Common household laundry detergents produce tons of plastic waste that harms the environment. The majority of this waste ends up in landfills and oceans, destroying nature as we know it. So why not switch to zero-waste laundry detergent and save our planet?
I’ve spent a week testing and ranking the best zero-waste laundry detergent brands available. I focused on finding the laundry detergent brand with sustainable packaging, biodegradable ingredients, superb cleaning, and an overall positive environmental impact.
Here’s what I’ve found.
1. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets — 9.71/10 (The best zero-waste laundry detergent)
Earth Breeze is the best zero-waste laundry detergent because of its plastic-free packaging, carbon-neutral shipping, and certified non-toxic ingredients that are safe for both the environment and sensitive skin. Furthermore, the cleaning performance is second to none, which is why it secured the first position on my list.
According to Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), conservation of resources and recycling of the product completely, without disposing of waste in landfills, oceans, and air, must be a goal of any sustainable brand.
Since laundry detergents are used by billions of people every day, it’s also a huge cause of plastic pollution in the environment. By purchasing zero-waste laundry detergent, you can prevent this pollution and help save our environment.
Earth Breeze eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets are sustainable and produce zero waste. These Eco Sheets are packaged in recyclable cardboard that is totally plastic free. Moreover, the brand is in partnership with “We are Neutral,” which helps them minimize their carbon footprint.
Earth Breeze is all natural and free from traditional toxic and synthetic ingredients. Despite this, the cleaning performance is great. It removed tough stains from my test swatches and wasn’t harsh on delicate fabric. I also didn’t notice any fade in color.
Surprisingly these eco-sheets dissolve quickly in both cold and warm water. The recommended amount is one sheet per load which is enough for the heavily soiled bunch. They are also compatible with (HE) machines. Overall, I was happy with the performance.
It’s also highly economical for families that wash their laundry quite frequently. Eco Sheets will cost you $0.33 per load, but a monthly subscription reduces the rate to $0.20 per load. Plus, the brand provides free shipping and has a flexible refund policy.
What I really like about Earth Breeze is its welfare and environmentally friendly initiatives. With every purchase you make, the brand donates ten loads of laundry sheets and free meals to the people in need. And you get to choose where the donations should go.
They are also part of the “1% for the Planet.” As a member, they spend 1% of their annual revenue on eco-friendly causes. Earth Breeze is one of the few brands that put effort into zero waste and sustainable initiatives while maintaining superb cleaning performance.
Earth Breeze may have what it takes to be a zero-waste laundry detergent, but it’s relatively new to the market. People are biased toward traditional laundry detergents because of their enormous marketing and are reluctant to try out newer brands, even if they are the best zero-waste laundry detergent out there.
However, thousands of people have already tried Earth Breeze and left positive reviews about its performance. With increasing awareness about climate change and pollution, the demand for zero-waste laundry detergents like Earth Breeze will grow more.
Earth Breeze is the best zero-waste laundry detergent and cleans exceptionally well. These sheets are easy to store and carry because of their compact design. In addition, the packaging is 100% recyclable, and shipping is carbon neutral. It removed the toughest of stains without the need to pretreat them and did it in just a single wash.
These Eco Sheets cost $0.20 per load with a subscription. They’re light on the pocket and give the best bang for your buck. Though relatively new, the brand is a nice addition to the zero-waste laundry detergent market, and its sustainable policies are definitely helping the environment.
If you want a laundry detergent that not only performs well with both colors and whites, but also leaves you with no waste to toss in your bin, head to Earth Breeze now.
2. Blueland Laundry Tablets — 8.8/10 (Zero waste but does not give back)
Blueland grabbed second place because of its zero-waste packaging and phenomenal cleaning performance. However, they don’t engage in eco-friendly initiatives.
Blueland’s laundry detergent has unique zero-waste packaging. It comes in a tin canister filled with laundry detergent tablets wrapped in a paper bag. All of this is recyclable and sustainable.
Blueland’s tablets are also free from PVOH (soluble plastics), unlike conventional pods, which is a definite plus. The ingredients are safe to use on sensitive skin and are hypoallergenic.
