If you’re like me, you’ve had it with all the nasty chemicals and detrimental effects of your cleaning products, especially conventional detergents. You want to avoid all this but you still need to clean your clothes, so what do you do?
Start with a biodegradable laundry detergent. Biodegradable laundry detergents don’t pollute waterways and ecosystems with chemicals because the ingredients break down right away.
I’ve spent a week analyzing the leading eco-friendly laundry detergents to figure out the best product. I looked not only at the biodegradability of the detergents themselves, but also their packaging, cleaning performance, cost, carbon neutrality, and similar factors to make sure I found the best biodegradable laundry detergent possible.
Here are my results.
The best biodegradable and eco-friendly laundry detergent: Earth Breeze Eco Sheets (4.6/5)
- Completely biodegradable ingredients
- Dermatologically tested formula
- Powerful cleaning performance
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Affordable cost per load
- Charity donations with each purchase
- Not as well known as its competitors
Earth Breeze is a certified cruelty-free, biodegradable, and nontoxic laundry detergent. It cleans effectively and boasts a more budget-friendly price tag than its competitors while also donating to social and environmental causes.
Earth Breeze uses only natural and biodegradable ingredients, making it completely safe for the environment. You won’t find any synthetic essential oils, optical brighteners, or similar toxic chemicals here, so it won’t harm aquatic life or any other ecosystems. These safe ingredients are also dermatologically tested, so it’s great for sensitive skin.
The ingredients pack more of a punch than you’d expect, regardless of what type of washing machine you use. My samples were not only clean, but I also didn’t notice any fading or damage when they were done, even with synthetic fabrics.
The concentrated formula is enough to take on any stains, but you might need to use two or three strips for large, heavily soiled loads. Luckily, it should only take one cycle for stains to come out. I couldn’t say that with all the detergents I tested.
Your clothes will smell great after washing, and the scent isn’t too overwhelming. If you’d prefer something unscented, there’s a fragrance-free option that’s just as effective at cleaning as its scented counterpart.
Earth Breeze’s lightweight, plastic-free packaging is 100% biodegradable, so it’s easy to lift and store and requires far less energy and fossil-fuel reliance to ship to you. The shipping and delivery process is more carbon neutral than you’ll see from heavy liquid detergents shipped in a giant plastic jug.
Earth Breeze partners with We Are Neutral and 1% for the Planet to keep carbon emissions low and to contribute 1% of its annual revenue to environmental causes. Every time you buy this natural laundry detergent, you give directly to these initiatives.
The environment isn’t the only one that benefits, though, since Earth Breeze donates 10 detergent sheets to underprivileged communities with each sale. And you get to choose where this donation goes! It’s a win-win for everyone.
The advantages of this natural laundry detergent don’t come at an expensive price, either, as Earth Breeze boasts an economical $0.20 per wash. The company offers free shipping and refunds, so it’s a risk-free purchase and a cost-effective laundry detergent. If you want to test it out before switching over from the detergent you’re currently using, you can do so without a big commitment.
The only negative against Earth Breeze is that it’s one of the newer laundry detergents on the market. It hasn’t built up much of a loyal following yet and doesn’t have the same brand recognition as many of its competitors.
That hasn’t stopped customers from picking it up, however, and quite a few of them have left reviews praising the brand and its cleaning performance. Considering how it worked for me, I’m not surprised. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Earth Breeze got more and more attention in time.
If you want a 100% biodegradable option with a price that won’t break the bank, Earth Breeze is the option for you.
Second place medal: Pardo Naturals Laundry Detergent (3.9/5)
- Organic ingredients that don’t harm sensitive skin
- Simple and easy-to-understand formula
- Good cleaning performance
- Compact design that makes shipping carbon neutral
- Low cost per load
- Doesn’t back environmental causes
Featuring an all-organic ingredient list, Pardo Naturals’ laundry detergent keeps things as simple as possible. In fact, you could count all the ingredients of this laundry powder on one hand. Pardo powdered detergent won’t irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions, which is one of the more important areas I focused on.
Pardo Naturals powder detergent cleans better than alternatives, but you’ll need to double up on the product if you’re using a traditional washer, lest you have leftover stains. With how positive the rest of its features are, it still ranks as the second best eco-friendly laundry detergent I could find.
The biodegradable packaging comes in a compact design to make shipping more carbon neutral. No plastic bottles with Pardo laundry powder, you can be sure of that. Not all powdered laundry detergent comes in recyclable packaging. It’s a nice touch.
