You know it’s time to switch your laundry detergent to a more eco-friendly brand, but which one is best?
Supermarkets stock shelves with so many products claiming to be environmentally friendly that it’s hard to make heads or tails of them.
To help you find the top eco-friendly laundry detergent, I’ve spent weeks analyzing and comparing different laundry detergents. I’ve ranked them based on ingredients, packaging, cleaning performance, price, and various other criteria.
Here are the eco-friendly detergents that are worth your time.
Best eco-friendly laundry detergent: Earth Breeze Eco Sheets (4.6/5)
- Gives back to environmental and social causes with each purchase
- Comes in zero-waste packaging
- Concentrated laundry detergent that effectively cleans clothes
- Plant-based and eco-friendly formula
- Economical cost per wash
- Fragrance-free option
- Not as well known as alternatives
Earth Breeze Eco Sheets take the top spot not only for how well they clean—although they do that in spades—but also for how much the company gives back to environmental and social causes, doing so noticeably more than other brands.
Earth Breeze puts its money where its mouth is and checks all the boxes it should to be considered an exceptional eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Because of its nontoxic ingredients, Earth Breeze is safe for sensitive skin and doesn’t cause any allergic reactions. Eco Sheets aren’t full of synthetic fragrances like many conventional detergents. Instead they’re scented only with all-natural essential oils or completely fragrance free, depending on which variety you choose.
Since it’s an eco-friendly formula, you won’t need to worry about sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, chlorine bleach, or other harmful chemicals found in a traditional laundry detergent. You can be confident that these harmless components will dissolve in your wash water and not make their way into aquatic ecosystems to wreak havoc on wildlife.
Furthermore, Earth Breeze products are never tested on animals. You can be confident that from start to finish, these Eco Sheets do not contribute to the suffering of animals in any way.
Stain removal isn’t a problem, either, regardless of whether you’re cleaning darks, whites, or colors. These laundry sheets will get it all out. They also work great with all washing machines, as well as septic tanks and greywater.
Earth Breeze is also zero waste and plastic free, making the packaging as environmentally friendly as possible. Earth Breeze Eco Sheets come in a thin cardboard envelope that is easily recycled and lightweight, which reduces reliance on energy and fossil fuels in shipping. It’s also much easier to store in your laundry room than typical laundry liquid products in giant plastic bottles.
Then there’s the social and environmental work Earth Breeze is involved in. It donates 10 sheets to charitable causes with every purchase. You can choose where your donation goes from a list of organizations and causes, and options include veterans’ organizations, women’s shelters, and more.
Earth Breeze is also carbon neutral and volunteers with tree planting and ocean cleanup efforts, further adding to its eco-friendly nature. Lastly is its commitment to the 1% for the Planet initiative, through which Earth Breeze donates 1% of its revenues to nonprofits.
It’s the only eco-friendly laundry detergent company that gives back to this extent, making it stand head and shoulders above its competition.
In addition to meeting all the environment-related criteria I checked for, Earth Breeze is one of the more affordable laundry detergents, not just of eco-friendly ones, but across the board. It costs $0.33 per load for a one-time purchase, but this drops to $0.20 per load if you go with the monthly subscription plan.
Earth Breeze is also so confident you’ll like the laundry detergent that it offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Based on what I found, you won’t need to take advantage of this.
The biggest (and really, the only) drawback with Earth Breeze is that it’s new and relatively unproven. Many consumers are loyal to the brands they already use. Some of these options have been around for decades, and consumers trust them regardless of how many harmful chemicals they contain.
The reviews from Earth Breeze’s customers are positive, however. If you’re unsure, you can check it out without losing money, as it offers a full refund.
Though Earth Breeze is new on the market, it’s making waves, especially with its charitable and environmental contributions.
If you want an eco-friendly laundry detergent that boasts exceptional cleaning performance, try a subscription to Earth Breeze today.
Second place medal: Puracy Natural Detergent — 3.85/5
- Affordable cost per wash
- Uses plant-based ingredients
- Removes stains well, even in cold water
- Vegan friendly and cruelty free
- Donates to eco-friendly initiatives
- Packaging creates plastic waste
Second place goes to Puracy and its liquid detergent thanks to how much it gives back to charity and the environment, as well as the fact that it keeps clothes clean. It cleans almost as well as Earth Breeze, but its packaging isn’t quite up to the mark.
Puracy uses plant-based ingredients and boasts all vegan-friendly and cruelty-free materials that are great for sensitive skin. This liquid detergent is made of natural and eco-friendly enzymes.
