6 Best Baby Safe Laundry Detergents: Complete Guide

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6 Best Baby Safe Laundry Detergents

As a new parent, you need the best baby safe laundry detergents that clean the toughest stains, but are also safe for your baby’s sensitive skin.

This is since between stains and spit-ups, you find yourself having to change you and your infant’s clothes several times a day.

To help you choose, we’ve written a comprehensive guide based on reviews we’ve scoured online below. We list the best baby laundry detergents and give you tips for your next purchase.

Best Value
Best Overall
Budget Pick
Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
Better Life Natural Concentrated Liquid
Best Overall
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
Best Value
Molly’s Suds Original
Budget Pick
Better Life Concentrated Liquid
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

6 Best Baby Laundry Detergents

1. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap

BEST OVERALL

Dr. Bronner_s

This liquid soap contains over 90% organic ingredients. All ingredients are all-natural, vegan, and 100% biodegradable. They’re certified fair trade and cruelty-free so you know it isn’t tested on animals.

With plant-based components, there are zero synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents. This means it’s great for both the environment and the whole family. This product is great if you’re an all-natural mama who wants a clean formula for your infant’s clothes.

What’s impressive about Dr. Bronner’s Soap is that it is multipurpose—a total of “18-in-1”. It’s safe to use for laundry, mopping, all-purpose cleaning, and even washing your hands, body, and face.

Since it is 3x more concentrated than most liquid soaps, one bottle will go a long way. Plus, the bottle uses 100% post-consumer recycled plastic to protect the environment.

While the unscented version is the best for your little one, there are also eight other fragrances available.

Pros

  • Versatile with over 18 uses
  • Uses only a small amount so it’s long-lasting
  • Made with plant-based organic ingredients
  • Strong cleaning power
  • Baby friendly liquid detergent

Cons

  • Hard water reacts with castile soap
  • Pricier than other baby detergents

2. Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder Detergent

BEST VALUE

Molly_s Suds

This gentle yet powerful baby detergent only uses five plant-based ingredients. This means those with sensitivities, allergens, eczema, etc. can use it without worrying.

A great feature of this laundry detergent is that it can pre-treat stains. Before laundering, make a paste using the laundry powder detergent and apply it to the stain. Brush it into the clothing and let it set. Then, throw it into the washing machine as per normal.

This is a cruelty-free and vegan baby laundry detergent that works on all fabric types, except silk and leather. Producing minimal suds, this best baby laundry detergent is perfect for high-efficiency (HE) washing machines and all kinds of baby clothes.

One of the ingredients is organic peppermint oil. This leaves a fresh and clean scent on infant clothes without making them overpowering. For those who are worried about the peppermint oil, there’s also an unscented version.

This is also safe enough to clean fabric baby toys.

Pros

  • Uses only five eco-friendly, carcinogen-free ingredients
  • Can be used in hard or soft water
  • Doesn’t block or damage HE machine sensors
  • Strong cleaning power

Cons

  • Packaging is difficult to seal and may cause spills
  • Some reports the powder clumping in cold water

3. Better Life Natural Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent

BEST BUDGET PICK

Better Life

This is a plant-based baby laundry detergent made with biodegradable ingredients. They leave out harsh chemicals such as sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and alcohol.

With its 4x ultra-concentrated formula, this best baby laundry detergent dissolves the toughest dirt and stains. It’s also color-safe and hypoallergenic. Plus, this natural laundry detergent is compatible with standard and high-efficiency (HE) machines.

A notable ingredient in this liquid baby laundry detergent is soapbark. Native to Chile, the extract of a soapbark tree works as a natural cleaning agent and is non toxic.

They also use essential oils and botanical extracts to create a natural laundry scent for clothes. This means they use real fruits like lemons and oranges to create a citrusy and clean smell. Available in lavender grapefruit or unscented version.

Pros

  • Uses plant-based, biodegradable ingredients
  • Subtle and refreshing scent from oils & botanical extracts
  • Compatible with any washer
  • Non-toxic, cruelty-free
  • Natural laundry detergent

Cons

  • Some containers arrived with leaks
  • Missing pump in many shipments

4. Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent

Puracy 4

Created by doctors, this baby laundry detergent is a good choice if your infant has sensitive, allergy-prone, and delicate skin. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals such as phosphates, sulfates, chlorine, and perfumes.

