Finding the best cruelty-free laundry detergent takes a lot of time and effort.
Countless brands say they don’t test on animals but either secretly engage in animal testing anyway or pay a third party to do so.
To help you know for sure if your laundry detergent has been tested on animals or includes animal ingredients like enzymes, I spent a week with the top laundry detergents claiming to be vegan and cruelty free to see whether their claims have any basis in reality.
Here’s what I discovered.
Best cruelty-free laundry detergent: Earth Breeze Eco Sheets (4.6/5)
- Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty free
- Uses plant-based and eco-friendly ingredients
- Removes tough stains in high-efficiency washers
- Donates to multiple environmental and social causes
- Affordable $0.20 per-load price
- Not as well known as other brands
Earth Breeze takes the title of best cruelty-free laundry detergent for more than a few reasons, with one of the most prominent being that it’s certified cruelty free. There’s one sure-fire way to determine if a product is cruelty free—just look for the Leaping Bunny logo, which guarantees cruelty-free ingredients and production. Earth Breeze’s animal testing policy is verified by Leaping Bunny. This product is 100% not tested on animals.
Another advantage of Earth Breeze is that it uses non-toxic and natural ingredients, so it’s safe for sensitive skin. With both a scented and fragrance-free variety, you can choose which is best for your family’s needs—even baby clothes are safe with Earth Breeze’s fragrance-free laundry detergent sheets.
Despite its gentle formula and eco-friendly ingredients, Earth Breeze Eco Sheets clean exceptionally well. They removed even the toughest stains from my samples without any fading or damage. It’s one of the few legitimately cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergents that also cleans well.
With its eco-friendly features and cleaning power, you might expect Earth Breeze to be expensive, but it’s not. It comes in at $0.33 per wash if you choose a one-time purchase, but the price drops to $0.20 if you go with the monthly subscription, and includes free shipping. If you’re not satisfied with how the laundry sheets clean your clothes, you can even get your money back.
You’re not the only one to benefit if you choose this cruelty-free option. Earth Breeze donates extensively to charity and gives 1% of its revenue to environmental causes through the 1% for the Planet initiative. It’s also part of We Are Neutral, which guarantees carbon-neutral shipping and production. Its lightweight and degradable cardboard packaging helps ensure Earth Breeze is as carbon neutral as possible.
Moreover, with every purchase the company donates 10 laundry sheets to underprivileged communities. Not only that—you get to choose where the donation goes! It’s a win-win for everyone.
The only real negative I could find is that Earth Breeze isn’t nearly as well known as its competitors, so it’s not backed up by an established reputation. Perhaps you’re loyal to big-name brands, but honestly, those brands get away with hiding a lot of toxic chemicals in their detergents. Corporations don’t usually make it to the top by valuing honesty and transparency. With Earth Breeze, however, you know what you’re getting and it’s only a matter of time before more and more people are singing its praises.
If you’re looking for a cruelty-free laundry detergent that also cleans well and won’t cost an arm and a leg, you’ll find one in Earth Breeze.
Second place medal: Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (7.45/10)
- Leaping Bunny-certified for not testing on animals
- Uses natural and biodegradable ingredients
- Plant-based formula cleans exceptionally well
- Can be used to replace other household products, such as dishwashing soap
- Safe for sensitive skin
- Costs $1.54 per load, the most expensive natural laundry detergent on my list
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap takes the second spot because it’s a cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergent complete with Leaping Bunny certification. This vegan laundry soap doesn’t contain any synthetic fragrances, making it a welcome option if you have sensitive skin or a sensitive nose. Coupled with that is a completely non-toxic formula that only contains natural ingredients. It’s not only great for sensitive skin, but it also won’t damage any delicate clothes.
It’ll still make clothes smell fresh, however. With eight scents to choose from, including a “baby unscented” variety, you’re sure to find one that will work for you.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap also boasts 18 uses in one, so you could use this to replace multiple household products. I wouldn’t trust something to wash my face if it’s normally used to wash dirty clothes and floors, however.
