Conventional laundry detergents contain many harsh chemicals, fragrances, and preservatives that can irritate sensitive skin. Thankfully, non-toxic options exist for clean, green washing. We compare top natural detergent brands and formulas to determine the best non-toxic laundry products for you.

Benefits of Non-Toxic Laundry Detergents

Choosing a non-toxic, eco-friendly laundry detergent offers advantages like:

  • Avoiding skin irritation from dyes, perfumes, and chemicals
  • Preventing allergic reactions in those sensitive to additives
  • Reducing environmental impact with biodegradable plant-based ingredients
  • Protecting waterways from phosphates and nitrates that damage ecosystems
  • Promoting sustainability through reusable packaging and concentrate options
  • Gentleness on delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and specialty activewear
  • Suitability for all machines including standard, HE, and front loaders
  • Cleaner ingredients list – no “trade secret” ambiguity

Non-toxic detergents provide safe, eco-conscious cleaning.

What Makes a Laundry Detergent Non-Toxic?

Non-toxic laundry detergents:

  • Use plant-derived, naturally cleansing ingredients like soapberries and saponified oils
  • Are made without phthalates, phosphates, chlorine, ammonia, or formaldehyde
  • Are fragrance and dye-free with no added perfumes or synthetic scents
  • Are septic and greywater system safe without harsh chemicals
  • Have simple, transparent ingredients on labels – not just the term “non-ionic surfactants”
  • Use biodegradable formulas that won’t persist in waterways and soil
  • Have reusable, recyclable packaging when possible

They avoid harsh toxins in ingredients and manufacturing.

Reviews of Best Non-Toxic Laundry Brands

Based on evaluations of safety, effectiveness, and sustainability, these rise above as the best non-toxic detergent brands:

Best Overall: Seventh Generation Free & Clear

A top rated eco-friendly brand, their Free & Clear formula is fragrance-free and works excellently for those with sensitivities. It contains no dyes, chlorine, phosphates, or optical brighteners.

Runner Up: Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent

With plant-based sudsing ingredients, Puracy’s concentrated formula provides an amazing clean while still being gentle on skin and the environment. It contains no chlorine, phosphates, petrochemicals, or dyes.

Best Baby Formula: Babyganics Ultra Pure

This detergent is tested to ensure the formula is non-allergenic and safe for newborn skin but still tackles stains on baby clothes. It contains no phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, or dyes.

Best Budget: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Diluted Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap makes an affordable yet effective laundry detergent alternative. With just five vegan ingredients, it contains zero preservatives, foaming agents or synthetic chemicals.

Best Powder: Cleancult Laundry Powder

A highly rated non-toxic powder, Cleancult uses food-based ingredients and plastic-free paper packaging. The powder dissolves well for a great clean without fillers or chlorine.

Best Pods: Tru Earth Eco Strips

These plant-based dissolvable laundry strips come in plastic-free packaging. The strips avoid dyes, chlorine, phosphates and contain only biodegradable ingredients.

Find the right fit for your needs among eco-friendly brands.

Check the Label for These Non-Toxic Ingredients

Look for these safer ingredients in the best natural detergents:


Plant-derived options like soapberry, soapnut, saponified plant oils

Stain Removers

Citric acid extracts, hydrogen peroxide

Water Softeners

Sodium citrate salts, food-based polymers


Protein-based stain busters like protease and amylase from plants

Optical Brighteners

Vegetable-based brightening agents, not stilbene or fluorescent derivatives


Essential oils like lemon verbena, jasmine, eucalyptus

These plant-powered alternatives provide safe cleaning.

What Should You Avoid in Laundry Detergents?

Steer clear of these toxic ingredients seen in conventional detergents:

  • Synthetic fragrance and dyes
  • Phthalates
  • Chlorine and ammonia
  • Petroleum-based chemicals
  • Phosphates and nitrates
  • Parabens and formaldehyde
  • Artificial surfactants like LAS
  • Optical brighteners and whiteners
  • Oxidizing agents

Keep these harsh additives out of your laundry loads.

Tips for Using Non-Toxic Laundry Detergents

Follow these best practices:

  • Start with the recommended dosage then adjust to your water hardness and load soil level
  • Skip additional bleach, softeners, brighteners – non-toxic detergents are formulated to not need these
  • Avoid mixing with other cleaning products
  • Use plant-based prewash spray to boost cleaning power on stains
  • Extreme soiled loads may need secondary treatment with eco-friendly stain removers
  • For whitening power, add a non-chlorine oxygen bleach occasionally
  • Use lower wash temperatures when possible to conserve energy

Get the best results from green detergents with a few easy tweaks.

Non-Toxic Laundry FAQs

Are natural detergents really effective at cleaning?

Yes – plant-based brands like Seventh Generation and Puracy are tested extensively to perform equally as well as conventional detergents.

Should you use hot or cold water with natural detergent?

Follow garment label instructions. But many natural detergents work well in colder temperatures. Using less heat saves energy.

Can vinegar replace laundry detergent?

No – vinegar lacks the necessary surfactants and enzymes needed to lift stains and remove odors. But vinegar makes an excellent, safe rinse aid.

Are laundry pods worse for the environment?

Some pods may contain tough to recycle plastic. But many brands like Tru Earth have switched to water-soluble pod shells or plant-based wrappers.

How do natural brands handle fragrances?

Non-toxic brands use only natural essential oil fragrances from botanical sources. Unscented versions avoid any added fragrances.

Why are phosphate free detergents better?

Phosphates promote algae growth when released into waterways, harming ecosystems. Plant-based detergents are degradable and phosphate-free.

Go green for clean you can feel good about. Treat your skin, home, and the planet right with safe, non-toxic cleaners only from trustworthy sustainable brands. Ditch the harsh chemicals and enjoy laundry time again with plant-powered formulas made for sensitive skin. Your clothes and conscience come out softer than ever.

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