Safest Green Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin 2021 (2024)

Need the best non-toxic green laundry detergent for sensitive skin? The thought of clean laundry brings to my mind fresh clothing and crisp linens with a snuggly bear touting a particular brand of fabric softener. But what about the harsh chemicals used in most laundry detergents? It’s no wonder so many kids suffer rashes or eczema from detergent! You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like safest laundry detergent sheets sans PFAS “forever chemicals,” safest cookware, safest kitchen appliances, & safest shampoos, now join us as we explore the best (& worst) non-toxic laundry detergents for sensitive skin and tips for what ingredients to avoid.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and was fact-checked by Rebecca Elizabeth Sherrick Harks, RN, BSN.
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Table of Contents

What is Non Toxic Green Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin?

Mamavation is looking for eco-friendly, green, & non-toxic laundry detergent for sensitive skin that has the following qualities:

  1. Non-toxic to the touch for people with sensitive skin & eczema
  2. The fragrances are safe to inhale from clothing the entire day
  3. Using ingredients that are safe for the environment.

Because we use so much washing soda for dirt and stains and it eventually makes its way into streams and other water systems, it’s important to consider purchasing from brands that prioritize green and non-toxic ingredients for our washing machines. We want to get those grease stains or other tough stains out while still using less water in high-efficiency washing machines. Are these laundry formulas out there? Yes, and they are available in both liquid form and powders.

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14+ Toxic Chemicals Commonly Found in Brand Name Laundry Detergent

We looked at the most popular brands of laundry detergents and found that the amount of problematic ingredients is vast. If you want the best non-toxic green laundry detergents for sensitive skin this list includes everything from mild irritants and allergens to endocrine disruptors and cancer-causing agents that can be found in your local laundromat or in your home:


Although fragrances give you that sense of things smelling clean, they do more to trick you than actually help you. Your brain is hard-wired to associate certain scents with clean, but did you know that those scents can also contain hormone-disrupting chemicals? Sadly, they can trick your brain into thinking they are good for you in that regard.

Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals used to make scents carry longer around inside your indoor air and in the bottle. But they come with some health risks. Prenatal exposure in utero to phthalates are linked to attention problems in children. Phthalates are alsoclosely linked to risks to children like attention deficit disorder (ADD), and other behavioral disorders.

However, phthalates are rarely on the label, so good luck finding them. But they are typically found in the ingredient “fragrance” on the label. Technically, thousands of chemicals are approved to list under the ingredient “fragrance.” But here’s more:

  • “Fragrance” and the ingredients included in that label are considered trade secrets and, therefore, companies are not required to disclose their components to the general public.
  • If you see “fragrance” or “perfume” on the ingredient list, the product may also contain chemicals such as acetone or ethanol, just two of thousands of possible ingredients you’d also want to avoid.
  • Only brands disclosing ingredients in their fragrance made our “best” list down below for washing machines.

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Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen and are linked to both hormonal problems and cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NPEs have been associated with reproductive and developmental effects in lab studies on rodents and are highly toxic to aquatic life. They have been found in human breast milk, too. While the EPA is starting to take action on NPEs, they have not yet banned them.


Although this chemical is not supposed to be used in “eco-friendly” products, studies have discovered it in a number of laundry detergents anyways. 1,4-dioxane isn’t added directly to your laundry detergent, it’s a contaminant that gets in during a process called ethoxylation when ethylene oxide is added to other ingredients to make them less harsh in processing.

Ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate are ethoxylated because they are harsh on the skin. This process is what creates the contamination of 1,4-dioxane.

The EPA has determined that this chemical is a probable human carcinogen.

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Synthetic and Petroleum-Based Surfactants

Surfactants help to clean your clothes, but when they are synthetically derived or petroleum-based, they are the most harmful. Surfactants can be divided into three categories:

  • Natural surfactants: Derived from vegetable or animal fats and they are the safest, however, some are still toxic to aquatic life.
  • Naturally derived surfactants: made by modifying coconut oil or other fatty acid plant-based ingredients. They may sound natural and safe, however, they are mostly known to be toxic and are known carcinogens.
    • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) are examples of naturally derived surfactants but we will discuss. SLS and SLES are naturally derived surfactants but that doesn’t mean they are not harmful. Both have been shown to be a skin and eye irritant by the Journal of the American College of Toxicology. There is debate over whether SLS is a carcinogen, and some research indicates it may damage the immune system. Both are harmful to the environment.
  • Synthetic or petroleum-based surfactants: These surfactants are typically the worst and potential for contaminated ingredients is higher. Examples of synthetic surfactants are ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS).
    • Ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES), which can cause moderate to severe skin and eye irritation, can also be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane, which is a suspected carcinogen. The severity of the irritation will increase with the amount you are exposed to, but when combined with other chemicals, they can create nitrosamines, which are a potent class of carcinogens. ALES may also damage the skin’s immune system by causing skin layers to separate, inflame and age.
    • Polyethylene glycol (PEG), may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is persistent, meaning it doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the drain.