The cleaning performance of this cruelty-free option is exceptional, and it’ll get even the toughest stains out of a heavily soiled load. It’s a highly concentrated formula, however, so you’ll need to water down the laundry detergent before adding it to your washing machine. Thankfully, Dr. Bronner’s includes a helpful measuring guide on the back of the packaging.
Of course, that does add a lot of hassle to cleaning your clothes, so I don’t recommend this laundry soap if you’re doing the laundry in a rush. My other top pick, Earth Breeze, is incredibly convenient and involves no measuring at all.
Dr. Bronner’s is engaged in multiple humanitarian initiatives, such as ethically incentivizing farmers to grow its natural ingredients. The ethics also extend to its employees, who each get a share of the company’s profits.
The main reason this didn’t take the top spot is its cost. At $1.54 per load, it’s the most expensive cruelty-free and vegan laundry soap on my list. Since there’s no free shipping or subscription discounts, there’s no way to bring this cost down.
Another mark against Dr. Bronner Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is that it comes in plastic packaging. Yes, it’s cruelty free, but the use of plastic means it’s not completely eco-friendly.
Earth Breeze is a cruelty-free option that costs much less, offers a comparable cleaning performance to Dr. Bronner’s, and comes in lightweight, biodegradable packaging. Still, if you think a versatile liquid soap with 18 potential household uses sounds ideal and you don’t mind paying extra for it, you can check out more about Dr. Bronner’s here.
Other cruelty-free laundry detergents I tested
While Earth Breeze and Dr. Bronner’s rank as the best cruelty-free laundry detergent brands, they’re not the only ones I tested. I spent time with 16 other “cruelty-free” laundry detergents to get an accurate picture of how well they performed, as well as making sure they’re actually a vegan laundry detergent. While some performed well, others were disappointing.
I’ve split these across Team Runners-Up and Team Not-So-Nice to make them easier to sort through.
Faith in Nature Laundry Liquid
Faith in Nature laundry liquid comes in third, as it’s certified cruelty free and vegan, and the concentrated formula offers an effective cleaning performance. Leaping Bunny certification backs up the company’s claims, making it stand out from competition that doesn’t have it.
The cruelty-free laundry detergent also uses biodegradable and non-animal ingredients while also being safe for sensitive skin. It works well on delicate garments without damaging them, but the performance doesn’t hold up when it comes to tough stains.
This liquid detergent is quite affordable at $0.26 per load, making it one of the more economical additions to your laundry room. The UK-based brand charges higher shipping fees for customers outside of the country, though, so you may end up paying much more per load if you’re based in the US or EU.
Faith in Nature comes in a plastic jug, so it’s not the most environmentally friendly option. While the cruelty-free brand plants a tree for every purchase, this is underwhelming compared to Earth Breeze and other cruelty-free brands.
Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder
Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder is vegan and cruelty-free, and the company is involved in planet restoration efforts. Thanks to these features, it’s certainly one of the more eco-friendly options.
The all-natural ingredients and delicate formula make Molly’s Suds great for sensitive skin, and it’s one of the better household products if you have children in the home. There aren’t any artificial fragrances, but it does have a scent Molly’s Suds calls a “natural fragrance.”
The main reason Molly’s Suds doesn’t rank any higher is that its non-toxic formula doesn’t perform well in high-efficiency washing machines, so there could be a few stains left over. The company also uses plastic in its packaging. That’s disappointing.
At first, Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder seems economical at $0.17 per load. When you factor in the fact that there’s no subscription discount or free shipping for orders under $75, it gets noticeably more expensive.
Molly’s Suds takes fourth place thanks to its non-toxic formula, safety for sensitive skin, and cruelty-free and vegan certifications. With plastic packaging and no subscription discount, it doesn’t compare to other certified cruelty-free options, and you’ll find more effective options elsewhere.
Puracy Natural 10X Laundry Detergent
Puracy Natural 10X Laundry Detergent is certified as cruelty free by Leaping Bunny and is made from completely natural and plant-based ingredients. It was impossible to ignore this option when I was making my rankings, but it doesn’t rank any higher because of its poor cleaning performance compared to my top picks. Another benefit is that Puracy donates to charities benefiting underprivileged communities, but there are more than a few other options that do this, too.
