12 Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent Brands Taking A Load Off The Planet
Clean laundry; clean planet—that’s two birds when you choose eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Besides, who wants to compromise the health of our planet (or ourselves) for the sake of a load.
You can say “goodbye” to toxic ingredients that are ever present in traditional detergents and “hello” to safe detergent that’s gentle on you and the environment.
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The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent For Top & Front Loaders
Dropps bubbles up with their laundry detergent pods, helping you do away with plastic jugs that end up in landfills and oceans every.single.day.
etee has eco laundry detergent down to a tee with their cruelty free and plastic free powder.
Meliora’s makes one of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents that’s MADE SAFE® certified and filled with ingredients you can actually pronounce.
Before you head for the laundry room, spin cycle down to the bottom to learn about how we have removed the stains with sustainable suds that are loads better.
We also explain the use of PVA/PVOH (used in all pods and strips) and cover which laundry detergent ingredients to avoid.
1. Earth Breeze
About Earth Breeze’s Eco-friendly Detergent
Earth Breeze makes laundry day, well…a breeze.
Available in Fresh Scent and Fragrance Free versions, these dissolvable sheets use plant based ingredients to effectively clean your laundry and lift stains.
Each one is free of palm oil, dyes, bleach, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates, meaning they’re gentle enough to wash cloth nappies and other sensitive garments you have.
Despite their cleaning power, they’re suitable for sensitive skin and they’re just as effective in cold water as hot, so you keep your laundry day impact lower still by running a cold cycle.
Each pack comes in compostable or recyclable cardboard for the eco-friendly detergent cherry on top.
About Earth Breeze
“Planet-before-profit”—that’s Earth Breeze’s motto.
Aside from planting trees and sponsoring ocean trash removal through 1% For the Planet, they donate 10 packs of laundry sheets(!) to those in need for every one purchased, leading to an impressive list of past beneficiaries.
So far, they’ve planted almost 56318 trees, removed 6252 pounds of ocean trash, and donated 17 million loads of laundry soap.
Available: Earth Breeze
*Note: Dropps uses RSPO certified palm oil in some products
About Dropps’ Laundry Detergent Pods
Little drops make the mighty ocean and you can help keep it clean with Dropps’ detergent pods.
The pods use plant based ingredients to tackle stubborn stains and leave laundry smelling of lavender, eucalyptus, pine, or orange.
There’s also a sensitive skin and baby detergent which is enzyme-free, fragrance-free, and dye-free in smaller pods to help wash reusable nappies and the like.
These eco-friendly detergents come in packs of 64, 128, or 192 in compostable and recyclable packaging.
Dropps was the first brand to drop eco-friendly laundry detergent pods back in 2005.
All products are cruelty-free and come in compostable, recyclable cardboard boxes which are shipped carbon neutral.
The palm oil is RSPO certified and each ingredient list is transparent.
*Note: etee’s eco laundry soap is vegan and palm oil free but some of their products (for example, their dish soap) are not.
About etee’s Eco-friendly Laundry Powder Detergent
Small, powerful, and plastic free, etee makes some of the best eco-friendly laundry detergent with no plastic—including PVOH.
It’s concentrated so you only need a tablespoon of powder per load.
Free of highly toxic chemicals, you’ll find no parabens or sulfates and it’s only been tested on humans, not animals.
The powdered laundry detergent’s paper bag packaging has a biodegradable lining made by Tekpak.
For extra stubborn stains, etee’s laundry stain bars can be directly applied to clothing before washing. They’re handmade and plant-based, and package free.
Canadian company etee caters to all of your cleaning and personal care needs, making them one of the best ethical alternatives to Amazon.
They’re on a mission to banish plastic waste with their expansive range from pet care to dental—including unique offerings like eco-friendly electric toothbrushes.
All products are cruelty free, most are vegan (save for some with beeswax), and 90% are manufactured in North America.
*Note: Bluebland uses RSPO certified palm oil in some products
About Blueland’s Eco-friendly Laundry Tablets
For those wishing to avoid PVOH pods, Blueland’s naked laundry tablets are plastic-free.
The tablets are free of ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens, phosphates, phthalates, VOCs, and all forms of plastic.
