Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

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Written By Jamila W.

I have tried various natural laundry detergents and want to share which ones I still use and which I wouldn’t recommend. I prefer Molly Suds because the company is transparent about its ingredients, and their detergents are less toxic than traditional laundry detergents.

The increasing demand for a more eco-friendly laundry detergent is largely driven by people’s awareness of the risk of life altering illness from the products we are exposed to a daily basis. Finding a safe and effective, non-toxic laundry detergent can be a challenge. It varies from one household to another, depending on their specific needs, the type of water they have, and the washing machine they use.

Many laundry detergent brands must only list some ingredients on the label. This means that there’s a chance that some harmful chemicals are present in your detergent. However, brands that openly disclose their ingredients and discuss their safety have nothing to hide. In my research, I have found detergent brands that do not use toxic chemicals.

I have ranked these brands based on their ingredients, certifications, eco-friendly packaging, cost, cleaning performance, and contributions to society and charitable causes. So, which is the best non-toxic laundry detergent? In this article, I’ll cover various topics, including:

  1. Best-smelling, non-toxic laundry detergents
  2. Most affordable, non-toxic laundry detergent
  3. Best fragrance-free laundry products
  4. Best toxin-free laundry detergent for hard water

Read on to learn more about these topics and make an informed decision for your laundry needs.

7 of the Best Non Toxic Laundry Detergents

There are many non-toxic laundry detergents on the market. Here are some of the most popular laundry detergents and what they are suitable for:

Non-Toxic Laundry DetergentPros
Meliora laundry powderNon-Toxic and Low-Waste
Simple Ingredients
Scented and Unscented Options
Molly’s Suds
No Harm to Animals
Eco-Friendly Packaging
Nice Smell
Grab Green
Vegan and Eco-Friendly
Fragrance-Free Option
Truly Free
Wide Range of Products
Refillable Pouches
Attitude
Clear Ingredients
Easy Refills
Rebel Green’s USDA Organic HE Liquid Fresh USDA Organic
Clean and Soft Clothes
Branch Basics
Lots of Choices
Clear Ingredients
Easy Refills

Meliora Powder Detergent: The Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent With Natural Essential Oils

Meliora laundry powder is a non-toxic detergent that’s safe and good for the environment. They have options without plastic, so it’s better for the planet. It also comes with scented or unscented options. Meliora includes additives that help brighten your clothes and remove stains.

One thing I like about Meliora laundry powder is that they’re not only kind to the Earth but also safe for you. Not many brands can do both of these things. Their scents are gentle and not too strong.

They make their products in Chicago, Illinois, and care about helping society. They give at least 2% of their sales to groups like Women’s Voices for the Earth. They also work hard to get rid of harsh chemicals from their products. They also have an “oxygen boost powder” that can be used instead of bleach. Meliora is an excellent choice if you want a laundry detergent that’s safe, low-waste, and works well.

Pros

  • Non-Toxic and Low-Waste: Meliora is a natural laundry detergent brand that’s safe and doesn’t harm you or the environment. Plus, they’re good at reducing waste and not using plastic, which is great for the planet.
  • Simple Ingredients: Their powder detergent is made with just three things: washing soda,  vegetable soup, and baking soda. You can find all the details about these things on their website. It’s easy to understand.
  • Scented and Unscented Options: They offer different types of scents, like Lavender, Lavender-Lemon, and Lavender-Lemon-Clove. The Lavender one smells lovely and natural, unlike conventional laundry detergents with synthetic fragrances. It’s just a light, pleasant smell.
  • Social Responsibility: Meliora is not just about making good products. They also give back by donating a part of their sales to nonprofits like Women’s Voices for the Earth. They work to create products without harmful chemicals.
  • Best Stain Remover: Their stain remover is good at getting rid of tough stains, and that’s why it’s my top pick.

Cons

  • Cleaning Power for Tougher Stains: This detergent might not be the best at removing hard-to-remove stains. You may need to use more of it and run your washing machine multiple times to ensure your clothes are completely clean.
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Molly’s Suds: The Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent for Delicates

Molly’s Suds

Molly’s Suds offers different non-toxic laundry detergents for various needs, like clothes for working out, swimwear, and delicate items. What’s great about their laundry soap is that it’s safe and contains no harsh chemicals. They’re also kind to animals and the environment. They only use five simple ingredients in their laundry powder, and it’s vegan and not tested on animals. The peppermint scent is lovely and makes your clothes smell fresh.

