The Best Sustainable Laundry Detergent for You and the Environment (2023)

It’s time people take sustainability more seriously, and there’s no better place for you to start than your laundry room. From plastic bottles to toxic chemical cocktails, your traditional detergent just doesn’t meet today’s needs. But which detergent will?

To help you navigate the unfamiliar terrain of sustainable laundry soap, filter out the greenwashing, and establish a zero-waste and eco-friendly laundry routine, I’ve evaluated and compared the leading “green” detergents. 

I spent a week with some of the most popular laundry detergents on the market to figure out what’s what. I carefully tested, analyzed, and ranked each of the options to see what the best eco-friendly laundry detergent is.

Here’s what I found out.

Best sustainable laundry detergent: Earth Breeze Eco Sheets (4.6/5)


  • Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free 
  • Hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin
  • Sustainable ingredients safe for aquatic life
  • Plastic-free and lightweight packaging
  • Excellent cleaning power
  • Easy to use
  • Low cost
  • Environmental and charitable causes
  • Carbon-neutral shipping


  • New to the industry
Earth Breeze Review

Earth Breeze is a genuinely sustainable laundry detergent in every way I could find. The formula is certified as cruelty free, complete with a Leaping Bunny certification for not testing on animals. It partners with We Are Neutral and 1% for the Planet to not only ensure that its production and manufacturing are carbon neutral, but also to contribute 1% of its annual profits to environmental organizations. The company also regularly participates in ocean clean-ups and tree plantings, according to its website.

Earth Breeze also uses a gentle formula with no harsh chemicals. Completely phosphate free, this detergent will not cause the dreaded algal blooms that are killing fish and keeping beachgoers out of the water. With no synthetic fragrances, dyes, bleach, or optical brighteners, it won’t trigger allergies or asthma attacks, either. Since it’s hypoallergenic and gentle, you can even use it to clean baby clothes.

With this gentle approach to ingredients, you might worry that Earth Breeze won’t properly clean clothes, but this has not been my experience. For both natural and synthetic fabrics, Earth Breeze cleans just as well as traditional detergents. It’s convenient too. Just toss in half a sheet for regular loads, or a whole one for large, heavily soiled loads, and you’re good to go. 

Earth Breeze Eco Sheets are scented only with all-natural essential oils, never synthetic fragrances. But as pleasant as the scented version is, it isn’t for everyone, since a sensitive nose or allergy could be irritated by it. That isn’t a problem, however, since the fragrance-free version is just as effective as the scented option.

If you’re tired of lugging around those heavy plastic bottles, you’re going to love Earth Breeze’s zero-waste, plastic-free, and lightweight cardboard packaging. The detergent sheets, which look just like dryer sheets, fit neatly inside a slim envelope that is easy to store anywhere in your laundry room, even a drawer.

You’re probably wondering how much this dream detergent will cost you. Fear not, because while one-time purchases come in at $0.33 per load, the monthly subscription brings the price down to $0.20 per wash.The free shipping and money-back guarantee mean there’s really no reason not to at least give Earth Breeze a try.

One of the most surprising things about this eco-friendly laundry detergent is how much Earth Breeze gives back to society, not just with the environmental efforts mentioned above, but everyday charities as well. The company donates 10 sheets to charity with each purchase, and even lets you choose the charity they go to, from a list of dozens.

The only negative I found is that Earth Breeze isn’t as well known as some of the traditional laundry detergent brands. As effective and appealing as this all-natural laundry detergent is, many people simply don’t know about it, so it has a bit of an uphill battle despite how well it works. Despite its newness, however, it has accumulated thousands of positive reviews on the internet in its three short years on the market.

If you want an eco-friendly laundry detergent that actually does what it says and gives back to the environment, then Earth Breeze is the perfect option.

Second place medal: Tru Earth Eco-Strips (4.2/5)


  • Made from cruelty-free ingredients
  • Comes in zero-waste packaging
  • Excellent stain removal performance
  • Hypoallergenic ingredients, so it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin
  • Extensive line of additional laundry products


  • More expensive than other options
Tru Earth Review

Tru Earth laundry strips take second place, thanks to its cruelty-free, zero-waste, and sustainable ingredients, making it one of the most eco-friendly laundry detergents you can buy. Add in the vegan-friendly ingredients, and there’s almost no reason not to clean your clothes with Tru Earth Eco-Strips. If you can afford them, that is.