The $0.17 cost per load makes it look like one of the more affordable options here, but you’ll need to use more than the manufacturer amount to clean tough stains. It’ll end up costing more per wash than the brand claims, bringing the overall price up. The plastic bottles also mean it isn’t exactly an eco-friendly option.
You’ll get a better cleaning performance and help charity and the Earth more by choosing Earth Breeze. Your money stretches farther with Earth Breeze Eco Sheets, even if you’re paying three cents more per load.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips
Another brand certified as cruelty free by Leaping Bunny, Tru Earth uses only plant-based and natural ingredients. It also claims to be vegan, but there isn’t any certification to back this up. When you’re looking for vegan and cruelty-free laundry detergents, this is something you’ll need to look out for. Keep an eye out for claims that aren’t backed up.
There are a few other reasons this laundry detergent stands out, as it’s completely eco-friendly and contributes to humanitarian and environmental causes. That comes at a decent cost to consumers, however, as you’ll end up spending $0.56 per load with this option. It’s over twice as expensive as Earth Breeze, which doesn’t come with nearly as many issues.
Tru Earth’s natural detergents don’t clean as effectively as the high price would suggest. I found fading in my samples after they were dried, so it looks like the detergent actively damages clothes. At this high price, it’s just not worth it.
PUR Home Laundry Detergent
PUR Home laundry detergent doesn’t test on animals and is certified by Leaping Bunny. I couldn’t rank it any higher, however, because this handmade laundry detergent takes between 10 and 40 days to arrive after you order.
Performance-wise, it’s also pretty average and the cruelty-free detergent doesn’t work well on tough stains or for deep cleaning your clothes. At $0.30 per load—more than some of my top picks—I expected a better performance.
The plastic packaging is also disappointing, but PUR Home laundry detergent could climb a few places if they addressed this and went with something more eco-friendly.
While PUR donates to charitable causes, few seem to be environmentally focused. As a self-described “green” company, it should focus more on the environment.
Despite being handmade, there’s relatively few positives associated with PUR. It’s cruelty free and eco-friendly, but the same can be said for detergents that rank higher on my list, such as Earth Breeze.
Eco-Me Laundry Detergent
Eco-Me Natural Plant Extracts Laundry Detergent makes my list thanks to the fact that it has cruelty-free certification. Its ingredients are also food grade, and there shouldn’t be an issue with allergies. I found that it doesn’t clean clothes as effectively as the options I ranked higher than this.
It also comes in plastic packaging, so this isn’t an eco-friendly option, though it does meet the criteria of a cruelty-free, vegan laundry detergent. Eco-Me doesn’t contribute to environmental causes to offset its impact, so I couldn’t place it any higher on my list. Since Earth Breeze and similar options do this extensively, it’s an area the brand needs to put more work into.
It’s an affordable option at $0.20 per load, but the lack of free shipping for orders under $45 brings the price up slightly.
Some of the options above are more affordable and offer more for your money. It’s only worth getting Eco-Me if you can’t find any of the above.
ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergents
The first thing I noticed about ECOS liquid laundry detergent is that it comes in a large plastic jug, so it’s not exactly eco-friendly. One of the main reasons I ranked this as a runner-up was that it’s certified as cruelty free by Leaping Bunny. Though it doesn’t test on animals, it includes “natural” surfactants in its ingredient list, and these aren’t exactly eco-friendly, despite being used in “natural” products.
ECOS appears to be the most economical laundry detergent at first glance, apparently costing $0.10 per load. When you consider you’ll need to use about four times the manufacturer’s recommended amount, the price skyrockets. The more stained your clothes are, the more detergent you’ll need to use. The lack of any discounts or subscription offers doesn’t help.
ECOS does have a zero-waste option that looks as though it’s eco-friendly. Looking through the ingredients, though, I found a few synthetic fragrances and harmful surfactants, so it does more damage to the environment than the brand suggests.
Nellie’s Vegan Laundry Soda
Nellie’s vegan washing soda is Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty-free, which is why I included it on my list. That’s about all the laundry detergent has going for it, though.