This liquid baby laundry detergent uses safe plant-based enzymes and natural cleansers. It’s a powerful baby laundry detergent that only needs 1/4 oz per load, but will get rid of stains and odors. As a result, it creates less waste by using less water and energy.

This biodegradable detergent is suitable for all types of clothing. This includes delicate baby’s clothes, microfiber towels, cloth diapers, and so on.

There’s no added fragrance, but this baby laundry detergent will make your clothes have subtle notes of warm, freshly cleaned cotton scent. It’s a certified safe detergent.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic ingredients for cloth diapers
  • Convenient pump bottle
  • Ultra-concentrated solution (10x) to last long
  • Compatible with any washer
  • Natural laundry detergent

Cons

  • May not be the best for removing tougher stains
  • Some records of problematic shipping that causes damage

5. Grab Green 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent Powder

Grab Green 5

This is a baby laundry detergent formulated with naturally-derived plant- and mineral-based ingredients. It’s free from dyes, phosphates, chlorine, animal byproducts, and so on.

What’s remarkable about this baby laundry detergent is the packaging. It uses a convenient velcro closure and contains a measuring spoon. For transparency, it also lists all ingredients and their purpose.

Another thing to note is the versatility. This baby laundry detergent has a “3-in-1” function: detergent, stain remover, and brightener. It’s compatible with standard and high-efficiency (HE) washing machines at all temperatures.

This non-toxic, hypoallergenic baby laundry detergent is available in water lily or fragrance-free options.

Pros

  • Strong cleaning power
  • Fresh and pleasant scent
  • Compatible with any machine and temperature
  • Eco-friendly: biodegradable and small carbon footprint
  • Non-toxic and dye-free formula

Cons

  • Powder sometimes has difficulty dissolving in cold water
  • Some records of problematic shipping that causes damage

6. Ecover Zero 2x Liquid Laundry Detergent

Ecover Zero 6

This baby laundry detergent considers the environment, both inside and outside. On the inside, the ingredients are plant-based biodegradable ingredients.

On the outside, they use Plantplastic in their packaging. This is Ecover’s proprietary plant-sourced plastic made from sugarcane. Ecover also states that 70% of their organic ingredients break down within 28 days.

This baby laundry detergent is free of dyes, optical brighteners, and fragrances. It has been dermatology tested to make sure it won’t cause any allergies for your baby.

The 2x concentrated liquid helps remove any kinds of stains, even in cold water to save energy. This baby laundry detergent is fragrance-free but it will leave a very subtle, clean scent on your clothes.

Pros

  • Works in cold water without causing clumps
  • Uses only a small amount so it’s long-lasting
  • Effective in removing baby stains and dirt
  • Organic baby liquid detergent
  • Mild detergent for infant skin

Cons

  • Cap causes leaks
  • Handle is difficult to hold

FAQs About Baby Safe Detergents

Is Using a Baby Safe Laundry Detergent Necessary?

Necessary

Not exactly, but we highly recommend using one for the whole family.

Babies have much more sensitive skin than adults. Every day, their baby skin touches various types of clothing such as:

  • Baby’s clothes
  • Crib sheets
  • Towels
  • Face cloths
  • Burp cloths
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Cloth diapers

Given this, it’s possible for a baby’s skin to react with the harsh chemicals from a detergent for babies. This includes fragrances, dyes, brighteners, and so on.

That’s why using a baby safe laundry detergent will act as a preventive measure to protect your baby’s sensitive skin.

Can My Baby Have Allergic Reactions To Laundry Detergents?

Allergic

Yes. Babies have sensitive skin and a weaker immune system than adults. So they’re more susceptible to allergic reactions.

Various ingredients in a baby detergent may trigger skin irritation for your baby. Some of these ingredients are parabens, dyes, emulsifiers, thickeners, and so on.

The two most common skin irritations are allergy and contact dermatitis.

Allergy

Allergies develop over time after multiple exposures. But once a baby develops a skin allergy, even a small amount can cause mild to severe reactions.

If your baby is sensitive or allergic to the baby detergent you’re using, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Red rash
  • Blisters
  • Bumps
  • Dry or scaly skin
  • Swelling

Contact Dermatitis

This is a type of eczema caused by a contact with a particular substance. This skin irritation appears in two forms: irritant and allergic.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

This is a painful rash that appears as soon as the baby’s skin touches an irritating substance, such as clothes. This is more common than allergic contact dermatitis.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Your baby shows an allergic reaction to a substance. The catch is that it may take a few days for an itchy red rash to develop.

