9 Sustainable Laundry Detergent Brands Taking Plastic Loads Off Landfills Image by Sustainable Jungle #sustainablelaundrydetergent #bestsustainablelaundrydetergent #zerowastelaundrydetergent #plasticfreelaundrydetergent #PVAfreelaundrydetergent #zerowastedetergent #sustainablejungle
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9 Sustainable Laundry Detergent Brands Taking Plastic Loads Off Landfills

Amber McDaniel


It’s safe to say Mother Earth hates laundry day even more than you do.

Especially since in the USA alone, 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour—laundry detergent bottles being one of the most common offenders.

Because laundry detergent without single-use plastic is better for our planet and provides more conscious cleaning pow(d)er, let’s put an eco spin cycle on with the best sustainable laundry detergent

We’ve first-hand tested every one of these options to compile (just like your pile of dirty laundry) this list of plastic-free laundry detergent reviews based on both performance and satisfaction of our green cleaning guidelines.

Everything we recommend to you on Sustainable Jungle is independently researched and we ask all brands to confirm their claims. To avoid waste, we test products on an as needed basis. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this here.

The Best Zero Waste Laundry Detergent To Keep the Planet Sparkling

Greatfill gratefully provides a truly closed-loop refill and reuse system for laundry detergent— the Greatfill “Fill-osophy”— that eliminates single-use plastic from the entire equation. 

Keep our big blue planet beautiful with Blueland’s convenient PVA-free laundry detergent pods, which are the only truly plastic-free tablets on the market. 

SuperBee is superb(l)ee sustainable thanks to their unique Hexawash, a reusable magnesium-based laundry detergent cartridge that’s good for 300 washes and fully compostable at end-of-life.

1. etee

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etee’s Zero Waste Detergent

Price Range: $30

So long, giant ugly detergent jugs! We’re ete(e)rnally grateful for etee, whose 100% plastic-free detergent )down to the brown paper pouch it comes in) will take up a fraction of the shelf space.

One little pouch of their Super Concentrated Laundry Detergent is powerful enough for a splashy 180 loads, with only 1 teaspoon needed for medium loads—we were skeptical at first, too, but after testing, we found that’s truly all you need. And for $30, it’s one of the most cost-effective options we’ve found. 

Even in cold water, it truly whitens and brightens clothes, along with tackling tougher stains (though we prefer to add the help of vinegar and baking soda as a pre-treatment). 

It’s also biodegradable, septic safe, and free of fragrances, sulfates, or phosphates. 

etee’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Having prevented more than 100 million pieces of single-use plastic through their wide range of personal care items, plastic-free dental care, and more, etee is one of our favorite ethical alternatives to Amazon.

They hand craft all products using mostly organic ingredients (in a Toronto-based HQ fueled by renewables), and never use plastic or test on animals.


2. Blueland

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Note: Blueland uses RSPO-certified products in some of their liquid products. Their wool dryer balls are not vegan.

Blueland’s PVA-Free Laundry Detergent Tablets

Price Range: $11–$47

You’ll never feel blue about plastic pollution thanks to Blueland’s PVA-free tablets—the only ones on the market.

Whether we’re washing on cold or hot (usually the former), we found these tablets dissolve and clean equally well, with zero irritating fragrances and no residue left behind, so long as it’s a small to medium load. Little tablet, big clean, and the confidence of knowing it contains no parabens, VOCs, ammonia, phthalates, chlorine, or bleach.

The adorably stylish starter ‘Forever Tins’ comes with 60 tablets, and all refills are packaged in truly home compostable envelopes (for us, they broke down in a little over two months in a hot summer compost environment).

For an extra clean when clothes get really soiled, we toss in some Oxi Laundry Booster for a prewash to lift deep, set-in dirt. And in the winter when we can’t line-dry our clothes, we always use their reusable dryer balls to help soften clothes and reduce our overall dry time by about an hour.

Blueland’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Certified B Corp Blueland believes a cleaner planet starts at home—hence their slew of natural, cruelty-free cleaning options.

Conscious of reducing their footprint and supporting nature, Blueland is Climate Neutral, Cradle2Cradle, EWG Verified, USDA BioPreferred, EPA Safer Choice, and Leaping Bunny Certified.