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Phosphates are difficult to remove, even in wastewater processing systems, and can pose a threat to the environment. According to the EPA, they promote algae growth that decreases the oxygen that many aquatic life forms need to survive. Studies also link them to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and death in animals.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach, such as Clorox, can burn the skin, and can cause eye damage and respiratory issues. It is classified as a hazardous chemical in its initial state.

Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers (Quats)

Lab studies have shown this chemical to harm fertility, cause miscarriages, and cause severe birth defects in animals. According to Chemical of the Day, they can also trigger skin and respiratory irritations as well as allergies. Some quats are also EDCs and some are toxic to aquatic life. Not much is known about its effect on humans, but this is definitely a chemical you don’t want around your children.
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Benzyl Acetate, and Other Benzene Ingredients

According to its own material safety sheet, this benzyl acetate is toxic if inhaled or ingested. It’s also irritating to eyes, lungs, and skin. Benzene-based ingredients are often toxic.


The EPA states that this chemical can irritate your throat, skin, or eyes and may have even more serious health effects. In animal lab studies, it has also been associated with harmful effects during pregnancy, neurological effects, and more.
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Optical Brighteners

These chemicals create the “optical illusion” of brighter whites. They “coat” your clothing and remain after washing, meaning that your family’s skin is constantly exposed to them. According to the material safety sheet, they are extremely toxic to aquatic life. They are also an irritant to skin, eyes, and lungs, and can be harmful if ingested.

Quaternium-15 & Formaldehyde

Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde. Additionally, some companies add formaldehyde to their products. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and toxicant.

Artificial Colors and Preservatives

We know that artificial dyes are associated with ADHD. And artificial preservatives, like BHT and BHA, may be carcinogenic or an endocrine disruptor. You should avoid these as much as possible.

A Word About Silver Nanoparticles

More manufacturers are adding silver nanoparticles to clothing to combat odor-causing bacteria. These can seep back into wastewater, in this case, from your washing machine. They are harmful to ecosystems and can damage fish and other animals as well as their embryos, according to research. They can also prevent wastewater treatment systems from functioning properly. You may want to limit how many “odor-reducing” clothing articles you buy for your family.

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Mamavation’s Recommended Laundry Detergent — Truly Free

Mamavation is recommending you try out Truly Free laundry detergent if you would like a non-toxic brand that works on tough stains. This brand reduces your exposure to immune-impacting toxins that are typically found in laundry detergents, so you can confidently wash everyone’s laundry, including your infant, with this product.

Benefits of Truly Free Laundry Detergent Products

  • Natural and free of harsh chemicals that irritate and cause skin reactions
  • Safe for infants
  • Free of all Thickeners, Dyes, Optical Brighteners
  • Uses Milled salts and Plant-Based Cleansing Ingredients (100% Vegan)
  • Helps Washer Clean More Efficiently
  • Better packaging — Uses reusable jug to help you save on plastics

Special Discount for Mamavation Fans

Truly Free has offered special discounts on their products for being a fan of Mamavation. Click here to automatically get a discount on Truly Free laundry detergent products. Here are some details and options:

  • Starter Kit Choice: Refillable Forever Laundry Wash Jug & 150 Loads of Signature Scent Laundry Wash Loads. Normally $54, but Mamavation discount makes it $48.
  • Buy 5 Get 2 Free: Refillable Forever Laundry Wash Jug & 350Loads of Signature Scent Laundry Wash Loads. Normally $129, but Mamavation discount makes it $79.
  • Best Value Buy 6 Get 6 Free:Refillable Forever Laundry Wash Jug & 600Loads of Signature Scent Laundry Wash Loads. Normally $219, but Mamavation discount makes it $99.
  • Washing Machine Cleaners: These cleaners will get the mold and gunk out of your laundry machine.

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Mamavation Investigates Laundry Detergents

Mamavation combed through 200+ Laundry Detergents online. Brands offering no or incomplete ingredient disclosure were deemed not our favorite. So were laundry detergents that cleaned with an abundance of ingredients harmful to the Planet and the humans on it.

Here are some additional investigations we thought you’d be interested in:

  • Safest Dish Soaps
  • Safest Disinfectants
  • Small Kitchen Appliances
  • Best Organic Mattresses

Not Our Favorite Laundry Detergent Brands for Sensitive Skin

These brands contain many of the chemicals from our toxic ingredient list above. We specifically were looking for brands that had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), benzisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone. Please take note that some brands have other products in other categories.

