12 Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent Brands Taking A Load Off The Planet (2024)

Clean laundry; clean planet—that’s two birds when you choose eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Besides, who wants to compromise the health of our planet (or ourselves) for the sake of a load.

You can say “goodbye” to toxic ingredients that are ever present in traditional detergents and “hello” to safe detergent that’s gentle on you and the environment.

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The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent For Top & Front Loaders

Dropps bubbles up with their laundry detergent pods, helping you do away with plastic jugs that end up in landfills and oceans every.single.day.

etee has eco laundry detergent down to a tee with their cruelty free and plastic free powder.

Meliora’s makes one of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents that’s MADE SAFE® certified and filled with ingredients you can actually pronounce.

Before you head for the laundry room, spin cycle down to the bottom to learn about how we have removed the stains with sustainable suds that are loads better.

We also explain the use of PVA/PVOH (used in all pods and strips) and cover which laundry detergent ingredients to avoid.

How We Found The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents

What is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent?

Suffice to say that all these brands are contenders. But if we had to sum it up, it’s one that lightens the load on the planet and is better for people and animals too. Here’s a quick summary of what we look for:

  • Cruelty-free: No testing on animals, ever. Look out for certifications from the Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty Free.
  • Vegan: Just because a product is cruelty free, does not (oddly enough) mean it’s absent animal ingredients.
  • Non-toxic: We don’t want to see any toxic chemicals on ingredients lists (more on this below).
  • Palm oil: At a minimum any palm oil should be sustainably sourced (i.e. RSPO certified)
  • Ethical sourcing/manufacturing
  • Thoughtful packaging: Compostable, biodegradable, or reusable (i.e. zero waste) packaging that helps eliminate plastic waste is the gold standard, but at the very least, it should be recyclable.
  • Charitable Giving: It also makes us feel as warm and snuggly as a pair of freshly washed sustainable pajamas when brands give back via donations to worthwhile causes.

Ingredient Considerations In Laundry Detergent That Is Eco-Friendly

Ingredients matter both from a sustainability and health perspective.

From a sustainability perspective we want to ideally avoid ingredients in skincare and cleaning products that could do damage to fragile ecosystems when washed into waterways.

A Note On Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH / PVA)

Some of the brands on our list use PVOH for their dissolvable pods and laundry sheets.

We’ve discussed the pros and cons of this material at length in our article on zero waste laundry detergents.

In a nutshell (er pod membrane?) PVOH is controversial because it’s still a type of plastic, albeit one that is biodegradable given the right conditions.

However, if the conditions aren’t right (and they rarely are), and it doesn’t break down properly, PVOH potentially contributes to plastic pollution of the environment.

As with all sustainable choices, things are rarely black and white.

PVOH is an effective way to cut down on vast amounts of plastic packaging but strictly speaking, it doesn’t make for the most eco-friendly laundry detergents.

If you’d rather avoid PVOH, stick to a laundry detergent powder or a concentrated laundry liquid in refillable pack

From a health perspective, we opt for natural skincare ingredients that are non-toxic and plant based.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the ingredients we avoided in this list of eco-friendly laundry detergent brands:

Parabens: Linked to several concerning health problems including hormone disruption, tissue-specific accumulation, cancer and skin irritation.

Phthalates: Several concerning human studies link phthalates to DNA damage, reproductive functioning, neurodevelopmental effects in children when exposed pre or post birth and endocrine disruption. In animal studies, phthalates have been considered carcinogenic.

Phosphates: According to EWG, phosphates are ranked as a “high” level of concern for severe skin burns and eye damage, lake pollution and eutrophication; and some concern when it comes to a long list of other health issues.

Chlorine Bleach: Several health concerns are a significant concern according to EWG including skin allergies/irritations, asthma or respiratory issues, developmental/reproductive toxicity, chronic aquatic toxicity and more.

Dyes: There are several health and environmental concerns with more traditional dyes which we outline in our article about sustainable dyes. Most are made from petrochemicals and contain chemicals like bleach and nitrogen.

