Zero waste laundry detergents are tough on stains but gentle on the planet.
As you may already know, these eco-friendly detergents come in recyclable or plastic free packaging to reduce single-use plastic wastes.
However, not every advertised “zero waste” laundry detergent can be fully trusted.
Despite their eco-friendly packaging, some companies are using unsustainable and harsh ingredients that harm a person’s health and environment (more on this below).
So with these things in mind, here are 18 of the best zero waste and eco-friendly laundry detergents many homeowners love.
1. Environmentally-Friendly Laundry Tablets by Blueland
From the same company that makes one of the best zero waste dish soaps, Blueland’s laundry tablets are arguably one of the best zero waste laundry detergents today.
First of all, these fragrance-free laundry tablets are “naked” and are contained in a reusable steel tin container.
Unlike other popular laundry pods and tablets wrapped in plastic film.
This mean you can enjoy a clean and fresh laundry without sending dissolved plastic films down the drain, literally.
Furthermore, Blueland’s zero waste laundry tablets are made with 100% naturally derived ingredients.
They don’t contain triclosan, parabens, phosphates, chlorine bleach, SLES, petroleum, artificial dyes, or fragrances.
It is also USDA BioPreferred, Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certified, and a Certified Platinum Material Health from Cradle to Cradle.
Cradle to Cradle certification is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products.
You can also order Blueland natural laundry tablet refills shipped in plastic free and fully compostable packaging.
2. Liquid Zero Waste Laundry Detergent by Cleancult
Cleancult’s zero waste liquid laundry detergent is packaged in paper-based milk cartons to reduce plastic waste and is sustainably shipped.
It is made using a non-toxic, plant-based stain removing formula, making it safe for sensitive skin.
This sustainable laundry detergent is free from added fragrances or perfumes and dyes.
It instantly lifts stains and tough odors from clothes without leaving any toxins behind.
Moreover, Cleancult’s zero waste liquid laundry detergent is vegan and cruelty-free.
You can also order refills online for this plastic free laundry detergent.
3. Soap Berries Organic Laundry Detergent by Eco Nuts
Have you ever heard of soap berries?
Eco Nuts’s organic laundry detergent is made with natural USDA-certified soap berries.
Soap berries are dried seeds harvested from trees in the Himalayas, that when agitated in water, release a natural cleansing agent called saponin.
Saponin cleanses dirty laundry naturally and also acts as a fabric softener.
To use: Place 4-5 soap nuts in the provided cloth bag and toss it in the washer with your laundry.
Soap berries can be reused up to 10 times, and once you’re done with them, you can throw them in the compost as they are 100% biodegradable.
Eco Nuts comes in a recyclable box and will be shipped using packaging made from recycled materials.
This unique zero waste laundry soap does not contain dyes, fragrances, or harsh chemicals.
It is also certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
4. Plastic Free Laundry Soap Powder by Ingredients Matter
This concentrated and biodegradable laundry powder comes in plastic free containers.
It is made with all-natural ingredients and free from petroleum and petrochemicals.
It also contains no sulfates, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, dyes, parabens, phosphates, bleach, brighteners, perfumes, and chemical fillers.
Ingredients Matter’s zero waste laundry soap powder effectively removes stains while keeping clothes soft.
This zero waste laundry detergent also works well in both soft and hard water.
And to complete the boxes, this eco-friendly laundry soap is made in the USA, non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free, septic-safe, and biodegradable laundry powder.
5. Flash Eco-Friendly Laundry Bar & Stain Stick by Ethique
Flash is a solid laundry bar made with 100% biodegradable ingredients, pure essential oils, and white Kaolin clay housed in eco-friendly packaging.
It is palm-oil free, plastic free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made with sustainable ingredients,
This zero waste laundry soap bar is excellent for hand-washing your laundry and delicates because of its gentle formula.
Its slick and handy design also makes it a perfect travel companion.
But there’s more!
Ethique claims that this eco-friendly laundry soap can also be used to wash your dishes and hands!
Note: This eco-friendly laundry bar is not suitable for washing machines.
6. Zero Waste Laundry Powder by Bestowed Essentials
This zero waste laundry detergent comes in a completely compostable paper bag with a plant-based compostable interior lining.