You won’t need to worry about irritating sensitive skin or allergies, as the formula is completely hypoallergenic and paraben free. If you’re particularly sensitive to scents, opt for the fragrance-free variety.

Tru Earth’s concentrated formula offers an excellent stain removal performance. You might want to avoid using these in cold water, however, as they certainly perform and dissolve better in warm water. You could notice some gunk leftover otherwise.

I couldn’t rank this any higher because of how expensive the Tru Earth laundry strips are compared to alternatives. At $0.56 per load for a one-time purchase, it’s one of the least economical options available. The subscription discount brings this down to $0.40 per load, which is still more expensive than other options. Earth Breeze, for example, comes in at half the price with similar discounts.

Another downside to Tru Earth is that it’s not heavily involved in green initiatives other than its eco-friendly detergent. However, it is pretty committed to social charities, including food banks and health care programs, and they donate detergent for 32 loads of laundry with every first-time subscription. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Earth Breeze costs half the price and it still donates extensively to environmental causes, and social charities as well. Still, if you like that Tru Earth has a whole line of sustainable laundry products and you don’t mind its high price, it’s an effective and truly sustainable choice.

Other eco-friendly laundry detergents I tested

Aside from Earth Breeze and Tru Earth, I tested quite a few sustainable and eco-friendly laundry detergents to get a better view of the overall market. As effective as my top picks were, the rest all failed in some capacity. I split these remaining options into three categories.

Team expensive

This category of laundry detergents is not ideal for families on a budget. Sustainable? Yes. But economically sustainable? Perhaps not for everyone.

Blueland Laundry Tablets

Blueland is one of the better eco-friendly laundry detergents in quite a few ways, which is why it came in third on my list. The laundry detergent tablets don’t contain any chlorine bleach, optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances, or other harsh chemicals. That’s backed up by Cradle to Cradle and B. Corp certification, as well as the company’s transparent and sustainable practices.

The tablets also dissolved much better than other tablets I found, and even quite a few pods, so you don’t need to worry about any gunk being left over after a wash cycle.

The main reason, other than price, I couldn’t rank Blueland any higher was its cleaning performance. If you have any heavily soiled clothes, you’ll need to use more than one of the tablets. That makes the high per-wash price—$0.35—even more expensive, and it’s one of the least economical laundry detergents you can get. You’ll get a much better cleaning performance at half the price with Earth Breeze.

The recyclable tin can Blueland comes in makes it more appealing than other options, thanks to the removal of any reliance on single-use plastics. The plastic-free packaging is also quite small and lightweight, minimizing the carbon emissions related to production and shipping. Even the refills are sent in compostable paper bags.

I couldn’t find any environmental contributions, though, making Earth Breeze look even more attractive. With how much money Blueland costs per wash, I assumed my money would’ve gone much further.

Net Zero Co. Laundry Detergent Strips

Net Zero Co. Laundry Detergent Strips really live up to the company’s name, as they’re a sustainable, plastic-free, and eco-friendly laundry detergent in almost every way I could find. This applies to the packaging, too.

These laundry detergent sheets are completely free from toxic and harsh chemicals, such as chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrances, and optical brighteners. That makes them safe for gray water, septic water, and the environment, as well as making sure they don’t irritate sensitive skin.

They’ll also work great in HE washing machines and dissolve much better than many other sheets, even in cold water, but did notice some fading in some of my samples, so you’ll need to be careful with delicate fabrics.

One of the main reasons I couldn’t rank this any higher was its price. At $0.56 per wash, it’s one of the more expensive laundry detergents you can choose. The fact that you don’t get any free shipping on orders under $80 makes this even worse. Add in a lack of subscription discounts, and you’ll end up paying much more than you would with other options, which often have better cleaning power.

What I was impressed with, however, was how much effort Net Zero puts into not using plastic bottles. It aims to be as plastic-free as possible, going a step further into making sure it uses recyclable packaging.

While that’s a lot of effort for the company to put into their environmental efforts, I would’ve expected more for how much they charge. The top two on my list are not only more affordable, but put more effort into benefiting the environment. 

