Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents
Updated: Jul 14
It is known that the chemicals in the laundry detergents in the market are not all great for the environment. Some ingredients can be harmful to aquatic life where the toxins do not cause harm to the ecosystem but also our health.
Laundry detergents contain dangerous chemicals, non-compostable surfactants, and microplastics that are used in most conventional brands.
Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly laundry detergents (i.e., zero waste laundry detergents) that are great alternatives to conventional products
It is essential to look for brands that comply with sustainability standards as well. After researching the most sustainable options in the market, we have listed some of the best biodegradable and eco-friendly laundry detergents that you can find online. We have also classified them based on ingredients, variety, and much more! We hope that this guide helps you choose the best sustainable laundry detergent for you to use.
Best eco-friendly and sustainable laundry detergents
Handy - Best for travel
Gentle and easy to use
The reason we love Ethique’s Flash - Solid Laundry Bar and Stain Remover are because it has made washing laundry by hand easy and quick. It is easier to remove stains with effective and powerful natural ingredients, which means a good wash that is gentle as well. It is an effective and sustainable alternative to conventional laundry detergents.
Ingredients: It contains natural ingredients like coconut oil and kaolin clay, with some peppermint and lavender scent which makes the clothes fresh and clean. Kaolin clay and coconut oil work well to remove stains while being gentle to the fabric and clothes.
It is so gentle that you can use it for multiple purposes. For travel, you can cut the bar into small pieces and clean clothes yourself without a washing machine! You just need some water and a sink and you are good to go! The best part is that it is biodegradable and comes with recyclable packaging, making it completely plastic-free and zero-waste.
How to use: Wet the garment, gently rub the bar over the stains and work with your fingers and hands to remove the stains. Rinse the garment and let it dry.
Value for money
Claims to be as powerful as other laundry detergents
It is an all-in-one detergent and softener product, which helps to streamline the process of laundry washing in just one go. If you wash laundry twice per week, this would be the only laundry soap you need for the next two years!
How to use: It is a hollow plastic egg that contains mineral pellets. The egg has small slits that allow the water to flow into the egg and dissolve the pellets. When doing the laundry, you just need to throw the egg in the washer and you are done!
Ingredients: The pellets are made from natural ingredients that are also safe on skin. Eco Egg is not tested on animals.
For a reasonable price, this convenient and natural product is easy to use and prevents waste. The minimalistic design and simplicity make it stand out on its own!
Disclaimer: It might not be ideal for doing laundry at a laundromat as you can do just one wash at a time. The EcoEgg is safe to use only up to 140 degrees (60 degrees Celsius). You can’t wash with it on super high heat or hot water.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are yet another great alternative to conventional laundry detergent. They have a very unique feel and use. They almost feel like thin foam sheets and are biodegradable, dissolving easily in water. 70% of the ingredients are plant-derived or biodegradable.
After opening the envelope, you can find sheets that are 6 inches long by 3 inches wide. The best part is that you can tear the strip up as much as you want and save the rest. It comes in a cardboard envelope which is both biodegradable and recyclable. It also reduces space and is portable.
Ingredients: They are made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). They are free from dyes, phosphate, and chlorine. They are also vegan.
How to use: Simply take out the strips and tear them to the size you would like. For reference, half a sheet is enough for a medium-size load of laundry, which is a lot less than other alternatives. Simply wash your clothes in the washer and you are done!
Disclaimer: Despite being a bit high-end, these are perfect for parents with kids and apartment dwellers.
Ideal for all temperatures
Hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested
National Eczema Association approved
Ingredients: The ingredients are found to be 91% Top Allergen Free and do not contain Nickel, Top common allergy-causing preservatives, Lanolin, Topical Antibiotic, MCI/MI, Paraben, Propylene Glycol, Dye or Irritants/Acid. This product is also teen-safe.
How to use: Simply pour the solution in the washer and get your clothes clean, fresh and safe!