It is made using only four natural ingredients – washing soda, baking soda, Epsom salt, and pacific sea salt.
It is tough on stains and dirt but safe for you and your kids as it is free from parabens, sulfates, preservatives, artificial fragrances, and other known skin irritants.
Bestowed Essential’s zero waste laundry powder is handmade in the USA by an all-female team.
It is also palm oil-free and a certified cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergent by PETA.
7. Plastic Free Laundry Detergent Sheets by Sheets Laundry Club
These easy-to-use zero waste laundry detergent sheets come in recyclable plastic free cardboard boxes.
Each 1/4oz concentrated detergent sheet provides an equivalent cleaning power of 1.5oz liquid detergent.
Furthermore, it is also made without harsh ingredients like parabens and phosphates, making it safe for you, your clothes, and the planet.
It can be used safely for delicates, whites, and colored clothing, and you can use it in hot, cold, hard, or soft water.
Sheets Laundry Club’s laundry sheets are vegan and cruelty-free, biodegradable, contains 0% dyes, and no artificial brighteners.
8. Zero Waste Laundry Eco-Strips by Tru Earth
Tru Earth’s concentrated zero waste laundry eco-strips come in compostable and plastic-free packaging to reduce transportation fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
These exo-strips are vegan, hypoallergenic, and free from chlorine, paraben, phosphates, and other harsh chemicals.
They are very convenient to use and tough on stains but gentle on clothes and sensitive skin.
These eco-strips are readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D, a test that measures the biodegradation of different materials.
Tru Earth claims that 0.1oz of these eco-strips has an equivalent cleaning power to 1.4oz of other detergents.
9. Biodegradable Laundry Powder by JR Watkins
JR Watkins is a well-known name among home cleaning products, and the company’s laundry powder comes in a compostable cardboard box.
This eco-friendly detergent is biodegradable and doesn’ contain harsh chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, dye, and phosphate.
It is also free from dyes, fragrances and works in hot or cold water.
JR Watkins laundry powder cleans dirt easily but safe and gentle for sensitive skin and baby clothes.
It is also awarded a US EPA Safer Choice label and is certified animal-testing-free.
10. Vegan Laundry Detergent Powder by Be Zero
This all-natural, vegan laundry detergent comes in compostable packaging.
It is made of sodium carbonate, sodium borate, and castile soap flakes.
And since it contains no dyes, fillers, artificial colorings, and harsh chemicals, we don’t have to tell you why it is safe for sensitive skin and baby’s clothing.
Be Zero’s vegan laundry detergent is non-toxic and compatible with standard and HE washing machines.
It also works well on both hard and soft water.
11. Biodegradable Laundry Powder by Charlie’s Soap
This biodegradable laundry detergent by Charlie’s Soap came in recyclable packaging and made with natural ingredients.
It is an ideal eco-friendly laundry powder for machines and handwashing, especially for sensitive skin.
It is non-toxic, SLS-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, septic safe, and a US EPA Safer Choice laundry powder.
This concentrated laundry detergent works well on all laundry types, from high-tech fabrics to delicates, without leaving toxic residues.
You can also use this eco-friendly laundry detergent for baby clothing, cloth diapers, and other baby clothes between wears.
Charlie’s Soap zero waste laundry powder is also not tested on animals.
12. “Get a Load of This” Laundry Tablets by Truman’s
Get clean clothes and conscience!
Truman’s “Get a Load of This” eco-friendly laundry tablets offer advanced stain removal and powerful cleaning in recyclable and fully compostable cardboard packaging.
These environmentally friendly laundry tablets are made with non-toxic chemicals with an integrated antimicrobial technology to provide a deep clean while remaining gentle to your skin.
It is also free from artificial fragrances and works on all types of machines with hot or cold water.
13. Concentrated Laundry Detergent Powder by Meliora
Meliora’s zero waste laundry detergent powders come in metal tubs with a reusable metal scoop.
The “single-use plastic-free” detergent powders are free of palm-oil, synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives, brighteners, and other known allergens.
The laundry powder’s scent is made from certified organic essential oils, and the company provides full transparency on all its product ingredients and fragrance blends.
Melioara also guarantees that their laundry powders are vegan, cruelty-free, and MADE SAFE certified.