Grab Green Laundry Detergent Powder and Pods

I would say Grab Green’s environmental efforts are ineffective, but that would suggest the company actually has any. It doesn’t. Then there’s the fact that the laundry detergent pods cost $0.50 per load. With the price, I would’ve assumed the laundry pods benefited the environment in some way, but it’s sadly not the case.

This laundry detergent also isn’t great for sensitive skin, and it could irritate or cause skin allergies. That’s made worse by how ineffective the laundry pods are at dissolving during a wash, leaving a sticky residue on your clothes.

There’s also a noticeable and lingering unpleasant smell. While there’s a fragrance-free version, this just doesn’t clean clothes that well and it’s too expensive.

Team ineffective

The following laundry products may be sustainable, and some are even well priced, but they just don’t clean well enough to be considered for the top two sustainable laundry detergents.

Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods

At $0.30 per load (with the subscription discount of course), Dropps laundry detergent pods deserve a mention because of how transparent Dropps is about its ingredients. As well as being an eco-friendly laundry detergent, it’s cruelty free and sustainable. 

That doesn’t stop with the ingredients themselves, as the laundry detergent comes in an apparently plastic-free cardboard box. Dropps even claims that its shipping is completely carbon neutral. Carbon-neutral shipping is achieved by offsetting the carbon emissions involved in the shipping process by “funding high-impact forest conservation and restoration projects worldwide.”

Then there’s the performance of the Dropps laundry detergent pods in washing machines. The thing about pods is they don’t dissolve well. And if they don’t dissolve in cold water completely (cold water being the most sustainable option), how can they properly wash clothes? Some users also report the scent is overwhelming. 

Meliora Laundry Powder

Meliora Laundry Powder is cruelty-free certified, and the company also boasts Made Safe certification, so you can rest assured that it’s a truly eco-friendly laundry detergent. Coupled with that are the environmental initiatives the company’s involved in, including donating 1% of revenue through the 1% for the Planet program.

The powdered laundry detergent comes in plastic-free and refillable canisters, making it even more environmentally friendly. While that means the packaging doesn’t directly affect the environment, it has a higher carbon footprint during shipping because of how heavy the boxes are, since powdered laundry soap is heavier than sheets, or even pods.

Meliora’s laundry powder is also hypoallergenic and completely non-toxic, making it a great laundry soap for sensitive skin. Don’t expect it to clean too well, though, as I found a few stains after the wash cycle was done. 

As sustainable and eco-friendly as this laundry detergent is, you can get a better cleaning performance elsewhere. Its low cost—$0.27 per load—makes it worth considering, but Earth Breeze is more affordable and offers better performance, with carbon-neutral shipping.

Ethique Flash Laundry Soap

Ethique made it onto this list because it’s definitely sustainable, but it’s not really appropriate for the laundry room. As convenient as this laundry bar is when you’re traveling, Ethique Flash performs best for hand washing. Don’t even try using it in an HE washing machine, as you’ll need to rewash it several times. If you’re camping or traveling, though, keep this one in mind.

Team not-so-sustainable

Plastic and its by-products lie at the root of climate change. To truly be considered a “sustainable” laundry detergent, brands must swear off any use of plastic packaging. Since Earth Breeze and Tru Earth have proven that it can be done, the following brands have no excuse.

Molly’s Suds

Molly’s Suds boasts being one of the most affordable laundry detergents to pick up, coming in at a low $0.19 per wash. Add in the subscription offers and free delivery if you buy more than $75 of product, and that gets even more economical.

I did have issues with Molly’s Suds’ packaging, however, which isn’t plastic free. While it is recyclable, it still inevitably leads to plastic waste. The company tries to justify this by saying the liquid detergent is only safe in plastic containers, but that doesn’t match up with other companies that put effort into using plastic-free packaging.

One of the main reasons I wanted to include Molly Suds’ laundry pods, powder detergent, and liquid detergent is the work it puts into eco-friendly and charitable causes. The company has a refill-focused factory in Florida that solely works to refill customers’ products, helping to reduce the impact on the environment. The company also donates to nonprofits and vulnerable communities, offering to wash their clothes for free.

Unfortunately, with its plastic packaging, I can’t consider this detergent truly sustainable.

