13 Natural Laundry Detergents For A Low Impact Laundry Day
Let’s take a load off our planet. Because if we keep overloading it we’re headed for more than just a flooded laundry.
Choosing a natural laundry detergent is one easy way to keep your spin cycle moving in the right direction.
Conventional laundry products pose a risk to our own health and the planet’s. They’re filled with artificial dyes, dioxanes, formaldehyde, optical brighteners, phosphates, and synthetic fragrances.
All that in a single-use plastic container…It’s easy to see how clean clothes can equal a dirty planet.
So, what is the best natural laundry detergent?
It’s one that’s made with naturally derived, safe and effective ingredients, sans harmful chemicals and plastic packaging.
Whilst it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, these natural laundry detergent brands are top contenders for all top loaders and more.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a brand link below. Learn more here.
The Most Natural Laundry Detergents We Love
Dropps creates non-toxic, dissolvable detergent pods significantly reducing plastic waste.
Kind Laundry’s ultra-convenient premeasured sheets are one of the best all natural laundry detergents for your skin, your schedule and the planet.
And EcoRoots helps us get back to our zero waste roots with their hypoallergenic laundry sheets packaged in compostable cardboard.
Tumble down to the end to find out how we removed the stains to reveal the brightest brands.
Dropps’ Natural Laundry Detergent Pods
Dropps doesn’t want to just be a drop in the ocean. They want to significantly change the way we wash our laundry.
Their natural laundry detergent pods tackle tough stains with mostly natural ingredients including plant-based enzymes and are free from chlorine, phosphates, NPE, and dyes.
Ingredients like fir needle oil, orange oil, lemon oil, and eucalyptus oil make for some of the best smelling natural laundry detergent.
And because the pod itself is made from natural ingredients and dissolvable PVA, you won’t have to worry about stinking up the planet in the process.
Dropps was the first brand to create natural laundry detergent pods containing biodegradable ingredients.
None of their products are tested on animals and they use RSPO-certified palm oil.
The plant-based laundry pods (like their eco-friendly dishwasher tablets) come in boxes made from 50% FSC-certified cardboard and 50% post-consumer recycled material.
They also partner with Oceana to support ocean clean-ups and conservation.
2. Earth Breeze
About Earth Breeze’s Laundry Detergent Sheets
Earth Breeze makes laundry day a breeze—for you and the planet—with detergent sheets that offer a powerful clean while being kind to our Earth!
These dissolvable sheets are suitable for all machines: top loaders, front loaders and high efficient washers.
They’re free from dyes, bleach, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates so they’re gentle enough to wash cloth nappies and suitable for those with sensitive skin.
As an extra bonus, they’ll also dissolve in cold water, so you can dial down the temperature to lower your laundry’s energy impact.
The plastic free packaging is made from compostable and recyclable cardboard.
To save money, sign up for their subscription service and have these non toxic laundry sheets delivered to your door.
Laundry day has never been easier!
About Earth Breeze
US-based Earth Breeze (with a UK-based warehouse that will ship direct to local UK residents) is a “planet-before-profit” company.
They’re carbon neutral through We Are Neutral, PETA certified vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free.
For every pack sold, they donate 10 packs to nonprofits and charitable organizations including animal shelters, homeless shelters and women’s shelters.
Earth Breeze is a member of 1% for the planet and to date they’ve helped plant nearly 5000 trees.
Available: Earth Breeze
3. Kind Laundry Sheets
*Note: We will be reaching out to confirm the policies directly with this brand.
Kind Laundry’s Natural Detergent Sheets
You won’t find any phosphates, parabens, allergens, dyes, artificial colors, optical brighteners, or phthalates. The sheets do contain polyglycol ether, however, which may be a derivative of palm oil.
You can choose between fragrance-free and Ocean Breeze (derived from natural linalool).
As far as natural laundry detergent reviews go, the ones for this brand are positively sparkling (and there are over 1000 of them). Have a read if you’ve been feeling hesitant about trying an all natural laundry detergent.
About Kind Laundry
Kind Laundry was an easy inclusion on our list of the best all natural laundry detergents.
But not just according to us!
It was named “Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent” by Better Homes & Gardens.