Moving on to the cleaning performance, the laundry detergent is strong enough to remove tough stains. These tablets dissolve easily and produce enough lather for effective washing. I used an HEmachine for the testing, and the laundry tablets worked just fine.
Blueland missed the number one spot because it has a few cons.
First, they don’t give back to the community. I also didn’t see any initiative by the brand to commit to eco-friendly causes. Sure, they are a plastic-free and zero-waste company, but they can learn a thing or two about eco-friendly initiatives by Earth Breeze.
Second, they’re overpriced. It’ll cost you $0.45 per load, which is hard to afford even if you buy their “Essentials Kit.”
Blueland’s laundry products are certified zero waste, plastic free, safe to use, and good at removing tough stains. That’s why they landed at the second spot.
However, this environmentally friendly laundry detergent is costly, especially when you get the same cleaning by Earth Breeze at half the price. I was also disappointed by their lack of welfare and eco-friendly initiatives. If you want more details, click here.
3. Tru Earth Eco-Strips — 8.2/10 (Good performance but quite expensive)
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are an effective, nontoxic, and green laundry detergent wrapped in zero-waste packaging. The brand’s focus on eco-friendly initiatives is really impressive, but it’s quite expensive, which is why they are in the third spot.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are ultra-concentrated and clean exceptionally well. They come in a compact design, and the packaging is recyclable. The whole product is plastic free and produces zero waste. Tru Earth has also successfully reduced its carbon footprint and become a sustainable brand.
They are easy to dissolve and are not harsh on skin or delicate fabric. However, you may need warm water to do your laundry because these laundry detergent strips struggle to dissolve in cold water. You’ll find it compatible with HE (high-efficiency) machines, and one strip is enough for tough stains.
I also find it refreshing that they donate 32 laundry sheets to the underprivileged with every subscription sale the company makes. Tru Earth also participates in initiatives like “1% for the Planet.”
Despite being a powerful, zero-waste, and eco-friendly laundry detergent, it’s quite expensive. Tru Earth Eco-Strips cost $0.56 per load for a one-time purchase and $0.40 with the monthly subscription. It’s surely not economical for families who do laundry multiple times a week.
I didn’t get why it was so expensive even though they provide the same cleaning as Earth Breeze, which sells their products at half the price.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips have nailed all the basics of zero-waste, plastic-free laundry detergent, but the price makes them less appealing. The cleaning performance is good, and they are compatible with HE washing machines. Overall, it’s a good option, but I would still recommend Earth Breeze laundry detergent because it offers better value at a lower cost. If you are fine with the price, then get more details here.
4. Net Zero Co. Laundry Detergent Strips
Net Zero has fully incorporated zero-waste strategies and promotes plastic-free initiatives. These laundry strips are made from natural and safe ingredients with above-average cleaning. However, they are costly, and that’s why they ranked lower.
Net Zero has many laundry detergent products in its catalog, and each of them is a plastic-free laundry detergent. Whether it’s packaging, shipping, or ingredients, Net Zero makes sure it doesn’t harm the planet. Furthermore, the brand has a Silicone Takeback Program in which you can send them any silicone waste, and they’ll recycle it. Net Zero also contributes to Carbon Fund’s mission by planting a tree for every purchase you make.
Cleaning-wise, it’s above average. The sheets dissolve properly. They performed great on colors, but for whites, I needed an extra wash cycle to get fully cleaned clothes. Moreover, this laundry detergent worked well in HE washing machines.
Net Zero laundry strips are quite expensive, unfortunately. They’re priced at $0.56 per load for a one-time purchase, which is an absurdly high price. They don’t offer any subscription discount, and to get free delivery, you must buy products worth at least $80.
While it’s hard to afford and not economical, it’s still a reliable option after our top contenders. To learn about Net Zero’s laundry strips, click here.
5. Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods
Dropps makes effective and zero-waste laundry detergent pods that are all natural, cruelty free, and vegan. The packaging is recyclable, and the design is compact for efficient shipping and daily use.
Dropps laundry pods are easy to use, but they’ve got a coating of polyvinyl alcohol (soluble plastic), which can be harmful in certain scenarios, so they aren’t plastic free.
Make sure to use warm water with these laundry detergent pods because sometimes they don’t dissolve properly and instead form sticky clumps in the washing machines.