When Should I Stop Using Baby Laundry Detergents?

As your baby grows older, their immune system also develops. Generally, most of the skin conditions that babies experience should settle when they turn one year old.

So at this point, it’s safe to switch to a regular laundry detergent. But if your baby has sensitive skin, it’s better to stick to the baby detergent.

To be sure, it’s best to consult with your doctor.

What Are the Different Types of Baby Detergents?

Types

Just like regular detergents, there are three main types of baby safe laundry detergents: powder, liquid, and pods.

Powder

Powder detergents are the oldest type of laundry detergent for babies (they’ve been around since the 1930s).

It’s the cheapest per load compared to liquid or pods. Typically, it comes in cardboard boxes. So while it is more eco-friendly, it tends to be heavier and bulkier.

Powder baby detergents tend to have a stronger cleaning power. In particular, it is effective for removing heavy stains such as grass or mud from your clothes.

These are most effective for households with hard water.

However, the downside is that powder detergents tend to clump when using cold water. In areas with high humidity (bathrooms included), the powder may cake. It also requires a paste for pretreating stains, which may be a hassle.

Liquid

Available since the mid-1950s, liquid laundry detergent has become the most popular type of baby detergent.

Liquid detergents are easy to use. It’s useful for pretreating or spot cleaning your baby’s clothes.

In particular, they’re effective in removing stains in clothes caused by oil or grease. This is because the liquid detergent has the ability to penetrate the fibers of the clothing to get rid of the stain.

Most of the time, these laundry detergents are compatible with any temperature and distribute well inside the washer.

The downside is that liquid detergents are easy to overuse. The measurement lines on bottle caps are difficult to read. Or since the bottle is too heavy, it’s easy to pour in too much.

Many liquid detergents are packaged in plastic, causing a strain on landfills. Of course, there is an option to recycle but not many manufacturers participate in doing so.

Pods

Introduced in 2012, packets or pods are new to the market. Even then, they grew fast due to their convenience.

Laundry packets are lightweight. They’re the simplest to use, and you don’t have to measure. All you have to do is throw one pod into your washer.

The pod is packed inside a small film packet that dissolves in water. This allows the cleaning ingredients to remain stable for a longer period. It also means less packaging waste.

But it still remains as the most expensive type of laundry detergent.

Since it comes in a small pod, it’s difficult to customize the amount. This is a problem if you have a large load, or if you need extra strength for tough stains.

Pods are also the only type of laundry detergent for baby that doesn’t allow pretreating stains.

The biggest downside of pods is their appearance. They can be mistaken for candy, so children could end up ingesting them.

What Ingredients Should I Avoid?

Avoid

It’s difficult to imagine that something that we’ve been using for years could harm us.

But harmful chemicals lurk everywhere. In the kitchen, bedroom, and even in the bathroom. The reality is that baby products marketed as ‘safe’ could contain allergens and toxins.

Below is the ingredient list of what you should avoid:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Alcohol
  • Benzene
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Dyes
  • Ethers
  • Ethoxylates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrances
  • Parabens
  • Petroleum solvent
  • Phosphates
  • Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/SLS and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate/SLES)

The effects of these ingredients vary.

Some ingredients cause mild to moderate reactions, such as skin irritation and asthma.

But some ingredients are more dangerous to the point of calling them ‘human carcinogens’. These are linked to developmental defects and cancer in children.

When in doubt, check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website. After examining all ingredients listed in a detergent, EWG rates it from EWG Verified to F (“Highest Concern”).

This would be a helpful reference if you’re unsure about a certain detergent.

Some of these ingredients are hard to pronounce or recall. And remember, many manufacturers do not provide a full list of their ingredients on their labels.

Rest assured, all of our recommendations have received a rating of A (“Lowest Concern”). This is the second highest grade EWG gives to a product.

With that being said, you’d be surprised to know that many popular baby detergent brands have a very low EWG score:

  • Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent (F – Highest Concern)
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Scent Free Laundry Detergent (F – Highest Concern)
  • Dreft Stage 1 Newborn Detergent (F – Highest Concern)
  • All Free Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent (D – High Concern)
  • Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent Free Clear (D – High Concern)

So, just because something is labeled ‘for sensitive skin’ or ‘free clear’, it doesn’t equal ‘safe’. Always, always check the free clear labels!

Buying Guide: How To Choose the Best Baby Detergent

Buying Guide

Before, you might have chosen a baby detergent based on what scent or the price. But now, you noticed that there are a lot more things to think about.