The brand’s mission is to provide an alternative to the 1 billion plastic laundry jugs that are discarded every year.
The laundry sheets are certified cruelty free by Leaping Bunny and come in 100% recyclable packaging.
Available: Kind Laundry
About EcoRoot’s Laundry Detergent Strips
Colorado-based EcoRoots helps us get to the root of the matter (and the bottom of your laundry basket) with their hypoallergenic dissolvable sheets made from safe, plant-derived ingredients.
The highly concentrated yet completely biodegradable formula helps remove stains whilst remaining free of parabens, phosphates, phthalates, harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial dyes.
Choose between Fresh Breeze scent and the fragrance free option.
The sheets are suitable for all washing machines and can be used in hot or cold water.
As they’re super lightweight, they also make a great TSA-friendly travel companion for your next zero waste travel adventure. Each sheet is designed to be split in half for two loads (or one really dirty one).
Each pack comes in a compostable and recyclable cardboard box.
And if you want a consciously clean home, they have plenty of products to help with that too.
All products are vegan, cruelty free and many are made in the USA.
You won’t find any plastic packaging. You will find reusable glass jars, compostable and recyclable packaging and sustainable shipping materials,
EcoRoots is a member of 1% for the planet and supports several organizations including the Ocean Conservancy.
Meliora’s Natural Laundry Detergent Powder
Their laundry powder is produced and packaged in Chicago, USA and is MADE SAFE certified i.e. free of toxic ingredients.
If you’ve been thinking about a DIY laundry detergent but admittedly don’t have the follow through (we’ve been there), this is about as close as you can get to homemade without actually having to make it.
All ingredients used are recognizable home staples: baking soda, washing soda, vegetable soap (made with organic coconut oil), and organic essential oils.
This gentle formulation also makes it one to consider if you’re looking for the best natural laundry detergent for dry skin.
The powder is suitable for both high efficiency and standard machines.
In true zero waste style, the powder comes in a reusable stainless steel container and will last for 128 high efficiency washer loads, or 64 standard washer loads.
Refills come in a compostable and recyclable paper pouch.
Meliora is a woman-owned, family-operated Certified B Corp that steers clear of animal testing.
Products are made in their own Chigaco factory by workers who receive a living wage.
They’re also a member of 1% for the Planet, but actually donate 2% to organizations like Women’s Voices for the Earth.
*Note: Blueland uses RSPO certified palm oil in some products.
About Blueland’s All Natural Laundry Detergent Tablets
If you’d rather avoid PVOH pods, Blueland’s naked laundry tablets are a great option.
They’re free of ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens, phosphates, phthalates, and VOCs.
The Laundry Starter set includes a steel “forever tin” and 60 fragrance free laundry tablets in a compostable paper pouch.
All of Blueland’s products are designed to “make it easy to be eco”.
Everything is vegan and cruelty free and whilst they aim to avoid using palm oil, when they do, it is RSPO certified.
Taking steps to reduce their footprint, Blueland is Climate Neutral Certified and works to ensure efficient energy and water usage.
All packaging is compostable and/or recyclable and orders are shipped carbon neutral.
7. Tru Earth
*Note: While these strips do not directly contain palm oil, palm oil is used in the manufacturing of two of the ingredients. This palm oil is RSPO-certified and Tru Earth is currently seeking more sustainable alternatives to these ingredients.
Tru Earth’s Zero Waste Laundry Papers
Staying true to the earth, Tru Earth makes non-toxic laundry detergent strips.
They not only mean no measuring, but also no parabens, dyes, chlorine, phosphates, gluten, palm oil, bleach, 14,-dioxane, or animal-based ingredients.
Their biodegradable formulations are dermatologist-certified to be hypoallergenic and thus one of the best natural laundry detergents for sensitive skin.
The strips can be used in all machines including high efficiency machines as well as all water types (even hard water).
About Tru Earth
So many plastic jugs of laundry detergent could be kept out of landfills if everyone switched to these revolutionary natural laundry detergent strips.
According to Tru Earth, their eco strips prevent 700 million gallons of laundry detergent from entering landfills each year.
The lightweight nature of the strips equates to a 94% reduction in transportation pollution.