It performs better in HE machines than regular top loader washing machines. Dropps pods cost $0.41 per load and $0.33 with a monthly subscription. The price is certainly higher than the top laundry detergent on my list.
Because of the potential for dissolved plastic waste, I recommend you go for Dropps laundry detergent pods only if other options aren’t available.
6. The Unscented Co. Laundry Tabs
Unscented Co. laundry detergent comes in recyclable zero-waste packing and has exceptional cleaning power. However, they don’t engage in charitable causes.
These laundry tabs are made of only safe and biodegradable ingredients that are certified cruelty-free.
The laundry tabs are convenient and dissolved efficiently in HE machines but I wasn’t very impressed by their cleaning performance.
You’ll notice that zero-waste products are not cheap, and the same goes for this one, as it’ll cost you $0.40 per load without any subscription discount. Despite the heavy price, the brand doesn’t contribute to eco-friendly causes, which is a bummer.
If you want to find better value for your money, then Earth Breeze is a superior option.
7. Meliora Cleaning Products
Meliora has a whole catalog of laundry products that are fragrance free, cruelty free, and vegan, including laundry powder and a laundry soap stick. Their laundry powder comes in a recyclable steel canister and they offer refills in paper bags that are zero waste and quite convenient.
Meliora is a women-owned company solidly focused on eco-friendly initiatives. They’re also a member of the “1% for the Planet“—a network of organizations tackling environmental issues.
However, the reason this laundry powder is in the seventh spot is that the cleaning performance is inferior to others on the list. It’s not compatible with HE machines and needs an extra wash cycle to completely get rid of the gunk.
Meliora laundry powder costs $0.28 per load, which is economical but only offers free shipping over $49, which is a letdown. Since you’re looking for a zero-waste laundry detergent, any of the top three brands in our top list are better suited for your needs than this one.
8. Ethique Flash! Laundry Soap Bar
Ethique bar is a 100% plastic-free and zero-waste laundry soap that is only suitable for handwashing and spot lifting. You can’t use it in HE machines due to the lack of anti-corrosion element in the bar, which is why it’s so far down on the list. Handwashing is only convenient if you’re traveling or camping. You can use it for dishes as well.
It’s made of only biodegradable ingredients that are certified cruelty free and hypoallergenic. But the best thing about Ethique is its many contributions and partnerships to save the planet! Ethique donates 2% of its annual revenue to environmental protection, sustainability, and animal welfare.
They are a part of Project Blue, HUHA, Rainforest Trust, and Oxfam, to name a few. Ethique donates 10,000 bars to vulnerable communities as part of its Super Soap Project. In addition, Ethique has established many direct trade partnerships in which Ethique provides stable prices and better working conditions in return for raw materials.
If you’re looking for a detergent for traveling, Ethique is a good zero-waste and eco-friendly laundry soap. But it’s always more economical to go for a detergent that is best for both handwashing and machine washing.
9. Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder
Molly’s Suds is highly transparent about their ingredients—the sort of commitment that impresses me! They are safe for your skin and the planet. Moreover, they come in biodegradable packages.
Molly’s Suds have helped many communities during Covid-19 pandemic and they continue to donate their detergents and volunteer in doing the laundry of distressed communities for free.
However, I was disappointed at their cleaning performance. They couldn’t take out tough stains in one wash cycle and left my whites looking dull and dirty.
10. Biokleen Liquid Laundry Detergent
A liquid detergent that uses recycled cardboard and newspaper to make bottles instead of big plastic laundry jugs, Biokleen uses 70% less plastic in its packages. Although it’s not a 100% plastic-free laundry detergent, the effort is commendable—no other manufacturers of liquid detergents have attempted to make eco-bottles. Still, these bottles produce plastic waste.
Safer Choice-certified Biokleen is made of plant-based ingredients that biodegrade readily. However, I couldn’t see any certification to prove their cruelty-free and vegan-friendly claim.
Moreover, they play no part in making the planet a better place. You will find no contribution from their side to eco-friendly or charitable causes.
It’s better to go for brands that are actively doing something good for the planet and humanity.
11. Grab Green Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods
Grab Green‘s Stonework pods are packed in a paper pouch that is 100% plastic free. I selected this product out of its other variations because of the zero-waste packaging.
