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10 Best Baby Laundry Detergents of 2024

Updated
Find a gentle baby laundry detergent that gets the job done.

We know how laundry feels like a full-time job when you’ve got a newborn. And you may be tempted to buy the cheapest detergent to save money, but not just any detergent will do. Babies have sensitive skin, and the slightest irritant can make them break out.

To help you prevent this misery, we’ve compared all the top brands to help you find the best baby laundry detergents for your child’s unique needs.

We’ve tested these products and listened to what hundreds of parents have had to say about them. We’re confident that any of these gentle detergents will be an excellent choice for your little one’s laundry.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Puracy Natural Liquid
Best for Sensitive Skin
Puracy Natural Liquid
  • Plant-based, vegan ingredients
  • Super affordable
  • Developed by doctors
Product Image of the Molly’s Suds Powder
Best for Hard Water
Molly’s Suds Powder
  • For use in hot or cold water
  • No harsh chemicals
  • “A” rating from the EWG
Product Image of the Dreft Stage Newborn Liquid Laundry Detergent, White, Baby Blossom, 40 Fl Oz
Best Hypoallergenic
Dreft Stage 1
  • Recommended by pediatricians
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Developed specifically for babies
Product Image of the ECOS Laundry Detergent Liquid, 200 Loads - Dermatologist Tested Laundry Soap -...
Best All Natural
ECOS Laundry Detergent
  • Plant based
  • Manufactured using green energy
  • Fully biodegradable
Product Image of the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
Best Liquid
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
  • 97% natural ingredients
  • Tested by dermatologists
  • Concentrated formula
Product Image of the Dreft Pure Gentleness
Best for Baby Eczema
Dreft Pure Gentleness
  • Removes 99% of stains
  • Most recommended by pediatricians
  • Hypoallergenic
Product Image of the Rockin’ Green Classic
Best for Cloth Diapers
Rockin’ Green Classic
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe & effective for cloth diapers
  • Rinses out completely
Product Image of the Grab Green
Best Powder
Grab Green
  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Safe for septic systems
Product Image of the Seventh Generation Detergent
Best Organic
Seventh Generation Detergent
  • Certified USDA organic
  • No added chemicals
  • Safe for delicate skin
Product Image of the Purex Liquid
Best Smelling Detergent
Purex Liquid
  • Ultra cheap and fragrant
  • Washing machine safe
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle


The Best Baby Laundry Detergents of 2024

These baby laundry detergents are the best on the market.

Puracy Natural Liquid Baby Laundry Detergent

Best Baby Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

This detergent will clean your clothes without any harsh additives or harmful chemicals. Doctors developed it, so it’s safe for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It doesn’t contain sulfates, chlorine, animal byproducts, allergens, or brighteners.

The gentle formula is plant-based and biodegradable, making it safe for both sewer and septic systems. Since it’s high-efficiency washing machine compatible, you can use it with any washer.

We love that this detergent is ultra-concentrated and contains enough soap for 192 loads in a handy 48-ounce refill pouch. Because of this, the price-per-load is super affordable compared to both natural and conventional laundry products.

Pros

  • Plant-based and vegan.
  • It has no allergens.
  • Super affordable.
  • It was developed by doctors.

Cons

  • The plastic container is not environmentally friendly.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
5 / 5
Effectiveness
4.5 / 5
Fragrance
5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.5 / 5

User Experience

For someone who values clean and non-toxic laundry detergent, this product has been a great find. I've used it on all sorts of clothes, and it consistently leaves them scent-free and without any residue or fading. The free and clear version is especially ideal for my family, as it doesn't cause any skin irritation or allergies, even for my two-year-old. The only downside is the price, but the refill option helps save some money, making it a worthwhile investment for us.

Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder

Best Baby Laundry Detergent for Hard Water

This detergent is both powerful and gentle. It only contains five ingredients and none of the harmful chemicals found in ordinary laundry soaps.

Certified vegan-friendly, it also contains organic peppermint essential oil to give the soap a pleasant scent, yet this rinses out, so the clothes don’t have an overpowering scent after washing.

It can be used in high-efficiency and traditional machines and is effective in both hot or cold water. Even better, it will still get your clothes clean (and rinse out completely) in hard water — and it only takes one tablespoon of detergent per load.

Pros

  • Can be used in hard or soft water.
  • Can be used in hot or cold water.
  • It contains no harsh chemicals.
  • Has an “A” rating from the EWG.

