It’s time we all switch to a plastic free zero waste laundry detergent. Below are some environment-friendly laundry detergents that you don’t have to feel guilty about using. There are also some super helpful tips on how to reduce your environmental impact while washing your clothes beyond your laundry detergent.
My favorite eco-friendly laundry detergent from the list is Cleancult’s Laundry Detregent Refill. I love that it contains only environmentally friendly ingredients, the “refill” scheme and the reusable zero-waste container it comes with.
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Top 5 Plastic Free Laundry Detergents
What Does Zero Waste Laundry Detergent Really Mean?
You might have already guessed by the name, that zero waste essentially means to aim towards living a life which creates zero waste. But in more broad terms, living a Zero-Waste lifestyle means that you try to re-use as much as possible and move towards a circular economy. It is a lifestyle that aims to leave nothing in a landfill, so items will be reused, recycled, or composted.
In terms of a zero waste laundry detergent, it is important to look out for biodegradable ingredients and packaging that won’t cause havoc on our earth!
Here are 13 great Zero Waste Laundry Detergents
Note: all of these are safe to use in both standard and High Efficiency (HE) washing machines and are all able to be used in both hot and cold water. Additionally, each zero waste laundry detergent on our list is biodegradable apart from one brand: Breezo Laundry Detergent Strips which are instead labeled as ‘Biobased’
This liquid zero waste laundry detergent by Cleancult is a perfect option for those with sensitive skin and wish to avoid scents in their eco-friendly laundry detergent. When purchased with a refillable liquid laundry bottle the whole package makes a wonderful environment friendly laundry option, especially for those who join the subscription service.
The Cleancult refills come packaged in a fully recyclable carton that even utilizes a plant-based cap for a truly sustainable laundry option, and with 64 washes from each 32 fluid ounce refill it can almost be called a package free product. In fact, just by switching to Cleancult’s product an average family can cut single-use plastic wastage by 44lbs a year!
As well as the unscented option, Cleancult also offers a scented version, with three exotic scents to choose from – Juniper and Sandalwood, Sweet Honeysuckle and Sea Spray & Aloe – so there is bound to be a scent to suit every taste.
Manufactured in the USA, Cleancult are obsessive about the quality and sustainability of the ingredients they use in their products. They are a company with a heartfelt mission to protect the planet.
This ethos is reflected in the care taken to ensure the whole process from manufacture to doorstep delivers a sustainable and eco-friendly laundry product that works!
With this product Cleancult have delivered a less waste laundry detergent that is economic, eco-friendly, and skin friendly.
What doesn’t surprise me is the lack of negativity about this product. There isn’t a bad word about it in any of the reviews. According to reviewers it cleans well, it is kind to skin and the scented options smell wonderful. One reviewer noted that even her dirtiest clothes were cleaned in a single wash and many others were quoted as saying how soft and clean their clothing was after using the product.
Blueland’s environment friendly laundry tablets are packaged in a refillable tin and are not individually plastic wrapped.
- Packaged in a refillable steel tin
- Works in High-Efficiency and standard washing machines
- Available as part of an entire eco-friendly cleaning product range
- Contains no known allergens
- Uses ingredients that are 100% naturally derived
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This laundry starter set from Blueland is available as a standalone product or as part of an extensive range of eco-friendly cleaning products that includes hand wash and dishwater detergent tablets. The laundry detergent comes packaged in a refillable steel tin, that contains 40 tablets. Unlike standard detergents, Blueland do not use any PVA based plastic film that ends up as dissolved plastic in your wastewater.
This is another fragrance-free product and contains no known allergens, making this a perfect product for those with sensitive skin or other allergies.
Refills for this product are shipped in plastic free, fully compostable packaging. Once you have bought your starter kit and use the refill service it is a truly package free detergent option.
Over the course of an average year a family using standard tablets will pour the PVA from 275 tablets into the environment, not to mention the single use plastic in the packaging. Blueland laundry detergent over the same period eliminates all this waste and pollution.
Overall, the reviews are excellent. I found that most people were very positive about the whole Blueland range. When it comes to the laundry tablets specifically there were very few negatives, with one reviewer bemoaning the lack of scent. But this is hardly surprising in an unscented product. Most reviewers were delighted with the effectiveness of the product and some described the tin as cute!
Truman’s tablets come in fully recyclable and compostable packaging and offer a simple ‘one tablet fits all’ solution for those wash day blues and with zero fragrance and natural ingredients it achieves this while still being suitable for those with sensitive skin. Available as a single purchase or as a convenient subscription package.
