Written by Kirsten Hudson
Sources: EWG and Organic Authority
You can’t get more up close and personal than your clothes. If you wash your clothes with conventional laundry detergents, harmful chemical residues go right onto your skin—and into your body. Get your clothes fresh with a better laundry detergent.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released 10 top-scoring products for doing laundry from its database of cleaners. Find out what makes these laundry cleaners the best of the best.
You can’t get more uncomplicated than this detergent booster. It contains just one ingredient: Washing soda. Also known as sodium carbonate, washing soda is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. Add some to a load to boost the cleaning and freshening power of your detergent. This product earned an A from the EWG.
Babies get messy. Sometimes detergent alone won’t get rid of pesky food, grass and other more…unmentionable stains. OxiClean Laundry Baby Stain Soaker helps remove stains without any nasty chemicals. It uses just two ingredients, actually: Sodium carbonate peroxide, which breaks down into sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, and sodium carbonate. Both ingredients received A ratings individually from the EWG, so of course the product earned an A overall.
Stain removal, color preserver, and a fresh scent? This laundry detergent from Martha Stewart does it all. Thankfully, it also does it all without artificial colors, preservatives, SLS or synthetic fragrances. The detergent also comes in a bottle made of recyclable HDPE. While this detergent received an A-rating from the EWG overall, it does contain several individually C- and D-rated ingredients for slight biodegradation and respiratory concerns.
This simple detergent from Whole Foods contains just five ingredients. Three of them received A-ratings from the EWG, including sodium chloride (aka salt), sodium carbonate and vegetable soap. Also in the mix are C-rated sodium metasilicate, an ingredient that poses some concern from respiratory effects, and C-rated alcohol ethoxylates (C12), a surfactant that poses some health concerns. Overall, this detergent earned an A from the EWG.
When you use this laundry detergent, you won’t smell any harsh fumes or fragrances on your clothes. This product is unscented and hypoallergenic. It contains all biodegradable ingredients that won’t pollute the environment. Plus, this detergent is concentrated, so you’ll get your money’s worth. One bottle can handle 40 loads of laundry in a regular washer and 60 loads in an HE machine. Overall, this detergent earned an A from the EWG.
Skip the detergents filled with optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances and dyes, this powder detergent from Seventh Generation cleans without the chemicals. It contains green cleaning staples, like sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate and sodium carbonate peroxide, among others. This powder comes packaged in 100 percent recycled paperboard made with a minimum of 35 percent post-consumer content. Overall, it earned an A from the EWG.
If you could clean more with less, well, why wouldn’t you? This highly concentrated detergent significantly reduces the amount of packaging, water and shipping resources you use to clean your clothes. Overall this detergent from Planet earned an A from the EWG, but it does contain two C-rated ingredients individually.
Guess what’s in this bleach? Just hydrogen peroxide and water! That certainly beats the usual chlorine bleach. This biodegradable, VOC-free bleach lifts tough stains the natural way. This product earned an A from the EWG.
From green cleaning staple Dr. Bronner’s, this castile soap can function as a dish-washing soap, hand soap, shampoo, and, yes, laundry detergent. Made with just vegetable glycerin, water, hemp oil, coconut oil, olive oil, peppermint oil, olive fatty acids and rosemary leaf extract, this soap doesn’t contain any unnecessary chemicals, additives or preservatives. It comes packaged in 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Plus, it’s Fair Trade certified! This product earned an A from the EWG.
Formulated with a more neutral pH than many conventional laundry detergents, this laundry wash won’t harm delicate clothes, like wool and silk. You can use it to hand wash garments or use it as a regular detergent. Overall, this product earned an A from the EWG, although it does contain three individually C-rated ingredients.
This is just a sampling of products in the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database. Visit the database for more information.