Doing laundry for your little one requires special care and consideration. Babies have delicate sensitive skin that needs gentle cleaning. Harsh chemicals and fragrances found in many conventional detergents can irritate their skin and overall health. That’s why it’s important to choose a baby-safe laundry detergent designed just for their needs.
The best baby detergents are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and avoid harsh ingredients. They thoroughly clean fabrics while also being gentle on your baby’s skin. With so many options out there, we’ve researched and compiled top recommendations to make finding the ideal detergent for your baby’s laundry easy.
*Disclaimer: This article provides general information and hasn’t evaluated any specific product claims. Please do your own research before selecting a detergent for your baby’s needs. Consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
What to Look for in Baby Laundry Detergent
Here are the key features to look for when choosing the best laundry detergent for your little one:
Seeking out a detergent designed specifically for baby that is labeled hypoallergenic helps minimize the risks of adverse reactions. Hypoallergenic means formulated to reduce potential allergens.
Babies are especially sensitive to fragrances, so opt for a laundry detergent free of artificial scents and perfumes. Seek out fragrance-free over simply “unscented.”
Free of Harsh Chemicals
Steer clear of detergents with strong chemical cleaners, optical brighteners, and irritants like SLS. Look for plant-based ingredients when possible.
Babies have developing immune systems that can react to dyes. Dye-free, color-free detergents are a safer choice.
As a long-standing leader made specially for babies, Dreft is a parent favorite. The “Stage 1” formula is designed ideally for newborns to 3 months when skin is most fragile. It gets clothes clean while being gentle on delicate skin thanks to its hypoallergenic fragrance-free recipe.
2. Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent
Free of fragrances, dyes, and masking agents
Non-toxic and biodegradable plant-based ingredients
Hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested
Suitable for sensitive skin
Ideal for babies but works for the whole family
Good value for natural baby detergent
Seventh Generation is a trusted eco-friendly brand; their baby detergent is no exception. The plant-based hypoallergenic formula is specially designed for sensitive skin. It has no fragrances or dyes, relying on safe cleansing enzymes to get fabrics clean. It’s a good natural value pick.
3. Babyganics 3X Baby Laundry Detergent
Fragrance, dye and allergen free
Plant-based ingredients with essential oils for scent
Specially formulated for baby’s needs
Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested
1.5x concentrated for better value
Babyganics detergent is thoughtfully designed just for babies with its hypoallergenic fragrance-free recipe. It adds in some natural essential oils for light scent. The concentrated formula provides good value. It’s a strong overall pick balancing performance, value and safety.
4. Puracy Natural Baby Laundry Detergent
Developed by doctors specifically for babies
Free of allergens, SLS, perfumes, etc.
Natural plant-based ingredients
Newborn stage appropriate through toddler
Sulfate-free cleansers and enzymes lift stains
Good value for natural plant-based detergent
Puracy’s baby detergent is a plant-based formula free of toxins and irritants designed just for little ones. The company works with PhDs to design its effective natural products specially for babies. It’s on the affordable side while still using quality ingredients.
5. Ecos Baby Laundry Detergent
Uses plant-based cleansers not SLS
Hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested
Free of dyes, perfumes and toxins
Never tested on animals
Good value for affordable but eco-friendly
Comes in liquid or convenient pods
For a more affordable price point, Ecos Baby detergent is a good option. Despite the low cost, it’s still an environmentally responsible formula free of harsh chemicals and tested for sensitive skin safety. The plant enzymes provide stain removal power.
6. The Honest Co. Baby Laundry Detergent
No dyes, fragrances, or irritants
Naturally derived scents from vanilla & grapefruit
Plant-based hypoallergenic ingredients
Dermatologist tested for sensitive skin
Slightly higher price but quality ingredients
Available in liquid or pods
The Honest Company’s baby detergent uses thoughtfully selected ingredients tailored for little ones’ needs. It skips dyes and fragrances, relying on natural extracts for light scent. While pricier than some, the non-toxic plant-based formula makes it worth it for many parents.
7. Purex Baby Laundry Detergent
No dyes, perfumes or chlorine
Budget-friendly conventional brand
Option for sensitive skin without fragrance
Powder formula good for storage
Works best in warm or hot water
If you’re looking for an affordable conventional brand, Purex Baby is an option. While not all-natural, it skips dyes, perfumes and chlorine for sensitive skin. The powder format lets it pack a punch in a small container. Just note it works better in warm+ water.