It’s also more affordable than other eco-friendly detergents, with one load costing only $0.17, making it the most affordable laundry detergent on this list. You don’t get free shipping, though, unless you spend more than $29, which adds to the cost per load if you order less than this. If you want to take advantage of long-term savings, it’s worth buying at least this much of the eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Traditional detergents don’t typically give back to the environment or the community, but Puracy goes above and beyond, even compared to eco-friendly alternatives. It gives a portion of each sale to charity and is committed to helping end racism and other types of prejudice with its “diversity pledge.”
As appealing as all that is, Puracy lacks in the stain removal and cleaning performance departments. It gets clothes clean well enough, but I was disappointed that a few tough stains hadn’t gone away after a full cycle. Multiple other eco-friendly detergents boast a better stain-lifting performance. At the end of the day, you may need to apply an additional pretreatment to stains before washing if you use Puracy.
Puracy is conscious about what it uses in its packaging and claims that it’s recyclable, but the bottles unfortunately aren’t plastic free.
While I like the fact that Puracy helps underprivileged communities, it doesn’t do much for the environment, as some of the other best eco-friendly laundry detergents do. It also claims to use recyclable materials, but plastic is a prominent material in Puracy’s laundry detergent.
It’s not enough to just use eco-friendly ingredients. Cleaning brands must walk away from plastic bottles and plastic waste. If it really wants to be environmentally friendly, Puracy needs to swap this out for a more sustainable option.
Earth Breeze excels in this department and offers more cleaning power.
If Puracy’s anti-racist commitment means a lot to you and you don’t mind a plastic bottle and pretreating stains, check out Puracy here.
Other eco-friendly laundry detergents I tested
Earth Breeze and Puracy are both pretty sure bets in the environmentally friendly laundry soap game, but they aren’t your only options. There are a bunch more that claim to be eco-friendly, and most are, but they’re either too expensive or don’t clean well enough to make my top two. And some of them aren’t even that eco-friendly. Others might just have weird things about them that make them a poor choice.
To help you sort through them, I’ve broken them down into two categories: too expensive and questionable performance or ingredients.
Eco Roots Zero Waste Laundry Detergent
Eco Roots laundry sheets get close to the top, as it’s an eco-friendly laundry detergent that gives back with the 1% for the Planet program, through which brands pledge to give 1% of their revenue to sustainable causes. Its expensive shipping and no-return policy stop it from ranking higher.
What initially got my attention with Eco Roots detergent sheets is that Eco Roots is part of the 1% for the Planet initiative. It gives 1% of its annual revenue to green causes, setting it apart from multiple other eco-friendly laundry detergents and putting it in a class with Earth Breeze and only a few others. It also uses completely plastic-free packaging materials, which the brand claims is compostable.
The zero-waste laundry detergent might seem affordable at $0.31 per load, but there aren’t any subscription offers to bring this down even more and Eco Roots doesn’t offer free shipping, so this laundry detergent is actually much more expensive than advertised.
There’s also no refund available with Eco Roots, making it look a bit suspicious compared to laundry detergents that do offer refunds. If you’re trying them out, you’ll also have to pay the shipping fee!
If you’ve got your heart set on Eco Roots and you want to make it more affordable, you’ll need to buy the more expensive “Laundry Detergent Bundle Duo” to make it more economical. This drops the cost per load to $0.25 but simultaneously drives the purchase price up significantly. It becomes more expensive than the top two eco-friendly laundry detergents by making it more affordable. If this logic problem gives you a headache, you’re not alone. This is kind of shady.
Eco Roots is a zero-waste, plastic-free, and completely cruelty-free laundry detergent, meaning their products are never tested on animals. What helps set them apart is their commitment to the 1% for the Planet initiative. But unlike some other eco-friendly laundry detergents, there’s no free shipping or money-back guarantee, which brings Eco Roots detergent sheets down in my rankings. They’re still an effective eco-friendly laundry detergent, however.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips
Tru Earth is a great eco-friendly laundry detergent, but it is one of the more expensive options, which is why it doesn’t place higher on my list. With how much the brand supports the environment, it’s worth a try if you don’t mind the price.
The laundry soap is safe for sensitive skin with no harsh or toxic chemicals, and the packaging is plastic free, so you don’t need to worry about fossil fuel use impacting the environment. The small and lightweight nature of these eco-friendly laundry strips makes them easily transportable, which further minimizes the detergent’s carbon footprint. Tru Earth also hosts eco-focused fundraising campaigns if you want to give back even further.
