Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Guide (2024)

Written by:

Maia James

Image of various laundry detergent options. | Gimme The Good Stuff

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Image of a collection fo various non-toxic laundry detergents approved by Gimme the Good Stuff. | Gimme The Good Stuff

1. Mama Suds / 2. Christina Maser / 3. Kind / 4. Eco-Me / 5. Tandi’s / 6. Sonett / 7. Meliora

I admit it: finding a natural laundry detergent that actually works is a challenge. When we had babies in the house, my husband used to joke (more like complain) that he knew we were using the #goodstuff when the bibs came out of the dryer with the spit-up still intact. And every time he came home with a “free and clear” version from the drug store, I would read the ingredients and veto it.

But! Things have changed over the last decade. Toxin-free laundry detergents work better, there are more environmentally friendly options, and the Sneaky Stuff has gotten less sneaky.

In this updated, comprehensive shopping guide for natural, non-toxic laundry detergents, we’ve reviewed over 40 brands of detergent and found powders, pods, sheets, and liquid versions that meet our criteria for Good Stuff.

Read on for more about the best non-toxic laundry detergents we love, what to look out for when choosing a detergent, and the 17 “natural” laundry detergent brands we’d advise you to avoid.

Best Overall Laundry Detergent

Tandi’s Naturals

I used to have a real thing against powder detergent, but then I tried it and it turns out it works just as well as liquid. My absolute favorite is Tandi’s natural laundry soap. I didn’t think I could fall in love with a beef tallow-based powder detergent, but we can all surprise ourselves, right?

Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

Kind Laundry

If you want to lower your carbon footprint when doing laundry, Kind is the best sheet detergent we’ve found. Each sheet is good for an entire load of laundry, and these are great for kids who are learning to do their own laundry (no measuring and no potential for a mess!).

Toxins in Laundry Detergent

All laundry detergents leave a residue on clothing, which is absorbed by our skin (and inhaled). The ill effects of some of the chemicals in detergents range from skin or eye irritation to possibly much more serious, such as endocrine disruption (some ingredients are even considered potential carcinogens, but I’m not going to suggest that if you don’t give up your Tide you’ll get cancer!).

The following common laundry detergent ingredients can be harmful to human and/or planet health:

  1. Phosphates: Found in many detergents, phosphates can contribute to water pollution, leading to issues like algal blooms and oxygen-deprived “dead zones” in water bodies.
  2. Surfactants: Some surfactants used in detergents can be derived from petrochemicals, which are non-renewable and contribute to carbon emissions. Others can be immunotoxins.
  3. Fragrances: Many conventional detergents use synthetic fragrances, which can contain phthalates and other chemicals linked to respiratory and skin issues.
  4. Optical Brighteners: These chemicals, like stilbene and coumarin, are designed to make clothes appear brighter, but they can be irritating to the skin and are not easily biodegradable.
  5. Dyes: Synthetic dyes used in detergents can contain heavy metals and other harmful compounds.
  6. Chlorine Bleach: This common laundry additive can create harmful byproducts when mixed with other chemicals, and its production and use can contribute to environmental pollution.
  7. 1,4-Dioxane: This is a byproduct of the ethoxylation process used to make some surfactants, and it’s classified as a probable human carcinogen.

Shop Best Natural Laundry Detergents

Do You Need a Special Detergent for Baby Clothes?

Image of Dreft Liquid Laundry Detergent. | Gimme The Good Stuff

When I was pregnant and setting up a nursery that would never be used (Felix slept with us), everyone told me to wash all of his clothes in Dreft. After a bit of research, I decided against it (see below, under “The Bad Stuff”).

I’m sure there are people who separate baby linens from other household laundry–but if you’re using a nontoxic detergent there is no reason you cannot use it to wash all of the family’s clothing, including your baby’s!

More importantly, if my laundry detergent is an irritant for my babies’ skin (or worse), I don’t want to use it on my clothes! My own health aside, when my boys were infants, I spent about 30 percent of my day snuggling their little naked bodies to my clothed one, so I was determined to find a safe, natural laundry detergent.

