best natural laundry detergent

As consumers, we’re becoming increasingly conscious about the toxic chemicals that we may be exposed to, from our food to our makeup and even the clothes that we wear. It’s also important to consider the detergent we use to wash our clothes, and look for the best natural laundry detergent options.

Why should you switch to natural laundry detergent?

You may be aware that many products found in the home, from the food we eat to our beauty products and our clothes, can contain a range of toxic and harmful chemicals these days. Perhaps you’ve already switched to organic vegetables and other foods, and are buying clothes from organic fibers, at least for your children.

But have you thought about your laundry detergent? What we use to wash our clothing and bedding can leave behind a range of chemicals and substances, many of which could be harmful to our health.

Not to mention that harsh laundry detergent loaded with chemicals can gradually damage fabric and dull vibrant colors over time.

laundry detergent bottle in a basket with sheets

These days, conventional detergents contain a staggering array of chemicals and artificial fragrances that can cause allergies and aggravate skin sensitivities.

They also contain synthetic dyes, phosphates, surfactants, and naptha, a chemical cleaning agent derived from petroleum that is known to damage the mucous membranes in the lungs. In turn, this can cause asthma, inflammation, and even cancer.

Conventional detergents not only involve a range of risks to human health, they’re also terrible for the environment.

Phosphates are commonly found in laundry detergents, and these chemicals can pose a huge threat to aquatic life. When phosphates build up in waterways, such as with run off from washing machines over time, this can lead to eutrophication, a build up of inorganic nutrients in the water, leading to excessive growth of plants and algae.

Eutrophication is devastating to marine ecosystems, as this oversupply of plants and algae eventually decompose, producing large amounts of CO2 and making the water more acidic. This can make the environment uninhabitable for underwater plants and animals.

An algae mat on a eutrophied lake
An algae mat on a eutrophied lake in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Source: Wikimedia / Smaack

Conventional laundry detergents are also made with unsustainable manufacturing processes that generate large amounts of greenhouse emissions and other forms of pollution, as well as inefficient water use. Furthermore, these products typically come in single-use plastic packaging, contributing to the earth’s waste woes.

On the other hand, the best natural laundry detergent options are free from toxic chemicals, so are safer for you and the natural environment. Furthermore, these products are better for your clothes and your machine, and will likely lengthen the life of both!

The best natural laundry detergent brands to consider

Thankfully, there are plenty of eco-friendly laundry detergents available that are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients that are safe for people of ages, including babies. Most of these products are also biodegradable and often come in refillable or recyclable packaging.

1. Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Laundry Detergent

This plant-based laundry detergent is made without phosphates, chlorine, dyes, or any other toxic chemicals. It will keep your clothes bright and vibrant thanks to its third-party tested formula made from botanical ingredients and natural essential oils.

mrs meyers lavender laundry detergent

One bottle of this tough, concentrated detergent can easily wash 64 loads of laundry while being gentle on clothes.

It’s available in its original lavender or clean floral fragrances, so is one of – if not the best natural laundry detergent option for anyone looking for detergent with a pleasant smell. All fragrances are subtle, but will effectively remove odors from clothes and leave a lovely, warm scent.

This laundry detergent is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

2. Earth Hero Non-Toxic Laundry Bundle

Earth Hero’s Non-Toxic Laundry Bundle features all the essentials you need for washing: a Cora microfiber laundry ball, organic New Zealand wool dryer balls, a laundry stain stick, soap nuts, and a handy mesh laundry bag, making it the best natural laundry detergent in terms of its package offering, in our opinion.

This pack is ideal for beginners who are just starting their eco-journey: all the products are made from natural ingredients and come in plastic-free packaging and are shipped in recyclable materials. The laundry stain stick is made with a vegetable soap base, and will quickly and easily remove stains without toxic chemicals.

The dryer balls and soap nuts are compostable, and the Cora ball can be easily recycled through Earth Hero or the manufacturer. The soap nuts and laundry bag are certified organic, and the stain stick is Leaping Bunny cruelty-free, MADE SAFE, and B Corp Certified.

3. ECOS Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent

ECOS Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent is a powerful detergent made from coconut and lavender essential oils. We think it’s the best natural laundry detergent option for vegans and eco-conscious shoppers, as it is made from plant-derived ingredients and is therefore 100% vegan.

This laundry detergent’s clean formula is free from optical brighteners, phosphates, dyes, parabens, and any other toxic chemicals. It is dermatologist-tested as hypoallergenic and pH-balanced and certified as US EPA Safer Choice.

Some users complained about the package size and felt the quantity of detergent didn’t justify the price.

However, the vast majority of online reviewers raved about the hypoallergenic detergent’s ability to shift tough stains and protect colors. This detergent also has fabric softening properties, so you won’t need to buy a separate softener.

4. Biokleen Bac-Out Stain Remover

Biokleen was founded in 1989 and since then it has been offering concentrated, all-natural, non-toxic detergents that preserve the color and integrity of delicate fabrics.

This brand was initially launched to provide natural products to commercial cleaning services. However, it quickly gained popularity, and they now have a strong following among individuals and families as the best natural laundry detergent for concentrated cleaning.

This stain remover is equally effective in removing stubborn stains from clothes or carpet, with a high degree of efficiency while protecting the colors of your garments. It’s made with plant-based ingredients that are better for the environment while being suitable for people with allergies and sensitive skin.