The cruelty-free strips are manufactured in Canada.
Available: Tru Earth
8. The Simply Co.
*Note: We are confirming policies with this brand.
The Simply Co.’s Non Toxic Laundry Detergent
The Simply Co.’s natural laundry detergent powder keeps it, well…plain and simple.
It comes in a plastic-free glass jar and is made with just 4 natural, biodegradable ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, washing soda, organic castile soap, and optional lavender essential oil.
Not only can you pronounce the ingredients(!), but they’re skin-safe making this possibly the best natural laundry detergent for sensitive skin.
Did we mention it’s made in the USA and is safe for high efficiency washers?!
About The Simply Co.
While the zero waste store—Package Free Shop—sells products from a variety of ethical companies, The Simply Co. denotes products of their own creation.
Both were founded by zero waste blog-ess Lauren Singer with a simple desire: to make products that are free from more than 85,000 commonly used industrial chemicals.
You’ll find all manner of home and beauty products as well as reusable essentials for your zero waste kit.
While not everything is package free, per se, it is plastic-free down to the shipping materials.
Available: Package Free Shop
9. Grove Collaborative
Grove Collaborative’s Non Toxic Laundry Detergent
Grove Collaborative covers all bases with its three forms of non-toxic laundry detergent: liquid, pods and strips.
And each of those are suitable for any washing machine (including high efficiency) and are naturally scented using essential oils.
The concentrated liquid laundry detergent is 96% biobased. It contains no parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, or synthetic fragrances but it does contain SLS.
The laundry pods are made with 100% plant-derived ingredients with no harmful chemicals, dyes, or synthetic fragrances. Choose between Lavender and Rosemary, Citrus and Woods or fragrance free.
If you prefer detergent sheets, Grove Collaborative’s are specially formulated to tackle stubborn stains and come in recyclable paper packaging.
Choose between Lavender Blossom & Thyme, Peony & Freesia, Mulled Apple, or opt for the unscented version.
Both the pods and the sheets use polyvinyl alcohol and both come in a recyclable plastic pouch.
Send the pouches back to Grove Collaborative with the prepaid return label and they’ll recycle them for you via Recyclops.
In addition to their in-house products, they also carry a selection of laundry detergents from their partner brands but these have varying eco-attributes and so we suggest sticking with Grove.
About Grove Collaborative
Certified B Corp Grove Collaborative is a one-stop shop for eco home essentials.
In addition to their own creations, they carry over 150 brands, some more ethical and sustainable than others.
All of their products are non-toxic, cruelty-free, plant-based and have transparent ingredient lists. They do use RSPO palm oil.
Grove Collaborative are plastic neutral thanks to a partnership with rePurpose Global where they collect and recycle an equivalent weight of plastic from the environment to offset the amount they use.
They also aim to be 100% plastic free by 2025.
Fitting to their name, Grove Collaborative supports reforestation projects.
All of their products are shipped carbon neutral.
Available: Grove Collaborative
10. Dirty Labs
*Note: Dirty Labs uses RSPO certified palm oil.
About Dirty Lab’s Liquid Laundry Detergent
Dirty Labs’ liquid laundry detergent is anything but dirty.
Their Phytolase® cleaning technology utilizes powerful natural enzymes to lift stains and effectively clean clothes whilst remaining gentle enough for sensitive skin.
The liquid detergent is non toxic, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, optimized for cold water, compatible with both HE and standard washers and safe for all septic systems.
Their formula is free of dyes, parabens, sulfates, all EU-listed fragrance allergens and all California Prop 65 chemicals of concern.
You can select either their Signature detergent, delicately scented with magnolia, bergamot, and cedar or the Free and Clear unscented version.
Both are 97% USDA Biobased Certified and EPA Safer Choice. In addition, the Free & Clear detergent is EWG Verified and recognized by the National Eczema Association (NEA).
Bottles are recyclable aluminum with either an aluminum lid (on the 32 load bottle) or a recyclable PP and PE plastic cap and spout (on the 75 load bottle).
About Dirty Labs
Dirty Labs describes itself as a “cleaning innovations lab”.
The brand was founded by Dr. Pete He and David Watkins who both have oodles of experience designing and developing home and personal care products.