However, when it comes to getting out tough stains, this soap didn’t do so well in my test. What makes Molly’s Suds special is that they like to help the planet. They give their soap to communities in need. Even though it might not be the best at cleaning, Molly’s Suds is a good choice if you want a safe and eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Pros

  • Safe Ingredients: Molly’s Suds detergent uses ingredients that are gentle on your skin and don’t harm the environment.
  • No Harm to Animals: This detergent is kind to animals. They don’t use anything from animals, and no animals were tested on during its creation. 
  • Simple Ingredients: Molly’s Suds keeps it simple. They use just a few essential ingredients that are easy to understand. You won’t find any complicated or mysterious chemicals in there.
  • Eco-Friendly Packaging: They use packaging that doesn’t hurt the planet. It means they choose containers and materials that are good for the environment, so it’s a responsible choice for our Earth.
  • Helping Others: Molly’s Suds is a company with a big heart. They share their detergent with communities that need it. By buying their product, you’re also supporting this good cause.
  • Nice Smell: Some people enjoy the pleasant peppermint scent of this detergent. It leaves your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Cons

  • Not Great at Tough Stains: This detergent might have trouble removing stubborn stains on your clothes. It may not be the best choice for heavily soiled items.
  • Strong Scent: While some people like the peppermint smell, others might find it too strong. If you prefer a more subtle scent or are sensitive to strong smells, this could be a drawback.
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Grab Green – Best Fragrance-Free Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

Grab Green

Grab Green is a company that cares about the environment and animals. They make safe and strong, non-toxic laundry detergents. They have a popular unscented laundry detergent. Their 3-in-1 laundry pods and powder are excellent at cleaning away dirt and stains. What’s nice is that their laundry pods are made of natural ingredients. You can see all the details about what’s inside on their website.

Grab Green’s products are good for the Earth, and they don’t use much plastic. But they don’t have special programs that help the environment or society. Their laundry detergent comes in a powder and small pods. They focus on ensuring their products are suitable for the planet and work well, which is excellent for people who care.

Pros

  • Vegan and Eco-Friendly: Grab Green is a brand that cares about animals and the planet. They make cleaning agents that are safe for the environment and don’t harm animals.
  • Fragrance-Free Option: Their original laundry detergent has no added scent. If you prefer your clothes not to have any smell, this is a good choice.
  • Effective Stain Removal: Grab Green’s 3-in-1 laundry detergent pods and powder are excellent at removing tough stains and dirt on your clothes. This means your laundry can come out clean.
  • Non-Toxic Ingredients: Their laundry pods are made from safe materials, and you can see a list of what’s in them on their website. It’s all easy to understand.
  • Eco-Friendly and Plastic-Free: Grab Green is good for the environment. They don’t use a lot of plastic, which is better for the Earth.

Cons

  • Limited Social and Environmental Initiatives: The company doesn’t have many programs or actions that stand out for helping society or the environment. They focus more on the product itself.
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Truly Free: Best Non-Toxic Liquid Laundry Detergent

Truly Free

Truly Free is a nontoxic laundry detergent with various types of cleaning products for your home. They even have something for people with hard water, like a Softening Rinse.

Their collection of non-toxic laundry detergents has many things, like a safe refillable detergent, fabric softener, enzyme stain remover, alternatives to dryer sheets, things that boost your laundry, a cleaner for your washing machine, and a spray to get rid of wrinkles in your clothes.

This liquid laundry detergent is made from plants and some scents from essential oils. If you or your kids don’t like those scents, they also have a version that doesn’t have any smell.

They are also kind to the planet. The first time you order from them, you’ll get a free container, but after that, they will send you refill pouches. Even though the container can be recycled, there are better environmental options in the long run. What’s great is that Truly Free has no harsh chemicals in its products.

Pros

  • Wide Range of Products: Truly Free offers many different cleaning products, not just for laundry. They even have something for those with hard water.
  • Eco-Friendly Laundry Collection: They have non-toxic laundry detergents that are good for the environment. This includes a safe detergent, softener, and things to remove stains and keep your clothes nice.
  • Plant-Based Ingredients: Their detergent is made from plants, which is safer for you and your family. If you or your kids don’t like strong smells, they have a version without any scent.
  • Refillable Pouches: They’re into reducing plastic waste. After your first order, they’ll send you refills in pouches. You also get a free container with your first order.
  • No Nasty Chemicals: Truly Free products don’t have any harsh chemicals. They’re better for your health and the planet.
  • Helping Others: They do a lot to help people. They support orphans and a deaf village in Jamaica, and they work against human trafficking. When you buy their products, you’re doing something good.
  • Various Cleaning Products: They have cleaning solutions for other parts of your home, not just laundry. They have products for the home, including bathroom cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergent, floor cleaners, and more.