This laundry detergent stands out because of its bioactive formula, a unique blend of live enzyme cultures to break down and absorb organic material. This allows the cleaner to shift stubborn stains without the chemicals.

5. Meliora Eco Laundry Powder

Meliora Natural Powder Laundry Detergent aims to make washing your clothes easier, with a highly concentrated formula to remove stubborn stains. This detergent has all-natural ingredients that will soften the fabric and leave your clothes looking and smelling fantastic.

This cruelty-free detergent doesn’t contain any animal by-products, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, dyes, or optical brighteners. The detergent is compatible with both standard and high-efficiency washing machines. It comes in a range of scents such as lavender and lemon, as well as an unscented version.

Meliora’s laundry powder comes in recyclable and reusable stainless steel canisters and is MADE SAFE Certified, guaranteeing that it is free from toxic ingredients.

The company also donates 2% of its total sales to a range of environmental nonprofits working to protect the environment, so we think it’s one of if not the best natural laundry detergent option for eco-conscious shoppers.

6. Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

This powerful, plant-based laundry detergent prevents piling and helps fabric retain its color and texture, rejuvenating your garments with every wash. Its triple enzyme formula easily eliminates stubborn stains while preserving the integrity of the fabric’s fibers which will help you to extend the life of your clothes.

This product doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, and is scented with 100% essential oils and botanical extracts for fresh, natural fragrances. You can choose between lavender, citrus, seaside, and geranium blossom and vanilla.

There is also a baby laundry detergent version which is designed to shift the tricky baby stains while being certified by the EPA under the Safer Choice program.

Seventh Generation’s liquid detergent is also highly concentrated, avoiding the need to replace it too often. In fact, you’ll be able to wash more than 50 medium-sized loads in a high efficiency or standard machine with one bottle.

This company is a Certified B Corporation, and their products are Leaping Bunny-certified as cruelty free, and USDA-certified as based on natural ingredients.

7. Tru Earth Baby Laundry Detergent Strips

Tru Earth offers sustainable cleaning products that are free from parabens, phosphates, added dyes, and chlorine bleach. Their manufacturing processes, raw materials, and ingredients are all sustainable, cruelty-free, and vegan.

These laundry detergent strips are designed to avoid wasteful single-use plastic containers. Instead, the ultra-concentrate laundry powder is packed into a strip that is pre-measured to be the perfect amount for a single wash.

The strips are readily biodegradable and come in plastic-free packaging. They’re also certified hypoallergenic by independent dermatologists so suitable for sensitive skin, and fragrance-free so perfect for washing baby garments, bedding, and diapers.

Along with slashing waste, the convenient strips also eliminate mess and make washing clothes as quick and easy as possible – simply toss a strip in your machine!

8. Pardo Naturals Natural Laundry Detergent

This powder laundry detergent from Pardo Naturals’ is designed for sensitive skin: it contains just three simple ingredients: baking soda, Castile soap, and washing soda. It’s also highly concentrated, so you’ll only use a fraction of the amount of powder as a regular detergent.

Pardo Naturals Natural Laundry Detergent

Not only is the formula hypoallergenic, it’s also fully biodegradable and it comes in recyclable packaging. You can choose between eight ounce and 32 ounce pack sizes and a variety of natural scents, including lavender and citrus, or you can opt for unscented powder.

This detergent not only removes dirt and stubborn stains, but it’s also effective with hard water. The product even doubles up as a descaler for bathroom tiles, faucets, and kitchen appliances like coffee machines.

Instead of using fabric softener with this laundry detergent, Pardo Naturals suggests using half a cup of white vinegar. This will boost the catalytic action of the detergent and make your clothes softer.

If you love Pardo’s detergent, you can pair it with their wool dryer balls for even cleaner, fresher clothes.

9. Bestowed Essentials Natural Laundry Stain Stick

Laundry Stain Sticks are a great, zero-waste alternative to liquid stain removers, and this natural product is a much better option than a chemical-packed spot stick. This all-natural laundry stick is handmade in the USA using non-toxic ingredients, and is free from bleach, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and artificial dyes.

Bestowed Essentials Natural Laundry Stain Stick

Bestowed Essential’s concentrated formula fights dirt and all kinds of stains using the power of coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, and baking soda. This vegan, cruelty-free laundry stick is handmade in the USA in a facility powered by renewable solar energy.

They only use plastic-free packaging that is compostable or recyclable. The brand also collaborates with Ocean Blue Project to collect and recycle one pound of beach trash for every order.

The best natural laundry detergent brands clean just as effectively as their mainstream rivals

If you’re worried about the toxic chemicals that may be found in your clothes and bedding, potentially threatening the health of you and your family, don’t overlook the laundry detergent you use.

Too many mainstream laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers contain surfactants and nasty chemicals that may cause skin irritations, other health issues, and essentially ruin the fabric from inside out.

The best natural laundry detergents use non-toxic and plant-based ingredients that will not only deliver an excellent clean, they’ll also be better for your health and the environment too.

If you’re interested in learning more about natural products that can make your life better while protecting the environment, take a look at our guides to the best organic face masks, eco-friendly bubble bath, and organic cotton comforters.

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