Cons

  • Peppermint oil can be an irritant.
  • The packaging has the potential to spill.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4.5 / 5
Effectiveness
4.5 / 5
Fragrance
3.5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
4 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

Personal Perspective

After using Molly Suds for nearly a year, I can confidently say that it has been a great solution for my sensitive skin. This laundry detergent is gentle, yet effective in cleaning even my husband's dirtiest work clothes. I appreciate the non-toxic ingredients, which have not caused any skin irritation or allergies for me. The light peppermint scent is pleasant without being overpowering, and the powder lasts a long time, making it a cost-effective option for my family of three. I've found that it works best with warm water, and for cold washes, I add a little lavender castile soap to boost its cleaning power.

Dreft Stage 1 Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent

Best Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent

Dreft is a brand with 80 years of history behind it, along with the recommendations of thousands of pediatricians. It was developed with newborns in mind, knowing that their skin needs are different (and more sensitive) than those of adults.

This detergent is hypoallergenic and free of dyes. It has a light scent and has been clinically tested for effectiveness. It’s safe to use on cloth diapers, as long as they’re cotton or a poly/cotton blend.

Pros

  • Recommended by pediatricians.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Developed with babies in mind.

Cons

  • The price per load is high.
  • It contains potentially irritating surfactants.
  • It has a scent.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4.5 / 5
Effectiveness
4 / 5
Fragrance
3 / 5
Eco-friendliness
3 / 5
Total Rating
3.5 / 5

Community Feedback

This detergent effectively removes tough stains from both baby and adult clothing, even working wonders on cloth diapers. The mild scent is pleasant and not overpowering, but may be slightly irritating to those with sensitivity to scents.

ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent

Best Natural Laundry Detergent for Baby

Not only can you feel good about having this detergent wash your child’s clothes, but you can feel good about the production process, too. It’s manufactured with 100 percent green energy, and the product bottle can be recycled when it’s empty.

The plant-based detergent works in high-efficiency and traditional washing machines. Plus, it’s made with cruelty-free, sustainable, biodegradable ingredients.

And since it’s got a built-in fabric softener, you don’t have to have an extra product on hand to keep your baby’s clothes as soft as possible.

Pros

  • Plant-based and better for the environment.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Manufactured using green energy.
  • It uses renewable resources.

Cons

  • It contains softeners, so it isn’t suitable for cloth diapers.
  • It contains a fragrance, which some parents don’t like.
  • The bottle is plastic.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4 / 5
Effectiveness
4.5 / 5
Fragrance
3 / 5
Eco-friendliness
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this Earth Friendly Products Ecos 2x Liquid Laundry Detergent has been fantastic for several years now. I've found that there's no need for fabric softener or dryer sheets with this detergent, and even my athletic wear comes out clean and soft. Switching from a major brand detergent full of chemicals to this plant-based option made a significant difference in the cleanliness of my clothes without irritating my skin. Plus, using Ecos has helped reduce plumbing issues and the need for constant washing machine maintenance due to clogged lines.

Mrs. Meyer’s Baby Laundry Detergent

Best Liquid Laundry Detergent for Baby

The ingredients in this plant-based detergent are 97 percent natural. And while it’s packaged in a plastic bottle, the container is made from 25 percent recycled materials. It has a mild scent that comes from essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances, so it won’t cause as much irritation.

Mrs. Meyer’s detergent was tested by dermatologists and found to be gentle on skin. And since it only takes one fluid ounce to get your laundry clean, one bottle will stretch for 64 loads — but this listing includes two bottles, so you won’t have to re-order for quite some time.

Pros

  • 97 percent natural ingredients.
  • Tested by dermatologists.
  • It’s concentrated, so you don’t need a lot.

Cons

  • Its price per load is on the higher side.
  • It has a scent.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4 / 5
Effectiveness
4 / 5
Fragrance
3.5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

User Experience

I've recently tried this detergent for my sensitive skin, and I must say, it has worked wonders for me. The subtle scent is pleasant, although it doesn't last very long on clothes after they come out of the dryer. This detergent cleans well, even on heavily soiled clothes from outdoor work. However, it doesn't seem to be as effective on stain removal for baby clothes.

Dreft Pure Gentleness Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent

Best Baby Laundry Detergent for Eczema

Dreft has been trusted by new moms for years, but they upped their game with a plant-based product for babies who are particularly sensitive — and for moms who want peace of mind. This detergent is hypoallergenic and contains no dyes that can aggravate your baby’s skin.