Cons

  • Plastic Waste with Refills: While they offer refill pouches, the starting container is not the best for the environment. It can be recycled, but it’s not eco-friendly.
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Rebel Green’s USDA Organic He Liquid Fresh Laundry Detergent: Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent for High-Efficiency Washing Machines

Rebel Green’s USDA Organic HE Liquid Fresh Laundry Detergent is excellent. It’s made from natural ingredients, ensuring your clothes are clean, soft, and free from toxic chemicals. It also has a fabric conditioner that leaves a long-lasting freshness. Plus, it’s among the few eco-friendly laundry detergents suitable for High-Efficiency washers. Rebel Green cares about making your laundry effective, gentle on the environment, and delightfully fragrant.

Pros

  • USDA Organic: Rebel Green’s detergent is certified USDA Organic, which means it’s made from natural ingredients without harsh chemicals.
  • Clean and Soft Clothes: This detergent not only cleans your clothes but also makes them soft so you can enjoy cosy clothes.
  • Hypoallergenic laundry detergent: The detergent is easy on your skin and will not affect you in case you get into contact with it in the laundry room.
  • Eco-Friendly: Rebel Green’s detergent is kind to the environment. It’s biodegradable, which means it breaks down naturally without harming nature. It’s also suitable for High-Efficiency washing machines, which use less water and energy.
  • Long-Lasting Freshness: The detergent includes a fabric conditioner that gives your clothes a lasting, pleasant smell.
  • Effective Cleaning: Rebel Green ensures your laundry is clean and fresh without compromising on being eco-friendly.

Cons

  • Cost: Organic laundry products like Rebel Green’s detergent can sometimes be more expensive than traditional detergents. You might pay a bit more for the eco-friendly laundry solution.
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Attitude – Best Overall Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

Attitude detergent

One of the great things about Attitude is that it offers various options, so you can choose what suits you best. For instance, they have non-toxic laundry detergents with nice fragrances and odorless choices for folks who don’t want any scent or are sensitive to fragrances. Some of their natural laundry detergents are scented with only essential oils.

Regardless of which one you’re thinking about, they list all the ingredients on the product page.

They also provide refill options, which come in a big cardboard box with a bag of detergent inside. Attitude’s natural laundry detergents have several certifications. They are EWG Verified, which means they’ve been checked against the Environmental Working Group’s list of approved and restricted substances. Apart from their liquid laundry detergent and cardboard boxes for refill, they also have dryer sheets, fabric softener, and a collection designed especially for babies.

Pros

  • Lots of Choices: ATTITUDE has many options, including those with scents and ones without. You can pick what you like.
  • Clear Ingredients: They tell you exactly what’s in their products, so there are no hidden surprises.
  • Easy Refills: Their refill boxes are good for the environment, and you can use the detergent right from the box.
  • Certifications: ATTITUDE’s detergents have necessary certificates showing they’re safe and eco-friendly. They’re suitable for people with allergies, and they’re kind to animals. Plus, they break down naturally.
  • Baby-Friendly: They also have a unique collection of non-toxic laundry detergents for baby clothes, which is safe for little ones.

Cons

  • Smell Preferences: Some people like different scents. What smells great to one person might be less friendly to someone else. You must try a few to find your favorite.
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Branch Basics – Best Multipurpose Non-toxic Laundry Detergent

Branch Basics

What makes Branch Basics great is its all-in-one product. You get a bottle of The Concentrate, and then you mix it with water to make cleaning sprays and laundry detergent. It’s easy, and you need to buy fewer products.

Even though The Concentrate bottle is a bit expensive, it lasts a long time. They also have Oxygen Boost powder and wool dryer balls to go with their safe laundry detergent. Everything they offer is eco-friendly, doesn’t have a strong smell, and they never test it on animals.

Pros

  • Versatile All-Purpose Product: Branch Basics’ Concentrate can be used for various cleaning needs, reducing the number of products you need to buy.
  • Long-Lasting: Despite the initial cost, The Concentrate lasts a considerable amount of time, making it cost-effective in the long run.
  • Additional Laundry Products: Branch Basics offers complementary products like Oxygen Boost powder and wool dryer balls, enhancing your laundry experience.
  • Eco-Friendly: Everything they provide is biodegradable, meaning it breaks down naturally, and their products are not tested on animals.

Cons

  • Higher Initial Cost: The Concentrate may have a higher upfront cost than other products. However, its long-lasting nature can offset this over time.
  • Fragrance-Free: While being fragrance-free is a pro for some, it might be a con for those who prefer scented products. 
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Toxic Ingredients Present in Conventional Laundry Detergents

Conventional laundry detergents often contain various harmful chemicals. I’ll share some essential ingredients you should know when searching for a detergent with more natural components.

