Laundry detergent is easy to overlook when you’re taking steps to be greener; it’s in its own category. It’s not quite a personal care product like toothpaste and deodorant, but it’s also not a cleaning product like a floor or toilet bowl cleaner. We are always looking to eliminate toxins and pollutants from our homes. What is something to consider when looking for the best green laundry detergents?
Know that laundry detergents and soaps can contain ingredients that are harmful to your health. It is important to consider that you’re exposed to them every day through the clothes you wear. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in organic laundry detergent because, as with cleaning products, companies aren’t required to tell consumers what’s in them. When there are products that you use often, it is worth considering paying a bit more to be sure they are as safe as they can be. Learn more here by reading 5 Green Laundry Tips to Save Energy and Money and Top Green Cleaning Products
Tips for finding organic laundry detergent
- Avoid detergents with chemical fragrances and perfumes (avoid dryer sheets, too).
- Seek out a detergent brand that lists its chemicals, or stick with a green brand you trust.
- Skip detergents that might contain phosphates (harmful to waterways after use), parabens (hormone disruptors), and nonylphenol ethoxylate (endocrine disruptor).
- Make sure the bottle or box you buy is recyclable and, preferably, recycled.
- Check the amount you need to use per wash. Using less is always better.
Review of best green laundry detergents
We always prefer unscented detergents, whenever possible. Unfortunately, most companies include scents which mean more chemicals.
Rain Laundry Detergent & Organic Fabric Softener: For those with skin disorders or with children, this may be your best bet. Rain’s Laundry Detergent is actually 100% detergent free. Your children’s glands won’t absorb the enzymes from their towels after showering — when pores are open — and from their clothing — when sweating — found in traditional detergents. Everything in this product is sourced from USA too!
Dropps: Dropps sent us samples of the scent / dye free and the fresh scent detergents. Dropps are phosphate free, NPE-free, and chlorine free. It is made of “biodegradable plant-based surfactants (anionic and nonionic)” according to the ingredient list. Because they come in “toss-and-go” packs there is no jug to recycle; though the plastic packaging does need to be thrown in the garbage. Lastly, they were recognized for safer chemistry by the EPA.
Overall, we found Dropps worked quite well for cleaning our laundry. We definitely preferred the scent-free over their “fresh scent” line as it was a little overpowering. (But know we are biased in that we don’t like scents!) BUY DROPPS HERE
Trader Joe’s Laundry Detergent: We have used the Trader Joe’s Liquid Laundry Detergent for several years. It has a lavender scent that has just enough fragrance without being overpowering. The detergent works well for day-to-day use, but for tougher stains non-green detergents do a better job.
Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Premium Laundry Detergent: Costco’s laundry detergent is phosphate-free, dye-free, and perfume-free. What’s more, the container is made from 25% or more recycled materials.
Vaska Laundry Detergent: This brand of detergent contains plant-based surfactants and conditioners, lavender extract and filtered water. It does not contain: “NPE’s carcinogenic ingredients, chlorine, phosphates, petroleum products, alcohol, optical brighteners, synthetic scents, animal ingredients, EPA priority pollutants, or materials listed by ACGIH as hazardous.” (Makes you wonder what’s in your detergent – doesn’t it?).
How to make your own laundry soap
There is always the option of making your own laundry detergent. It is like baking a cake or bread from scratch: You will know exactly what is in it. With some simple washing soda, Borax (which is made from naturally-occurring ingredients) and an unscented and natural bar of soap, you can be on your way to a more environmentally-friendly and green laundry detergent.
Living more green
For more information on environmentally friendly and eco living:
The best green laundry detergents don’t necessarily cost more and you will have less irritants and toxins in your home and on your skin. It’s a good idea to research on the Good Guide to learn more about the laundry detergent in your home.