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 Healthynest, 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.) In order to keep a fresh scent in Our Laundry Concentrate System, we replaced synthetic fragrance with organic bergamot oil and rosemary oil for its natural scent.”
“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 12 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
Explains Shazi Visram, founder of Healthnest, “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.
Noodle & Boo’s plant-based formula is pediatrician-tested 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, etc.) that you wouldn’t want to expose to your baby’s skin.
Says one Amazon customer, “This detergent is heaven and it smells wonderful!! Made hand-me-down baby clothes feel brand new and soft all over again. Made all my son’s clothes super soft in combo with the fabric conditioner!” Another customer adds, “Best smelling laundry detergent ever and I recommend this to all my friends that was pregnant at the same time has me, the smell is amazing and I had no problem when it came to sensitive or allergic or Eczema.”
If you swear by natural and organic baby products, then Seventh Generation should already be a household name. 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. It’s free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and artificial brighteners. One mama raves, “I’ve been using this for 6 months and it’s great! The smell is perfect (think YL gentle baby) and it works hard to get dirt out of clothing, which is a must with three messy boys!!!!”
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 product is animal and environmentally 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).
Skip the Costco run (especially now) and snag this double-pack of ECOS 2X Liquid Laundry Detergent. The 4-in-1 plant-powered concentrated formula containing Magnolia & Lily essential oil is made in the USA without dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates, or phthalates. You can count on it when other detergents fail to keep you and baby safe. We love that it’s tough on dirt (gets out stains like a beast), yet gentle enough for BB’s onesies and cloth diapers. An honest review from an Amazon customer, “I so love this detergent!! It smells beautiful & light and makes my laundry feel so soft with the built-in fabric softener. I love that I don’t have to worry about nasty chemicals… I use Ecos on my & my daughter’s laundry as well as our bedding and it works fabulously.” Bonus: It can also work as a stain pre-treater. Simply pour a few drops of the detergent on the stain, rub it in, and toss the garment into the washing machine for ah-mazing results.
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 to remove everything from spit-up and diaper disasters to breast milk. These naturally derived 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. Says this mama, “I love these pods! It’s so much easier to toss one of these in the washing machine rather than measure out liquid – especially when you have your hands full. Although these are a bit pricey, I ultimately purchased them after receiving a sample because they are organic and I LOVE THE SMELL!!! Makes my baby’s room smell so fresh and clean even days after doing laundry. I wish I could find these at my local grocer.”
Drum roll, please. And now for a detergent that’s beary good (pun intended… pardon our #MomJokes) at tackling tough stains. Mama Bear (comes in a pack of two) has done cracked the code with their cruelty-free formula that’s free of phthalates and dyes. At just $0.22 cents a load, Mama Bear is the smart choice; one dose of this detergent is basically the equivalent of two doses of a leading 2x concentrated liquid detergent. According to Amazon users, it’s efficient in cleaning up everything from dirty bibs to newborn poo stains. It is scented, which you may or may not love. Says this earth-friendly customer, “This was the third natural laundry detergent I tried after seventh generation and honest company, and I love it the best. The other brands didn’t get smelly smells out of our clothes. This brand leaves clothes smelling like…nothing (which is a good thing, IMO)! And everything looks very clean. Newborn poo stains removed too.”
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 formula leaves clothes super soft. With up to 64 washes per bottle, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. Says this Amazon customer, “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.” She adds, “I would definitely recommend this for anyone with a new baby. Also! It’s so great for washing delicate fabrics in. I have washed some of my sweaters in this and I just love how gentle it is on fabrics.”
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.
This Amazon customer reports back, “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! I initially noticed our clothes were not getting quite as clean, but after a small amount of research realized it was due to our hard water issue. We have to use twice as much liquid per wash. 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 (just ¼ ounce per load) with Puracy’s sulfate-free liquid detergent. It’s safe to use on cloth diapers and works like a charm against stains. Bonus: The fuss-free pump bottle means fewer spills. Says this Puracy convert, “Love it! I use it in conjunction with their stain remover (an absolute must-have) and LOVE the results! My whites are brighter than they have ever been! It makes me want to wash everything I own! Stains that were years old came out! Blew my mind!” Another Amazon customer adds, “Having a background in chemistry I can verify that this detergent uses only the most gentle nonionic surfactants available, yet still cleans clothing as well as any other detergent I’ve used in the past. If you have skin issues, this detergent is for you.” If you need an organic detergent for baby clothes, this one receives high marks.
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. Says this Amazon customer, “Our baby has sensitive skin and this detergent doesn’t bother his skin at all. It lasts a long time even with all the baby laundry we have because you have to use very little. All kinds of stains have come out of the wash with this detergent, I’m impressed.”
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 baby blossom 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, Meyer’s Clean Day makes one of the best organic baby detergents on the market. Check out what this customer had to say, “I’ve been using Mrs. Meyers lavender detergent for a year now and just ordered some of this to use on our newborn son. I have started using it on all of our laundry because it smells SO good! My mom helped with laundry after our son was born and even commented on how nice the clothes smelled. Very clean and fresh.”
Moms who know and love the trusted Whole Foods brands will be happy to know they make a baby-safe laundry detergent, too. This formula is plant-based, unscented, hypoallergenic, and certified organic. It’s also free of phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, and animal cruelty. And, can we point out it’s also affordable? Now, go ahead and click “Add To Cart.”
Making your list and checking it twice? Be sure to check out all the latest and greatest baby gear finds.