The starter set comes with a “forever tin” to store your tablets and the tablet refills are packaged in compostable paper pouches.
Their ingredients philosophy clearly outlines their rationale for the use of some ingredients in their products including palm oil, which they try to avoid but otherwise ensure it is RSPO certified.
They audit the amount of water and energy their factories use and offset shipping emissions.
All packaging is compostable, recyclable, or both.
*Note: Most EcoRoots products are palm oil free.
About EcoRoots’ Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent Strips
The detergent is concentrated, hypoallergenic and lightweight, which also makes them a TSA-friendly travel companion.
Each sheet is designed to be split in half for two loads (or one heavily soiled one).
They’re suitable for all washing machines, can be used in hot or cold water, and come in fresh breeze or unscented.
With 94% of buyers giving them 5 star reviews, they clearly offer one of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents.
Paraben, phthalate, and phosphate-free, the eco strips contain no harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, brighteners or dyes.
The packaging is recyclable and compostable.
Their skincare, hair care, beauty, cleaning products, and more are shipped plastic free.
EcoRoots donates a percentage of each sale to charities including Ocean Conservancy.
About Meliora’s Eco Friendly Laundry Powder
For the best eco-friendly laundry detergent made in the USA,Meliora’s concentrated powder is another completely plastic-free option.
It’s about as close to homemade detergent as you can get, without having to actually make your own.
Paraben, phthalate, and sulfate-free, the powder is naturally scented with essential oils of lavender, lemon, and clove.
Meliora also has a laundry stain stick and oxygen brightener powder.
Meliora means “better” in Latin and that’s just what this woman-owned, family business and Certified B Corp wants their products to be.
They’re Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free and all products are made in their own Chigaco factory where workers are paid a living wage.
Being an online bulk store, most products are available for refill, too.
Meliora is a member of 1% for the Planet and donates 2% of total sales to various nonprofits including Women’s Voices for the Earth.
7. Nature First
About Nature First’s Eco Laundry Detergent
Nature First’s super concentrated detergent pods are made from eco-friendly ingredients.
The most important of which are the soap berries. These are wild-harvested in the foothills of the Himalayas from the Sapindus mukorossi tree.
With cleaning power to boot, these pods are safe for most sensitive skin and babies. They’re also free from fragrance, perfume, dyes, sulfates, phosphates, chlorine, ammonia or formaldehyde, parabens and petrochemicals.
Eliminating the need for plastic bottles and plastic waste, these pods come packaged in certified compostable packaging (it should break down in less than 89 days in a compost bin).
This eco-friendly detergent is vegan, cruelty-free and safe for all fabrics including silk, wool and cashmere.
About Nature First
Nature First was founded by Justine Potashnik after she discovered the soap berry in India while working on developing natural-dying organic linens.
While the pods are made in the USA, the berries are sourced from a renewable resource (a tree!). The harvesting, splitting, and drying soap nuts creates a sustainable income for local people.
8. Tru Earth
*Note: RSPO-certified palm oil is used in the manufacturing of two of the ingredients in Tru Earth’s detergent. Tru Earth is currently seeking alternatives to these ingredients.
About Tru Earth Eco Strips Laundry Detergent
If you’re looking for detergent for sensitive skin, Tru Earth’s eco strips are certified hypoallergenic by independent dermatologists.
Tru Earth laundry strips are free from parabens, phosphates, dyes, 1,4-dioxane, and chlorine bleach.
Suitable for all types of washing machines, choose between fragrance-free and fresh linen scents.
Tru Earth also sells extra sensitive baby eco strips.
All Tru Earth eco strips ship in a biodegradable cardboard sleeve.
About Tru Earth
As one of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents Canada has to offer, Tru Earth’s products are made locally in Canada according to strict health regulations.
Due to their small size and weight, they generate 94% less transportation pollution.
Available: Tru Earth
9. Good Juju
About Good Juju’s Eco Laundry Detergent
Good Juju’s eco laundry strips are super concentrated (equivalent to 50g of premium laundry liquid detergent or powdered detergents) so you’d typically only need 1 strip per wash.
With 36 strips, a pack of these replaces a one 1 liter plastic jug and they’re compatible with both traditional and HE washers.