All packaging is compostable and/or recyclable—having helped eliminate over 1 BILLION single-use plastic bottles since 2019—and they prioritize efficient energy and water use.


3. Greatfill

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Greatfill’s Laundry Detergent Refills

Price Range: $11–$52

Be grateful for Greatfill and their returnable refill pouches of powerful laundry liquid.

Made without parabens, phosphates, phthalates, SLS, triclosan, alcohol, optical brighteners, or artificial scents or colors, this vegan and certified cruelty-free detergent features natural scents from essential oils and is 100% biodegradable.

With only 1 fl oz required per load, which is equal to the cap on the forever bottle, we find that it really does work to get clothes clean and smelling naturally fresh. Plus, the powder-coated stainless forever bottle is durable enough to feature a lifetime warranty, with a narrow pour spout that means mess-free. 

It also leaves laundry feeling soft and non-starchy without those pesky chemical fabric softeners.

When you have five empty refill pouches, simply send them back for sanitization and reuse via a prepaid envelope that comes with your first order. 

Greatfill’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Family-owned Greatfill is on a mission to protect the planet through their truly closed-loop refill and reuse system— the Greatfill Fill-osophy— that removes single-use plastic from the equation. 

Their Leaping Bunny-certified cleaning and personal care products are made in small batches in California, while the stainless steel bottles and refill pouches are ethically sourced in China.

In addition to the mail-back recycle scheme, this member of 1% for the Planet has ambitious plans to expand to physical refill stations throughout the US.


4. SuperBee

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SuperBee’s Reusable Laundry Detergent

Price Range: $50

SuperBee makes a superbly unique package-free laundry detergent that’s truly standout for its zero-waste and chemical-free attributes.

They call it Hexawash, and hex dirt and grime it surely does thanks to its magnesium pellets that create an alkaline solution when mixed with water to clean clothes without dirtying the planet. Surprisingly effective in both hot and cold washes, it’s also cost-effective, convenient, and gentle on the skin. 

To use, we simply toss the Hexawash pouch in the drum on top of clothes, then hang it to dry after each wash cycle. Pro-tip: toss in some added favorite essential oils with each wash, since this reusable detergent pouch is truly scent-free. We also suggest using it for lighter loads instead of stains or stubborn grime. 

After 300 washes (working out to only $0.16 per load!), you can simply compost it. We’re still using ours so we haven’t tested how quickly it decomposes, but will update once we have.

SuperBee’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

SuperBee got their start in beeswax food wraps, but there’s no animal products in their other products, like natural toothpaste

The woman-led Northern Thailand-based social enterprise and Certified B Corp is committed to bettering the health and livelihoods of everyone, everywhere. They support their all-Thai female workers by paying 20% higher wages than the Fair Trade Association’s suggested one.

Everything comes packaged plastic-free, reusable, and recyclable, plus they support local volunteer fire crews in Thailand.


5. Meliora

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Meliora’s Best Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent

Price Range: $20

There’s a plethora of reasons to use Meliora’s simple formula of washing soda, baking soda, and organic plant-based soap made with organic coconut oil—like it being plastic-free and vegan, as well as dye, palm oil, phthalate, and SLS-free.

Their scented varieties (including the uniquely fresh and spicy Lemon-Lavender-Clove that we are truly obsessed with) are made with certified organic essential oils. No mysterious “fragrance” blends containing undisclosed nasties. 

For extra tough stains, they sell a stain removing soap stick that we rub on an hour or so before washing, but even without the stain bar, this effervescent, baking soda-based formula is truly impressive at removing dirt and stains on its own.

Super cost effective, a tub is good for 128 loads in an HE washer, which means more than a year of laundry detergent for under $20 if you’re like us and only do a load (or occasionally two) a week.

We also love that the reusable canister is mostly cardboard with some steel structural end components, so it’s mostly compostable when no longer needed. Refills come in a brown paper sack.

Meliora’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

“Meliora means better”—for both people and the planet.They provide a slew of non-toxic cleaning products masterminded by Kate, who holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. 