Best Laundry Soap For Cloth Diapers & Baby Diapers

Mama Suds

Mama Suds is my favorite baby safe laundry detergent for cleaning cloth diapers and baby clothes. It’s gentle enough for a baby’s skin but tough enough for stubborn stains. And of course, it’s completely non-toxic, so concentrated that the large bottle lasts forever.

best Natural fabric protectors

Proof +

If you enjoy our natural laundry detergents and you want to protect your clothing fabric naturally then look no further. We are excited to introduce Proof+. A collection of non-toxic fabric protectors that are completely natural and free of all PFAs.

The clothing fabric Protector creates an invisible barrier that helps protect apparel from damage caused by liquid stains. Simply spray this treatment on any fabric and watch it magically repel liquids and help protect your favorite clothing from absorbing stains.

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite natural laundry detergents above, but a bunch of other brands meet our criteria for Good Stuff. You’ll find those, plus the brands we consider Okay, Bad, and Sneaky in the sections that follow.

Good Laundry Detergent Brands

Attitude Laundry Detergent

This laundry liquid’s formula changed since we last updated this guide, and is now safer. The surfactants used have been changed to sodium coco sulfate and lauryl glucoside, both of which are of low concern. If you’ve tried Attitude, let me know how this one works!

Price per ounce: $0.30

Aspen Clean

This EWG-verified laundry detergent is safe in both liquid and powder formulas. Aspen uses decyl glucoside as its primary cleaning agent and contains only essential oils for fragrance.

Price per ounce: $0.44
Price per pod: $0.37

Blueland Laundry Tablets

I haven’t tried them, but Blueland’s “naked” laundry tablets are unique because, unlike laundry pods, they contain no polyvinyl alcohol. Blueland’s refills are packaged in compostable paper pouches, and the ingredients are clean.

Price per ounce: from $0.28 to $0.35

Branch Basics Laundry

I love Branch Basics planet-friendly cleaning system, and their Laundry Detergent contains only the surfactants we’ve deemed safe (decyl glucoside and coco-glucoside).

Price per ounce: $0.27

Christina Maser Vegan Concentrated Laundry Soap

Christina Maser is a natural laundry soap rather than a detergent, and a perfect alternative for those of you who want a vegan option for your laundry. Find it in the Gimme the Good Stuff laundry detergent section. Start with a glass jar, and then refill with eco-friendly bags.

Price per ounce: $0.78

Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Detergent

Dropps is a good eco-friendly laundry detergent option, without dyes, phosphates, phthalates, and optical brighteners. New customers can use code Gimme25 for 25% off and existing customers can use Gimme15 for 15% off this non-toxic baby laundry detergent.

Price per ounce: from $0.36 – $0.40

Eco-Me Laundry Detergent

Eco-Me is my favorite liquid natural laundry detergent–it’s got a safe ingredients list, works well, and smells nice.

Price per ounce: $0.40

Esembly Baby Laundry Detergent

This is the best brand for cloth-diapering moms, and works really well on workout clothes. Esembly is also made in the USA and has an almost impossibly short list of clean ingredients.

Discount code: GOODSTUFF*10* for 10% off.

 Price per ounce: $0.39

Fit Organic Laundry Detergent

You guys have been asking about this one for years, and I am pleased to say that–after reviewing the ingredients in Fit’s various lines of natural laundry detergents–it is definitely Good Stuff! The surfactant is saponified coconut oil, and Fit laundry detergent doesn’t contain any of the usual gross preservatives. EWG score: A

Price per ounce: $0.16

Grab Green Laundry Detergent

If you love a detergent pod, this one does the job. GrabGreen contains a few mildly concerning ingredients (such as sodium metasilicate, which may have respiratory effects), but only in small concentrations. EWG score: B

PLEASE NOTE: Grab Green recently switched to synthetic fragrance (phthalate-free), so we only recommend the unscented natural laundry detergent. And their dish soap and hand soap should be avoided as they both contain SLES.