Draft claims this product will remove 99 percent of food stains, so you won’t have to worry too much when your little one insists on self-feeding. It will work in high-efficiency or regular machines, but you’ll need to pay attention to how much you add to the load to ensure it cleans thoroughly.

Pros

  • Removes 99 percent of stains.
  • Contains no questionable dyes.
  • It’s the brand most recommended by pediatricians.
  • Hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Only 65 percent plant-based.
  • It’s not very concentrated, making more plastic packaging waste.
  • The price-per-load is high.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
5 / 5
Effectiveness
4.5 / 5
Fragrance
4 / 5
Eco-friendliness
2.5 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

Personal Perspective

My experience with this detergent has been fantastic, especially since it's fragrance-free and works wonders on all types of stains. It's perfect for sensitive skin, and I've noticed that it's very gentle on my baby's clothes. The detergent has a lightweight texture and a little goes a long way, making it a great value. Plus, the clean scent it leaves on the clothes after air-drying is truly delightful and long-lasting.

Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Detergent

Best Baby Laundry Detergent for Diapers

We know how important it is to choose the best detergent for cloth diapers, and after hours of research, this is the brand we recommend. It works as promised — rinsing out completely, not clogging the fibers, and getting the diapers completely clean.

It can also be used in either hot or cold water, depending on the care instructions of the fabrics you’re laundering. It’s biodegradable and contains no fillers, dyes, or brighteners, which can all cause skin irritation on your little one’s bum. Plus, it’s plant based and cruelty free.

Pros

  • Biodegradable.
  • Safe and effective for cloth diapers.
  • It rinses out completely.
  • Contains no brighteners.

Cons

  • It will not work as well in hard water.
  • The bag spills easily.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4 / 5
Effectiveness
5 / 5
Fragrance
5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.5 / 5

Community Feedback

As a person who's struggled with stubborn stains and lingering odors in my clothing, I decided to give this detergent a try. After using it on my white sheets with heavy sweat stains, I was amazed to see them come out completely clean! I've also used it on my scrubs, which tend to hold in unpleasant armpit smells, and the detergent effectively eliminated the odor. Additionally, I've used this detergent on my family's messy clothes, workout clothes, and even cloth diapers, and it works wonders on all of them. The Lavender Mint scent is light and pleasant, making this detergent an excellent choice for anyone seeking a powerful yet gentle cleaning solution.

Grab Green Natural 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent

Best Powdered Baby Laundry Detergent

This hypoallergenic powder detergent is safe for septic systems, and you can use it in any washing machine. It’s also effective at cleaning your baby’s clothes in either hot or cold water.

It’s non-toxic and contains no phosphates, chlorine, brighteners, or dyes that can act as irritants. A nice perk is that it’s cruelty-free, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly. And the formula is derived entirely from plant-and-mineral-based ingredients.

Pros

  • Biodegradable.
  • Eco-friendly.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Safe for septic systems.

Cons

  • It has a strong fragrance.
  • Flimsy plastic packaging tears and leaks easily.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4.5 / 5
Effectiveness
4 / 5
Fragrance
2.5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
4 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

First-Hand Impression

As someone with sensitive skin and a preference for minimal scent, I was initially hesitant to try this detergent. However, after using it on multiple loads of laundry, I'm extremely pleased with its performance and the pleasant, subtle fragrance it leaves behind. Not only does this detergent clean effectively, even on heavily stained clothes, but it also leaves my laundry smelling fresh and clean without overpowering my senses or causing any skin irritation.

Seventh Generation Concentrated Baby Laundry Detergent

Best Organic Baby Laundry Detergent

Mama, it doesn’t get more natural than this. This detergent is made from botanical ingredients, so you can rest assured that only a pure and hypoallergenic formula is used on every fabric that touches your baby’s delicate skin.

This concentrated liquid contains zero chemicals or additives, which means it’s safe to use — especially on cloth diapers.

About 96% of this detergent’s ingredients have stain-fighting power from the biobased formulation. Seventh Generation is serious about their climate-friendly pledge, and they use recyclable materials in their packaging. They are appropriate for both HE and regular machines, and one package lasts for up to 53 washes.

Pros

  • Completely organic.
  • There are no added chemicals.
  • Safe for HE and regular machines.
  • All-natural detergent packaged in a recyclable container.