It can cause itchiness or a rash if you have sensitive skin. While the $0.22 cost per load makes it seem like an affordable addition to your laundry room, you need to buy at least $75 of detergent to get free shipping. If you buy less than that, it isn’t as economical as you think.
Nellie’s also doesn’t give back to any environmental or charitable causes like my top choices do. There aren’t many reasons—if any—to choose this option.
Kind Laundry Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets
Kind doesn’t test on animals and it offers a relatively decent cleaning performance, as long as you’re not using high-efficiency washing machines. I found it wasn’t as effective at removing stains in mine when I used the sheets, so you might need to use a few of them in each load, which increases the price, which is already higher than Earth Breeze.
Method Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Method concentrated laundry detergent is one of the few detergents on this list that’s actually certified as vegan and cruelty-free. That alone should make it rank higher, but there were a few issues keeping me from doing so. Once cleaned, clothes looked gray and dull, so it looks as though the concentrated formula damages clothes.
You can choose from a few fragrances, each of which smells great. However, the fragrances—fruity, floral, and herbaceous—can irritate sensitive skin. It’s worth keeping the detergent out of the reach of children, as it can cause serious eye irritation. You might be better off choosing a fragrance-free option instead.
Method is full of synthetic and questionable chemicals, including sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical proven to irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate skin conditions. Yes, Method laundry detergent is cruelty free, but it is not an all natural laundry detergent.
The $0.28 per load price tag makes it appear economical, but the lack of free shipping and subscription discounts make the laundry detergent more expensive than it first appears. The plastic bottles this comes in also means it’s not as eco-friendly as I’d like, which is compounded by Method’s lack of environmental activism.
Method can be an effective option if you’re only looking for a cruelty-free laundry detergent, but Earth Breeze offers much more at a lower price.
Biokleen Natural Laundry Detergent
Biokleen Natural Laundry Detergent actually uses natural ingredients, which sets it apart from some of its competitors and is why it’s on this list.
Its performance, however, is why it didn’t make the top two, as this is quite poor in high-efficiency washing machines. I found a few stains after using this, so you might need to use more than the manufacturer amount to actually clean your clothes.
Add in the fact there’s no cruelty-free certification and the packaging is recyclable plastic, and it’s not the most eco-friendly option to choose from. The brand itself also doesn’t donate to any charitable causes, which my top pick, Earth Breeze, does in abundance.
Ecover Laundry Detergents
Ecover claims to be a natural detergent, but the inclusion of methylisothiazolinone makes that a false claim, since this can cause allergic reactions, it’s not great for sensitive skin, and it harms the environment. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, “Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.” Furthermore, while Ecover is cruelty free, its parent company, SC Johnson, is not cruelty free. And Ecover’s cruelty-free status is disputed by some in the animal rights community. Better just stick with Earth Breeze.
Nature Clean Laundry Detergent
Nature Clean is a Canadian company that offers laundry detergent pods, liquid laundry detergent, and detergent sheets. Nature Clean’s products are great on tough stains, but they irritate sensitive skin. Despite the company claiming its laundry products are hypoallergenic, its liquid detergent contains methylisothiazolinone, which can cause allergic reactions. And Nature Clean’s detergent pods contain polyvinyl alcohol, a petroleum-based synthetic plastic polymer, which isn’t good for the environment or human skin. While the brand is certified vegan and claims to not conduct animal testing at any point of production, I can’t recommend this brand because of the inclusion of methylisothiazolinone and polyvinyl alcohol in some of its products. If you do need to go with this brand, stick with its detergent sheets.
Seventh Generation Liquid Detergent
Seventh Generation says it’s a cruelty-free liquid detergent, but it doesn’t provide any evidence to back this up. I lean toward the company not being as cruelty free and vegan as it claims, so I’m hesitant to rank it any better. Then there’s the fact that this Seventh Generation laundry detergent uses sodium lauryl sulfate, despite the company claiming to use plant-based and eco-friendly ingredients. It’s ambiguous whether this is actually the case.
Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent
Rockin’ Green claims to be cruelty free, but I couldn’t find anything that backs this up. There wasn’t even a whiff of certification to be found online that agrees with these claims. It doesn’t appear to have been evaluated by any of the cruelty-free certification organizations. That’s just not good enough.