The cost per load of $0.20 seems economical, but that doesn’t take into account any extra product you might need to use when washing. The delivery charges also bring up the price a little further, and since the products are handmade, you might have to wait a while for delivery.
Between the long wait and slightly less-than-amazing results, I couldn’t place this laundry detergent at the top spot. With some adjustments, this could be better and might even outdo Earth Breeze in various departments. As it stands, however, it takes a solid second place thanks to how well it compares to other laundry soap or detergent products.
Pardo Naturals is definitely one of the more eco-friendly detergents, but it isn’t involved in any green initiatives or charitable causes. I expected more from a brand that prioritizes eco-safe ingredients and was pretty disappointed to find out this isn’t the case. Pardo could learn a few things from Earth Breeze. Hopefully it does in time.
If you just want an eco-friendly detergent and you’re not bothered about charitable causes, check out Pardo here.
Other biodegradable laundry detergents I tested
Earth Breeze and Pardo perform the best of all the biodegradable laundry detergents, but they’re not the only ones. Other detergent companies are branching out into eco-friendly detergents as well.
These other detergents may be biodegradable, but they’re either too expensive for the average family or they come with questionable ingredients or lackluster performance. Therefore, I’ve called them “Team Costly” and “Team Questionable.”
These detergents will clean your clothes without damaging the environment, but you’ll pay out the nose for them.
Tru Earth makes its laundry strips with biodegradable and green ingredients and ships them in lightweight, recyclable packaging. The only drawback is the cost, which is why it doesn’t rank any higher.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips fresh-linen and fragrance-free varieties are entirely safe for people with sensitive skin. Since no synthetic ingredients are used, it’s also safe for gray water, drains and pipes, and septic tanks.
These laundry strips performed well in my wash test and removed tough stains from my samples without damaging or fading any of the fabrics.
Like Earth Breeze, Tru Earth donates 1% of its profits to environmental causes through 1% for the Planet, but it’s the most expensive eco-friendly detergent on this list. Tru Earth laundry strips cost a whopping $0.56 per load.
Still, Tru Earth Eco-Strips are a good choice for an eco-friendly detergent. Their biodegradable and hypoallergenic ingredients are great for the environment and sensitive skin. I would rank them higher if it weren’t for the price. Even with a subscription discount, Tru Earth is still more expensive than my top two options.
You’ll get the same cleaning power—if not better—with Earth Breeze at a more affordable price. But if the cost doesn’t bother you, Tru Earth is an effective choice.
Blueland laundry tablets have a highly concentrated formula made from biodegradable and natural ingredients. This formula is completely free of synthetic ingredients and is certified as such by both Cradle to Cradle and B. Corp, something I couldn’t find with many other detergents.
They’re completely plastic free, with no polyvinyl alcohol coating, and they perform pretty well in HE washing machines, but you might need to toss an extra pod into front-loading machines to make sure it gets rid of tough stains.
While the company boasts carbon-neutral shipping, I didn’t notice many sustainability-focused initiatives on the brand’s end.
At $0.45 per load, Blueland is more than double the price of many of its competitors, including Earth Breeze.
Then there’s the tin can Blueland laundry tablets come in. It’s recyclable and reusable but not biodegradable.
As appealing as I found Blueland’s ingredients, certifications, and cleaning power, the packaging, lack of eco-friendly initiatives, and high price left me disappointed.
Dropps leads the way with laundry detergent pods, with biodegradable packaging that’s safe for the environment. Their more plant-based ingredients break down easily, so they shouldn’t harm the environment, and they’re certified cruelty free and vegan.
Unfortunately, the pods themselves are not completely plastic free, as they’re coated in polyvinyl alcohol, a soluble plastic. This keeps the pods together but is problematic for the environment.
Dropps’ laundry pods cost $0.41 per load, though this falls to $0.33 if you choose a subscription. I didn’t get the performance I expected for this price, and the plastic coating is a bit of a deal breaker.
PUR Home fragrance-free or “lavender essence” laundry detergent comes in small, biodegradable packs that are safe for the environment. The company also uses environmentally friendly ingredients that won’t irritate sensitive skin.
PUR doesn’t get a better ranking because of its relatively average cleaning performance and high price tag—a hefty $0.43 per wash. While free shipping is available, it’s only for orders of $50 or more. That makes PUR Home’s laundry detergent one of the priciest options, despite its poor cleaning performance.
PUR Home is engaged in some environmental efforts, but it doesn’t seem too dedicated to it. I got the impression that this was more for branding than anything else. If it wants to compete with Earth Breeze and my other top picks, it’ll need to put in more effort.
Biokleen’s Eco-Bottle Laundry Liquid detergent has biodegradable ingredients, all of which are safe for sensitive skin.