You would also be glad to know that 1% of every sale from Meliora products is dedicated to funding projects geared towards environmental causes.
14. Eco-Friendly Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods by Dropps
The Dropps eco-friendly detergent pods come in recyclable and compostable cardboard packaging.
Its concentrated formula provides fresh and clean clothes without exposing you to harmful chemicals like phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, or masking agents.
It is also cruelty-free, vegan, and made with naturally-derived ingredients (plant and mineral-based).
But these eco-friendly laundry products aren’t just excellent laundry detergents but also a powerful stain remover.
We like this zero waste laundry detergent pod because it is specifically designed not to look like colorful candy, so your kids won’t be tempted to eat it.
That’s one less to worry about.
Finally, the Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods are made in the USA, scented with essential oils, and designed for high efficiency (HE) and regular washing machines.
15. Non-Toxic Biodegradable Laundry Soda by Nellie’s
This biodegradable and non-toxic laundry powder leaves your clothes feeling soft, fresh, and clean without harsh chemical residues.
Nellie’s non-toxic and biodegradable laundry soda powder comes in a reusable and recyclable metal tin can.
This highly concentrated and sustainable laundry detergent is made using only natural and biodegradable ingredients.
It is certified vegan and cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and is free from SLS, SLES, gluten, phosphates, artificial fragrance, and chlorine.
Nellie’s biodegradable laundry soda is safe for both HE and standard washing machines.
16. Stoneworks Natural Laundry Detergent Pods by Grab Green
This eco-friendly laundry detergent comes in plastic-free and recyclable packaging.
This concentrated laundry detergent formula is made in the USA with more than 94% naturally derived ingredients.
It is free from chlorine, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, dyes, optical brighteners, and other toxic chemicals.
It is also EPA Safer Choice certified and delivers superb cleaning power while remaining gentle on clothing.
And as added protection for your family, each of these kid-friendly laundry detergent pods is coated with Bitrex, a bitter substance that discourages kids from eating it.
Finally, Grab Green Stoneworks’s laundry detergent pods are cruelty-free and work in high-efficiency (HE) and standard machines in all water temperatures.
17. Biodegradable Ultra Powdered Laundry Detergent by Planet
This zero waste detergent powder comes in a recycled paper package and with a measuring scoop made from 100% recycled plastic.
The powdered detergent itself is made using plant-based ingredients and doesn’t contain dyes, fragrances, or preservatives – making it suitable for people with chemical sensitivities.
And since it is hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, it can be used to wash delicate baby clothing without worrying about residues that can irritate a baby’s skin.
Moreover, this laundry powder is a certified biodegradable laundry detergent, so you don’t have to worry about pollutants entering the water system.
It is also not tested on animals and a Leaping Bunny-approved laundry detergent.
18. Plastic Free Laundry Detergent Powder by The Simply Co
The Simply Co. is an eco-friendly brand owned by Lauren Singer, the founder of the blog Trash is for Tossers.
When you think about it, one of the best place to get authentic zero waste laundry detergents is from a person who is living a zero waste lifestyle herself, right?
The Simply Co’s zero waste laundry detergent powder comes in a glass jar with a metal lid cover.
The sustainable laundry detergent formula is made from organic and natural ingredients, including baking soda, Castile soap, and essential oils.
It is 100% biodegradable, septic safe, and can be used to wash delicates, including kids and baby clothing.
The Simply Co’s plastic free and natural laundry detergent is one of the best zero waste laundry detergent solutions for environmentally conscious consumers like you.
What to look for When Buying Zero Waste Laundry Detergents?
Now to be clear, there is no such thing as a perfect 100% zero waste laundry detergent.
Growing, harvesting, and processing the ingredients to make these products, and then shipping them leaves a negative impact on the environment.
Nevertheless, laundry detergents that have any of the following characteristics are generally better for the planet.
- EPA Safer Choice: Laundry detergents made using safer chemical ingredients based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria.
- USDA Certified Bio-Based: The laundry detergent contains a USDA-verified amount of renewable biological ingredients.
- Leaping Bunny Cruelty-Free: The detergent or any of its ingredients are not tested on animals.