  1. Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): These are surfactants used in detergents, shampoos, and toothpaste. They are made from lauryl alcohol and sulfur trioxide, which can cause skin irritation. SLES, derived from SLS, can produce a carcinogenic by-product called 1,4 dioxane.
  2. Synthetic Fragrances: Artificial fragrances can contain many undisclosed toxic ingredients linked to cancer and allergies for people with sensitive skin. The strong scent from these fragrances can linger in the air and on clothes.
  3. 1, 4 Dioxane: This is a carcinogenic by-product of the manufacturing process. It may not be listed in the ingredients but can be present in products like those containing SLS and PEGs.
  4. Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs): These can be contaminated with harmful substances like ethylene oxide (linked to cancer) or 1,4 dioxane, which is carcinogenic.
  5. Optical Brighteners: These agents can remain on fabrics, posing concerns related to reproductive toxicity and skin irritation. Optical brighteners are also not biodegradable.
  6. Chlorine: While used as a disinfectant and laundry whitener, exposure can irritate the nose, throat, and eyes. High exposure to chlorine bleach can affect the breathing system.
  7. Benziothiazolinone / Methylisothiazolinone: Research shows these preservatives can lead to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and potential neurotoxicity.

The list of concerning ingredients is quite long. To make the best choice, review a brand’s ingredient list and research any unfamiliar components to ensure your detergent is safe and free from harmful chemicals. We highly recommend you prioritize using low risk cleaning products, especially if you are affected by common lung conditions like asthma or COPD.

Are Laundry Detergent Sheets Eco-Friendly?

Detergent pods and laundry sheets have become popular lately. They’re easy to use and often seen as a more eco-friendly choice than regular detergent because they don’t come in large plastic bottles, and they’re much lighter (so they use less fuel for shipping).

But here’s the catch: most detergent sheets are made from a kind of plastic called polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA. Even though this “liquid plastic” dissolves in water, we are not sure if these tiny plastic bits break down in real-life situations (like when we wash them down the drain) or if they are adding to the problem of microplastic pollution.

Methodology for the Best Laundry Detergent Without Chemicals

I used an eight-step method to find the best non-toxic laundry detergents. Here’s how I did it:

  • Listing Popular Brands: I found popular, non-toxic laundry detergent brands. I found 12 brands that claim to be non-toxic and eco-friendly.
  • Checking Ingredients and Certifications: Next, I looked at the ingredients in these products to see if they lived up to their non-toxic claims. I compared them to chemicals found in regular detergents.
  • Non-Toxic Detergent Analysis: I set up a scoring system to rank the detergents. I considered ingredients, cleaning power, how they affect the skin, eco-friendly packaging, cost per load, subscription options, and their contributions to environmental causes.
  • Online Reviews: I read hundreds of reviews on brand websites and online stores to see what real customers thought. Some had issues with damaged packaging or allergic reactions despite claims of being fragrance-free. Others had mixed opinions about cleaning performance.
  • Interviews with Real Customers: I contacted customers for their detergent experiences. Some had concerns about cleaning performance and costs. Some also had negative experiences with customer service. These real stories helped me in my rankings.
  • Interviews with Companies: To stay fair, I contacted the companies and asked about their non-toxic ingredients, cruelty-free policies, and eco-friendly efforts. Some brands responded positively, while others didn’t reply. 
  • Test Drive: I tested 12 identical batches of samples with various fabrics and stains. I used the recommended amount of detergent and examined the results after one wash cycle. The top three brands performed best on all materials and stains, while others had issues like color fading and improper dissolving.
  • Ratings: Out of 12 competitors, seven made it to the final list. This process helped me find the best non-toxic laundry detergents available.

Buying Guide for the Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

Consider the following factors when buying a non-toxic laundry detergent.

  • Liquid vs. Powder: Decide between liquid or powder non-toxic laundry detergent. Liquid is better for cold water and delicate fabrics because it dissolves quickly.
  • Quality Over Price: Choose quality over cheap detergents to prevent harm to your clothes from harmful chemicals.
  • Machine Compatibility: If you have an automatic machine, use detergents made for it to avoid damage. Check your machine’s manual for recommendations.
  • Stain Type Matters: Use enzyme-based, non-toxic detergents for tough stains and natural ingredient-based detergents for others.
  • Delicate Fabrics: For wool and silk, use products with a mix of enzymes and bleach, but avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Baby Clothes: Use natural detergents for baby clothes to prevent allergies. Keep the baby’s laundry separate.
  • White vs Colored Clothes: Use bleach for white clothes and a brightener for colored clothes to keep their colors fresh.

Conclusion

After carefully going through different non-toxic laundry detergents, Branch Basics is the top choice. Its unique concentrate can be diluted for various cleaning needs, making it an affordable option. Branch Basics is also biodegradable and friendly to the environment.

To buy Branch Basics and experience its effectiveness and safety, visit their official website. By choosing Branch Basics, you’re not only making a smart laundry choice but also supporting a cleaner and more eco-friendly future.