Truman’s themselves seem like a quirky and fun company with a genuine commitment to making solid cleaning products that are effective and eco-friendly. The laundry detergent tablets are just one product in a range that they produce.
The PVA they use to wrap the tablets although based upon plastic and isn’t a completely green solution, it does break down into constituent components that have a very low environmental impact.
People love this product! Most of the reviews compliment how clean and soft their clothes are after washing with these tablets. And although there is no added scent, many comments note how their clothes still come out the wash smelling clean and fresh. One review, although still positive, did note that after washing there was a chunk of undissolved tablet left over.
Seventh Generation describe these tablets as dry-locked, meaning they are activated by water without wasting any in the process. The tablets come packaged in a recyclable steel tin that is also refillable.
Using natural and non-toxic ingredients, this zero-waste laundry detergent is formulated to be sensitive skin friendly and is suitable for use in both grey water and septic systems.
To be honest the reviews are a bit of a mixed bag on this one, while some were positive and mentioned that the product worked well and left their laundry clean and smelling fresh, others were not so positive. There are many reviews that state they had problems getting the tablets to dissolve fully, while another reviewer noted that it left their clothes smelling of sour milk.
For sensitive skin – No dyes, no enzymes and no chlorine. Ships to your door in a 100% recyclable, repurposable, and compostable cardboard box.
- Safe to use on delicate fabrics
- Plant-derived ingredients
- Comes scented with essential oils and botanical extracts as well as unscented
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These package free and plastic free detergent pods by Dropps are simply perfect for your zero waste laundry soap needs. I love their convenient nature and the fact that they are pre-measured and mess-free! The pods are also made without nasty chemicals such as chlorine, phosphates, enzymes, and optical brighteners.
Additionally, it’s safe to wash your delicate clothes with this product as it doesn’t cause garments to shrink, stretch, or fade.
Most reviewers agreed that the pods were great for eliminating smells and did a great job of freshening up their clothes. They also loved the no plastic laundry detergent as it has eco-friendly packaging and additionally adored the convenience of the product. However, one buyer stated that they noticed residue on their darker clothes.
These biodegradable tablets by Clean Cult not only look great but are very convenient and great for traveling and everyday use! This green detergent encased in small tablets is fragrance-free but packed full of washing powder.
I was quite impressed with Cleancult’s ingredient transparency on their website. It lists every ingredient, all of which are biodegradable, and also lists what each ingredients’ purpose is. It contains ingredients like Alpha-Amylase that is extracted from the bacteria in soil and helps to break down grime and also features table salt to help fight oil and grease.
This is a great item to choose from when considering which zero-waste laundry detergents to buy.
Many reviews were extremely satisfied with how well these tablets washed clothes and how their clothes smelt fresh after taking them out of the washing machine. There were also many comments from those with sensitive skin stating that this product didn’t cause them irritation. However, one reviewer stated that it did not break down in their HE machine, but this was among many other success stories of the product working in other buyers’ HE machines.
Want a simple washing powder without all the confusing and often chemical-laden ingredients? Well, Meliora Cleaning Products Laundry Powder is for you! It only contains three ingredients in its unscented option, can it get simpler?
It is additionally free from dyes, preservatives, brighteners, and synthetic fragrances. Meliora laundry detergent is also suitable for hand washing clothes and has a low sudsing formula perfect for HE machines but also fine to use in standard washing machines. I’ve got to say, I loved how they included the founders of the product in the product description. To me, this shows that they have a real passion for what they do, and this is demonstrated as they express their passion for people and planet-friendly laundry products.
Most reviewers love the zero-waste laundry detergent’s scented options, but some stated that the scent wasn’t very noticeable/strong. A large proportion of the reviews also claimed that it cleaned their clothes well, getting rid of smells and stains. However, one reviewer noted that the product didn’t work too well in cold water.
Want a less waste laundry detergent that is skin sensitive and gentle for babies? Look no further, Watkins Laundry Powder is here! This dye, fragrance-free, and biodegradable laundry detergent also has a fabric softening action that works in both hot and cold water. It is additionally safe to use on colors! This laundry powder comes in a recyclable package which is a great alternative to non-recyclable bottles provided by some commercial brands.
A wide range of reviewers commended this zero-waste laundry detergent cleaning abilities, with one reviewer saying that it even washed away a red wine spill on a white T-shirt! Those who purchased this product also said that it has lasted them a long time which they were very pleased about. Unfortunately, a couple of buyers experienced allergic reactions to this product.