Cons

  • Many users don’t like the detergent’s scent.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
5 / 5
Effectiveness
4.5 / 5
Fragrance
2 / 5
Eco-friendliness
5 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

User Experience

I'm very satisfied with the cleaning power and scent of this detergent, as it effectively removes stains and leaves a pleasant, light floral fragrance on my clothes. The concentrated formula is a bonus, as I can use less detergent per load. However, I do have some issues with the new cap design, as it doesn't allow for the residual detergent to drain back into the bottle, causing a bit of a mess. Despite this, I still appreciate the overall quality and performance of this detergent in both traditional and HE washing machines.

Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent for Baby

Best Smelling Laundry Detergent for Babies

Dermatologists have tested this Purex detergent to ensure it is safe for your baby’s sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic and contains no added dyes that may cause rashes or other breakouts.

You can use it in any washing machine, and the price-per-load makes it an exceptional value for any family looking for a safe but budget-friendly detergent for their little one.

Pros

  • Ultra-cheap product.
  • Pleasantly scented.
  • You can use it in any washing machine.
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle.

Cons

  • It contains surfactants, which are potential irritants.
  • Using the included measuring cap can be messy.
  • It isn’t a natural product.

Our Ratings

Gentleness
4 / 5
Effectiveness
4 / 5
Fragrance
4.5 / 5
Eco-friendliness
3 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

Personal Perspective

This detergent has been fantastic for my baby's sensitive skin, and it has a delightful scent that is not too overpowering. I've been using it since my little one was four months old, and it has never caused any breakouts. Not only does it work well for babies, but it's also suitable for all skin types, making it a versatile choice. The dirt-lifting power of this detergent effectively removes grime from my active children's clothes, leaving them soft and fresh every time.

Why Do I Need Baby Laundry Detergent?

Baby laundry detergents are created with fewer harsh chemicals than traditional laundry detergents.

Your baby’s skin is sensitive and not yet accustomed to many of the environmental irritants adults are exposed to every day. While regular laundry soaps will clean baby clothes, they can also leave a residue.

This residue doesn’t bother most of us, but it can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions for a baby.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and babies’ skin is constantly coming into contact with laundered fabrics.

Some of these fabrics include:

If there are harmful chemical residues or irritants, they can easily be absorbed by your baby’s skin. Choosing a laundry detergent with minimal harmful chemicals or one specifically designed for babies can reduce their chance of chemical exposure or skin breakouts. If you’re up for it, you can even make your own homemade baby laundry detergent.

Can My Baby Have a Reaction to Detergent?

There are two types of skin reactions to detergent (1).

  • Skin Irritation: This type of reaction occurs immediately after exposure to a product or material. It’s a red, itchy rash that disappears shortly after the irritant is removed.
  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This is an allergic reaction, meaning the body has an immune response to an allergen. It presents as a red itchy rash, but its appearance is not immediate. It can take up to a week for symptoms to develop as exposure to the irritant builds up over time.

Types of Baby Laundry Detergents

There are three main types of laundry detergents available — liquid, powder, or packs (pods).

They each have their benefits and drawbacks.

Liquid

Liquid detergent is the most popular type, comprising 75 percent of all sales. They come in a bottle with a pouring spout or tap, and you use a plastic cup to measure the correct amount of product.

Pros

  • Convenient to pre-treat.
  • Good performance on greasy stains.
  • Easy to use.

Cons

  • Messy.
  • Not environmentally friendly.
  • Heavy.

Pro Tip

When using liquid laundry detergent, throw the plastic measuring cup in the washer with the laundry. It will come out nice and clean and prevent messy soap build-up on your cup and detergent container.

Powder

Powder detergents typically come in a cardboard box with a scoop.

Pros

  • Cheap.
  • Environmentally friendly packaging.
  • Better performance on ground-in stains.
  • Still works in hard water.

Cons

  • Messy.
  • Difficult to pre-treat.
  • Packaging is not durable.

Packs

Detergent packs (also known as “pods,” which is a trademarked term) are pre-measured portions of detergent that can be tossed directly into the washer before adding clothes.

Pros

  • Little room for error (pre-measured).
  • Convenient.
  • Effective performance.
  • Portable.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Attractive to children (poison risk).

Safety First

If you have children under the age of six, you should avoid using laundry packs as there have been multiple incidents of children being poisoned after ingesting them (2). Because they’re small and colorful, they’re attractive to young children and often mistaken as candy.