Cleancult Laundry Detergent
Cleancult laundry detergent doesn’t seem to have any cruelty-free or vegan certification, so I couldn’t rank it any better on my list. The packaging also seems wasteful, as it comes in refillable carton boxes, but you need to buy plastic bottles anyway, so it’s not as eco-friendly as I originally thought.
Choosing the best cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergent needs some kind of process. I couldn’t just go about it based on gut instinct, so I developed an easy-to-follow and reliable process to determine which detergents came in where.
I applied this process to each vegan laundry detergent to make sure everything was as fair as possible.
This is how I went about it.
I started things off by looking for cruelty-free, vegan laundry detergents online. I wouldn’t have anything to compare and review otherwise. I narrowed them down based on how many purchases and reviews they had on platforms like Amazon and each brand’s website.
Then it came to checking whether these were certified vegan and cruelty-free brands. It’s one thing to believe the packaging, but some brands are known to mislead consumers about whether they tested on animals. The lack of animal testing doesn’t solely apply to the laundry products, but also the specific ingredients in the laundry detergent.
Looking for the Leaping Bunny logo is one of the easiest ways to determine if a product is truly cruelty free. Provided by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, this ensures that
- products aren’t tested on animals and neither are any specific ingredients,
- no third parties have been used to outsource animal testing, and
- raw material suppliers or manufacturers don’t use animal testing either.
You can find out more about Leaping Bunny and its certification process here. I extensively searched the organization’s database to make sure the ones I found were cruelty-free brands. Some of the laundry products used a fake certification logo, which is actively misleading to consumers.
I removed these fakes from my list. Based on this process, I was left with 18 laundry detergents whose cruelty-free claims were backed up by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or other reliable animal rights organizations.
There’s no point in comparing vegan laundry detergent brands without criteria to measure them against. A lack of animal testing is the most obvious of these, but I also needed to make sure no animal ingredients were added. Some detergents contain enzymes from the organs of animals. Naturally, my top two options excelled in all of these criteria, while others failed in at least one area.
My criteria for the best vegan laundry detergent includes the following metrics:
- No animal ingredients in the formula
- No animal testing
- Safe for sensitive skin
- Performance in high-efficiency washing machines
- Plant-based and natural ingredients
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Carbon footprint
- Cost per load
- Bundle offers and subscriptions
From this list of criteria I was able to rank each cruelty-free laundry detergent.
And now it was time to start testing each laundry detergent for hands-on experience. I put together a load for each brand and made sure these were all identical. As well as making sure I used the same fabrics in each load, I took the time to stain each with grease, grass, and food.
These were then put into high-efficiency washing machines, and I used the manufacturer-recommended amount of laundry detergent. Once washed, I air-dried each and examined them under direct sunlight. Earth Breeze and Dr. Bronner’s performed great and could easily be considered the best vegan laundry detergent, but each of the other options fell short in some way.
Each laundry detergent received points based on my criteria, letting me create my list of the best cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergents.
My findings: The best cruelty-free laundry detergent that cleans well
Choosing a cruelty-free laundry detergent can be difficult, as many brands hide that they’ve tested on animals, among other misleading marketing claims. To overcome this, I spent a week with 18 of the top vegan laundry detergent brands to see how they measured up. Outside of animal testing, I considered multiple factors in my rankings.
To recommend the best option for you, I needed to look beyond the brands’ animal testing policies, including irritants, harsh chemicals, performance in high-efficiency washers, affordability, and plant-based ingredients. With those in mind, Earth Breeze takes the title of best cruelty-free laundry detergent for multiple reasons:
- Earth Breeze is a cruelty-free laundry detergent.
- It’s Leaping Bunny certified.
- Earth Breeze donates 10 laundry sheets to women’s shelters, homeless shelters, or other charities, with each purchase.
- Eco Sheets contain only plant-based ingredients.
- Earth Breeze donates 1% of its revenues to environmental causes through 1% for the Planet.
- It’s an economical option, costing as little as $0.20 per load.
- Earth Breeze Eco Sheets won’t irritate sensitive skin.