Price per ounce: $0.33

GreenShield Laundry Detergent

The main cleaning agent here is saponified organic coconut oil. GreenShield’s unscented variety is great for even those with the most sensitive skin (like babies). EWG score: A

Price per ounce: $0.25

Healthybaby Laundry Detergent Concentrate

This new laundry concentrate is 100% plant and mineral-based and is safe for a baby. It was designed to be neurologically-safe and microbiome-friendly. I also really like how easy HealthyBaby laundry detergent is to use. You can pump it directly into your washing machine without any spillage (it’s easy for my kids to do their own laundry with this one!).

Price per ounce: $1.76 (but you need very little–this lasts forever!)

Use code GIMME15 for 15% off, including subscriptions.

Hello Bello Organic Laundry Detergent

Hello Bello is among my favorite of the celebrity-run clean products brands. Their laundry detergent has a legitimately safe list of ingredients, although I haven’t tried it so cannot speak to how it performs.

Price per ounce: $0.22

Kind Laundry Detergent Sheets

We switched to Kind Laundry sheets a few months ago, and I don’t know if we will ever go back to liquid or powder! With a simple, safe ingredients list, Kind is a completely plastic-free laundry detergent alternative.

Price per sheet: $0.36

Meliora Laundry Powder

Coming in as the most affordable per ounce, Meliora is also a great natural laundry detergent option for those who want to clean their clothes with less of an environmental impact. All scents are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and brighteners, and the entire system is 100% plastic-free.

Price per ounce: $0.14

MamaSuds Liquid Laundry

MamaSuds is a deep cleaning, all-natural laundry soap that is safe for cloth diapers. This is NOT a detergent, and therefore you will not need a fabric softener when using it. MamaSuds household cleaning products are simple, nontoxic, and eco-friendly. They are also incredibly effective and completely free of the Bad Stuff.

Note: This soap contains borax.

Price per ounce: $0.28

Molly’s Suds

Molly’s Suds line of laundry products is safe and even includes some organic ingredients, such as peppermint oil.

Price per ounce: $0.28

Pur Laundry Detergent

I love this Black-owned brand of cleaner cleaning supplies. Due to supply chain issues, Pur does not currently have this cool cardboard jug, but I hope it’ll be coming back soon!

Price per ounce: $0.23

Sonett Laundry Liquid

This is my favorite natural laundry detergent. Sonett is made in Germany, smells delish (although it’s also available in an unscented Neutral), and gets our clothes super clean. Of course, it contains none of the questionable ingredients listed above.

Price per ounce: $0.44

Tandi’s Naturals

Tandi’s  is suitable for regular and high-efficiency (HE) washers. Tandi uses tallow as the basis for this soap, which she blends with natural cleaners like baking soda, plus essential oils for a delicate scent. This soap does not contain borax or SLS/SLES, and is a very effective option.

Price per ounce: from $0.35 – $0.52 

Whoa Nelli Laundry Soap

We haven’t tried Whoa Nelli, and therefore cannot speak to how it performs, but we are big fans of its short list of clean ingredients. Whoa Nelli’s line of powders contains just baking soda, washing soda, old-fashioned coconut soap, and some essential oils.

Price per ounce: $0.22

Zum Clean Laundry Soap

Almost all of Zum’s formulas are safe, with three primary ingredients: vegetable glycerin, saponified coconut oil, and baking soda. Avoid the Frankincense & Myrrh formula as it contains synthetic fragrance (although it is free of phthalates). EWG score: B-C, depending on the formula.

Price per ounce: $0.33

365 Concentrated Laundry Detergent

This is a good choice for people who are looking for an effective laundry detergent that is also safe for sensitive skin. 365 concentrated laundry detergent is made without phosphates, chlorine, or artificial fragrances and dyes.

It’s also designed for HE washing machines, so you only need to use a small amount per load.