A B Corp, MADE SAFE, woman-owned, andLeaping Bunny certified company, they also provide living wages, use low-impact products and packaging, and donate a percentage of profits through partnerships with 1% For the Planet and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

They publish yearly online sustainability reports, and lobby in support of cleaning product Right-To-Know Acts, including a successful campaign that will require ingredient listings on cleaning products in California.


6. Common Good

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Note: While their laundry soap is palm oil-free, other products may contain palm oil derivatives.

Common Good’s Sustainable Laundry Detergent

Price Range: $18–$65

For the Common Good of humankind and the Earth, this brand’s laundry soap is powerful and plant-based. Simply add 20 mL into the detergent dispenser for front loaders and 40 mL for top loaders. 

Clothes come out smelling fresh and clean, but not overly scented. We love the subtlety of the bergamot scent, which is derived purely from natural plant extracts, rather than lab-created chemicals. 

They also look and feel clean, with no starchiness or leftover residue. If we want to pretreat a stain, we dab some detergent onto the stain 5–10 minutes before washing and have had good success with it lifting out just about any non-oil stain.

Common Good’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Working mom and former stylist Sacha Dunn started Common Good after she noticed her family’s excessive plastic and harsh cleaning chemicals. 

Instead, her line of cleaning solutions is vegan, 100% biodegradable, Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, and free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, and phthalates.

All products are offered in various sizes of refill pouches—which you can use to top up their elegant and reusable glass bottles. The pouches themselves are unfortunately not returnable, but you can cut off the pour spout and recycle them with other soft plastics if you’re able.


7. The Good Fill

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The Good Fill’s Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent

Price Range:$13–$20

The Good Fill has one of our favorite zero waste online shops, which sells a zero waste version of Nellie’s Laundry Detergent Powder in a 32oz refillable mason jar or compostable paper refill bag.

With maximum cleaning power packed into the powder, Nellie’s is a highly concentrated formula. You only need 1 tbsp per full load, and we use even less for smaller loads since we have an HE machine. It swiftly dissolves in cold and hot water, and is septic safe and rinses completely clear.

It’s also vegan, cruelty free, plus free from SLES, SLS, gluten, phosphates, chlorine, fragrance, and optical brighteners. 

This is also our most recommended detergent for hand-washing clothes, because you only need a pinch and it leaves no slimy residue on your clothes or skin.

The Good Fill’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

The Good Fill was started by Megan Gill after she and her husband spent time living abroad in less developed countries. They realized how much the world is exploited for American lifestyles and committed to doing better while helping others become more conscious consumers. 

For shipping, they use 100% plastic-free up-cycled, recycled, recyclable, and compostable materials, including plant starch water-soluble packing peanuts. They also ship via USPS since they already come to your home on a daily basis, which reduces extra trips from other carriers. 


8. Dr Bronner’s

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Dr Bronner’s Sustainable Laundry Detergent

Price Range: $10–$65

This multi-use all-purpose castille soap maintains legendary status, and although Dr Bronner’s still comes in a 100% post-consumer-recycled plastic bottle, they now sell refills in recyclable milk paper cartons, which we’ll be doing once we run out of our current stash.

Which may take a while since this super concentrated formula only requires a maximum of one tablespoon for a full load.

As one of the safest and hypoallergenic detergents we’ve ever tried, it’s free from artificial fragrances, phosphates, or sulfates, and instead made up of entirely plant-based, fair trade, and mostly organic ingredients. 

This is the ONLY detergent we use for some of our chemical-sensitive clothing upcycle projects—as we know it won’t react poorly with the dyes—and we’ve been using it for years.In fact, it was our go-to detergent long before we started trialing the other brands on this list.

Dr Bronner’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

A counterculture icon since the 1970s, Dr Bronner’s is a leader of the organic and fair trade movement—being a Certified B Corp, Fair Trade, EWG Verified, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free, Non GMO Verified, and Certified Vegan.

They also feature progressive business practices like 100% free health care for all employees AND their families, plus a 5-to-1 cap on executive salaries, and generous full-time bonuses and profit-sharing. That’s on top of supporting ethical supply chains, regenerative farming, solar powered operations, animal rights, and truly sustainable palm oil harvesting.