They aim to revolutionize the way we do our laundry by employing breakthroughs in green chemistry to create clean, green, safe, and effective products.
All products are certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA.
Raw materials are responsibly sourced or created via biosynthesis. They use RSPO certified palm oil.
The ultra-concentrated formulas mean smaller package sizes and less transport and shipping emissions.
11. Dr Bronner’s
Dr. Bronner’s Organic Laundry Detergent
Wash your hair, your body, your dishes, and your laundry—all with one bottle (and several scents).
What a minimalist’s dreams are made of!
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 organic castile soap is certified vegan, cruelty-free, and non-GMO.
How’s that for an organic natural laundry detergent!
To use with a load, mix up a maximum ½ cup of soap with an equal amount of vinegar. Cut the amounts in half when using a high efficiency washing machine.
It does come in a (100% post consumer recycled) plastic bottle, but as it’s so concentrated it will last a long time. You may even find a refill station close to you (at Whole Foods, perhaps).
About Dr. Bronner’s
And their 18-in-1 organic castile soap literally does it all. Their handy cheat sheet helps get you started on its multitude of different uses.
The Certified B Corp is committed to fair trade practices and looks after its employees with 100% free health care, yearly bonuses for full-time employees and profit sharing.
Green business practices include renewable energy, water-saving, recycling and sustainable shipping materials.
As an activist company, Dr Bronner’s campaigns for and supports a huge range of causes including wage equality, animal advocacy, drug reform, youth services and plant medicine.
Available: Dr. Bronner’s
12. Zero Co
*Note: Zero Co uses RSPO MB certified palm oil, meaning some is sustainable palm oil but not all.
Zero Co’s Zero Waste Laundry Detergent
Order > Deliver > Return > Refill > Repeat
How’s that sound for laundry day made easy?
In your first box from Zero Co you’ll receive a set of dispensers made from their “OBL” recycled plastic, a combination of ocean, beach and landfill waste.
Then, when you need to order a refill, they’ll come in plastic pouches made from 42% recycled content.
Decant the liquid into your dispensers and send the empty refill pouches back in the prepaid envelope provided. Zero Co will then use them for another order and the cycle continues – simple!
The liquid laundry detergent is made from natural ingredients, including citric acid (from citrus fruits), washing soda (made from salt and limestone), and coconut-derived surfactants.
Zero Co’s product was rated by an independent testing laboratory as equal to or slightly better than the #1 selling eco laundry liquid in Australia. Not surprising since it has some of the best natural laundry detergent reviews around.
About Zero Co
Australian brand Zero Co are on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic with its recycled plastic “forever bottles” and postal refill service.
Both the recycled plastic ‘forever bottles’ and the refill pouches are made in Australia.
Founder Mike Smith joined us on our podcast to tell us about his passion project and the company’s commitment to vegan, cruelty-free, plant-based and greywater-safe products.
Zero Co does use palm oil, some but not all of which is RSPO certified. They are working towards using 100% sustainable palm oil as well as offering more palm oil free products.
The brand organizes ocean clean-ups and shipping is carbon negative.
Available: Zero Co
13. Bestowed Essentials
About Bestowed Essentials Natural Laundry Detergent Powder
You won’t find any parabens, sulfates, preservatives, artificial fragrances or palm oil in Bestowed Essentials handmade laundry powder.
In fact, there are only 4 relatable ingredients on the list: washing soda, baking soda, epsom salt, and pacific sea salt.
The laundry powder works in both hot and cold water and only one tablespoon of powder is needed per normal-sized load.
It’s vegan, cruelty free and the packaging is made from paper with a compostable lining.
About Bestowed Essentials
South Dakota-based brand Bestowed Essentials started out super small—founder Callee used to make and ship the soap out of her van.
Today a small team handmakes several zero waste swaps for your eco kitchen and bathroom including zero waste dish soap, shampoo bars, and non-toxic hand and body soap.
The company is on a mission to provide jobs for people who (for a multitude of different reasons) face barriers to employment.
Bestowed Essentials is committed to low waste manufacturing and many products are either unpackaged or come in recyclable and compostable packaging.
All products are vegan, certified cruelty free by PETA and are shipped in recyclable boxes or recycled envelopes.