9 Elements

9 Elements Natural Laundry Detergent is plant-based. It’s free of harsh chemicals and made with natural ingredients. It’s great for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

It’s biodegradable and does not contain any phosphates or dyes. 


Earthley laundry detergent is tough on dirt but gentle enough for the whole family. It’s made with plant-based ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, brighteners, fragrances, and dyes.

Plus, it’s also biodegradable and septic safe.

Truly Free

As the name suggests, Truly Free is free of harsh chemicals and contains natural, plant-based ingredients. On top of that, it helps your washing machine run smoother and cuts down on plastic waste with refillable jugs. Win-win!

“Okay” Laundry Brands

Common Good Laundry Detergent

I love when I can move brands out of the Sneaky Stuff category! Common Good got rid of almost all of their problematic ingredients–really all that is left is sodium benzoate, and I’m not so worried about that in this case. Extra points for the option of a refillable glass bottle!

Price per ounce: $0.56

Dirty Labs Bio Enzyme Laundry Detergent

Dirty Labs Bio Enzyme uses plant-based power to clean clothes gently. It’s EWG-verified, meeting strict safety standards. We rate it “Okay Stuff” due to its synthetic fragrance. But they are transparent about all ingredients, and none are of concern.

Price per ounce: $0.45

Grab Green Laundry Detergent

If you love a detergent pod, this one does the job. Grab Green contains a few mildly concerning ingredients (such as sodium metasilicate, which may have respiratory effects), but only in small concentrations. EWG score: B

PLEASE NOTE: Grab Green recently switched to synthetic fragrance (phthalate-free), so we only recommend the unscented natural laundry detergent. And their dish soap and hand soap should be avoided as they both contain SLES.

Price per ounce: $0.33

Nellie’s Laundry Soda

We’ve moved Nelly from Sneaky to Okay Stuff, since they removed a few of their most concerning ingredients, and now garner an A from the EWG. We still don’t love alcohol ethoxylates and sodium metasilicate so we can’t quite call this Good Stuff.

Price per ounce: $0.26

Planet Laundry Detergent

Planet’s laundry detergent is an okay choice if you can’t find any of the Good Stuff, but I’m not crazy about the fact that it contains laureth-7, which contains a bunch of contamination concerns.

Price per ounce: $0.27

Bad Laundry Detergent Brands

Most big name and generic laundry detergents have the same bad stuff in them; if a bottle doesn’t list its specific ingredients on the label, I wouldn’t use it.

Dreftas we all know, is marketed as being special for babies and recommended by many pediatricians. Amazingly, nowhere on are ingredients mentioned. The closest they come is under their FAQ:

Q: How is Dreft formulated for my baby’s laundry needs?

A: The Dreft® formula is designed to not only help fight tough baby and toddler stains, but also provide a gentle clean for baby.

With a bit more sleuthing, I was at last able to dig up a list of Dreft ingredients. Fragrancepropylene glycol,ethanolamineethanolsodium hydroxidediethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol 4000 (which Skin Deep scores as 5-8), and about a dozen other ingredients make up the “gentle” clean of Dreft.  EWG score: D-F, depending on the formula.

Tide has a section of its website devoted to product ingredients, and a quick scan reveals that it’s made up of lots of stuff that the EWG’s Skin Deep Database scores as moderately to highly hazardous—such as benzisothiazolinonefragrance, FD&C Yellow 3, and laureth-9. EWG score: D-F, depending on the formula.

“Sneaky” Laundry Detergent Brands

BabyGanics Loads of Love Laundry Detergent. Contains SLES and undisclosed conditioning agents. I like that they are relatively transparent about all of their ingredients, and while nothing sounds particularly horrid, when I asked for more details on what was meant by “naturally derived plant-based cleaning agents,” they admitted: “Our products do not contain SLS however some our products do have SLES in them.”

Yuck! I’ve often made my peace with SLS, but definitely not with its more sinister cousin, which is sometimes contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a well-established carcinogen. EWG Score: F.

