Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Sarah
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Looking to make the switch to a non toxic laundry detergent?
Many everyday laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals that can dry and irritate your skin. For people with sensitive skin this can lead to itching or exacerbate skin problems. These harsh chemicals can also damage fabric fibres in your clothing.
Common Chemicals in Laundry Detergents
Some of the common chemicals in many laundry detergents include bleach, optical brighteners, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), 1,4-dioxane, NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) and phosphates. All these chemicals have been linked with possible health concerns.
Conventional laundry detergents also often contain synthetic fragrances. These are designed to stay on the clothes after washing and can pass through the skin into the blood stream.
Switch To Natural Detergents
Investing in a greener, eco friendly laundry detergent is a quick and easy solution towards reducing the chemical load on your body and in your home, as well as into the air and wider environment.,
It’s easy to make the switch to a less toxic laundry powder, or liquid, and with many health stores now offering laundry liquid refills, it’s also an opportunity to cut down on plastic waste.
If you find yourself feeling confused when examining labels, you can tap into consumer groups such as the Environmental Working Group (EWP), which offer advice on safe cleaning products. You can also look out for eco friendly certifications such as EPA Safer Choice, which focuses on practices that reduce, eliminate, or prevent pollution, such as using safer ingredients in products.
Here are 7 non toxic laundry detergents that help you cut down on the chemical load.
7 Non Toxic Laundry Detergents
1 – Ecover
Detergent Type: Liquid
Eco Features: Biodegradable, plant based ingredients, hypoallergenic, no optical brighteners
Packaging: Recycled plastic
Started in 1979 by a group of Belgian scientists committed to finding a ‘phosphate free’ way of cleaning, Ecover use biodegradable, plant-derived ingredients that don’t add phosphates to the world’s waterways. They’ve got a whole host of non toxic cleaning products on offer & their eco friendly laundry detergents contain ingredients that are all plant and mineral based. If you’ve got sensitive skin, the fragrance free Ecover Zero has been approved by Allergy UK.
2 – Biokleen
Detergent Type: Liquid/powder
Eco Features: Plant based, biodegradable, no phosphates, chlorine, ammonia, petroleum solvents, artificial fragrances colors, preservatives or brighteners
Packaging: Recycled cardboard (powder version)
Originally started from a garage, in the 1980s, Biokleen has developed into one of the leading suppliers of non toxic cleaning products in the US. With a focus on green manufacturing, Biokleen’s eco friendly laundry detergents contain plant based ingredients and are available in powder or liquid form. Concentrated to reduce packaging, waste & energy use, there’s no negative impact on rivers, streams, plants or wildlife. Plus by manufacturing with cold water, Biokleen reduce their gas reliance and output.
3 – Seventh Generation Free & Clear
Detergent Type: Liquid
Eco Features: USDA Certified Biobased Product 96% plant-based ingredients/fragrance, phosphate & gluten free
Packaging: Recycled plastic
A popular brand of eco friendly products, Seventh Generation produce a range of green & non toxic goods – from cleaning products to baby care. Their non toxic laundry liquids are USDA Certified Biobased Products (ingredients come from renewable biological sources) & the Free & Clear version is hypoallergenic & made for sensitive skin. The powerful triple enzyme formula is designed to fight tough stains & it’s EPA Safer Choice Certified.
4 – Dropps
Detergent Type: Pods
Eco Features: Plant based ingredients, free from dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates & pthlalates
Packaging: Recyclable/compostable cardboard
If you’re a fan of laundry detergent pods, Dropps could be the answer to your non toxic laundry routine. With a variety of eco friendly pods to choose from, you’ve got unscented, lavender & eucalyptus or an unscented, sensitive skin & baby version. Tough on stains & odours, the pods are EPA Safer Choice Certified & the recyclable and compostable cardboard packaging helps reduce single-use plastic. There’s fabric softener available too if you use it.
5 – Molly’s Suds
Detergent Type: Powder
Eco Features: Formaldehyde, chemical, paraben, fragrance, phosphate & dye free
Molly’s was founded by a nurse & mum committed to producing non toxic laundry detergents and natural cleaning products. If you want to seriously cut down on your chemical load, Molly’s Original Laundry Detergent contains only 5 earth derived ingredients (sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, unrefined sea salt, and organic peppermint oil). A popular for people with skin sensitivities & allergies, Molly’s eco friendly detergent is rated Rated “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
6 – ECOS
Detergent Type: Liquid
Eco Features: Plant based ingredients, free from dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates or phthalates
ECOS have been producing environmentally friendly cleaning products for over 50 years & claim to be first company in the world to achieve the trifecta of sustainable manufacturing: carbon neutral, water neutral, and TRUE Platinum Zero Waste. The ECOS non toxic laundry detergent is plant based, hypoallergenic & pH balanced, as well as one of the few eco friendly detergents with a build in fabric softener. It’s also EPA Safer Choice Certified.
7 – Tru Earth Laundry Strips
Detergent Type: Laundry strips
Eco Features: Free of parabens, phosphates, added dyes, chlorine bleach & 1,4-dioxane
For a non toxic laundry detergent that ditches the powders & liquids completely, try Tru Earth Laundry Strips. The strips dissolve in hot or cold water & there’s no measuring or mess involved. 1 strip = 1 washing load. Extremely compact, these eco laundry strips cut down hugely on packaging & shipping, reducing carbon emissions. Each strip is listed as packing the same power as 40g of premium liquid or powder detergents. A good option if you live in the UK & can’t source some of the options above (others are Earth Breeze or Bio-D).
Disclaimer: Manufacturers may make changes to their products in terms of ingredients, formulas and labelling, so always double check labels/ingredients, when making a purchase, to be sure of the latest information.
‘All Natural’ DIY Laundry Detergents:
Want to try the homemade laundry detergent route?
It’s certainly a good way to eliminate many of the man-made chemicals in a lot of detergents, plus it may save you money, long term. Especially if you make it in bulk.
Keep in mind, though, how well DIY detergents work is a much debated topic. Many green living folk swear by homemade eco friendly laundry detergents, whilst others argue they’re not truly a detergent at all. Why? Because the soap used in most DIY recipes is not a surfactant – the ingredient that essentially enables the cleaning ‘bit’ to happen.
Non Toxic Laundry Detergents: Conclusion
Many conventional laundry products, as well as cleaning products in general, contain chemicals and artificial fragrances. Science is increasingly suggesting many of these chemicals aren’t beneficial to our long term health, the air quality of our home or the wider environment.
Switching to an eco friendly laundry detergent means you you’re cutting out many of these harsher chemicals in place of safer, more environmentally friendly, or plant based, ones.