- Septic Safe: Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can harm the microorganisms and bacteria that help break down waste in septic systems.
- Natural: Laundry detergents made using only naturally-derived ingredients and don’t contain synthetic chemicals that contribute to the planet’s pollution.
- Organic: Made using natural ingredients grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals that harm the environment and a person’s health.
- Concentrated Formula: Concentrated laundry detergents use less packaging materials and create less carbon footprint on shipping.
- Biodegradable: Dissolves and breaks down completely in the water and doesn’t accumulate to become an environmental pollutant.
- Non-Toxic: Laundry detergent is made with safe ingredients for humans, pets, and the planet.
- Eco-Friendly Packaging: Laundry detergents with plastic-free, refillable, reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable containers are better for the planet (but you already know that).
Harmful Ingredients Commonly found in Laundry Detergents
- Chlorine or Bleach: A caustic chemical toxic to human beings and other organisms.
- SLS: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent known to be a skin irritant and is toxic to marine organisms.
- Parabens: Parabens can seep into the skin, disrupt hormone function, and are linked to developing breast cancer. It can also kill corals and marine organisms.
- Phthalates: Phthalates can cause reproductive toxicity in humans, animals and can cause infertility and reproductive problems in males.
- Triclosan: A synthetic chemical with antibacterial properties but is highly toxic to different types of algae and other marine organisms.
- Phosphates: A water-softening mineral hazardous to human beings and marine life.
- Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen that might appear on your dish soap label as methanol, methyl aldehyde, and methylene oxide.
- Brighteners: Can irritate skin and are believed to cause eutrophication (out of control algae growth) that suffocates fish and marine organisms.
- Colorants/Dyes: Can pollute water bodies, increase biochemical and chemical oxygen demand (BOD and COD), impair photosynthesis, and could inhibit plant growth.
- Fragrances: Contains hundreds of unlisted chemicals that might be toxic for humans and the environment.
- Palm oil: Many rainforests are being cleared down in some regions to make room for palm plantations.
- More Personal Product Ingredients To Avoid
What is the most environmentally-friendly laundry detergent?
In general, laundry detergents that
- Comes in plastic-free packaging;
- made with natural and organic ingredients; and,
- doesn’t contain caustic and harsh chemicals (basically all of the zero waste laundry detergents on this list) are the most environmentally-friendly laundry detergents.
- No plastic packaging means less plastic waste goes to landfills.
- Natural and organic ingredients are biodegradable, readily available in nature, and don’t require additional processing that contributes to pollution.
- Harsh chemicals on laundry detergents can harm the person using them, pollute water systems, and harm marine organisms.
What is the best chemical-free laundry detergent?
Every person has their preference, and the same is true when choosing chemical-free detergents.
A particular chemical-free laundry detergent might get tons of positive feedback from other people, but you might not like its scent or the fact that it is a tablet, powder, or pod.
But basing purely on the zero waste laundry detergent reviews we’ve found, it seems that many people love these non-toxic laundry detergents:
- Blueland Natural Laundry Tablets
- Nellie’s Biodegradable Laundry Soda Powder
- Grab Green Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods
- Meliora Concentrated Laundry Powder
- Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods
- Cleancult Liquid Zero Waste Laundry Detergent
How can I buy laundry detergent without plastic?
Shop for any of the zero waste laundry detergents on this list.
And when you order online, let the seller know that you don’t care about plastic packaging.
Make it clear that you prefer if your products are shipped entirely plastic-free.
Isn’t low/zero waste laundry detergents more expensive?
However, it also depends on what type and brand of zero waste laundry detergents you choose to use.
And as you might’ve already seen using this list…
There are plenty of zero waste laundry detergents that are both environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly.
You just have to pick which zero waste laundry type, scent, ingredients, and size fits perfectly in your eco-friendly laundry routine.
Final Thoughts on Zero Waste Laundry Detergents
Many laundry detergents, despite their eco-friendly packaging, contains ingredients that can harm the environment.
But on the bright side, there are also many zero waste laundry detergents that provide super clean and fresh laundry minus the plastic wastes and toxic chemicals.
We certainly hope that with all the zero waste laundry detergents above, you now have plenty of options to have a completely green laundry routine.
Happy laundry day!