If you want clutter-free laundry, you should seriously consider these Laundry strips from Tru-Earth. They are very efficiently packaged; 400 loads worth of these strips consumes the same amount of space as a one 100 load jug of traditional detergent. Tru-Earth’s super light and super portable strips are also great for sensitive skin and are Paraben-free!
They are also great as they don’t create any mess and are pre-measured so you know how many loads of washing can be cleaned!
Buyers enjoyed this product’s portability and stated that they loved the feeling of being free from plastic packaging! Most purchasers of this product agreed that it cleans their clothes well, but some were critical of its cleaning capabilities, saying that it leaves a residue on clothing.
These laundry detergent pods by Grab Green take you on a sensory (and eco-friendly) adventure without you having to leave your washing machine! These unique and imaginative fragrances such as Oak Tree and Olive Leaf ensure some excitement in your sustainable laundry routine!
But if you’d prefer fragrance free, you’re in luck because Grab Green offer that too! It is also EPA certified so you can ensure that they are meeting regulated standards in environmental protection. Their enticing non-toxic formula and recyclable packaging make this green detergent a great choice for your sustainable laundry dreams and desires.
Many reviewers adored the smell of these detergent pods but as scents usually are, the aromas were controversial. Most loved their scented range, but a few people found them too overpowering. People also claim that it cleans clothes well, getting rid of small stains.
Say hello to Breezo perfect less waste laundry detergent strips for compacted living such as camping, apartments, and urban areas. This ultra-concentrated formula is great for saving space and is convenient and easy to use. These strips are packaged within a recyclable box and are made from plant-derived ingredients that are free from artificial brighteners, dyes, chlorine bleach, and parabens.
Buyers loved the lightness and portability of this product. They also praised the product for its ability to clean and brighten clothes. However, a few reviewers are questioning its ‘linen’ scent, stating that it does not smell like linen.
Plant-based ingredients: coconut oil, olive oil, soap nuts liquid, yucca powder, baking soda, oxalic acid, salt, and rosemary oleo resin.
- The DIY element needed to dilute the powder paste
- Use and re-use preexisting container for storing detergent
- Cruelty-free and vegan
- Plant-based ingredients
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This no plastic laundry detergent by Tangie is unlike any others on the list. The soap bar, made of Waste Free Products, comes in a powder paste that has to be diluted to be able to be used as a zero-waste liquid laundry detergent.
If you want a home DIY project that’s easy and satisfying to complete, spoil yourself with this washing detergent bar and create your own liquid laundry detergent! This innovative and environmentally friendly laundry detergent by Tangie is also refillable. Simply use a bottle you already have at home, make the zero-waste liquid laundry detergent and refill the bottle once the formula runs out!
Reviewers loved the fact that this product was long-lasting, refillable, and also fancied how sustainable it is. They also liked that it is unscented and doesn’t leave any residue. In contrast, a few buyers said that this product didn’t take the smell out of their clothes.
Just when you thought eco-friendly packaging couldn’t get better, Laundry detergent by Planet Ultra just created a new level of sustainability. This sustainable laundry detergent’s packaging is made from 100% recycled paper and its scoop is made from 100% recycled plastic! As well as its impressive commitment to recycling, it also only contains plant-based ingredients and contains no added dyes, fragrances, or preservatives. It is also labeled as hypoallergenic, making it suitable for babies and people with sensitive skin.
Those with sensitivities and allergies were impressed with this product, as they claimed it is often hard to find a hypoallergenic detergent that actually works as well as this one does! One reviewer was skeptical, however, because of the existence of SLS’s in the product.
This laundry detergent by Nellie’s all-natural instantly caught my eye for two reasons: its “vintage” style packaging and the fact that they mentioned ‘vegan’ in the product title. Not only does the packaging look nice, but it is a sustainable option as it’s made from metal which is recyclable and extremely easy to reprocess!
Additionally, anything that mentions it is vegan in the title is a good sign to me, giving animals their freedom is always attractive! The laundry detergent by Nellie’s only has four ingredients, which are free from nasties such as SLS’s and chlorine. It is also a concentrated formula which gives you more product for less when compared with liquid detergents which are usually made up of at least 50% water!
Nellie’s Powdered laundry detergent is proving to be a great natural detergent as reviewers commended its ability to soften and freshen up their clothes. Most people who used the product were satisfied with its cleaning abilities, but one reviewer noted that it did a poor job of getting blood stains out of clothing.
This extremely simple washing powder by Bestowed Essentials is a great green laundry detergent alternative to conventional brands. I personally love how the eco-friendly packaging is completely compostable and the fact that it only has four simple and commonly known ingredients. The ingredients are washing soda, baking soda, Epsom salt, and pacific sea salt. This handmade washing powder also doesn’t fade fabrics, so that is a worry you can instantly cross off your list when purchasing this product.