What sets this liquid detergent apart from other Biokleen products is that it comes in a recyclable cardboard box, but it does come with a plastic bottle cap. Compared to other liquid detergent products, this is a positive step, but the company needs to replace the cap to be truly environmentally friendly.
Another negative is the inclusion of sodium lauryl sulfate, a plant-based ingredient that, as a surfactant, has debatable environmental impacts.
Biokleen’s Eco-Bottle liquid laundry detergent is okay, but I noticed my test samples were faded after being washed.
It’s one of the more economical liquid laundry detergent products, costing only $0.18 per load. As affordable as this is, there’s no free shipping and no refund policy. With a questionable ingredient and cleaning performance, is it worth it just to save two cents per load over Earth Breeze?
Net Zero Co.
Net Zero Co.’s laundry strips do a great job in the environmental-friendliness department, as they use plastic-free and zero-waste packaging. There also isn’t any chlorine bleach, parabens, or dyes.
Net Zero Co. donates to Eden Reforestation Projects with each purchase. Your money goes directly to these initiatives. The company has also partnered with Carbon Fund to offset its carbon emissions and fight global warming.
The main reason Net Zero doesn’t rank higher is that it’s not great with tough stains. The cleaning power doesn’t compare to alternatives and you may need two or three strips.
Coming in at $0.56 per wash, they’re one of the most expensive detergents, and that’s before factoring in any additional sheets you need to use. Earth Breeze boasts a better performance for less than half the price.
Molly’s Suds is transparent about its ingredients, which is welcome. You can find a complete list on its website. I couldn’t find any harmful chemicals and many seemed to be plant based.
What disappointed me is that the packaging isn’t completely biodegradable, which is a definite negative. Molly’s Suds also doesn’t clean as effectively as the other brands I tested—I noticed grease left behind on my samples. I also detected a distinct smell once the load was washed, and not exactly a nice one.
Molly’s is one of the more affordable brands, coming in at $0.22 per wash. To get this price, however, you’ll need to order over $100 in detergent and pay a pretty large shipping fee. You’re better off with Earth Breeze.
Grab Green ticks most of the boxes you’d expect when looking for a biodegradable detergent, as it keeps its packaging and ingredients safe.
It’s the laundry pods’ performance and cost that stops it from climbing any higher on my list, however. You’ll end up paying $0.50 per wash, considerably more than most alternatives. That wouldn’t be too bad if its cleaning performance was exceptional, but it’s not. At best, Grab Green offers an average clean. While there’s nothing bad about it, there’s nothing to boast about either.
Ethique Flash’s laundry soap bar gets a few things right, as it comes in zero-waste packaging and is made from biodegradable ingredients. But it’s not compatible with HE washing machines and is better suited for spot washing.
Unless you’re looking for an eco-friendly detergent to take with you on any outdoor activities, this probably isn’t a practical option.
You’re probably wondering how I ranked the best biodegradable laundry detergents on my list. I took a step-by-step approach to analyzing each of the eco-friendly laundry detergents.
The first step might be a bit obvious, but everyone needs to start somewhere. I listed the top eco-friendly laundry detergents that claim to be biodegradable. This was easier than I thought with a bit of help from Google and Amazon and similar large retailers. Each laundry detergent I chose was popular on these sites, having shown a large number of sales and reviews.
To refine my list a bit further, I spoke with some eco-minded friends and professionals and got their opinions on each laundry detergent. With that, I had a solid foundation to start my research and analysis from.
Nobody wants to deal with harmful chemicals in their eco-friendly laundry detergent, but they’re a common reality. Plant-based ingredients are an effective, natural, and eco-friendly alternative. It’s worth checking the ingredients to see what’s what. Whether or not the detergent is truly biodegradable depends on what’s listed here.
For this step, I looked through all the ingredients in each laundry detergent before checking if they were plant based or synthetic. I also confirmed whether these were toxic and had any negative effects on the environment. Some of the worst ingredients I came across were chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrances and essential oils, and optical brighteners.
Biodegradability focuses not only on what goes into your washing machine, but also on the packaging each detergent uses. I wanted to make sure the products came in zero-waste and recyclable packaging.
Some excelled in this, but others failed miserably. Their rankings are reflected accordingly.
Now, it’s time to find out what other people thought about the laundry detergent they used, so I looked through quite a few online reviews.
Amazon was useful for this, given how popular the platform is. Customers were more than happy to share their opinions here, so I didn’t have a problem finding out about their experiences.
