This post discusses natural laundry detergents and compares the top 7 non toxic laundry detergents.
A household’s average amount of laundry in a week is 80 loads, yes 80! If you’re considering reducing your home’s chemical and toxic load, laundry detergent and cleaning products are an excellent place to start.
Why choose non-toxic laundry detergent?
Everything you use has a scent, and all those scents permeate the air you, your family, and your pets breathe.
95% of the perfume added to our cleaning, laundry, and cosmetics is petrochemical, a chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas.
The many ingredients in each product can disrupt your hormones and increase your risk of cancer. Sadly, they can cause human health problems and be fatal to pets. This post discusses why you might like to ditch your usual liquid laundry detergent brands in favor of an EPA-safer choice. The EPA label means that EPA scientists have checked each product ingredient to ensure it meets Safer Choice’s strict criteria. When people choose Safer Choice-certified products, they protect their families and the environment by making safer chemical choices.
If you’ve used scented products for several years, you probably haven’t noticed them gradually getting stronger. But with the new passion for Instagram and TikTok cleaning fads, many more fragranced products are available. Manufacturers seem to be under more pressure to make them smell stronger to keep up with public demand.
Most people seem to associate clean with a smell of fragrance. Clean doesn’t have a smell. If you want your house to smell fresh open some windows.
Once you’ve washed your laundry, you’ll constantly be exposed to these toxins. The toxic chemicals sit on your clothes, sheets, or blankets. Using a more eco-friendly laundry detergent is a great place to start in your journey to reducing the toxic load on yourself, your family, and the environment.
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Toxins in Laundry Detergent Chemicals to Avoid
There are many chemicals to watch out for in many of the top brands:
- Phosphates. Phosphate is a toxic fertilizer that causes mineral poisoning and causes marine animals to die in high numbers (Eutrophication). When phosphates go through the wastewater and into the waterways, increased algae depletes the oxygen levels and suffocates the marine animals. Saving the environment is a big reason we should consider using a non-toxic laundry detergent.
- Optical brighteners. These are harmful to marine animals and may cause eye, skin, and lung problems in humans and pets.
- Formaldehyde can increase your risk of skin cancer if it comes in contact with your skin.
- Fragrance or perfume is toxic and harmful to our bodies, specifically our lungs. Be it synthetic fragrance, natural fragrance, or perfumes, 95% of the fragrances added to products are derived from petroleum and will be petroleum oil-based. They are known to cause allergies and cause lung issues over time. It is an ingredient you should avoid in any household or beauty product you use regularly.
- Dyes are hormones and endocrine disruptors.
- Chlorine bleach is a lung and skin irritant that can cause blindness and burning of the eyes.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate can cause irritation and rashes.
How to find out what’s in your laundry detergent
So how can we check the ingredients in our laundry and cleaning products to see how many toxic chemicals they contain? Well, there is an app and a website available where you can check either the products or, if your product is not listed , the ingredients, to see how harmful they are to you and the environment.
- Think dirty app gives you a numerical value based on your products’ ingredients. You can check not just laundry but also skincare, cosmetics, and other household items. You enter the product or scan the bar code; if it is listed, it will give you a score out of 10. The numerical score is based on the ingredients in your product and how harmful and detrimental to your family’s health they will be. They are rated on a scale from zero to 10. A score of 10 is the worst, and 0 is the best score. However, most of the popular brands in the UK are not listed, so to get an idea of how toxic your product is, you may need to check each ingredient separately.
- Skin Deep Another great way to find out if your products contain toxic chemicals is a website run by EWG called Skin Deep. Enter the product into the database, and it should give you a rating. A green or yellow rating is what to look out for, and red ratings are those to avoid. If you can’t find the product you are looking for, you can check each ingredient, giving you the rating for each component. Many detergents are unavailable as the website tends to gear more towards cosmetics, but it is helpful to put in each one to get a better idea of how safe your products are.
What to Look for in a non-toxic Laundry Detergent
There are many things to avoid in your laundry and cleaning products, but things to look out for in particular would be:
- Biodegradable, and packaged in recyclable bottles made from recycled plastic.
What Else To Consider When Shopping for Natural Laundry Detergent.
It’s good to note that when you buy fragrance-free, the product may still include some fragrances from natural ingredients used during manufacture, such as essential oils.
Please note some of these non-toxic detergents may not be available in your area. All ratings were accurate when publishing and may be open to change, so please check using the app or website.
Top picks for the best natural laundry detergent
- This laundry liquid is Vegan society approved and Cruelty-Free
- Contains no SLS, Parabens, or Phosphates.
- This huge 5 L eco-friendly laundry detergent refill pack reduces household waste.
- Its concentrated formula has excellent cleaning power even at lower temperatures.
- This product allows you approximately 150 loads.
- It is safe for woolens, delicate fabrics, colors, and reusable nappies.
- Its fragrance is 100% natural.
- Dermatologist tested
- Free of dyes and perfumes.
- The pods dissolve quickly in hot or cold water.
