We tested dozens of laundry detergents to find the 5 Best Laundry Detergents. We tested Tide, Seventh Generation and much more. We evaluated detergents using three criteria: (1) cleaning power (we don’t want to compromise on effectiveness), (2) clean ingredients (we want to avoid dangerous chemicals), and (3) environmental impact.
TLDR: CLEAN PEOPLE Laundry Detergent came in #1 because it’s cleans just as well as the big names but is plastic free and has no parabens, phosphates, synthetic dyes, or other nasty stuff! I use Clean People in my home and love it.
Here are the five best laundry detergents we’ve found:
Made from safe, natural, and plant-based ingredients, Clean People Laundry Detergent blew us away on all 3 criteria (cleaning power, ingredients, and environmental impact) and was our favorite laundry detergent by far, earning 5 stars ★★★★★. It is effective at cleaning and eliminating odors – we washed sweaty gym clothes and kids clothes with stains. All the clothes came out fresh and clean. In other words, it works!
Clean People Laundry Detergent comes in Laundry Strips – which are like Tide Pods but without the water/chemicals. We love that it’s 100% Plastic Free (meaning it’s way better for the environment). Clean People Laundry Strips are 94% lighter than traditional laundry detergent (because it doesn’t have the water) which means they are lighter to transport, which means 94% less CO2 Emissions. But most of all, we love that Clean People plants a 🌳 tree for every 96 Pack sold.
Clean People uses natural, plant based ingredients and doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals like phosphates, parabens, chlorine, or synthetic dyes (that’s why it’s hypoallergenic and certified by Dermatologists).
Finally, we love all the great reviews that Clean People has earned, including one from us!
Clean People comes in Fragrance Free and Fresh & Clean (scented). We love the Fragrance Free option but our favorite is Fresh & Clean!
This is what we recommend and use at home and thus earned the #1 spot.
Molly Suds earned our #2 spot. Like #1 Clean People, Molly Suds is made from safe, natural ingredients. While Clean People is a strip, Molly Suds is a laundry powder. You scoop the laundry powder into your washer before you’ve put your laundry in. Our testing demonstrated that Molly Suds has good cleaning power and and clean ingredients. Molly Suds comes in scented and unscented versions.
We’re a little mixed on the powder format – it’s easy to spill as you scoop from the bag into your washing machine. Not as good as the Clean People’s Strip but a lot better than the liquid detergent format.
Molly Suds packaging is in plastic. But we like that it’s not liquid detergent (which is heavier and uses more plastic).
The combination of cleaning power, clean ingredients, and little plastic earned Molly Suds our #2 spot.
Tide Free & Gentle came in 3rd place. Tide is what you think of when you think of Laundry Detergent. But it’s not what you think of when you think of Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent – for good reason. Free & Gentle has the cleaning power you associate with Tide. But Free & Gentle includes parabens, phosphates, and other synthetic ingredients like brighteners.
Tide is heavy and uses lots of plastic. So it’s not winning any points on environmental impact. The plastic ends up in the landfill and the weight means lots of CO2 Emissions in transportation. With liquid detergents, it’s often hard to dose the right amount which leads to waste and using more detergent than you need. This double whammy leads to wasting money and being bad for the environment.
We did love the scent and cleaning power, and based on the thousands of reviews that the product has on Amazon, so did many others.
Seventh Generation came in 4th place. Free & Clear is a fragrance free formula. Seventh Generation did well in Cleaning Power, and did effectively remove most stains. Seventh Generation uses primarily plant based ingredients and is hypoallergenic. However, Seventh Generation’s ingredients include ingredients that we don’t like. First off, Free & Clear includes SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) which can cause rashes and harm your skin. Additionally, the detergent includes preservatives (methylisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone) that are known to cause extreme allergic reactions in some people.
The plastic laundry detergent bottles are made mostly from recycled plastic which we like. But this bottle ends up in the landfill after it’s done.
We loved the cleanliness. But the potential carcinogens in the ingredients dropped Seventh Generation to our #4 spot.
Method came in 5th place when we were searching for the best laundry detergents. Method makes Laundry Detergent and various household cleaners. Method did well in cleaning power and scenting laundry. However, Method uses lots of synthetic ingredients including brighteners and fragrances. Method is more environmentally friendly than the other liquid detergents in plastic because it is an ultra concentrated formula.
Method does smell great and have strong cleaning power (Ginger Mango was our fave). And so it earned our #5 spot.
*Please note my tests were not scientific and your results will vary.