If you don’t want to spend extra on this, even buying the Tru Earth laundry strips is enough, since the brand donates 32 strips to charity with every new subscription. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean every purchase.
Tru Earth laundry strips are great for stain removal, but I noticed they cause clothes to fade after a few washes. My test batch was noticeably faded after as little as a few washes.
Then there’s the price. At $0.56 per load, there are certainly more affordable options with equal cleaning power, such as Earth Breeze. Even if you take advantage of subscription rates, you’ll still end up paying $0.40 per wash.
Considering Tru Earth fades your clothes over time, that’s a lot of money to ask. You’ll get a better performance out of more affordable options. If you want a more sustainable and economical option with a better performance, go with Earth Breeze.
Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods
Dropps laundry detergent pods boast a decent cleaning performance, I do have a problem with their marketing. These laundry pods aren’t as eco-friendly as the brand claims.
Where it does do well is in its use of plastic-free materials, instead using recyclable and compostable materials. Whether you keep the boxes from your Dropps laundry detergent pods or throw them out, you’ll be contributing no negative impact on the environment.
Another nice thing about Dropps is the fact that it contributes to solar energy initiatives. It’s also partnered with Oceana, a nonprofit that focuses on ocean restoration and sustainable living.
But Dropps is more than twice as expensive as Earth Breeze’s subscription price, at $0.46 per wash. While you’ll certainly find more affordable options, still some alternatives are much more expensive.
At first glance it may look as if Dropps is environmentally friendly. Once you look at the ingredients list, though, that impression changes, as surfactants and synthetic fragrances are included in the formula. These harsh chemicals aren’t environmentally friendly, and they’re terrible for sensitive skin.
With the relatively high price, mediocre cleaning performance, and questionable ingredients of Dropps, you’re better off with one of my top two choices.
Well Earth Goods Natural and Organic Laundry Detergent
Well Earth Goods’ powdered laundry detergent is effective at stain removal, but it’s not so great for your wallet. At $.62 per load, this powdered detergent costs way more per load than most alternatives, even the expensive Tru Earth. I also couldn’t find anything linking the brand to any environmental contributions.
Clean People Laundry Detergent
Clean People’s laundry detergent pods and strips are some of the most expensive on the market at $1.03 per load. There’s no real point in even considering this laundry soap unless you’re some sort of billionaire tech mogul.
Questionable performance or ingredients
Cleancult Laundry Detergent
Cleancult doesn’t rank higher here because its laundry detergent offers an average clean, and the brand has a seemingly bare-bones approach to giving back to the environment.
The brand highlights its “coco clean” technology in its marketing materials, which uses coconut extracts and similar ingredients. While I was happy with the results, the laundry soap didn’t offer the same power as the top three eco-friendly laundry detergents. It’s still a nice addition to your laundry room, however, as it’s cruelty free, carbon neutral, and vegan.
Cleancult’s liquid laundry detergent costs a little more than others at $0.39 per wash and while there are bulk offers available, there aren’t any subscription discounts. If you buy over $45 of the liquid detergent, you’ll get free delivery, making the bundle offers slightly more appealing.
One of the more interesting parts of this liquid detergent is that it comes in a container resembling a milk carton. Recyclable, this can be refilled, so you don’t need to buy the whole package again, but your delivery will have to come in something, so this awkward receptacle may not be worth the fuss. Once it’s in your laundry room, you won’t need to replace it, but it could be a hassle to refill.
Outside of an awareness-focused ambassador program, Cleancult doesn’t participate in any environmentally friendly initiatives. It might move up this list if it did.
Sheets Laundry Club Laundry Detergent Sheets
Plant-based ingredients and plastic-free packaging are on full display with Sheets Laundry Club, but that’s about all the natural laundry detergent offers. The brand doesn’t put any effort into making the world more eco-friendly or raising awareness about environmental causes.
Unfortunately, this product’s cleaning power may not be up to snuff. Some reviews revealed that Sheets detergent sheets aren’t good at removing odors from clothes. That could prove an embarrassing drawback.
The laundry sheets cost $0.40 per load, making them one of the least economical to use. If I was paying that, I’d want odors removed and some of the money—at least—to do some good.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Sheets Laundry Club, which is why it doesn’t rank any higher.