This Eco-friendly laundry powder was a success for those who just simply wanted clean and fresh clothes while being zero waste. One reviewer even stated that they used this on cloth diapers, and it got rid of smells and did not irritate their babies’ skin.
Interested in zero-waste laundry detergents and simultaneously can’t stop getting mysterious stains that seemingly come out of nowhere? No worries, Bestowed Essentials Laundry stick has come to the rescue! Simply dampen both the fabric and the stick and rub the stick on the affected area for stain removal! I absolutely love that it’s safe to touch, unlike other stain removers which may irritate the skin. It also claims to get rid of a wide array of stains such as grass, wine, and chocolate.
Reviewers were very satisfied with these sticks’ stain removal qualities! Those who purchased this product were pleasantly shocked that it was successful in removing stains such as dirt and olive oil! It was noted, however, that it does work best on fresh stains.
Dried berries from trees in the Himalayas, that when agitated in water, release a natural cleansing agent called saponin
- Derived from trees in the Himalayas
- Easy to use and portable
- Reusable for up to ten loads of laundry
- Can be used as both a detergent and softener
- USDA certified organic
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Am I going nuts? It’s hard to believe that we can replace laundry detergent with…nuts! I certainly haven’t heard of this before, but it sounds pretty cool to me and is extremely eco-friendly! This plastic-free laundry detergent by Eco-nuts is actually referred to as “soap berries” and they gently clean your laundry and are reusable! This is definitely the most interesting and unique zero waste laundry soap on the list!
I didn’t find any reviews for this product, but I personally think the soapberries are definitely worth a try if you want something new and exciting! They also fulfill all of your plastic-free laundry detergent needs!
What’s so bad about conventional laundry detergents?
Many brands of laundry detergents contain elements that are made from non-biodegradable ingredients like petrochemicals. These non-biodegradable ingredients cause destruction to our environment because they are not able to be broken down and in turn, cause pollution and waste.
Another negative outcome of petrochemicals is the damage that mining for these petrochemicals causes on the planet. Additionally, although fragrances make our clothes smell nice, they become problematic when they are packed with toxic chemicals, which most are. Laundry detergents containing optical brighteners are also not the most environmentally friendly products to buy.
These brighteners are ‘activated’ by remaining on clothes after washing and therefore, they leave chemical residue on the fabric. They are also known to be the culprits of skin irritation/ rashes and of course, nobody wants that! Therefore, choosing Zero waste laundry detergents are better for us and the environment!
How to make your washing routine more Eco-Friendly
Here are some additional ways to reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact other than switching to zero-waste laundry detergent!
Invest in a High Efficiency (HE) washing machine
High-efficiency washing machines use up to 80% less water and deliver 65% energy savings. They also tend to be larger than standard washing machines so, therefore, allow larger loads of washing. When using this washing machine, you must make sure that the detergent you use is compatible with HE machines, which, luckily for you, all of the ones on the list are!
Finally, the most important thing of all is to use what you already have before purchasing something else. Make sure you are actually in need of a new washing machine before switching to a HE machine.
Only wash clothes when you need to
Unless your clothes are smelly or have a stain, there is no need to wash them after every wear! Washing your clothes less often also restores their quality and life span. Having more spread out laundry days will significantly reduce your water and energy use.
Air dry clothes
Prepare your clothes a couple of days before so you don’t have to use a dryer to dry them in a hurry. Drying your clothes outside in the sun will allow them to have a fresh smell and additionally protect against wear and tear often caused by dryers! It will also reduce your energy usage and save you money!
Use cold water when washing clothes
Are you pulling your clothes out of the washing machine and wondering if you bought them when you were 8 years old? Stop shrinkage in its tracks, along with fading and wrinkling by using cold water instead of hot water! It is also the ideal temperature for delicate fabrics that can often get damaged in hot water. Most stains also are able to effectively come out in cold water.
Just like all the other tips, using cold water also saves you a significant amount of energy as the water doesn’t need to be heated!
Eco friendly laundry made easy
You shouldn’t have to worry about causing landfill or pollution on the earth while trying to wash your clothes. So, I hope one of these zero-waste laundry detergents will become a part of your eco-friendly laundry routine! As stated at the beginning of this article, I personally recommend Nellie’s Powdered Laundry detergent, because of reasons such as its simplicity, efficiency, and high concentration.
I hope you are able to try one or a couple of these detergents so you can continue on your Zero Waste endeavors. Best of luck!
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