Happi Earth Laundry Liquid

Happi Earth liquid laundry detergent deserves a mention because it uses refillable paper pouches. The economical $0.25 per wash price also makes it one of the most affordable laundry detergents to pick up. It’s also one of the most long-lasting, as one pouch lasts for up to 400 washes. Since customers don’t need to order so often, there are relatively few carbon emissions associated with the liquid detergent.

As sustainable as the packaging seems, however, it’s not completely plastic free—it uses plastic to line the packaging to stop the detergent from leaking out. Then there’s the cruelty-free claims Happi Earth makes. The logo used on the detergent’s packaging looks like the Leaping Bunny one at first glance, which makes it look like it’s cruelty free. It’s not an authentic logo, though, so I’d hazard a guess that the claims aren’t either.

The “certified” organic essential oils and cleaning agents used in this detergent are safe for sensitive skin, but they’re not exactly effective at cleaning. I still found grease stains on my test samples, so you’ll likely need to use a lot of the laundry detergent to wash your most dirty clothes.

While Happi Earth plants a mangrove tree with every purchase, this doesn’t compare at all to the environmental efforts Earth Breeze and other eco-friendly laundry detergents are involved in. As nice as the sentiment is, it’s far from impressive.

Truly Free Laundry Wash

I initially liked Truly Free laundry detergent because it uses ingredients that are safe for your skin and the environment, making it a truly sustainable detergent. It’s also engaged in charitable efforts, including supporting a deaf village in Jamaica. Add in the support it gives to orphanages, and Truly Free seems like a wholesome detergent to buy.

I couldn’t review it any better because of how it performs, however. In HE washing machines, it doesn’t clean well, and I noticed darker and black fabrics were faded and dull after a wash. Bright colors also didn’t seem so bright once they were cleaned, and I noticed more than a few stains after a wash cycle.

Even worse is the recyclable plastic bottle the detergent comes in, so it isn’t exactly the most sustainable option. Truly Free could certainly learn a few things from the top picks on this list.

Botanical Origin Laundry Detergent

Botanical Origin laundry liquid comes in a recycled plastic jug, so it’s not exactly a completely sustainable option. While that’s the case with most liquid detergents, it shouldn’t be the case with something dubbing itself an eco-friendly laundry detergent. The company claims it’ll be more sustainable by 2025, and says it’ll be completely carbon neutral by 2040.

Other brands have already gotten to this point, so I don’t see what’ll take this liquid detergent company so long. You’re better off going with an option that cares enough to start now.

The Unscented Company Laundry Detergent 

While the recycled packaging makes it seem as though The Unscented Company laundry detergent is sustainable, it’s still recycled plastic. The material isn’t exactly great for the environment. And that’s before mentioning the sodium lauryl sulfate in the ingredients. The toxic chemical harms people and the environment alike, causing skin irritation and lung inflammation.

Pur Home Laundry Detergent

As much as Pur Home boasts being a sustainable and eco-friendly laundry detergent, it has synthetic fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate, both of which harm the environment and can irritate skin. As if that’s not bad enough, this laundry liquid comes in plastic pouches. If you’re trying to eliminate plastic waste, look elsewhere.

My process

There’s no point trying to rank the best sustainable laundry detergents without a process in place. I developed a comprehensive step-by-step process and applied that to each “eco-friendly” laundry detergent on my list.

Here’s the process I used.

My research

I couldn’t start without knowing which laundry detergents I would be analyzing and comparing, so I started with putting together a list of the top options claiming to be sustainable. Amazon and similar platforms were a great tool for this, as I could find out exactly which eco-friendly detergents people were buying. I stuck with the top-selling and best-reviewed options on each of these platforms and had an initial list of over 20 detergents.

Each of the top options naturally made the cut, but there were a few others that I eliminated after a closer look. Some weren’t eco-friendly or sustainable at all, so there wasn’t a point in even testing them. 

I then took customer reviews into account, with Amazon, Wal-Mart, and even manufacturer websites being an easy way to find these. The reviews gave me a general idea of how the detergents would perform. Some praised how cruelty free, sustainable, and plant based the detergents were, but other reviews highlighted the negatives associated with particular brands.

