The ingredients in regular laundry detergents include phosphates which build up in the world’s rivers and oceans and lead to “eutrophication” (that is those huge algal blooms that kill wildlife and plant life).
When you buy the best sustainable laundry detergents you can play a part in preventing this process and many other harmful processes arising from chemicals in detergents.
And the good news is that these sustainable detergents are excellent alternatives that really clean your clothes and remove tough stains.
Tide Purclean Liquid
We weren’t expecting to be impressed by a “big brand name” but Tide’s Purclean eco friendly laundry detergent is excellent.
It cleans every bit as well as their regular version and while it’s not the greenest detergent in our tests, its green creds are pretty good.
If you want the cleanest laundry possible and liquid laundry detergent, this may be the best afforable choice for it.
Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation’s eco-creds are not in doubt, the contents of each bottle are around 97% biologically plant-based and the bottle is made from, mainly, recycled plastic too.
It’s not the best stain remover here, but it does clean laundry very well.
Method Laundry Detergent
Method’s unusual bottle design caught our eye as it’s designed to prevent you from adding too much detergent to the load (something that ends up costing you and the planet with traditional laundry detergent).
It’s a bit more expensive than we’d like but it washes well and it has solid eco-friendly credentials.
It uses an eco-friendly fragrance free approach that we found easy to incorporate into our laundry routine as we often use dryer sheets.
It does struggle with removing stains though and if your kids are always rolling in the dirt, you might be better off using another brand or using laundry soap to pre-scrub your clothes.
Tru Earth Laundry Detergent
There’s no plastic at all in the packaging. Rather than pods, Tru Earth uses a unique strip that weighs almost nothing. They usesmuch less detergent than liquid conventional detergents do.
We were impressed by its stain removal skills and the fact that it’s light means it’s going to use less transport miles to get to its destination (on the shelf in our laundry room).
As you'd expect it's also palm oil free and has no harsh chemicals, no synthetic fragrances, plastic free and is very eco friendly.
Our only objection to Tru Earth is that it’s very pricey when compared to ordinary laundry detergent pods but for many the zero waste is worth paying for.
Dropps Active Wash
We’ve got a bigger review of Dropps but their eco friendly laundry detergent creds are absolutely awesome and their products really work.
We were super impressed by their stain removing ability in our tests and the end result smells amazing!
And though there are no optical brightness in the mix (they're not eco-friendly particularly chlorine bleach), we found everything came out super bright all the same.
They also have a sensitive skin product if you find that allergies interfere with the use of other products.
They are also a plastic free zero waste laundry detergent brand that believes in the kind of cleaning power than even the biggest soap nuts are going to be impressed by.
We’ve touched on Blueland’s whole product range in some detail before but their eco friendly laundry detergents are worth singling out for their non-toxic certification.
This natural laundry detergent doesn't use a powdered laundry detergent but rather tablets. That means they can be stored in a plastic free cardboard box for a zero waste outcome.
It wasn’t the best performer in our tests but it got clothes clean and could handle most stains without any real effort.
Defunkify Powder Detergent
With no fragrance, we’d expected Defunkify's eco friendly detergents to struggle with getting our clothes clean but they did pretty well and where they absolutely excelled was with stain removal, it was brilliant!
It’s one of the cheaper detergents in our round up, probably because it comes in powdered form, so you’re not paying to ship the water content of a liquid around.
Laundry Detergent Sheets (100 Loads)
This zero-waste product contains 100 loads worth of strips rather than powdered laundry detergent that you just drop into the wash and then wait for it to get clean. There is no plastic bottle or plastic bottles involved with this for zero waste excellence too.
It’s low cost, and that might make it the best eco friendly laundry item for many people, and takes up very little space but it’s an average performer in the cleaning stakes.
Our Best Sustainable Laundry Detergent Alternative
Premium Detergent-Free Washing Machine Balls
You could also consider giving up laundry completely and using a detergent-free ceramic washing machine ball, instead.
That might sound grim but these last for 1,000 washes making them super cost-effective and they also leave the wash smelling of lavender!
They wash reasonably well, but we were disappointed in their stain removal abilities.
Your washing can easily be as clean for the planet as it is for your clothes. With these sustainable laundry detergent brands your washing is in safe hands.
These products have come a long way in recent years and they’re no longer a poor swap for a traditional detergent. Give them a try and see for yourself!