  • 365 Whole Foods Market Powdered Laundry Detergent Unscented
  • 365 Whole Foods Market Liquid Detergent Laundry Packs Unscented
  • 365 Whole Foods Market Lavender Citrus Concentrated Laundry Detergent
  • Ajax (all products)
  • All (all other products)
  • All Free & Clear:Contains surfactants and brighteners
  • Amway Home SA8 Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Amway Home SA8 Powder Laundry Detergent
  • Arm & Hammer Clean & Simple Laundry Detergent
  • Arm & Hammer Liquid Detergent Perfume & Dye-Free
  • Babyganics 3X Laundry Detergent Fragrance-Free
  • Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Liquid
  • Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Powder
  • Biokleen Citrus Essence Laundry Powder
  • Biokleen Baby Laundry Liquid
  • Biokleen Citrus Essence Laundry Liquid
  • Biokleen Lavender Lily Laundry Liquid
  • Biokleen Sport Laundry Liquid
  • Biokleen Cold Water Laundry Liquid
  • Botanical Origin Laundry Detergent Orange Blossom & Citrus Leaves
  • Cheer Free & Gentle
  • Cheer (all products)
  • Cosy House Collection Detergent Pacs Unscented
  • Cosy House Collection Detergent Pacs Fresh Scent
  • Dr. Bronners Sals Suds All Purpose Cleaner
  • Dreft Stage 1 Newborn Liquid Detergent
  • Dreft Baby Laundry Detergent Powder
  • Dynamo (all products)
  • EcosNext Liquidless Laundry Detergent Free & Clear
  • EcosNext Liquidless Laundry Detergent Lavender Vanilla
  • Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent Fragrance Free
  • Ecover Laundry Detergent Lavender Field
  • Era (all products)
  • Fab (all products)
  • Gain
  • Just The Basics (CVS)Laundry Detergent Fresh Scent
  • Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Premium Laundry Detergent Free & Clear
  • Lazy Coconuts Eco-friendly Detergent Strips
  • Method Laundry Detergent Packs Free + Clear
  • Method Laundry Detergent Packs (with fragrance)
  • Method Laundry Detergent Pour Free + Clear
  • Method Laundry Detergent Pour (with fragrance)
  • ModereLaundry Detergent Clean (liquid)
  • Norwex Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Persil Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent
  • Persil ProClean Discs
  • Planet Ultra Powdered Laundry Detergent Free & Clear
  • Planet Ultra Laundry Detergent Free & Clear
  • Purex Free & Clear for Sensitive Skin
  • Purex for Baby Laundry Detergent
  • Purex 4-In-1 Packs Mountain Breeze
  • Purex Powder Detergent
  • Seventh Generation Ultra Plus Power Free & Clear
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear for Baby’s Sensitive Skin
  • Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus 3-In-1 Fresh Citrus Scent
  • Tide (rest of brands)
  • Tide Purclean Plant Based Liquid Unscented
  • Tide Pods
  • Ultra (all products)
  • Wisk (all products)

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The Better Non-Toxic Green Laundry Detergent Brands for Sensitive Skin

These brands are better but may contain 1 or 2 of the above ingredients. Most have naturally derived versions of certain chemicals and derive their scents naturally, and are clear of the worst of the “bad” chemicals. However, these are better products than those listed above and do not contain the worst offenders on the above list. That said, these chemicals do not pose a high risk but maybe something to avoid if you have sensitive skin, allergies, or are autoimmune compromised. One more thing to note about this section is it contains ALL additional “natural” brand that did not offer 100% fragrance disclosure. If we didn’t know what the fragrance was, we added it here.

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The Best Non-Toxic Green Laundry Detergent Brands for Sensitive Skin

We are happy to announce that this list is long enough to provide you with plenty of options! All of these products are either MADE SAFE certified, do not contain the ingredients listed above, or are naturally/organically grown with no added chemicals. Pay attention to products because some brands have products in different categories.

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Laundry Aides

If this list of toxic laundry detergents surprised you, I’m sorry to say that it gets worse. Almost all laundry aides – dryer sheets, fabric softener, and stain remover – use toxic chemicals. Most fabric softeners, for example, contain quats but they also have fragrance, or artificial preservatives and colors. Dryer sheets fare even worse.

If you want to use these products, here are some of the safest choices:

So what can you use in your high-efficiency washer and is laundry detergent toxic? Many brands are but you don’t have to stop washing your clothes. (Bad news for your teenager!) There are a lot of brands you can choose from to keep your family safe and freshly laundered. Or, take the plunge and DIY your laundry cleaners. You won’t regret it!