Better Life was once a Good Stuff fave for its natural, plant-based formula, but it has taken a turn we can’t support. They’ve added benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone, preservatives known to irritate skin and potentially cause allergies.

BioKleen uses cocamidopropyl betaine as a surfactant, so I cannot call this Okay Stuff.

Caldrea Laundry Detergent. Also contains neurotoxic methylisothiazolinone and sodium laureth sulfate. EWG score: F.

Charlie’s Soap is the perennial favorite on tons of natural living blogs, and having used their powder formula, I can attest to its effectiveness.

Like other producers, Charlie’s is unwilling to provide their exact ingredients, and would only say this when I probed them further: â€śOur formulas are what make us special. They have been fully tested for toxicity (Duke University), biodegradability (Japan Food Research Labs), and effectiveness (SGS US Testing Labs). They are unique and (following the practices of Coca-Cola) secret. Their formula is secret too, but that doesn’t keep folks from drinking it.”

Hmmm, comparing themselves to Coke probably isn’t Charlie’s savviest PR move—The Coca-Cola Company is not exactly exemplary when it comes to concern for the health of its consumers. While Charlie’s denies using SLS or SLES, one of the ingredients they disclosed is sodium metasilicate–which Skin Deeps considers moderately hazardous and which the Journal of Reproduction and Fertility found to show reproductive effects in animals at low doses. EWG Score: D

Citra-Suds has also been moved from Good Stuff to Sneaky Stuff. One of my readers suspected that their laundry detergent contains sodium laureth sulfate and I followed up to discover that it does. When doing the initial review, I had an email exchange with a company representative and I asked twice if their laundry detergent contained SLES. I was told that it did not.

I suspect that the woman I talked to was just uninformed, but this is no excuse. In addition, some Citra products (laundry and otherwise) contain limonene, a potential carcinogen, and definite respiratory irritant. I was told they used orange oil for fragrance, which is a misleading answer as orange oil is technically a different (and harmless) ingredient. It also contains neurotoxic methylisothiazolinon. EWG Score: C.

Dapple’s various laundry detergents contain tetrasodium iminodisuccinate (which gets a C from EWG), cocamidopropyl betaine (which also gets a C), and benzisothiazolinone, which is a concerning preservative.

Earth Friendly ECOS laundry detergents contain bad surfactants (like cocamidopropyl betaine) and preservatives (neurotoxic methylisothiazolinone).

Melaleuca Mela Power Laundry is going to remain here in Sneaky Stuff until this brand gets back to me with a list of any of the ingredients found in it.

Ecover gets an A from EWG, but because it contains sodium laureth sulfate, which is known to be contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane, I consider it to be Sneaky Stuff.

Grove Collaborative’s Ultra-Concentrated Laundry Detergent has plant-based power and eco-friendly features. But a closer look at the ingredients list reveals benzisothiazolinone  and methylisothiazolinone. 

Melaleuca Mela Power Laundry is going to remain here in Sneaky Stuff until this brand gets back to me with a list of any of the ingredients found in it. 

Method laundry products contain a number of concerning ingredients, from synthetic fragrances to PEG chemicals.

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Laundry Detergent. Contains synthetic fragrance (though phthalate-free), and preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone, a suspected neurotoxin. EWG Score: F.

Ology Laundry Liquid contains a bunch of ingredients that give me pause, from laureth-7 to cocamidopropyl betaine. I don’t know why EWG gives this laundry detergent an A, but I strongly disagree with this assessment.

Puracy laundry detergent contains borax, which doesn’t worry me, but which I know many of my readers would prefer to avoid. Worse, it uses cocamidopropyl betaine as a surfactant.

Sapadilla Lovely Liquid Laundry Liquid contains cocamidopropyl betaine.

Rockin’ Green has some powerful eco-friendly laundry detergents, but they could provide more detailed fragrance descriptions. Just calling them “naturally-derived” isn’t enough to convince us to switch to this detergent.