PUR Home Laundry Detergent
PUR Home claims to sell a homemade laundry detergent, which is great I guess, but it means waiting a little longer than competitors to get your delivery. The 10 to 40 business day schedule is the main reason it doesn’t rank higher, as it’s unreasonable to expect the average family to wait that long for laundry detergent.
The brand does actively contribute to charity, and is Leaping Bunny-certified as cruelty free. What isn’t nice, however, is that it’s not plastic free. The 64 oz detergent bottle is almost entirely plastic. Not necessarily eco-friendly, is it?
It’s also worth noting that PUR Home’s supply chain was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s only now starting to bounce back. You could see some delays in your order.
This laundry soap is an economical option and costs $0.30 per load, but there aren’t any discounts or subscriptions available to bring the cost down further.
PUR Home’s laundry detergent has a solid performance and blasts through even the toughest stains, but the manufacturer’s lack of environmental giving is a negative. Add in the plastic packaging and long delivery waits, and I couldn’t justify putting it higher on the list.
Other laundry detergents I tested
The above detergents are some of the leading eco-friendly laundry detergents on the market, but they’re not the only ones to claim “eco-friendly” status, so I tested them, too, during my research. I’ve included them here for the sake of your curiosity, but I wouldn’t consider them contenders for the best eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Tide Purclean Liquid Laundry Detergent
Some people buy Tide purely out of habit and loyalty, but I wasn’t too impressed by what it offers. It’s vegan-friendly but doesn’t clean clothes as much as it should considering its popularity. It also comes in plastic packaging, a misstep for any laundry detergent claiming to be eco-friendly.
Biokleen Natural Laundry Detergent
Biokleen comes as both a liquid detergent and a laundry powder. Both of these have natural ingredients, so they’re great if you have sensitive skin. Their cleaning performance isn’t as powerful as other options, and I noticed some (albeit faded) stains on my test fabrics.
Kind Laundry Detergent Sheets
Kind laundry detergent sheets are an effective overall choice, but they don’t pack the same punch as the above laundry detergents when used in HE washing machines. They also don’t mention anything about cruelty-free production. Either their marketing materials need work, or the production process needs to change.
Beyond Laundry Detergent Sheets
Beyond laundry detergent sheets are an effective way to clean clothes and will remove more stains than most. They didn’t rank higher in the list because the brand doesn’t do anything to help protect the environment or reverse climate change.
Now that you’ve read through my list of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents, you might wonder how I came to my conclusions. I spent a while with each laundry detergent and went through a thorough process to find the most eco-friendly laundry detergent on the market.
Here’s that process.
Everyone needs to start somewhere, and I started by compiling a list of the top detergents claiming to be environmentally friendly. Looking online was a natural choice, as it gave me access to most of the information I’d need to start before diving into my analysis. These included all of the above brands, including a few others. The rest didn’t make my list of the top eco-friendly detergents, as their performance—and some of their claims—weren’t up to par.
Online reviews were helpful when putting together my list of the top eco-friendly laundry detergents, as they gave me a decent overview of how each brand performs. Reviews praised particular brands for the use of plant-based ingredients, zero-waste packaging, and cleaning power.
Others, however, noted that many of the claims these brands made didn’t match up with real life. Some consumers mentioned that certain laundry soaps aren’t plant based at all, while others contained irritating synthetic essential oils that consumers with allergies or sensitive skin should avoid, or toxic ingredients that everyone should avoid, despite the brands claiming they didn’t.
As a data collection tool, these reviews were a helpful start and pointed me in the right direction with my further research. However, reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, as some reviews might be as real as the claims some laundry detergent manufacturers make.
While my own analysis gave me a lot of information, I wanted to know whether or not I was the only one left with the same impression of these detergents. Online reviews can be a great start, but I’m skeptical of these because of the fake ones you can find almost everywhere, and the “greenwashing” so many corporations are resorting to these days.
For an added sense of trust, I got in touch with real customers to get their feedback. Since they all had different needs, by listening to them I developed a more well-rounded image of the laundry detergents. Some had baby clothes they needed clean, making finding the best and most gentle baby laundry detergent essential. Others focused more on detergents that were effective on tough, greasy stains.
One customer even complained about how one brand, which boasts plant-based ingredients, actually contained harsh chemicals that ruined one of his shirts. I conducted this investigation so that I could read between the lines so you don’t have to.
All of this feedback gave me a more accurate picture of these laundry detergents and helped me rank them in a fairer way.