EPA-safe Grab Green uses safe ingredients free from parabens, dyes, chlorine bleach, and surfactants. However, their scents may be too much for people with allergies.
Grab Green claims that it doesn’t test on animals, but no certification on its website proves it. They don’t participate in earth-friendly activities, which is why they lost so many points on my scoreboard. In addition, Grab Green couldn’t remove grease stains from my article.
In my opinion, there are better options at your disposal at an even better rate.
Other Detergents I tested
Here’s the list of brands that couldn’t make it to the top 11.
12. Kind Laundry Strips
Kind Laundry detergent uses cardboard, zero-plastic packages that are lightweight and compact. With only four ingredients, this detergent is nontoxic and safe for the environment.
However, they don’t clean well and contribute almost nothing to help regenerate the planet. They are affordable, but you can find better value in similar detergents and lower pricing elsewhere.
13. Well Earth Ultra Laundry Detergent Strips
Well Earth is a 100% zero-waste and plastic-free laundry detergent that uses the safest ingredients and zero-waste packaging. They couldn’t make it to the top list because of their average cleaning performance, zero contribution toward saving the planet, and a whopping cost of $0.67 per load! They don’t participate in any earth-friendly ventures nor do they aid society in any way.
In addition, they claim to be vegan, cruelty free, and hypoallergenic, but I couldn’t find any authentic certifications on their website to confirm these claims. For all I know, they could just be lying.
14. Clean People
They contribute by planting a tree for every 96 loads sold—so underwhelming!
Clean People is a zero-waste brand with safe ingredients, but they couldn’t get any higher ranking because of their cleaning performance and negligible contribution to the planet. They don’t offset their carbon emissions or help vulnerable communities in any way.
You can use your money to buy from the brands that are trying to improve our environment.
15. Nellie’s Vegan Laundry Detergent Soda
Nellie’s laundry soap comes in a zero-waste refillable tin. They use only five ingredients that are apparently safe for your skin and the planet, but they don’t have any solid certifications to prove this. They don’t clean well and do absolutely nothing for society. With brands offsetting their carbon footprint by participating in earth-friendly causes, Nellie’s is just sitting idle.
With brands hiding toxic ingredients and greenwashing their products for more sales, it’s becoming harder and harder to decide what to buy. I was in the same shoes before analyzing the popular brands and discovering the truth about them!
Out of 15 brands, Earth Breeze is the only one offering all the features that an ideal zero-waste and plastic-free laundry detergent should offer.
Earth Breeze sheets are made of only nontoxic and biodegradable ingredients that are safe for the environment. This brand is certified hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested to be safe on skin. They a zero-waste and recyclable cardboard box. The lightweight packages result in less energy consumption during manufacturing and shipping. These compact sheets use less water during production, reducing the wastewater discharged into the environment. They also all the stains effortlessly in both warm and cold water. Your clothes will smell fresh and clean.
This brand revises its environmental policies frequently to become consistently more eco-friendly. They participate in many earth-friendly ventures to offset their carbon emissions by being a part of We are Neutral. In addition, the Earth Breeze team loves to volunteer for ocean cleanups and tree plantings. They donate 1% of their annual revenue to planet regeneration causes.
Not only this, but they are also always a step ahead in supporting and aiding vulnerable communities, such as homeless shelters, women’s shelters, animal shelters, and developing countries. They donate 10 laundry detergent sheets with every purchase you make.
Earth Breeze offers all the features for just $0.33 per load, which can be further reduced to $0.22 if you subscribe to their monthly package. None of the brands on this list offers such a huge value for your buck.
Try them out yourself!
This section will explain how I vetted the 15 best zero waste laundry detergent brands and chose the 11 most eco-friendly laundry detergents you can use today!
In my one-week analysis, I used the following seven-step methodology to authenticate my research.
Step 1: Listing the popular eco-friendly laundry detergent brands
I started my research by putting together a lengthy list of laundry detergent brands that openly used the terms “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” “zero waste,” and “green” on their labels. I only included the brands that were popular among online consumers and I excluded the brands that had less than a thousand sales.