Seventh Generation Liquid Formulas also contain methylisothiazolinone. This raises the question: is Seventh Generation laundry detergent safe? The powder formulas are okay, but not quite Good Stuff. EWG Score: D.

Tide Free & Gentle contains optical brightenersoptical brighteners and 1,4-dioxane, a probable carcinogen. (A recent New York Times blog post discussed Tide Free & GentleTide Free & Gentle specifically.) EWG Score: F.

While Trader Joe’s laundry has removed some problematic ingredients (like optical brighteners and synthetic fragrance), it’s still worth wondering if Trader Joe’s laundry detergent is safe. You may also wonder if Trader Joe’s laundry detergent is non-toxic, but unfortunately, they still use cocamidopropyl betaine as their surfactant.

Tru Earth doesn’t make our Good Stuff list because it includes cocamidopropyl betaine and synthetic fragrance.

Better Life used to be on our Good Stuff list for its natural ingredients. But they snuck in preservatives called benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone into their laundry liquid which can irritate skin.

While Grove Collaborative emphasizes its plant-based cleaning power and eco-friendly packaging, it contains benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone.

Rockin’ Green laundry detergent sounds pretty cool, right? They use plant-based ingredients and it’s free of harsh chemicals, but here’s the hitch: they don’t provide specific details about their “naturally-derived” fragrances. For us to give them a thumbs up, we need the full scoop on what makes this option safe.

Tru Earth laundry detergent is a popular brand that comes in strips for easy use. While it avoids some harsher chemicals, it contains cocamidopropyl betaine and synthetic fragrance, which doesn’t meet our criteria for the Good Stuff list.

I hope you found this guide helpful in your quest to find the best natural laundry detergent. Please comment below with other brands you’d like us to review–and we will include them in the next update of this guide.

Stay sane,

About the Author

Maia, Founder & CEO

Maia grew up in a Vermont household without a TV or microwave. She has been researching and writing about non-toxic products since 2010, and has appeared in a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and The Dr. Oz Show. Maia lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons, and you can follow along as she tries to live a less toxic, more planet-friendly life here.

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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367 responses to “Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Guide (2024)”

  1. Eileen Avatar

    Better Life laundry detergent has changed their ingredients to include two toxic synthetic preservatives. Why is it still on the good stuff list?

    1. Veronica Avatar

      Does anyone have any comments on MollySuds Unscented Delicate Wash? They have various powder detergents but I find that I sneeze terribly when trying to use the powder form. So we opted for the delicate wash.

      What about Hello Bello unscented detergent? or HappyNest Concentrated Detergent?

  2. Bertha Avatar

    Better Life has changed their formula(2021). It now includes methylisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone.

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Hi there-
      You’ll see in our latest Guide update that it has been moved to sneaky stuff because of those preservatives.

  3. Kristie Brasic Avatar
    Kristie Brasic

    What about Method laundry detergent? Is that good to use?

    1. Me Avatar

      No! I wouldn’t use any method or Ms Meyers products.

  4. Jessie Avatar

    Hello, which of your recommended detergents will work best for hard water, and cold washes?


    1. johnlockegoss Avatar

      I’d give Tandi’s a try.

  5. Justina Merdian Avatar
    Justina Merdian

    What about the Biokleen powder detergent? Is it sneaky stuff too?

  6. LIZ PORTER Avatar

    Just learned that Sonnett is sneaky and contains SLS

    1. Me Avatar

      Seriously? Is this still true?! Why can’t this be easier???

  7. Tammie Clippert Avatar
    Tammie Clippert

    What about fading? Which soaps are gentle on clothes.? My baby’s 22. I’m no longer washing diapers. I want my work clothes to look bright – not faded. Thanks

    1. Vera Avatar

      We have been using Attitude for some time now for our baby and for us. It works great. Tough on spots and clothes look bright and clean. Also Planet detergent is not bad either but still prefer Attitude. Hope it helps)))