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Seeking out the best clean laundry detergent for babies is no easy task — bonus points if it’s organic, earth-friendly, and of course, chemical-free. But don’t worry Mama, we’ve got some suggestions for you and your little one’s sensitive skin. If you’ve ever scoured the detergent aisle at your local supermarket, then you already know there’s a lot out there (a lotta BS, that is). Baby skin is c-r-a-z-y sensitive. The last thing you want to do is expose your little one to icky ingredients (even fragrances and dyes) that are often the culprit for rashes and eczema. When you’re doing 8-10 loads of laundry a week, you realize pretty quickly that something needs to change. And no, we don’t mean hiring an in-house nanny.
Navigating the newness that comes along with having a newborn is always a bit of trial and error. But that’s what motherhood’s all about, amirite?! So when it comes to decisions, big and small — from picking out the safest car seat for your infant, to christening them with an adorable Disney character name — we’re here for you every step of the way. But first, a little more about your LO’s laundry.
Do babies need special laundry detergent?
We’d recommend it, yes. It’s definitely safest to choose the most gentle detergent for your infant, whether it’s your first rodeo or you’ve already done this before. Shazi Visram, founder of Healthybaby, a brain-forward personal care brand for babies (which includes laundry detergent), knows a thing or two about sudsing up safely. “Little known fact: laundry detergent doesn’t always just wash off with water,” she shares. “Some ingredients are actually designed to stick to clothes, which can then absorb into baby’s skin and bloodstream. Eek!”
What laundry detergent is safe for babies?
With more consumer awareness, luckily, there are more natural options than ever before. Still, there are a lot of toxins in many mainstream brands, so Visram shares the top ingredients to avoid in laundry detergents:
- “Fragrance is often listed as an ingredient but is itself full of other ingredients that are not required to be listed,” she explains. “Fragrance often includes hidden chemicals that can cause asthma or other respiratory problems, headaches, and dermatitis. (Example fragrance ingredients: formaldehyde, phthalates, and synthetic scents. These ingredients can also result in VOCs, which are all endocrine disruptors.)”
- “Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are cleansers that help foam and remove dirt. They can be inflammatory for skin and eyes and can damage internal organs.”
- “Phenoxyethanol is a classified skin irritant that may also affect brain function and the central nervous system.
- “Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative which EWG rates as a 7 (on a scale of 1 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard)), primarily for concerns related to being an allergen and immunotoxicity.”
- “Optical brighteners are marketed as ‘stain removers,’ but they are actually chemicals that stay on clothes to reflect light and minimize the look of yellow, making it appear that the stain is better. Optical brighteners can cause skin irritation and environmental safety concerns, particularly for aquatic life. Look for ‘optical brightener free’ as a claim. Formulas that are biodegradable are likely to not have optical brighteners.”
Ready to tackle Laundry Mountain? Show it who’s “head-mama-in-charge” with these 13 best natural baby laundry detergents that are gentle enough on a baby but tough enough to remove even the gnarliest spit-up stains. If you’re used to dropping $$$ on organic baby clothes, then you’ll definitely want to invest in a damn good detergent (or stock up on bibs). While 100% organic detergents are far and few between, there’s no shortage of plant-powered options that are scent-free and/or chemical-free.
The Best All-Natural Baby Detergents
Noodle & Boo’s plant-based formula is pediatrician-tested, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic. It’s successful in removing stains and odors without destroying BB’s delicate onesies and bibs. Deemed super clean, super soft, and super safe, this laundry detergent is made without icky chemicals (sulfates, dyes, phosphates, optical brighteners, etc.) that you wouldn’t want to expose to your baby’s skin.
Helpful Review: “Omg. this smell is amazing. It smells like an angel. I’ve been buying this detergent for 3 years now and there isn’t anything comparable out there.”
If you swear by natural and organic baby products, then Seventh Generation should already be a household name. Available in a convenient two-pack, this concentrated baby laundry detergent works overtime to target tough baby stains (more cleaning power per drop) — making it the perfect match for cloth diapers and Chef Boyardee spaghetti stains. The cruelty-free formula is also free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and artificial brighteners. Choose from several scents and one ‘Free & Clear’ option.
Helpful Review: “I was looking for a laundry product that would [accommodate] family members with sensitive skin, while being friendly to our septic system and to the environment. This product fits all 3 very well and it still cleans the clothes. Highly [recommend] without reservation.”
And now for an under-the-radar detergent that you’re going to want to spill the beans to all your mom friends about. Forever New’s original scented laundry care wash is made from gentle ingredients that promise to efficiently clean your weekly load. Say buh-bye to lingering residue (including stains and soils) that have no business being there in the first place. This hypoallergenic product is animal- and eco-friendly. Most importantly, it’s formulated to prevent irritation and skin reactions. Beyond your little one’s needs, moms also swear that it works like a charm on expensive delicates (think along the lines of bras and Spanx).
Helpful Review: “I found this years ago in a small lingerie shop. Now Amazon is the only place I can find it. Really protects the tiny intricate fibers of your fine washables. No other detergent even comes close. And this is biodegradable and safe for baby clothes. Excellent.”
Skip the Costco run and snag this double-pack of ECOS 2X Liquid Laundry Detergent. The 4-in-1 plant-powered concentrated formula containing magnolia and lily essential oil is made in the U.S. without dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates, or phthalates. We love that it’s tough on dirt (gets out stains like a beast), yet gentle enough for BB’s onesies and cloth diapers.
Helpful Review: “Excellent for babies and adults with sensitive skin. We switched to this brand when we had our baby and we won't go back! It does a great job cleaning and removing deep stains.”
