their game if they want to compete with brands like Earth Breeze.

11. Botanical Origin Laundry detergent

Botanical Origin puts their liquid laundry detergent in a post-consumer recycled plastic jug, which is not 100% sustainable. They are looking forward to shifting to more sustainable packaging in 2025 and going 100% carbon neutral in 2040. 

While other brands have already adopted sustainability, Botanical Origin is still “planning.” In addition, their plant-based formula doesn’t clean well.

12. The Unscented Company Laundry Detergent 

Another brand that uses post-recycled plastic jugs for their liquid detergent, Unscented Company is not safe for the environment because it contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a highly toxic chemical for humans and the environment alike. It can cause skin irritation and lung inflammation.

13. Pur Home Laundry Detergent 

Pur Home is yet another brand that boasts of its sustainability but contains harsh chemicals, such as SLS and synthetic fragrances, in their liquid detergents. In addition, their laundry liquid comes in plastic pouches. 

14. Ethique Flash laundry soap

This laundry bar is a great sustainable option if you love to travel and want an easy-to-carry soap to handwash clothes. It is only good for washing delicate and light stains. Ethique laundry soap is not made for washing machines and can only be used for spot cleaning. 

Why not go for lightweight sheets that can be carried anywhere, used for handwashing and HE washing machines, like Earth Breeze? You can get better value for your money.

Bottom Line

Earth Breeze takes the #1 spot because it ticks all the boxes of the best eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Earth Breeze sheets take less energy in shipping because of their lightweight and compact packaging.

In addition, they contain only safe ingredients that are hypoallergenic and safe for water sources. You can check out the ingredients list on their website because they have nothing to hide.

Earth Breeze formula can tackle any stain on all the fabrics and colors. All of my swatches came out thoroughly cleaned and fresh.

What’s best about Earth Breeze is that they give back to the community and environment in many ways. They donate 10 sheets to a charity of customers’ choosing with every purchase. Moreover, they donate 1% of their annual revenue to earth-friendly initiatives. Earth Breeze actively takes part in ocean cleanups and tree plantings.

Last but not least, this brand will cost you only $0.20 per wash, which is highly affordable and convenient. They provide a 100% money-back guarantee and free shipping, so their customers don’t hesitate to try them out the first time.

Learn more about Earth Breeze here.

Methodology

My research comprises seven steps that helped me filter out the best eco-friendly detergents available on the market. In this section, I’ll explain all the steps individually.

Step 1: List of all the popular eco-friendly laundry detergents

In the first step, I simply Googled “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” laundry soap and detergents and made a list of about 20 brands. I then sought this list out on the basis of popularity and customer demand.

The term “eco-friendly” is not as wide as the term “sustainability.” Anything that’s sustainable is definitely eco-friendly but anything that’s eco-friendly might not entirely be sustainable. 

Sustainability includes all the actions of a company and anything that contributes to a healthy and greener future of our planet. This means that it also involves social and economical contributions toward vulnerable communities and earth conservation initiatives. 

So, I cut out the brands that are not only eco-friendly (nontoxic, safe, cruelty free, plastic free) but also sustainable (actively contributing toward reversing damage to the planet, participating in eco-friendly and charitable initiatives, and carbon neutral).

For this article, the final list consisted of 14 popular brands with the most sales.

Step 2: Online Reviews

In the next step, I skimmed through hundreds of testimonials and reviews left by customers on every brand’s website and other online stores where the detergent was available.

Every customer had a different experience that helped me judge the detergent even better. Some faced an issue with the cleaning efficiency of the product, while others went through terrible skin reactions.

Step 3: Interviews with real customers

Online reviews can only be trusted to a certain extent. Some websites upload fake or paid testimonials on their websites to deceive customers. I contacted real customers and talked about their experience with the detergents.

The process helped me dig deeper into certain aspects, such as customer service and the shipping procedure of each brand.

Step 4: Interviews with the eco-friendly laundry detergent brands

To clear up certain doubts regarding the brands’ ingredients sources and their contribution to the environmentally friendly initiatives, I contacted them directly. Some brands clearly defined all of their ingredients, while others were hesitant and failed to give a clear response.

I have included the responses in my ranking as well.

Step 5: Test Drives

This step was dedicated to testing and observing the cleaning power of all the detergents in HE machines. The test articles were naturally dried and analyzed under UV light.

Each test batch consisted of four fabrics—cotton, fabric, wool, and denim—covered with stains of grass, grease, oil, and blood. I prepared nine identical test batches to develop an unbiased opinion.

The final score was deduced on the basis of how effectively the detergent cleaned stains, the amount of detergent used, the brightness and texture of washed cloth, and the intensity of the fragrance.

The top three eco-friendly detergents cleaned all the stains perfectly and left the clothes smelling fresh, bright, and colorful.

Step 6: Analyzing the laundry detergent brands

This preliminary research helped me determine the most important factors in ranking these eco-friendly laundry detergents. Here are the important factors that make a laundry detergent brand the best on the market:

  • Ingredients
  • Stain removal
  • Effects on sensitive skin and delicate clothes
  • Cleaning power
  • Performance in HE machines (both warm and cold water)
  • Septic safety
  • Cost
  • Subscriptions and bundle offer
  • Plastic-free and recyclable packaging
  • Sustainable shipping 
  • Cruelty-free certification
  • Eco-friendly initiatives and contribution to the environment

Step 7: Ratings

The first three detergent brands on my list performed the best in HE machines and washed away all the grime without needing a second wash cycle. Earth Breeze has all the right ingredients to be the best eco-friendly laundry detergent, while other brands lagged by a few points.

The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent That Actually Cleans!

Keeping in mind the affordability, cleaning performance, packaging, sustainability, and environmental contribution, I’ve ranked the nine best eco-friendly laundry detergent brands that you can try out today. To learn more about the most sustainable and eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets, read my article about the top eight laundry eco-sheets.

Earth Breeze tops the list because it offers all the features that an ideal eco-friendly laundry detergent should offer:

  • Earth Breeze is priced at only $0.20 per load for a one-time purchase.
  • Earth Breeze offers free shipping and a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • Earth Breeze is certified cruelty free, vegan, and hypoallergenic.
  • Earth Breeze cleans exceptionally well.
  • Earth Breeze donates 10 sheets to different charities with every purchase you make.
  • Earth Breeze is a part of 1% for the Planet and committed to being carbon neutral.
  • Earth Breeze sheets come in plastic-free packages and are made of safe and nontoxic ingredients.

Sign up for Earth Breeze here.