A comprehensive list of safer laundry detergents that leave your clothes clean without all of the harsh toxic ingredients in conventional laundry soaps.
Ever since I started learning about the dirty ingredients in my beauty products and quitting dairy to help my cystic acne, I’ve started branching out to clean up my act in other areas. Safer laundry detergents and safer cleaning products were my next step. Today I’m talking about safer laundry soaps that not only perform but are budget-friendly as well!
Why Should I Buy Safer Laundry Detergents?
Ever hear the phrase you are what you eat? Well, I’ve come to learn that you also are what you wear. The chemicals we come in contact with in our environment play a role in our health, whether it’s lathering them on our skin or inhaling them. There’s a reason there’s a higher asthma rate among children in cities that have high levels of air pollutants.
But fragrances also play a role in our health. Did you know that fragrance is an ingredient that is NOT regulated? Because it’s considered ‘trade secret’ companies aren’t required to disclose what’s in their fragrances. Many brands use this as a loophole so they can avoid disclosing potentially harmful ingredients. Yuck.
When you see the word “fragrance” listed as an ingredient, it can actually mean any one of 4,000 ingredients. And, considering that most of the personal care and cleaning supply products contain them, it’s hard to escape them. Unfortunately, it falls on the consumer to get educated. Luckily for you, I love sharing what I learn.
Phthalates are found in a lot of fragrances because they help the chemicals in the fragrance stick around on fabrics. They are also a plastic that are hormone-disrupters. Not to mention, fragrance can also be the cause of many allergies. According to the Breast Cancer Fun, when it comes to the prevention of cancer, avoiding synthetic fragrance is one of the main ways to help protect yourself against the disease.
Like I like to say, when you know better you DO better. Hence, my passion for sharing what I know. Because clothing touches all of our skin, one of the first safer swaps you can make in your life is switching out your laundry detergents. Let’s begin!
Safer Laundry Detergents
Below you’ll find a short list of safer laundry detergent. Many of these brands offer both liquid and powder options, although I find that the powdered ones are a better choice when ordering in the mail.
This company has a sad story, but a must-read. It was started by a nurse who lost her baby. She set out to create a safer laundry detergent so no family has to go through her experience. I buy Molly’s Suds on Amazon. It’s made with sodium carbonate (sourced from the Green River Basin), baking soda, magnesium sulfate, sea salt, and peppermint essential oil. The light peppermint scent that goes away in the wash, but clothes come out clean and simply smell fresh after they’re dry. A definite must if you’re looking for non-toxic products.
This Certified B Corporation isn’t perfect, but they’re headed in the right direction. You can find them in most big stores, your local supermarket, and on Amazon. If you’re in a pinch, you can go with their free & clear formula, but pay close attention to their ingredients when shopping in the store. Some formulas contain SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) but they also offer some with essential oil based fragrances.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap
This soap has been around for several generations. It is a natural, non-toxic olive oil based soap that is gentle enough to use on baby’s skin. This is one of the safest laundry soaps in this list.
I instantly fell in love with this new non-toxic brand. Branch Basics features a gentle, naturally-sourced cleaning concentrate with no artificial fragrances. to make countless bottles of cleaning solution without artificial fragrances or harsh surfactants. While this is a non-toxic all-purpose cleanser that you can use on laundry, you’ll get more bang for your buck using it around the home instead of in laundry room.
This detergent has a slight floral chamomile scent. I like mixing the concentrate with essential oils of cinnamon, clove, eucalytpus, and lemongrass for a stronger fragrance around the home. But I suggest using a glass bottle if you go this route, as the essential oils will weaken a plastic bottle.
I recently discovered Norwex thanks to other “crunchy” friends. I was so impressed by their microfiber cloths and their ability to pick up all traces of raw chicken from kitchen counters. It was my gateway into safer cleaning products. I love their liquid laundry detergent, and 2-3 pumps is all you need for a large dirty load in your HE machine.
You can find this earth-friendly brand at Target, Walmart and other big box stores. I love that it’s also available on Amazon. It’s an eco-friendly option, down to their production. They are EPA-approved and al of their manufacturing takes place inside a carbon-neutral facility. A company after my own heart!
This safer soap formulation is also made with sodium bicarbonate. I personally haven’t tried it, but I am pretty sure it works well. If you have a little boy named Charlie, I’m sure he’ll love to help you with the laundry!
This line of safer products was created by Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell (eeeeeek!). Their line offers a variety of safer (and organic!) products (diapers, baby wipes, bug spray, etc) that are budget friendly. You can find their products on Amazon and in select Walmart stores.
Young Living Thieves Laundry Detergent
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this cleaner. So many of my friends rave about it! It’s also great for when you’ve got lots of cold germs flying around. It is a disinfecting, antifungal, and antibacterial worker bee around the home. You can only buy it online.
Safer Laundry Boosters
Sometimes safer laundry soap itself isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the help of enzymes to get tough stains out! Here are a few laundry boosters that help keep my clothes clean.
With safer formulas, though, I usually allow them to run on the Heavy Duty cycle. I’ll also allow the stain removers to sit a little longer, and put a little elbow grease by scrubbing the stains a bit to help loosen them up.
Molly’s Suds Oxy Brightener
I love Molly’s Suds so I’m sure their brightener will help keep your whites white. This is currently in my Amazon shopping cart, as I’ve been looking for a less toxic alternative for “bleaching” whites. This has lemon essential oil in it and I can’t wait to try it!
Branch Basics Oxy Boost
I’ve used this to give heavy loads a boost. You can use this to pre-treat stains (sprinkle this on the stain and then spray the all-purpose solution to saturate powder) or to pre-soak whites before washing.
Norwex Stain Remover
I used this stain remover to on ink-like stains on gray pants with 100% success. A little goes a long way, and I know this will last me a whole year for only $10.
Charlie’s Soaps Hard Water Booster
Are you dealing with hard water? This booster is a non-toxic hard-water treatment made from a biodegradable phosphate without leaving any residues on your clothes. It controls minerals in your wash water with just 1/2 tablespoon per load.
Safer Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
Ok, so I have to admit this is a trick. I do not recommend any fabric softeners or dryer sheets! Both are full of toxic phthalates and fragrances.
So, what do I use instead? Nothing, really. If I have a big load (and a busy day where I forget the clothes in the washer for a few hours), I’ll fill the softener compartment with vinegar.
We have a water softener in our home which helps a lot. However, if you don’t have a water softener, you can use Charlie’s Soaps Hard Water Booster or the non-toxic and earth-friendly ECOS Lemongrass detergent with built in fabric softener. Or, you can just add white distilled vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. It really does make your clothes fluffy and I PROMISE they don’t smell of vinegar later! Scout’s honor.
How can I help educate others?
Want to do more? Friend, I’m so glad you asked.
This is just one of many topics I help educate consumers about as a Beautycounter consultant. No, we don’t sell safer laundry detergents, but the first pillar of the company is education, followed by advocacy for health-protective laws. I love what I do, and I love sharing how I do it.
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