The strips are free from parabens, phthalates, SLS, artificial colors, microplastics, aluminum, formaldehyde, silicone and palm oil.
They are also vegan, cruelty-free and hypoallergenic.
The lightweight eco strips come in a plastic-free and post-consumer recycled envelope. Shipping is plastic free from EarthHero.
About Good Juju
Founded by two women, Lisa and Alexa, Good Juju is a Canadian brand that makes hair care, laundry and shaving products.
They are all about ingredients: “pure, clean, organic ingredients with scientifically proven benefits.”
And they prioritize sustainable packaging (plastic-free, biodegradable and made with sustainably-sourced materials).
They are members of 1% for the Planet and their website is carbon negative.
10. Dirty Labs
About Dirty Labs Eco-friendly Liquid Laundry Detergent
Both Dirty Labs’ Bio Liquid Detergents use natural enzymes for extra cleaning power.
Their Signature detergent is scented with magnolia, bergamot, and cedar. Their EWG approved Free & Clear detergent is free and clear of scents altogether.
The eco-friendly detergents are 97% USDA Biobased certified (read: no petroleum-based chemicals here) and also free from dyes, sulfates, parabens, all California Prop. 65 chemicals and all EU listed fragrance allergens.
They are also PETA certified cruelty free, vegan and are safe for sensitive skin, babies, and pets.
The detergents are optimized for cold water. They come in a recyclable aluminum bottle and are packaged in a paperboard box.
About Dirty Labs
Made in the USA, “Dirty Labs is a cleaning innovations lab on a mission to create the future of cleaning”.
Founded by veteran chemist, Dr Peter He and product designer David Watkins, Dirty Labs takes a science and nature based approach to designing more effective bio based cleaning products that have minimal impact on the environment.
11. Grove Collaborative
About Grove Collaborative’s Laundry Detergents
In addition to carrying laundry soap from other green cleaning brands, Grove Collaborative sells three forms of their own detergent: strips, powder-filled pods, and liquid.
Both the sheets and the pods are suitable for all top loader and front loader machines, and are fragranced using natural essential oils. Both of these products use polyvinyl alcohol.
The laundry pods are 95% bio-based with no toxins, dyes, or fragrances. They come in recyclable plastic packaging.
The sheets are made to tackle stubborn stains and come in recyclable, plastic free packaging.
Their concentrated laundry liquid detergent is 96% biobased, naturally scented, and made without parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde. It comes in a recyclable pouch.
About Grove Collaborative
In addition to their in-house range, they have over 150 partner brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Dr. Bronner’s who meet their high ethical and sustainability standards.
Buy single items or opt-in for their subscription service for extra savings.
rePurpose Global ensures Grover Collaborative products are plastic-neutral by collecting and recycling equivalent weights of plastic from the environment.
Products are shipped carbon neutral.
Available: Grove Collaborative
12. Zero Co
*Note: Zero Co uses RSPO MB certified palm oil in their non-laundry products.
About Zero Co’s Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent
Zero Co’s effective laundry detergent liquid is vegan, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free.
It’s made with plant-based ingredients, scented with lemon myrtle and Australian grey gum.
Their refill service is “just like the milk man reimagined”.
In your first box, you’ll receive “forever bottles” (made from ocean, beach and landfill plastic) but all subsequent orders will come in recycled plastic refill pouches with a prepaid return mailer.
Once you’ve decanted the pouch contents into your forever bottle, send the pouches back to Zero Co to be reused.
About Zero Co
Offering a refillable and eco laundry detergent option in Australia, Zero Co helps us ditch single-use plastic with their service and recycled plastic packaging.
Their products are made in Australia using vegan and cruelty free plant-based formulas.
You will find RSPO MB certified palm oil in their dishwasher tablets, deodorant, and conditioner, meaning some but not all of the palm oil is sustainably sourced.
Zero Co is first moving towards all-sustainable palm and then plans to ditch it all when possible.
Check out our podcast with founder Mike Green to find out more about the brand.
Available: Zero Co
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How We Found The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents
What is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent?
Suffice to say that all these brands are contenders. But if we had to sum it up, it’s one that lightens the load on the planet and is better for people and animals too. Here’s a quick summary of what we look for:
- Cruelty-free: No testing on animals, ever. Look out for certifications from the Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty Free.