Safest Green Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin 2021 (2024)


Safest Green Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin 2021? ›

all Free Clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. 100% free of perfumes and dyes, all Free Clear is Tough on Stains, Gentle on Skin.

Which laundry detergent is the least toxic? ›

What Is the Best Non Toxic Laundry Detergent?
  • NaturOli* (Our Top Pick)
  • Ecos Free & Clear*
  • Meliora Unscented Powder Detergent*
  • Molly's Suds*
  • Truly Free*
  • Aspen*
  • Clean Cult*
May 30, 2024

What detergent is best for sensitive skin dermatologist? ›

all Free Clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. 100% free of perfumes and dyes, all Free Clear is Tough on Stains, Gentle on Skin.

How do I choose laundry detergent for eczema and allergic prone skin? ›

Choose products (from detergents to fabric softeners) that are hypoallergenic, free of dyes and fragrances, and formulated for sensitive skin. Try liquid products, as they tend to leave fewer residues than powders.

What ingredient in detergent irritates skin? ›

Like most soaps, detergents contain some type of surfactant, or surface-acting agent. Surfactants work by loosening dirt and oil particles and allowing them to be washed away. Harsh surfactants can be irritating for people with sensitive skin.

What laundry detergent doesn't have microplastics? ›

  • Blueland Laundry Tablets – USA – Canada. ...
  • HexaWash All-Natural Laundry Detergent Alternative – Plastic-free! ...
  • Tru Earth Laundry Strips – USA / Canada / Australia. ...
  • Molly's Suds Laundry Detergent Powder and Pods – USA / Canada / UK. ...
  • Kind Laundry Detergent Sheets – USA – Canada. ...
  • Eco Roots Laundry Detergent Sheets – USA – Canada.

Is Ecover detergent safe? ›

“Is Ecover suitable for sensitive skin?” Yes. Ecover is suitable even for sensitive baby skin, in fact many of our fans first discover Ecover when they have a little one. Our Non-Bio Laundry Detergent has had the seal of approval from Mumsnet.

What are green detergents? ›

The best eco-friendly detergents are made without nonrenewable, petroleum-based chemicals. They are biodegradable and contain no optical brighteners, dyes, or artificial fragrances.

Is Ecos laundry detergent toxic? ›

ECOS products are made without many ingredients found in conventional cleaning products that can harm people and the environment, such as dyes, optical brighteners, formaldehyde donors, ammonia, chlorine bleach, phthalates, parabens and phosphates.

Does Tide have a non-toxic laundry detergent? ›

A:Tide purclean™ is the first plant-based detergent with the trusted cleaning power of Tide. In fact, Tide purclean™ cleans as well as Tide Original Liquid Laundry Detergent but has 75% bio-based ingredients, as certified by the USDA BioPreferred program.

Which laundry detergent is the most hypoallergenic? ›

Charlie's Soap Laundry Liquid is probably the most hypoallergenic of any of the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin in our guide, containing mostly washing soda. It also has the EPA's Safe Choice seal—an award given to products that are environmentally sound and contain no harmful chemicals.

Is Persil safe for sensitive skin? ›

Recognised by the British Skin Foundation and dermatologically tested, Persil's Non Bio detergent is designed to be gentle next to sensitive skin.

What is the most gentle soap for sensitive skin? ›

Castile soap is a true soap that's known to be great on sensitive skin and those prone to allergies. This is due to the hydrating nature of the saponified oils it contains, making it a great natural moisturizer, especially when combined with sugar, as in our Organic Sugar Soaps.

Is Tide detergent bad for sensitive skin? ›

Tide is proud to have met the rigorous qualification standards for these seals and to deliver the clean you expect while being gentle on sensitive skin. In addition to Tide Free & Gentle, Tide also offers a whole line of hypoallergenic laundry detergents designed especially for people with sensitive skin.

What is in laundry detergent that people are allergic to? ›

You can have an allergic reaction to laundry detergent containing certain ingredients. The biggest culprits are fragrances, preservatives, and surfactants. Some people might also be allergic to dyes used to color the detergent.

Is there hypoallergenic laundry detergent? ›

Sensitive Skin Plus Hypoallergenic Fresh Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent, High Efficiency (HE) FEELS GOOD, SMELLS GREAT. At last, the liquid laundry detergent with a hypoallergenic scent is a solution that sensitive skin has been waiting for.

Is Woolite good for sensitive skin? ›

Especially my delicates. It's very mild so it's good for sensitive skin.

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