Step 2: Preliminary research on zero-waste brands
This step involved learning about the term “zero waste” and what brands must change in their company to claim themselves as zero waste legitimately.
Zero waste means reducing or eliminating the overall volume of waste discharged into the air, water, or land. To accomplish this, a brand must redefine its manufacturing policies, shipping procedures, packaging, ingredients quality, and the sources of the ingredients. The waste must either be recycled, reused, or conserved instead of burned, buried, or discharged into the environment.
A zero-waste brand must use only biodegradable ingredients, compostable or recyclable packaging, and be involved in carbon-offsetting ventures to dispose of the waste responsibly. They should change their environmental policies and reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. In addition, they should help restore the planet by participating in earth-friendly activities.
Step 3: Online reviews
The next logical step was to read online reviews on the brands’ websites and online stores from customers around the world. Although it took me a whole day just reading about people’s real-time experiences with the detergents, it was worth it! Just on the basis of people’s testimonials, I was able to draw a rough conclusion about what a brand was lacking and what people loved the most about it.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
I noticed that some brands only had positive reviews and a 100% rating on their websites. This didn’t sit well with me, and I had to dig deeper by contacting the customers. Sometimes brands upload fake and paid reviews to deceive customers and increase their sales, but little do they know, this only tarnishes their image in the long run.
By interviewing real customers, I was introduced to unique problems associated with a laundry detergent that were otherwise oblivious to me. These problems included wrong order delivery, damaged packages, fake certifications, high concentration of certain ingredients that cause allergic reactions, and lousy customer service.
The conversation with buyers proved very fruitful, and I refreshed my initial scoring of the brands.
Step 5: Interviews with zero waste laundry detergent brands
Who could give better information than the brand itself? I called and emailed the brands one by one and asked them the following scripted questions:
- Is your packaging zero waste?
- What can you tell me about the biodegradability of your ingredients?
- How do you treat your industrial waste?
- What are your environmental policies regarding offsetting carbon emissions?
Some brands quickly and happily responded to all my questions and provided additional information on how they dispose of their waste products. While some brands didn’t provide satisfactory answers, others didn’t respond at all!
Step 6: Test drives
Of course, no further conclusion could be drawn without testing the detergents myself!
I made 15 sets of identical test swatches made of cotton, denim, and silk, covered with blood, ink, grass, and grease stains. I washed these articles one by one in my HE machines. The detergents were added in the same amounts as recommended on their labels. After one wash cycle, the test swatches were naturally rinsed and dried in the air and observed under UV light.
The detergents that couldn’t pass the one-wash test were rewashed and ranked accordingly.
Overall, I ranked the detergents on the basis of:
- Cleaning power
- After-wash smell
- Colors and appearance of the fabric
Step 7: Ratings
I had obtained enough information to give the final ranking of each brand on the basis of all the information I had gathered. My scoreboard included the following factors:
- Nontoxic ingredients
- Biodegradability of the ingredients
- Biodegradable and recyclable packaging
- Cleaning performance
- Cost per load
- Delivery charges, subscription discounts, and refund policies
- Sustainable shipment and manufacturing methods
- Carbon offsetting activities
- Environmental and societal contributions
Each factor was given a specific weight out of 100%. The brands that failed to score higher than 60% on my scoreboard were not included in the top 11 list of the best zero-waste laundry detergent brands. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results of my seven-day analysis.
If you want to switch to laundry sheets that are eco-friendly and safe for your family, head to my article on the top eight laundry eco-sheets ranked using the same method!
The Best Zero-Waste Laundry Detergent That Cleans Well
Out of 15 popular zero-waste and all-natural laundry detergent brands, Earth Breeze scored the highest on the basis of sustainability, eco-friendliness, cleaning power, cost, nontoxicity, carbon neutrality, and engagement in earth-friendly and charitable causes.
Here’s what Earth Breeze has to offer:
- Biodegradable and nontoxic ingredients
- High cleaning performance
- Minimal and zero-waste packaging
- Carbon neutrality
- Friendly customer service
- Eco-friendly projects
You can try them out without fear of losing money because you can easily return or have your order refunded.
So, swap your traditional laundry detergent routine with an eco-friendly laundry routine, and get the best zero-waste laundry detergent today, with Earth Breeze.