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Why You Should Use A Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent
Much like opting for dryer sheet alternatives, switching to a natural, non-toxic laundry detergent is better for your health and the health of the planet.
Let’s break it down.
Better for you
There’s just no need for dubious (at best) and harmful (at worst) ingredients in our laundry products.
If you have sensitive skin, chances are you’re all too familiar with the potential reactions to conventional detergents.
Not all of the detergent product is rinsed off when we launder our clothes and some ingredients like optical brighteners are specifically designed not to!
A minimal ingredients list based on naturally derived substances and certified hypoallergenic is the best way to avoid irritating the body’s largest organ.
Natural, non toxic laundry detergent is also the safest bet for little ones. Opt for a simple, natural detergent when washing baby clothes, cloth nappies and organic baby blankets.
Better for the planet
The problem isn’t just confined to the residues that conventional detergents leave on our clothes, bedding, towels, and other home textiles.
All of the product that does get rinsed off, ultimately winds up in water and soil where it can have far-reaching environmental impacts.
Phosphates in detergents have a fertilizing effect and have been linked to the eutrophication of lakes (huge algae blooms) which eat up all the oxygen and suffocate fish and other wildlife.
Other ingredients like surfactants reduce the water tension, allowing other water pollutants to be more easily absorbed by animals and plants.
All this can be avoided by switching to a non toxic laundry detergent that’s safely biodegradable, meaning it breaks down without polluting water and soil in the process. (This makes it safe for septic systems too).
How We Found the Best Natural Laundry Detergent
And it’s what we’ve referred to when looking for the best natural laundry detergent that actually works.
1. Non-toxic natural & organic ingredients
So, what is natural laundry detergent made of, exactly?
In a nutshell, it’s detergent made with naturally derived ingredients, or the majority of ingredients anyways.
Different brands use different formulations but natural or “earth-sourced” ingredients can include naturally occurring enzymes, plant derived surfactants, plant-derived or mineral based cleaning agents and essential oils for fragrance.
What we don’t want to see are any of the synthetic ingredients used by conventional brands which carry a risk to health (ours and the planets).
All the ingredients need to be safe ingredients and formulations shouldn’t be concealed.
We don’t want to see any of the bleach, chlorine, dioxanes, optical brighteners, phosphate, NPE, synthetic fragrances and other ingredients commonly found in conventional laundry detergents.
What we do want to see is full and transparent ingredient lists so we know exactly what’s in (and what’s not in) the laundry detergents we buy.
The best smelling natural laundry detergent doesn’t stink up the planet as it cleans our clothes. Organic essential oils add scent naturally and most of the brands on our list also offer a fragrance free option.
- Certifications: EPA Safer Choice, EWG Verified, USDA Organic, Regenerative Organic Certified, MADE SAFE certified, Cradle to Cradle, USDA BioPreferred
No animal testing, ever. Look for the Leaping Bunny certification to ensure a cruelty free laundry day.
Look for the PETA-Approved Vegan label which guarantees products are vegan friendly.
4. Palm oil-free
Ideally, products should be palm oil free. If brands still use palm oil, they need to make sure it’s sustainably sourced, e.g. RSPO certified.
5. Ethical ingredient sourcing policies
This includes ensuring fair and safe working environments for those involved in raw material cultivation and manufacture.
When this isn’t clear, we’ll be reaching out to brands to confirm their practices.
- Certifications: Fair Life Certified, Fair Trade
6. Thoughtful packaging
For a laundry day with the lowest impact, we’re looking for zero waste packaging. Reusable tins and compostable boxes and pouches are ideal. At a minimum packaging should be recyclable.
Final Thoughts on Organic and Natural Laundry Detergent
Along with sustainable laundry baskets, organic suds are in.
Because conventional detergents contain ingredients that you’d want to keep far away from your family. Like phosphates, bleach, chlorine, dioxane, NPE, fragrance, and optical brighteners.
These toxic chemicals also head out the back of your washer and can wind up in the environment, polluting soil and water and harming wildlife.
Did we mention they can end up in our drinking water, too?
Next time you put on a load, tumble this article over to someone who could greenify their laundry day.