- It scored 8 on the think dirty app, which is relatively high for a non-toxic laundry detergent, so you might want to look at the alternatives below.
- Non-toxic laundry detergent scores a rating of 4 on the think dirty app.
- It has added fabric conditioner
- You can wash clothes at any temperature.
- Free from any phosphates and parabens
- Seventh Generation laundry detergent is a very popular brand in the US which can be found in most Targets, in UK supermarkets, and online.
- It is ultra-concentrated, and 50 Fl Oz will wash 66 loads, reducing the amount of plastic you use. However, I believe a small plastic pouch is underneath the compostable and recyclable cardboard outer casing.
- It is plant-based, fragrance-free, dye-free, and contains no artificial brighteners.
- They also do fabulous non-toxic cleaning products.
- 7th Generation non-toxic laundry detergent scored a 0 on the think dirty app, meaning there are no ingredients of any concern. It is one of the safest laundry detergents for people with allergies.
- This 4 x concentrated laundry detergent prides itself on being environmentally friendly with its 98% green packaging and manufacturing.
- However, it contains brighteners and fragrances, which is reflected in its score of 8 on the Think Dirty App.
- 59 Fl Oz will allow you to do 66 loads of washing.
- This vegan concentrated laundry powder contains no optical whiteners or phosphates.
- The packaging is biodegradable.
- Due to the concentration, you only require a small amount, and the pack will last you approx 33 washes.
- Highly concentrated laundry detergent made with earth and plant-based ingredients.
- It contains no dyes
- Vegan and certified cruelty-free,
- Septic and grey water safe and soil tested.
- Available in unscented or lightly scented varieties, this one is peppermint scented, which powers through dirt and grime.
- It is formulated with 5 stain-fighting natural ingredients that are powerful enough to clean dirty clothes without harmful chemicals.
- Molly Suds is showing a rating of 3 on the think dirty app.
- Available in a baby laundry detergent formulation.
- If you want to step away from the detergents, powders, and pods and are sick of powder, pods, gel, or liquid clogging up your washing machine, you might like to try the simplicity of a laundry egg.
- Simply pop the ecoegg Laundry Egg on top of your clothes in the drum.
- The Laundry Egg lasts up to 70 washes, then simply refill it with Laundry Egg refills.
- It costs approximately 14p per wash (10p when you refill) and reduces the consumption of single-use plastic bottles.
- It is dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic.
- It contains no enzymes, so it is safe for those with allergies and sensitive skin.
- The ecoegg Laundry Egg Uses mineral pellets and a small amount of detergent encased in the recyclable egg.
What About Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets?
I would avoid all dryer sheets if you are concerned about the planet, as they are very wasteful. Dryer sheets are also designed to keep your clothes smelling of fragrance for days, so not the best choice for people with allergies.
I use these woolen dryer balls in the tumble dryer instead and add a few drops of essential oil to the balls before putting them in the dryer. These balls help to dry the clothes crease free and help to keep your laundry slightly scented.
DIY non-toxic laundry detergent
This non-toxic laundry detergent recipe will you no time to make. It is cost-effective, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your cleaning kit!
You will need:
- 2 cups of washing soda. Washing soda is an abrasive and is an excellent grease and stain remover.
- 2 cups of baking soda. Baking soda will help to deodorize and soften the water to enhance the effectiveness of the detergents.
- 2 cups of sea salt. Salt makes the other ingredients work more effectively and is an excellent scouring agent.
- 1 cup of Fairy Non-Bio Stain Remover Powder. This powder will help to kill germs and lift blood and sweat stains. It is also a natural bleaching agent.
- 30 drops of any essential oils. Natural essential oil such as Lavender or Peppermint helps to remove odors.
- Mix together.
Mix the washing soda, baking soda, and fairy stain remover together.
- Add the sea salt on top of the mixture.
A small pile of salt will help to absorb the essential oils.
- Add 30 drops of your chosen essential oil onto the salt.
The oil will absorb into the salt and help to distribute the fragrance evenly.
- Mix well.
Then store the mixture in a large jar with an airtight lid.
- Use 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each laundry load.
Then wash as you usually would.
Final thoughts on The Best Natural Laundry Detergent
I hope this post helped you determine why you should change laundry detergents, how to figure out which non-toxic laundry detergent will work best for you, and how to make your own.
What is your favorite eco-friendly laundry detergent?
Remember to put any questions, comments, or concerns in the comments below.
If you are prone to allergies some detergents can cause skin problems, rashes, eye irritation, breathing difficulties, and many more.
Most non-eco brands will have some if not many ingredients to avoid listed above. Checking the ingredients on the packaging before you buy is a great place to start.
I would always wash my baby clothes in a non-toxic laundry detergent such as Molly Suds as a baby’s skin can be so sensitive
Just because it’s non-toxic doesn’t mean you can’t add a natural scent like essential oils. I’ve included a recipe above for you to follow. Just replace the suggested essential oil with your favorite.
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