When it comes to going green, most of us think of reusable shopping bags, recycling plastics, and turning the lights off when they serve no purpose. But, sustainability reaches into every part of life, including how we clean and refresh our clothes. While energy-efficient machines have a huge impact on your footprint, you may not be in the market for a new washer or dryer. And that’s okay. The good news is that even between large appliance purchases, you can apply your green thumb to your laundry routine.
Switching to an eco-friendly detergent can play a role in reducing your footprint. But in the world of constant “sustainable” advertising, how do you know which detergents are truly eco-friendly? Well, here are a couple of tips for shopping around. First, look at the ingredients. Check for artificial fragrances, sodium laureate sulfate, and phosphate, which, generally speaking, shouldn’t be in any detergent or soap that is earth, clothing, and skin friendly. You should also look for bleach or brighteners, as these almost always introduce chemicals into the very places we are trying to protect such as lakes, rivers, and groundwater.
Next, check out the packaging. There are two things to look at here. If you prefer liquid laundry detergent, you want it to come in plastic-free and compostable bottles/packaging. Unfortunately, 90% of plastic bottles, even if recyclable end up in a landfill. If you prefer powder laundry detergent, make sure that the packaging is plastic-free. Think cardboard. That ensures that it’s fully recyclable or gives you the option of composting it as well. If you want a "liquid and powder free" alternative that works just as well as both liquid and powder laundry detergent, look no further than the revolutionary new Eco Friendly Laundry Detergent Strips that are out there.
Finally, check the weight. Transport plays a huge role in CO2 emissions harming our planet. The lighter the entire package is, the less CO2 emissions are emitted when transporting.
Now that you know what to look for in ingredients and packaging, let’s talk brands. Here are the top 5 eco-friendly laundry detergents:
- SaltyLama Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Strips
Ingredients: SaltyLama Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Strips are great for clothes and sensitive skin because the eco-strips contain no harsh chemicals such as parabens, phosphates, and bleach. They are cruelty-free, which means they are vegan and contain no animal-derived ingredients.
Packaging: Packaged in lightweight cardboard sleeve which is 100% compostable. This means that once used, both the product and the package leave no trace they ever existed. Eco-Laundry Strips come in sheets of two. Just tear one off, throw it in the wash as you would with liquid or powder detergent, and that’s it. Want to try? They are available on the SaltyLama website or here on Amazon.
Weight: Less than 80g for 34 loads.
- Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods
Ingredients: These laundry detergent pods come in two different forms. The pods are made up of a water soluble casing called Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), which dissolves upon contact with water. They’ve also added a bittering agent for the safety of children and pets. Their detergent uses natural plant-based enzymes and is dye-free, phthalate-free, phosphate-free and animal-cruelty-free.
Packaging: Dropps uses compostable packaging and is also plastic-free. Due to the weight of the product, the CO2 emissions are higher than those of Eco-Laundry Strips.
Weight: More than 340g for 34 loads.
- Blueland Laundry Tablets
Ingredients: Blueland’s laundry tablets contain no plastics, and are non-toxic, bio-based with natural clean ingredients. Similar to conventional laundry packs, you load one tablet directly into the drum of the washing machine and turn on the machine to the desired washing cycle.
Packaging: At purchase, you receive their “Forever Tin” and 40 laundry tablets. When you finish up your tablets, you can get a refill that’s packaged in compostable paper pouches.
Weight: More than 340g for 34 loads.
- Etee Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Ingredients: Etee’s concentrated laundry detergent is made without PVA to help prevent plastics from ending in waterways or landfills. Their goal was to create a detergent that whitens and brightens just like regular brands without harming the planet.
Packaging: Etee’s concentrated detergent is packaged in a paper bag with a 100% biodegradable lining - including the 'zip' closure.
Weight: More than 120g for 34 loads.
- Ethique Laundry Bar
Ingredients: Ethique Zero waste bar called Flash! is made with 100% biodegradable ingredients, pure essential oils and white kaolin clay. Be mindful though that these are not made for use in a washing machine as the bar includes an anti-corrosion ingredient.
Packaging: Ethique uses compostable packaging and plants a tree for every order, helping them to achieve a carbon neutral footprint.
Weight: 100g for handwashing only.
So if you’re not yet ready to purchase a fancy washing machine with super efficient settings, you’re now armed with 5 fantastic detergent options that can immediately begin to reduce your footprint. Don’t forget to wash full loads in cold water whenever possible to further the greenery of your routine. Happy laundry day!