Top 5 Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergents

Me and my girlfriend have recently moved in together and have since tried to make environmentally conscious decisions about everything concerning our household. We stopped using non-rechargeable batteries, quit many types of food (styrofoam packaging.. ugh) and made many other eco-friendly changes. One of those had to do with cleaning agents, and unlike switching from disposable to reusable shopping bags, this one took some effort.

Of all cleaning agents, the most tricky to decide on was an environmentally friendly laundry detergent. Soap was super easy, and so were the floor and window cleaning fluids, but choosing a detergent was not too trivial. The reason for this was that clothes need to be washed thoroughly, unless you want them to accumulate stains and acquire a subtle-but-acutely-unpleasant odour over time.

We did find a solution, of course, but this decision took some research and lots of experimenting with different products. Now that we got our results, I’d like to share them here with the aim of sparing other eco-minded people a long and unnecessary search. We had tried over 15 different products from over 10 different brands and came back with a list of 5 best choices.

The Method Ultra-Concentrated Laundry Detergent is the one we ended up using. It really redefines the proverbial “good things in small packages” category. It became our choice mainly because we share a really small space with limited storage, which makes this detergent perfect for us. The bottle is small and lasts forever. To emphasize, a 20-ounce bottle will last a whopping 50 laundry cycles. That’s less than half an ounce per wash! The bottle is capped with a pump, allowing you to dispense a precise amount of fluid with zero spillage along the way. If you just got worried as to where does all this plastic go to, don’t worry – you buy the bottle just once and use Method’s cool refill pouches from then on. With a price range of $15 for the 20-ounce bottle and $20 for a 32-ounce refill pack, you are looking at less than $0.30 per laundry cycle!!!

The Biokleen All-Temperature Citrus Laundry Liquid is for those who like their laundry extra fragrant. The extracts of grapefruit seed, orange peel and coconut are combined in such a way as to almost send your head spinning. The all-natural scent is amazingly tender but lasts a very long time without using any clinging chemical substances. With no phosphates or chlorine, and a good concentration level, this is our second-best recommendation and one that my girlfriend likes particularly. You can get a 32-ounce bottle (64 loads) for just $7.

Seventh Generation 4X Laundry Detergent in Geranium Blossoms and Vanilla, besides being a mouthful to pronounce, it offers the added bonus of drastically reducing the amount of waste generated in the laundry room. It is sold in a fully compostable jug made from recycled fibers. If you are wondering how in the world does a compostable jug stay intact with liquid in it, the solution is brilliantly simple – it has an inner plastic pouch encasing the detergent and protecting the jug from the inside. That pouch is all the non-compostable waste in the whole setup. The formula they used has a list of 28 ingredients, two of which are (sadly) synthetic preservatives. It’s still better than your conventional laundry liquid and with the bonus of the compostable jug, this one made to number three in our list. The 50-ounce bottle is good for 66 loads and costs around $15

BerryPlus Soapberries stands out as an entirely different laundry experience. It bypasses the conventional jug packaging altogether and comes in flat round “microdose” packs. They are all the same size and are easy to use. It’s made of soapberries that give off a soapy residue when mixed with water. One per load does it, and costs just above $8 per 20 packs. Not too cheap, but not over-the-top either, and with zero waste, it can definitely be worth it.

Ecover Laundry Liquid 2.5X Concentrate ZERO also has a waste-saving package, produced from plant fiber. It is 100% renewable, reusable and recyclable. The ethylene fiber is made from fermented and dried sugar cane (it’s more complex than that but this should do). 15 hectares of land are enough to make one year’s worth of the packaging, and the process harms no forests or uses extra resources, which we’d found to be pretty cool. It works well on whites and colors, and the somewhat concentrated formula allows you to use one ounce per load. The cost of the 51-ounce bottle is only $8.50, which makes it extremely cheap to use.

This is, again, not a full list. It only contains the ones we’re especially happy with. Still, I hope it gave you an idea or at least a point where to start your own research. Enjoy, and happy exploration!


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