Overwhelmed? Don’t panic.

We made a list of the most important factors to take into consideration. This way, you’ll have a better idea of which laundry detergent for baby will be the best one for the whole family.

Detergent Type

As mentioned above, there are three types of laundry detergents: powder, liquid, and pods.

We would recommend choosing between powder or liquid detergent.

Both powder and liquid have their pros and cons, so it will depend on your needs.

Skip the pods as it can cause more harm than help, especially when it’s within children’s reach.

Along with that, one thing to check is the type of water you have at home. Some laundry detergents may not be compatible with hard water.

Machine Type

Check if the laundry detergent for baby is compatible with your washing machine.

This is especially important if you have a high-efficiency (HE) machine.

This is because suds could block and damage HE machine sensors. So the best baby detergents for HE machines will produce less suds.

Hypoallergenic

By definition, hypoallergenic means it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

The catch is the phrase less likely. The manufacturer is claiming that their product will cause fewer allergic reactions. It doesn’t mean it will not cause any allergic reaction at all.

Your baby could still have a reaction, especially if they have sensitive skin.

But a laundry detergent for baby with this label is better than nothing.

Brighteners

Optical or UV brighteners are included to make colors appear brighter. Some even claim that it treats stains.

The truth is that it doesn’t help with cleaning clothes and treating stains.

It can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. So it’s best to skip this chemical.

Free of Dyes & Fragrances

Dyes make the best baby laundry detergents look more attractive. It’s also used for marketing purposes, as customers can link a certain color to a scent or a brand. Some dyes, such as blue, help in brightening clothes.

In other words, dyes are not important as it does nothing to clean your baby’s clothes. The same goes for fragrances.

Keep in mind there’s an important difference between fragrance-free and unscented.

Fragrance-free means the laundry detergent for babies does not contain any fragrance.

Unscented means there is a fragrance, but this has been masked.

Some brands use natural fragrances, such as real fruits or essential oils. If you prefer a clean, fresh scent on your clothes, natural fragrances may be a better alternative.

Ingredients

As listed above, brighteners, dyes, and fragrances are ingredients you could go without.

But those are only three ingredients among many. So, to be sure, we recommend checking the full list of ingredients.

Some laundry detergents may include harmful chemical substances that may cause severe reactions.

For example, All Free Clear Detergent and Seventh Generation Detergent are popular brands. But even if they’re marketed as ‘free clear’, they contain 1,4-Dioxane which can cause allergies and even cancer.

If possible, go for plant-based or natural products. They tend to be less irritating than synthetic products. Plus, they have a lower environmental impact.

Like hypoallergenic products, organic, natural, or plant-based won’t equal ‘safe’. But it will have a lower risk than others.

We recommend checking the EWG rating to see what ingredients you should be concerned about.

Budget

Price is another important factor to consider.

This is especially true now that you have a baby. You’ll find yourself having to wash off much more stains from clothes than before.

Consider how concentrated the laundry detergent is. If it’s highly concentrated, then it could last longer.

Also, think about how heavy your load is. Then try to calculate the approximate price per load to buy the most cost-efficient laundry detergent for the whole family.

Top Picks

Top Picks

Among our recommendations, the best would be Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap. Made with all-natural ingredients, it has over 18 uses so it can also act as soap, shampoo, facial cleanser, and so on. The formula is 3x more concentrated, so one bottle will go a long way.

Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder is also a good choice. It uses only five plant-based, carcinogen-free ingredients. Plus, it’s compatible with hard or soft water, and all types of machines.

Baby laundry detergents can be pricier than regular detergents. Better Life Natural Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent considers your budget without sacrificing quality. It contains biodegradable ingredients such as soapbark and lemons. Plus, their 4x ultra-concentrated formula will get rid of stains.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of a little one is already tough. You don’t want the laundry to add to your stress.

That’s why we created this guide to help you choose the best laundry detergent for your baby’s clothes. Now, all that’s left is to buy the baby detergent and test it out.

To all the parents out there, we’re rooting for you.

Final tip: If you’re looking for something to help you clean out baby bottles and utensils, then make sure to read through our article on the Best Baby Dish Soaps for Pacifiers and Bottles.

About the author

angelica-graham

Angelica Graham

A few years ago, Angelica found out about all the plastic and toxic ingredients that got into most children’s products. And this worried her to no end. Because of this, she began to research what the best ingredients and materials were for children and made it her mission to share this information with other mothers.