The Mom’s Guide To Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent For Baby

non-toxic laundry detergent for baby
5 min reading time

If you’ve made the decision to make your home a safer, non-toxic place, replacing your laundry detergent with a safe and non-toxic alternative is a great place to start.

When you bring a baby home, all of a sudden the amount of laundry you have to do skyrockets. I’m talking mountains.

If you’re not quite ready to go full-on hippy mode and make your own DIY detergent, fear not. There are a lot of great non-toxic and eco-friendly laundry detergents out there that are perfect for not only you, but baby as well.

Today we’ll be answering questions like:

  • Why most traditional laundry detergent is awful for you and our environment.
  • What chemicals should be avoided.
  • What detergents you can actually rely on.

Why your laundry detergent matters.

Unfortunately, the makers of traditional laundry detergents like Tide just don’t care about its affect on your family or our environment.

They’re absolutely full of things like chemical fragrances, petroleum-derived chemicals, bleach, artificial colors and dyes, and more.

There is some nasty stuff in traditional laundry detergents. Unfortunately, because of the law, companies like Tide are allowed to hide most of their ingredients under the blanket of “trade secrets.”

The typical off-the-shelf laundry detergent typically contains:

1,4-Dioxane – One of the most harmful chemicals in laundry detergent, and also found in paints and varnishes.

1,4-Dioxane is used as a solvent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans. It may also irritate the skin. Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water. In three epidemiologic studies on workers exposed to 1,4-dioxane, the observed number of cancer cases did not differ from the expected cancer deaths. Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Bleach – Contains chlorine, which is an environmental hazard as well as a possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.

Fragrance – The problem with fragrance is that it can contain hundreds of chemicals that don’t need to be disclosed. Often toxic and should be avoided.

Optical brighteners – Chemicals added to make clothing appear brighter and whiter, therefore making you feel as though they’re cleaner. Often made from benzene, which is a carcinogen.

Phosphates – Chemicals that break down minerals to make the detergent more effective. Not necessarily a health risk, but does have a negative effect on our environment.

Synthetic detergent – Typically made from petrochemicals. Nasty stuff.

The effect on our environment.

Every time we do a load of laundry, we’re washing a bunch of toxic chemicals down the drain that inevitably end up in the water supply.

This is causing untold damage to our ecosystem, and we have no idea what kind of impact it’s going to have over time.

Many of the above ingredients are down-right awful for environment. Most are toxic to fish and wildlife, and not only that, but all of the chemicals we’re putting into the water suppl.y are eventually making their way back into us.

Do I Really Need “Baby” Laundry Detergent?

A lot of detergents labeled as being “for babies” are, for lack of a better word, a rip-off.

In some cases the manufacturers actually bottle the exact same product as their regular detergent, slap a “baby-safe” label on it and charge you more.

Don’t waste your money on what is labeled as “baby laundry detergent” like Dreft. All you’ll do is pay a premium for detergent that really doesn’t work all that well, and certainly isn’t better for your baby.

What makes a good, non-toxic laundry detergent.

Now that we know what kind of nasty stuff is in traditional laundry detergents, let’s look at what makes for a good, safe, non-toxic and eco-friendly detergent.

All of our choices must have:

  • No artificial colors or dyes.
  • No optical brighteners.
  • No chlorine bleach.
  • No artificial fragrances. (Some might prefer no fragrance, period).
  • No phosphates (makes it biodegradable).
  • No 1,4-Dioxane.
  • No questionable chemicals, period.

Laundry detergent formats:

  • Liquid – The standard format of detergent. Readily available.
  • Powder – Often cheaper, easier if stored in a plastic container.
  • Pods – Convenient, but typically more expensive per load and you don’t use more than necessary.

Every detergent on this list is one you can rely on.

The Best Brands

The following brands are all great, non-toxic detergents you can feel safe using in your home. Whether you want a powder, a liquid or pods, you’ll find something for you below.

fit organic laundry detergent

Fit Organic

  • Leaping Bunny certified.
  • USDA certified organic.
  • No synthetic chemicals.
  • Comes in scented (natural orange and lemon oils) and unscented.
  • Safe for sensitive skin.
  • EWG Rating: B
  • Cost: 10c/load (HE) 21c/load (non-HE)
  • Buy it on Amazon
molly's suds laundry detergent

Molly’s Suds

  • Leaping Bunny certified.
  • 100% Vegan certified.
  • Powder detergent.
  • Made in the USA.
  • EWG Rating: A
  • Cost: 16c/load
  • Buy it on Amazon
eco me laundry detergent

Eco Me

  • PETA & Leaping Bunny Certified
  • All natural ingredients.
  • Natural fragrances & unscented option.
  • EWG Rating: A
  • Cost: 21c/load
  • Buy it on Amazon
willow lane blanket scarf

Better Life

  • Free from toxic chemicals.
  • Comes in scented (natural fragrance) and unscented formats.
  • EWG Rating: A
  • Cost: 25c/load
  • Buy it on Amazon
grab green laundry detergent pods

Grab Green (pods)

  • Scented version contains some synthetic fragrance. Available in unscented.
  • Convenient pod format.
  • EWG Rating: B
  • Cost: 28c/load
  • Buy it on Amazon
greenshield laundry detergent


  • Leaping Bunny certified.
  • USDA certified organic.
  • No harsh chemicals.
  • 100% recyclable bottle.
  • Cost: 18/c load
  • Buy it on Amazon
zum clean laundry detergent

ZUM Clean

  • Made from only 100% coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils and vegetable glycerin.
  • All formulations besides Frankincense & Myrrh contain no synthetic fragrances.
  • EWG Rating: C
  • Buy it on Amazon

In conclusion.

Do you have any questions about non-toxic laundry detergent? If so, please let us know in the comments below.

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