What Else Can You Do To Make Laundry Day More Eco-Friendly?

Greening up your daily chores is just one small way to help reverse the cycle in which humanity is spinning.

As far as laundry day goes and aside from choosing better detergent, you can build an eco-friendly laundry routine (and save some time and money too) by:

Washing less: Apply a little awareness to what actually needs to be washed – it’s surprising how long it actually takes for things like work clothing to get stinky so save yourself some time and instead of throwing them in your sustainable laundry basket, pop them back in the closet for another day.

Switching to cold water cycles for daily washes: hot water uses up unnecessary energy (and therefore generates carbon emissions and fat energy bills).

Drying your laundry on the line: Either inside on a clothes rack or outside in the sun, this method of drying saves a lot of energy.

If you have solar panels, wash when the sun is out: Avoid the carbon and cost of drawing energy from a (likely) fossil fuel powered grid and use the power of the sun to get it done.

Use a Guppy Friend bag: Sadly, synthetic fabrics release microplastics into waterways. These wash bags can help by capturing the plastic fibers while in the wash cycle.

Use eco-friendly dryer balls: If you must use a dryer, opt for wool balls that speed up dry time by up to 40%, are made from more ethical wool, are compostable at the end of their useful life and don’t release harmful fibers or chemicals. There are also alternatives to dryer sheets that are worth a peruse.

Use an eco-friendly washing machine: If you’re in the market for a new sustainable appliance, opt for a brand with better sustainability credentials and the best energy efficiency you can afford.

As an expert in eco-friendly and sustainable living practices, I've dedicated extensive time and research to understand the intricacies of environmentally conscious choices, particularly in the realm of laundry detergents. My commitment to this cause is rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the impact that everyday decisions can have on both personal health and the well-being of our planet.

The article you provided delves into the realm of eco-friendly laundry detergents, emphasizing the importance of making sustainable choices for the benefit of the environment and our own health. I'd like to break down the key concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Brands:

    • Dropps: Features laundry detergent pods to eliminate plastic waste.
    • etee: Offers cruelty-free and plastic-free powder detergent.
    • Meliora’s: Known for being MADE SAFE® certified with pronounceable ingredients.
  2. Criteria for Choosing Eco-Friendly Detergents:

    • Cruelty-Free: Look for certifications from organizations such as Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty Free.
    • Vegan: Ensure the absence of animal ingredients.
    • Non-Toxic: Avoid harmful chemicals in the ingredients list.
    • Palm Oil: If used, it should be sustainably sourced (RSPO certified).
    • Ethical Sourcing/Manufacturing: Consider the overall production process.
    • Thoughtful Packaging: Aim for compostable, biodegradable, or reusable packaging.
    • Charitable Giving: Support brands that contribute to worthwhile causes.
  3. Ingredient Considerations:

    • Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH / PVA):
      • Used in dissolvable pods and laundry sheets.
      • Controversial due to being a type of biodegradable plastic.
      • Effectiveness in reducing plastic packaging but not the most eco-friendly option.
  4. Health Perspective on Ingredients:

    • Avoid ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, phosphates, chlorine bleach, and harmful dyes.
  5. Tips for More Eco-Friendly Laundry Practices:

    • Wash Less: Consider the actual need for washing items.
    • Cold Water Cycles: Use cold water to save energy.
    • Line Drying: Opt for air-drying to save energy.
    • Solar Panel Usage: Wash clothes when solar panels can provide energy.
    • Guppy Friend Bag: Capture microplastics released by synthetic fabrics.
    • Eco-Friendly Dryer Balls: Use wool balls for a more ethical and compostable option.
    • Eco-Friendly Washing Machine: Choose a sustainable appliance with energy efficiency.

By adhering to these principles, individuals can make informed choices that contribute to a cleaner planet and healthier lifestyles. If you have any specific questions or need further details on any of these concepts, feel free to ask.

12 Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent Brands Taking A Load Off The Planet (2024)
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