How to Choose Laundry Detergent for Baby

When choosing a laundry detergent, consider the following:

Regular or High Efficiency

If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you need to make sure you choose a laundry detergent that’s approved for such use. Look for a “HE” designation on the front of the detergent package, indicating it’s safe to use in high-efficiency machines. HE detergents will not create as many suds and will rinse cleaner and prevent damage to your high-efficiency washing machine.

Fragrance- and Dye-Free

To eliminate potential irritants, choose a detergent with no added dyes or fragrances. These aren’t necessary to clean your baby’s clothes; they only add a pleasing aroma or color the detergent. They do nothing to increase the detergent’s cleaning power.

No Brighteners

Brighteners are chemicals that remain in the fabric and absorb the UV from the sun to make the colors appear “brighter.” This is merely an aesthetic benefit and doesn’t affect the cleanliness of the clothes. To minimize chemical exposure, skip it.

Plant-Based

For the lowest overall environmental impact, choose a plant-based product. While this doesn’t guarantee it won’t irritate your child’s skin (there are plenty of naturally-occurring things that cause allergic reactions), it does have a lower risk than synthetic products.

Liquid or Powder

It’s best to skip laundry packs or pods altogether due to the safety risk for small children. Choose a liquid or powder detergent based on your personal preference. Powders are cheaper and tend to perform better, but liquids are less bulky as they can be ultra-concentrated.


Types of Irritants in Laundry Detergent

Many studies have been conducted on laundry detergents and their potential toxicity to users. Unfortunately, unless you have an advanced degree in chemistry, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what may or may not cause an issue.

This is because:

  • Many ingredients are trade secrets, so they aren’t listed on the packaging.
  • Some hazards are environmental and build up over time.
  • Some of the chemicals released are the result of interactions between individual ingredients.
  • The chemicals go by many different names, so a potential “harmful ingredient list” would be several pages long.

Furthermore, it’s easy to find conflicting information. If you look up recipes for homemade laundry detergent (arguably the most “natural” way to ensure there are no mysterious ingredients in your soap), they almost all include borax. However, the Environmental Working Group (a well-respected authority on evaluating the toxicity of various products) cautions against using borax (3).

Trying to make a safe and healthy decision for your family can be overwhelming when good information is so difficult to come by.

However, here are some things you can do to minimize your exposure to potential toxins and irritants if they’re of concern to you.

  • Purchase products free from dyes and fragrances.
  • Avoid products that say they include “brighteners.”
  • Choose plant-based products.
  • Choose biodegradable detergents.

Baby Laundry Detergent FAQs

What Ingredients Should Not Be in Baby Detergent?

Chemicals that are harmful to us can be especially harmful to your baby’s sensitive skin. Always stay away from baby laundry detergents that contain sulfates and parabens. Sometimes, fabric softeners that are added in with baby detergents can irritate sensitive skin, too.

Is Powder or Liquid Detergent Better for Babies?

In most cases, liquid detergent is the way to go. Still, powder detergent can be better in some cases. If you have to use hard water to wash clothes, we recommend Molly’s Suds Powder for how well it works in any kind of water.

If your mind is set on a powder detergent, the best allrounder is the Grab Green Powder. Being hypoallergenic and biodegradable makes it the smart choice for new, eco-minded parents.

Is It Ok to Use Regular Laundry Detergent for Baby Clothes?

We don’t suggest you do this. The reason being regular laundry detergents use harsher chemicals than baby laundry detergents do.

The laundry detergents we’re used to can sometimes cause your little one to have an allergic reaction and break out in a rash. Sticking to baby detergents is just safer for your little one’s skin.

What Can I Use Instead of Baby Laundry Detergent?

By the end of this procedure, buying baby laundry detergent probably would have been cheaper. But assuming you have these items on hand, you’ll need:

  • Bar of soap for sensitive skin, sliced into thin chips
  • Borax
  • Washing soda
  • Baking soda

You’ll need to mix all these components together in a food processor (preferably not the same one you use for food.) Once you get a powdery substance, you have your laundry detergent.

What Detergent Is Best for Baby Clothes?

That depends on your baby. Many babies are known to have sensitive skin, and we recommend Puracy Natural Liquid for its gentle vegan, plant-based ingredients. It’s a surprisingly affordable choice, too.

If you’re looking for something all-natural, then ECOS Laundry Detergent might be a better choice. It’s completely plant-based, and every part of it is biodegradable.


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Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.