Since I was getting multiple peoples’ opinions about the laundry detergents, I thought it was only fair to get in touch with the manufacturers, too. They deserve a chance to tell their side of the story, but that doesn’t mean all of them took me up on the offer. Those that did were more than happy to speak about whether their products are completely eco-friendly. Many of the brands were smaller companies and the owners didn’t have a problem discussing anything. It was the larger corporations that didn’t want to cooperate.
Now that more and more information was starting to come in, I started to piece things together. Some laundry detergents started looking more appealing while others looked relatively average. It was at this point I realized I needed to start putting a scoring system into place.
I used multiple criteria when putting this together:
- Natural and plant-based ingredients
- No toxic chemicals, such as chlorine bleach or synthetic fragrances
- Effective cleaning power on both natural and synthetic fabrics
- Safe for sensitive skin, allergies, and similar conditions
- Performance in HE washing machines
- Zero-waste and recyclable packaging
- No or low carbon footprint
- Cost per load
- Bundle offers and subscriptions
- Cruelty-free and other eco-friendly certifications
- Contribution to social and environmental causes
Now that I had all of that done, it was time to get to the dirty work (or clean work?). It was time to put each laundry powder, detergent, and sheet to the test with multiple fabrics and see what kind of stain removal they offered. Baby clothes and adult clothing made from various fabrics were used during this test, including linen, denim, silk, and cotton.
Different stains were added by hand and I tried to replicate typical stains as much as possible, including blood, sweat, possibly my own tears, and mud. I made sure all of the test clothes had the same stains when testing different detergents.
I dried the fabrics naturally before analyzing them under UV light to make sure I could see any leftover stains or damage. The top three laundry detergents made sure the clothes were clean, but the rest offered varying degrees of cleaning power. They all underperformed compared to the top two options.
With all of the above steps complete, it was time to get started on ranking each of the laundry detergents. Each detergent receives points based on the above steps, with the results varying wildly from detergent to detergent. As much work as that was, I’m happy with how everything turned out. The rankings speak for themselves.
My findings: The best eco-friendly laundry detergent that gets rid of stains!
Quite a few laundry detergents claim to be eco-friendly, but they stretch the truth to say the least. It’s difficult for consumers to realize which one’s which, since conventional detergents don’t need to list all of their ingredients. Because of that, I went through an exhaustive examination of the best laundry detergents claiming to be eco-friendly.
I not only looked at the eco-friendliness of the detergents, but also their stain removal power, affordability per load, and multiple other characteristics. Earth Breeze comes out on top for multiple reasons.
The brand ticks all the boxes an eco-minded consumer wants:
- You get a money-back guarantee, so you’re not taking any risks.
- Eco Sheets cost only $0.20 per load with a monthly subscription.
- Earth Breeze donates 10 laundry sheets to one of the charities featured on the brand’s website with every purchase.
- Earth Breeze commits to 1% for the Planet and donates 1% of their annual revenue to charities, so each Earth Breeze purchase helps protect the environment.
- The laundry detergent is fragranced with only all-natural essential oils, not artificial scents, and there is a fragrance-free option as well.
- Earth Breeze actively participates in ocean cleanups and tree planting activities.
- Earth Breeze Eco Sheets outperform the competition in cleaning performance.
Despite being one of the newer laundry detergents on this list, Earth Breeze is already getting positive reviews and its customer base continues to expand. My analysis process has revealed why.
Wrapping it up
I’ve tested quite a few popular eco-friendly detergents, and Earth Breeze outperforms the rest by far in almost every way.
I based my rankings on various criteria, including stain removal power, zero-waste packaging, cruelty-free production, ingredients, and contributions to charitable and environmental causes.
Earth Breeze excels in all these areas. Its Eco Sheets use plant-based ingredients, cruelty-free production methods, and zero-waste packaging. They don’t contain harsh or harmful ingredients, such as optical brighteners, chlorine bleach, or synthetic fragrances. The sheets are gentle on both your clothes and your skin but tough on stains, no matter how stubborn they are.
The fact that Earth Breeze donates 1% of its revenue to conservation efforts through the 1% for the Planet initiative and donates sheets to underprivileged communities with each purchase really sets the bar. You’ll give to a good cause everytime you buy Earth Breeze.
It’s a relatively new brand on the market, having only been established in 2019, but it’s more than earned its place as an environmentally friendly detergent, and outperforms even some of the largest brands.
If you want an eco-friendly laundry detergent that packs a powerful punch and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, Earth Breeze is the one for you.