Initially, it was the packaging that caught our attention but now we’re intrigued. Grab Green’s Natural Newborn Baby Laundry Detergent Pods are formulated with plant- and mineral-based ingredients to remove everything from spit-up and diaper disasters to breast milk. These cruelty-free pods are made with calming chamomile and essential oils (cedarwood, citronella java, geranium, orange, patchouli, and petitgrain). Sounds divine, no? This is a two-pack, so you can expect to get 60 loads of laundry done. Choose from two scented options and one that’s fragrance-free.
Helpful Review: “The smell is great. I usually wash a load of babyclothes once a week with one pod. I’ve been using this product for about a year and I love it. It leave the clothes feeling really soft and clean. I was nervous to try the scented version only because my baby has pretty sensitive skin but the product had no effect on her. I’m going to buy this again and again.”
Drum roll, please. And now for this Attitude detergent that’s fierce AF at getting out stains (pun intended… pardon our #MomJokes). The soothing formula has done cracked the code with its cruelty-free, vegan, hypoallergenic, dye-free ingredients. Choose from three scented options and one that’s extra-large and fragrance-free.
Helpful Review: “Smells great and NOT overwhelming and my newborn has had no issues with it. EWG approved. Will be a staple in my house! Highly recommend it!”
Designated as safe for baby (and the entire family), this eco-conscious detergent from The Laundress is a step up from your bulk-sized Costco detergent brand. Beyond the powdery baby scent, this allergen-free, plant-based formula leaves clothes super soft. With up to 64 washes per bottle, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. Plus, the formula is dye-free and biodegradable for a gentle yet effective wash.
Helpful Review: “I can’t say enough about this detergent. It is so wonderful smelling that I will wash my own clothes in it and not just my baby’s. It is light, fresh, and not overwhelming, but at the same time it has a scent that can actually be smelled and isn’t just washed away. It also does a great job of actually cleaning the clothes- I’ve heard that’s an important part of buying detergent [...]”
Moms are tough—this natural plant-based baby detergent is tougher (err, maybe). A little peace of mind goes a long way when dealing with harmful chemicals that could pose a risk to your baby. Not only does this liquid formula tackle stains and odors like a BOSS but it’s recommended for allergy-prone skin. For an affordable price, you get a whopping 300 load out of this giant bottle.
Helpful Review: “I am so happy to have found an inexpensive detergent alternative! Biokleen has an A rating from the EWG. I am just now reordering after my last bottle lasting almost 7 months for a family of 5! [...] Another benefit of using this over other chemical-laden, super-fragranced detergents: less odor in my front loader washing machine! Those fake fragrances coat the machine and dirt, mildew and all the stuff you are trying to wash away sticks to the machine and stinks!! Very happy with Biokleen!”
Super Moms everywhere, you can do it all. Reduce waste with Puracy’s sulfate-free liquid detergent in a refill pouch. It’s safe to use on cloth diapers and works like a charm against stains. Bonus: The plant-powered, dye-free formula can tackle an impressive 192 loads so you won’t be due for a refill for a while.
Helpful Review: “This detergent is great. It actually removes my infant's blow out stains from white clothing! This is a first for me. I'm definitely impressed. It has a pleasant smell too.”
Make laundry day less of a $h!tshow with an organic detergent that works. Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between a baby-safe formula and one that deep cleans. This fragrance-free detergent from Babyganics fights stains with a vengeance. Their stain eraser marker is an on-the-go lifesaver, too.
Helpful Review: “[...]Wow, I am impressed! It gets out a broad range of stains, is gentle on my babe, and lasts for a long time. They aced the formula on this (even if it doesn’t smell...)”
If you’re not already a loyal user of Mrs. Meyer’s environmentally friendly (albeit, nice-smelling) cleansers, then it’s time to join the club. The brand’s biodegradable laundry detergent contains a honeysuckle scent that’s as blissful as it is effective. It’s so gentle that you’ll even want to use it on your delicates. Chock-full of dirt and stain-fighting enzymes but free of nasty things like phthalates and optical brighteners, Meyer’s Clean Day makes one of the best organic baby detergents on the market.
Helpful Review: “this laundry detergent cleans very well for being so natural. All of the scents so far have smelledgood and clean. there are not a lot of suds which I want for my septic tank. No chemicals that cause me rashes. [...]”
Moms who know and love the trusted Method brand will be happy to know they make a baby-safe laundry detergent, too. This formula is plant-based, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and cruelty free. It’s also free of parabens, phthalates, and artificial dyes. And, can we point out it’s also affordable considering you get four concentrated bottles with your order? Now, go ahead and click “Add To Cart.”
Helpful Review: “I used to be Tide user- Tide is great and really powerful...but when I had a baby I wanted something that still cleaned all the baby mess but was a bit less chemically loaded. Cue Method detergent. I've been using it for over a year now and love the smell of her clothes. And they ALL come out nice and clean...spit up, accidents, spills, etc. ALL GONE!”
Explains Shazi Visram, founder of Healthybaby, “When we were developing our laundry concentrate, the most important thing to us – as with all of our products – was to make the safest, most effective cleaner for baby’s developing brain and delicate skin microbiome. (We actually recommend that you wash the whole family’s clothes with our laundry concentrate since Baby is touching a caregiver’s clothes, too.) Our biodegradable formula is 100% plant and mineral-based. We use a custom blend of 13 ingredients, including sugar-based cleansers, organic bergamot oil, and rosemary oil. And, of course, it’s made without toxins found in common household cleaners.” The set includes a 34 oz bottle of laundry concentrate (good for 170 loads) and 3 wool dryer balls in a bag.
Making your list and checking it twice? Be sure to check out all the latest and greatest baby gear finds.
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