It is also certified by EcoLogo and also one of PETA's cruelty-free companies. The ingredients are claimed to be skin safe and recommended for people with sensitive skin. The ingredients are also safe and chemical-free.
Certfied B Corporation
Clean product with synthetic fragrance
Usually laundry detergents come in single-use container. Meliora version is definitely plastic-free!
You can buy their laundry detergent that comes in reusable can and you can get refills as you need. They are dye-free, preservative free, cruelty-free, palm oil-free and does not contain synthetic detergents.
They are come in multiple fragrance options like Unscented, Lemon, Lavender and Lemon-lavender-clove. From the factory tours online, we have learnt that they have an option no plastic shipping which encourages more customers to opt for no scooper to go completely plastic-free!
Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Buying Guide
Not sure how to choose your eco-friendly laundry detergents? Read this guide while you decide to buy or before you buy or research for eco friendly laundry detergents available online.
Major concerns with laundry detergents
Conventional laundry detergents contain ingredients that are harmful and leave residue on the clothes. Thereafter, the chemicals come in contact with skin and can cause skin problems, especially for people with sensitive skin or skin disorders. It can also disrupt the hormonal balance of our bodies.
Besides personal issues, these chemicals end up being washed in water and entering into the marine ecosystem which further accelerates the problem.
Doing laundry sustainably with safe and natural laundry detergents helps to slay clean sustainably without the use of any harsh chemicals. You can either opt for innovative sustainable and clean detergents or choose traditional washing that does not involve any chemicals! There is a variety to choose from - powder to sheets, while also being sensitive to skin and does not pollute the ecosystem.
Here’s how we selected laundry detergents for our list
This guide might actually help you understand how we choose the above-mentioned products and also how you can choose one for yourself.
Type: There are different forms of laundry detergents available in the market - from balls to liquid. One of the most common types of detergents that you can find online is liquid. But that doesn’t mean that powder or bars work any less. Infact by ordering solid form of detergents, you are being more sustainable as they are dehydrated - which means that no energy is spent on moving lots of water from place to place. Yes, Water is heavy! You reduce the size of the product with almost equal usage. Isn’t that awesome!
Safe Ingredients: When you are looking for a laundry detergent, it is important to check if the ingredients are plastic-free and are made from natural ingredients. Make sure that you research well regarding the reactions of these chemicals and verify their sourcing.
Ditch any form of chlorine, bleach and dyes, chemical fragrances, phosphates, parabens and sulphates. It’s a big no-no!
Check if it's hypoallergenic: This means that the formula will have no reaction. It is rare to find an alternative that is both sustainable and hypoallergenic, but we have added one in the list! But regardless, sustainable and eco-friendly liquid detergents are much more gentle on the skin, so switching to one will definitely cause less reaction.
Plant-based: Some safe and non-toxic formulas are vegan and some are not. You can opt for laundry detergents that are 100% plant-based and certified as vegan.
Organic: This looks into how the plant-based ingredients are sourced. Agriculture consumes a lot of water, chemicals to protect the plants and fuel consumed for transportation. Check out the organic certification to make sure that your product has less environmental impact!
Biodegradable: This isn’t just about packaging but also the detergent as well. Look whether the ingredients are biodegradable or not. The best way to check is to see if it leaves chemical residue or microplastics in water or if it is made from non-toxic compounds. It is an important question for water pollution.
Palm Oil-Free: The issue with palm oil is its unethical sourcing, which creates a negative impact on the environment and cultures. In case if the detergent has palm oil, make sure that it is sourced responsibly. Anyway, it is best suggested to be avoided.
Packaging: This includes the bottle or box that the detergent arrives in. We like to buy in bulk which helps to reduce packaging (especially the outer boxes in which the detergent is delivered). But that’s not always feasible, especially if you don’t have enough storage space! So, consider the outer packaging materials. You’ll buy a lot of detergent over your lifetime.
It is essential to look for brands that comply with sustainability standards as well. We hope that this list helps to find the best sustainable alternative for laundry detergents!