8. MamaSuds Baby Laundry Detergent
Designed by moms for babies
Hypoallergenic plant-based ingredients
Free of dyes, perfumes, SLS, etc.
Ideal for cloth diapers too
Good value for cost
Liquid or powder formulas
By moms for moms, MamaSuds detergent is specially formulated for babies but good for the whole family. The budget-friendly hypoallergenic recipe is free of harsh chemicals, earning it raves. It comes in powder and liquid versions, both impressing with stain-fighting power.
9. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
Simple all-natural ingredient detergent
Can be used for babies, children, and adults
No dyes, fragrance, SLS or chemicals
Powder format needs no water for transport
Requires precise scoop measurements
Best value cost per wash
With just one natural ingredient, Charlie’s Soap provides an extremely gentle option safe even for newborns. It contains no potential irritants or additives. The powder format packs concentrated cleaning power. It’s cost effective but requires careful scoop measuring to avoid excess suds.
Attitude is a fragrance-free baby detergent that is plant-powered and hypoallergenic. Environmentally friendly and made in a facility free of common allergens, it works well for babies and beyond. The box with handle makes for easy pouring and storage.
FAQs About Baby Laundry Detergent
When can you start using laundry detergent on baby clothes?
Unless your baby has ultra-sensitive skin, most pediatricians give the green light to begin using a mild baby laundry detergent around the first 4-6 weeks, when meconium and other newborn fluids have cleared. Check with your pediatrician.
Should I wash all new baby clothes before wearing?
Yes, you’ll want to launder any new clothing, linens, or fabrics before your baby uses them. Washing helps remove chemical residues from manufacturing, shipping, and processing that could irritate their sensitive skin.
How much baby detergent should I use per load?
Follow the product directions, usually around 1/4 cup liquid or less per standard load. Don’t go overboard; more isn’t better. Too many suds can lead to detergent residue in fabrics. An extra rinse cycle helps.
What temperature should I wash baby’s laundry in?
Choose a gentle cycle and the coolest temperature suitable per fabric care instructions. Avoid very hot water as it can cause harsh detergents to become activated more strongly and damage fabrics. Warm is generally sufficient for baby clothes.
Is baby laundry detergent just as effective as regular detergent?
Yes, the top baby detergents are formulated to be just as effective at cleaning as conventional brands. They simply rely on gentler hypoallergenic ingredients tailored for baby’s sensitive skin instead of harsh chemicals.
Should I rinse baby clothes before using detergent?
No need to rinse first unless dealing with a bad blowout or other solid mess. Your baby detergent is designed to handle typical stains and odors on its own. Just shake or scrape off solids into the toilet before washing.
Can I use sensitive skin detergent instead of baby detergent?
If you can’t find a specific baby detergent, an fragrance-free sensitive skin formula can make a good alternative, as babies have very delicate sensitive skin. Avoid ones with strong scents or chemicals. Check for an ingredients list.
How long can I keep using baby detergent as my child grows?
Many baby detergents are suitable for continued use well beyond infancy unless your child exhibits signs of skin irritation. Some parents use them for the first few years. But you can transition at any time based on your child’s needs and tolerance.
What’s the difference between detergent for newborns and older babies?
Newborn-specific detergents are extremely gentle with minimal ingredients and suds. As babies grow over the first 3 months, their skin becomes less fragile. Formulas designed for older babies have a few more specialized ingredients for added cleaning power while remaining gentle.
Should I use hot water to sanitize baby clothes and linens?
The heat required to sanitize typically damages fabrics. The best approach is washing in the warmest temperature recommended for the material using a detergent safe for baby. Then use a sterilizer or steamer on baby items that require sanitizing per safety guidelines. Do not boil or microwave breast pump parts.
The Bottom Line on Baby Laundry Detergent
When it comes to doing laundry for your little one’s sensitive skin, it’s worth choosing a detergent designed just for their needs. Seek options specifically formulated to be hypoallergenic and free of dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. And always follow fabric care instructions to prevent damage. With the right gentle detergent, you can keep your baby’s clothes fresh and clean without risk of irritation. Trusted brands like Dreft and Seventh Generation offer excellent choices for most. But there are also more affordable natural options that get the job done safely. Doing a little research helps ensure you find the perfect balance of effectiveness, safety, and value. Always check with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about reactions. They can provide tailored guidance based on your baby’s specific sensitivities and conditions. With the proper detergent and care, laundry doesn’t have to be a scary chore in those precious early months.