9. Zero Co

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About Zero Co’s Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

Price Range: $35-$40

Win the war on waste at your place with Zero Co, whose “ridonkulously effective (plant-based and planet-friendly) laundry liquid” is sure to get your garments sparkling. 

Note to moms and dads: this stuff WORKS when it comes to cloth nappies and reusable diapers. In fact, it works so well that if you’ve got sensitive skin, spot test first to make sure it’s not too harsh.

It features a strong scent of Lemon Myrtle and Australian Grey Gum, which is different to what chemical-based conventional detergents smell like—and we love it for that.

For your first purchase, you opt for the “forever bottle,” and purchase refillable pouches after that. Currently pouches are plastic meant to be sent back to the brand; however, they’re soon switching to paper. Though if you live in Australia like our team members who’ve tested this do, you can often find refills of it in bulk stores. 

Zero Co’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

We’re big fans of Zero Co’s mission to “untrash the planet”, and even interviewed the founder Mike Smith on our podcast.

So far, they’ve collected nearly 25 million plastic bottles worth of rubbish from our rivers, lakes, and oceans and hope to collect one billion water bottles by the year 2050.

As products vegan, cruelty-free, plant-based, palm oil-free or sourced sustainably, and gray water and septic tank safe.


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16 thoughts on “9 Sustainable Laundry Detergent Brands Taking Plastic Loads Off Landfills”

  1. Great article! I am so glad you included a list of of PVA/PVOH free products! I’ve stayed away from the various “eco-friendly” Pods because of it, and I never thought to check my go to brand for it- TruEarth. Super bummer, but now that I’m investigating, it seems to be in SOOO MANY products. Thanks for giving me alternatives to try!

    Reply
  2. When you are using the word “detergent” here is it interchangeable with “soap”? I’m looking for laundry soap, not detergent, so I’m curious if any of those listed above fall into that category. Thanks for such a helpful website!

    Reply
    • Hi Stacy, apologies for the confusion, yes we generally use the terms zero waste soap and detergent interchangeably. If you’re looking for a soap bar – I use Ethique’s bar (which is on this list) and I really love it. Also the Dr Bronner’s castile soap is a liquid soap that you can use for laundry too. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. I recently reached out to Dropps and they confirmed PVOH which is used to form the pod is a direct derivative of PVA, i.e. PVOH is a fossil fuel-derived plastic. There are also studies (although this is up for debate) that these materials often don’t biodegrade in most wastewater treatment facilities. You may want to reconsider including this product in your post.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Thank you so much for raising this issue. We’ve had a few comments making the same point so we have made some adjustments to the article separating those detergents that use PVOH and those that don’t. We’ve also added a short explainer in the intro and a more detailed explanation at the bottom. Hope this helps to make the choices clearer for those out there on the hunt for the most low impact laundry detergent. Thanks again!

      Reply
  4. PVOH is less friendly than perhaps it seems at first glance. It’s worth looking into more deeply before deciding it is an environmentally friendly alternative to loose powder or tablets or even detergent sheets.

    Reply
  5. Hi there!

    First things – I LOVE your site, every time I’ve made a zero-waste switch your website has been totally invaluable.

    Second – smol is (from what I’ve gathered) the U.K. version of dropps. I’m not sure about whether they contain palm oil or not (their website isn’t terribly transparent on that). They are, however, plastic free, vegan, and free from animal testing, so thought I should highlight for your U.K. readers!

    Reply
    • Hello, I live in the UK and have recently asked smol about their palm oil policy. They came back to me straight away with an open, honest answer, so full marks for customer service.

      They have confirmed that they don’t use palm oil as such as an ingredient, but that their glycerin comes from a mix of soy, palm and coconut; albeit the palm oil is from RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

      From what I understand, the RSPO have their own controversies and despite best intentions, true sustainability can never be guaranteed. I therefore prefer not to use palm oil at all.

      Pity, as I was looking forward to trying smol. I will keep the brand on my radar to see whether their palm oil practice improves in the future.

      Reply
  6. I absolutely love the way the products are listed with a small legend on the right indicating all the essential points in red and green. It makes decision making so easy. Apart from that, I like the background provided about each company.

    Best website! Thank you much!

    Reply

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