Some of these highlighted how the detergents’ marketing claims didn’t match up with their experiences. Allergies, skin irritation, and even a lack of actual sustainability were all brought up during my research.

As helpful as many of these were, I couldn’t exactly take them at face value. Online reviews are easy to fake. Some customers might not have actually used the laundry detergents, and brands could incentivize positive reviews while encouraging negative (and possibly fake) reviews of competitors.

To overcome that, I spoke with verified customers to make sure I was getting an accurate and honest assessment of their experiences with a particular detergent. These discussions helped me get a decent picture of how the laundry detergents performed before I even started testing them.

For fairness, I reached out to each of the brands to discuss their claims and what customers were saying, as well as asking a few questions of my own. As happy as some of the companies were to answer my questions, quite a few didn’t answer at all, failing to even respond to my outreach. That led me to believe they might have been hiding something.

My criteria

With a lot of information now in hand, it was time to start preparing for my testing phase. I needed some criteria to measure them against and to assign points to each of the detergents I was testing. I already had a general idea of how each would perform, but I couldn’t just rely on secondhand information.

I based my tests on certain salient criteria:

  • Sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Zero-waste, biodegradable, or recyclable packaging
  • Certifications backing up marketing claims
  • Cleaning performance on natural and synthetic fabrics
  • Impact on sensitive skin and allergies
  • Production’s and shipping’s carbon footprint
  • Subscription deals and free shipping
  • Cost per load
  • Cruelty-free production

My tests

With all of my criteria in place, it was time to figure out what the top sustainable and eco-friendly laundry detergent was. I need to start testing each of the eco-friendly detergents on my list to see how they fight tough stains and whether there was any damage to clothes and fabrics they washed.

I used a test sample for each of the options, with this sample including a variety of dirty clothes that I painstakingly stained in various ways. Each sample was as identical as possible to make sure my tests were fair. That includes grease, chocolate, grass, and dirt stains. I also used the same washing machines so there wouldn’t be any factors that threw off the results.

Once each test sample was washed, I left them to air dry before examining them under UV light. In addition to leftover stains, I looked for any signs of damage, such as fading or dulled colors. Earth Breeze and Tru Earth both performed excellently, but I found issues with each of the other laundry detergents.

Each of the detergents received a rank based on my criteria. Throughout the week-long process, it became increasingly obvious exactly what the best eco-friendly laundry detergent would be, but it was surprising how poorly some of them performed.

My findings: The best eco-friendly laundry detergent that fights tough stains

Eco-friendly and traditional detergents don’t need to list all their ingredients on the box, making finding a truly eco-friendly and sustainable detergent complicated. I went through all of the top-selling and most popular “eco-friendly” detergents to find out if they’re actually up to par.

I didn’t solely look at whether these were eco-friendly detergents, but also whether they cleaned clothes or irritated allergies and sensitive skin. I also evaluated affordability, carbon neutrality, and the use of plant-based ingredients, among multiple other factors.

Earth Breeze excelled in all of these areas, making it the best eco-friendly laundry detergent on the market. It ticks every box I could find:

  • Natural laundry detergent
  • Money-back guarantee makes it risk-free
  • Affordable laundry detergent at only $0.20 per wash
  • Reliable cleaning performance
  • Donates 1% of its profits through the 1% for the Planet program
  • Gives 10 laundry detergent sheets to charity with each purchase
  • High-quality fragrance-free option
  • Hands-on approach to giving back to the environment

While it’s one of the lesser-known options on the market, Earth Breeze is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent. My tests show exactly why its customers love it and why it’s gaining more and more popularity.

Wrapping it up

I spent a week with the top-selling laundry detergents on the market to find the best eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Earth Breeze comes out on top for quite a few reasons.

Earth Breeze is a truly eco-friendly detergent that outperformed its competitors in every way I could find. Its packaging is zero waste, its shipping is carbon neutral, its formula is gentle and non-toxic, with no harsh chemicals, and it got rid of every stain in my test samples.

Earth Breeze’s environmental and charitable contributions put all the other eco-friendly and conventional detergents to shame. Your clothes will be clean, and so will your conscious.

If you want a sustainable and eco-friendly laundry detergent that doesn’t irritate your skin or cost an arm and a leg, nothing comes close to Earth Breeze