I got information that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned, such as people with sensitive skin or allergies had allergic reactions to the so-called eco-friendly laundry detergents. Some of them also had issues with customer service while others had shipping and delivery problems.
These factors all played a role in my rankings.
Still, you can’t always take online reviews at their word since they’re so easy for brands to fake. After looking around a bit, I found real customers who were happy to talk to me about their experiences with the eco-friendly detergents they used. After speaking with them, I had a fuller picture of the detergents before even laying a hand on the products.
Since I was already talking to people about the detergent brands, it seemed only fair that I reached out to the companies themselves. I spoke with many of them about their ingredients, manufacturing and shipping policies, and multiple other factors, and most were happy to discuss any concerns I had.
Some manufacturers avoided my questions, which leads me to believe they’re hiding something. At a minimum, they’re not as transparent as the other brands I spoke with.
There’s no point in comparing biodegradable laundry detergents without seeing how much cleaning power they have. No one wants to feel dirty after washing their clothes, no matter how environmentally friendly the detergent is. If it’s a concentrated laundry detergent, it could have the opposite effect and make colors fade while damaging the fabrics.
To test these detergents, I put together test samples containing various fabrics, such as denim, wool, cotton, and silk. These were all stained in the same way, with grass, food, and grease stains.
These were then put into HE washing machines and cleaned using the brand-recommended amount of laundry detergent. Each sample was washed once before being air-dried and analyzed under UV light. In addition to cleanliness, I factored in whether the samples were faded or damaged and how the fabrics smelled.
The top two brands cleaned the samples perfectly, and I wouldn’t have a problem keeping these products in my own laundry room. None of them faded clothes, despite powerful stain removal. The other eco-friendly detergents all left me disappointed, and they didn’t clean as well as I’d hoped.
Now that I had all the information I needed, it was time to figure out what the best biodegradable and eco-friendly laundry detergent actually is. It was time to get to rating the detergents, so I developed a rating system that took multiple factors into account:
- Biodegradable and plant-based ingredients
- Zero-waste and recyclable packaging
- Stain removal performance
- Refund policies, delivery charges, and discounts
- Eco-friendly shipping and manufacturing
- Cost per load
- Social and environmental contributions
Each factor was weighted differently, depending on how relevant they were to the brand’s eco-friendliness.
Detergents that missed the mark didn’t make the list.
My findings: A biodegradable laundry detergent that does what it says!
Switching from a traditional detergent to a biodegradable and natural laundry detergent isn’t an easy process. Brands are perfectly willing to resort to greenwashing and lie about their eco-friendliness simply to make their way to your laundry room. Out of the companies that claim to sell eco-friendly laundry detergents, few can be taken at their word.
I spent time finding the best eco-friendly laundry detergent based on multiple criteria, with several options showing various degrees of appeal.
Earth Breeze stands tall as the most eco-friendly laundry detergent thanks to its plastic-free packaging, excellent stain removal performance, affordability, and plant-based ingredients. Here are some more perks from Earth Breeze:
- No harsh chemicals, such as optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or chlorine bleach
- Zero-waste and plastic-free cardboard box
- Environment outreach and financial support through the 1% for the Planet initiative
- 100% carbon neutral
- 10 laundry sheets donated to underprivileged communities with each purchase
- Only $0.20 per wash
Earth Breeze is a new brand on the market, but it’s an eco-friendly detergent that’s quickly picking up steam. It’s already got countless positive reviews online, with many praising its stain removal power.
If you want the best eco-friendly laundry detergent that cleans clothes of any stain, then Earth Breeze is the right choice for you.
Wrapping it up
You’re done with harsh chemicals and ready to switch to an eco-friendly, biodegradable detergent. It’s easier than you think! Just read my guide to ethical laundry detergents you’ll see. Whether you prefer liquid detergents, laundry sheets, laundry pods, or powder laundry detergent, there’s a biodegradable detergent out there for you.
If you like the idea of a laundry sheet that dissolves right in the water, read my article about the best laundry detergent sheets on the market today.
Earth Breeze laundry sheets are one of the most affordable options, a fact that’s enhanced by free delivery and an appealing returns policy. Earth Breeze’s plant-based ingredients are totally safe and biodegradable but still offer an exceptional stain removal performance that’ll leave you feeling clean in more ways than one.
Earth Breeze comes in zero-waste, plastic-free, and recyclable packaging, and the company gives back by collaborating with 1% for the Planet and pledging to be carbon neutral.
No other laundry soap boasts the same credentials as Earth Breeze.
It’s the best biodegradable laundry detergent I could find. For clean clothes and a clean conscience, purchase Earth Breeze today.