- Vegan: Just because a product is cruelty free, does not (oddly enough) mean it’s absent animal ingredients.
- Non-toxic: We don’t want to see any toxic chemicals on ingredients lists (more on this below).
- Palm oil: At a minimum any palm oil should be sustainably sourced (i.e. RSPO certified)
- Ethical sourcing/manufacturing
- Thoughtful packaging: Compostable, biodegradable, or reusable (i.e. zero waste) packaging that helps eliminate plastic waste is the gold standard, but at the very least, it should be recyclable.
- Charitable Giving: It also makes us feel as warm and snuggly as a pair of freshly washed sustainable pajamas when brands give back via donations to worthwhile causes.
Ingredient Considerations In Laundry Detergent That Is Eco-Friendly
Ingredients matter both from a sustainability and health perspective.
From a sustainability perspective we want to ideally avoid ingredients in skincare and cleaning products that could do damage to fragile ecosystems when washed into waterways.
A Note On Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH / PVA)
Some of the brands on our list use PVOH for their dissolvable pods and laundry sheets.
We’ve discussed the pros and cons of this material at length in our article on zero waste laundry detergents.
In a nutshell (er pod membrane?) PVOH is controversial because it’s still a type of plastic, albeit one that is biodegradable given the right conditions.
However, if the conditions aren’t right (and they rarely are), and it doesn’t break down properly, PVOH potentially contributes to plastic pollution of the environment.
As with all sustainable choices, things are rarely black and white.
PVOH is an effective way to cut down on vast amounts of plastic packaging but strictly speaking, it doesn’t make for the most eco-friendly laundry detergents.
If you’d rather avoid PVOH, stick to a laundry detergent powder or a concentrated laundry liquid in refillable pack
From a health perspective, we opt for natural skincare ingredients that are non-toxic and plant based.
Here’s a shortlist of some of the ingredients we avoided in this list of eco-friendly laundry detergent brands:
Phthalates: Several concerning human studies link phthalates to DNA damage, reproductive functioning, neurodevelopmental effects in children when exposed pre or post birth and endocrine disruption. In animal studies, phthalates have been considered carcinogenic.
Phosphates: According to EWG, phosphates are ranked as a “high” level of concern for severe skin burns and eye damage, lake pollution and eutrophication; and some concern when it comes to a long list of other health issues.
Chlorine Bleach: Several health concerns are a significant concern according to EWG including skin allergies/irritations, asthma or respiratory issues, developmental/reproductive toxicity, chronic aquatic toxicity and more.
Dyes: There are several health and environmental concerns with more traditional dyes which we outline in our article about sustainable dyes. Most are made from petrochemicals and contain chemicals like bleach and nitrogen.
What Else Can You Do To Make Laundry Day More Eco-Friendly?
Greening up your daily chores is just one small way to help reverse the cycle in which humanity is spinning.
As far as laundry day goes and aside from choosing better detergent, you can build an eco-friendly laundry routine (and save some time and money too) by:
Washing less: Apply a little awareness to what actually needs to be washed – it’s surprising how long it actually takes for things like work clothing to get stinky so save yourself some time and instead of throwing them in your sustainable laundry basket, pop them back in the closet for another day.
Switching to cold water cycles for daily washes: hot water uses up unnecessary energy (and therefore generates carbon emissions and fat energy bills).
Drying your laundry on the line: Either inside on a clothes rack or outside in the sun, this method of drying saves a lot of energy.
If you have solar panels, wash when the sun is out: Avoid the carbon and cost of drawing energy from a (likely) fossil fuel powered grid and use the power of the sun to get it done.
Use wool dryer balls: If you must use a dryer, opt for wool balls that speed up dry time by up to 40%, are made from more ethical wool, are compostable at the end of their useful life and don’t release harmful fibers or chemicals.
Use an energy efficient washing machine: If you’re in the market for a new eco-friendly appliance, opt for a brand with better sustainability credentials and the best energy efficiency you can afford.
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Brands
We’ve been overloading the planet with plastics and chemicals for decades and the consequences are a lot worse than a broken washing machine.
You can help take a load off by sharing this list of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents with family and friends to fast spin our way to a greener future.