It’s become a common knowledge now that conventional detergent used on adults’ clothes, especially the really strong and harsh ones meant to remove heavy stains, are not suitable for washing babies’ clothes. Detergent for babies have also become increasingly easier to find, and perhaps too easy that there are too many choices to choose from.
With such an overwhelming variety, coupled with tremendous branding efforts can leave parents confused and perplexed when the time comes for them to choose what to wash their newborn’s napkins and clothes with. Not just that, some parents also have more concerns than others, whether it is in terms of how environmentally friendly the product is, or especially if their babies’ skin are even more sensitive than most.
Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing some of the recommended baby detergents that are not only great for baby clothes, but also target specific concerns.
Baby laundry soap vs. detergent
Before we begin, please note that we are just calling it baby laundry soap for the ease of distinguishing the two in this section, but when you go shopping for the product, you’ll most probably see them labeled as ‘baby laundry detergent’.
Anyhow, so the perks to using it as opposed to normal detergent is, of course, to use something with less chemical, something compatible with your baby’s delicate and sensitive skin. Sometimes these baby laundry soaps will use milder versions of similar chemicals, so as not to irritate the skin, while some may opt for more natural substitutes as well.
And while the common conception may be that these are super gentle and perhaps will be ineffective in removing stains, whether from spit ups or all kinds of mess babies get into, how effective some of them can be with stains will surprise you.
What kind of detergent to use for baby clothes?
First of all, why shouldn’t you use normal detergent? Well, because of the chemical residue it may leave on your babies’ clothes and sheets, right? Therefore, the kind of baby detergent you should be looking for are ones that do not contain irritable chemicals, such as chemical fragrances, brighteners, bleach, etc. But of course, what you deem to be best detergent for baby clothes may differ from what others.
Given that, you don’t have to only look for mild formulas but you also have the choice of organic baby laundry detergent. We will also present some of these options, while keeping in mind that they need to be able to remove baby stains as well.
Where to buy these detergents?
These days, you should be able to easily find quality baby laundry detergent at your local supermarket, but when you’re being specific or really looking for the quality ones, depending on where you are, those choices on the shelf can seem pretty limited. So if you can find what you want there, that’s all fine and easy if you’re doing grocery runs anyway.
However, if you have difficulty finding what you need, Amazon.com is actually a very good place to look for best baby laundry detergent. They make it easy to navigate and narrow down your search, so there’s a much better chance of you finding things you did not know might answer your call. For example, you can select products that suit your baby’s age range, sort by price, by brand, tick off boxes that concern you like scented/unscented, hypoallergenic, etc. In addition, some products may even provide free shipping!
Baby laundry detergent reviews
And now, without further ado, here are our reviews and recommendations of laundry detergents safe for babies and are also easy to find! (You can find all of them on Amazon.com)
1. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
You are probably not so used to gentle formulas being powder these days but this is definitely one efficient and environmentally friendly one. And although Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder is not specifically marketed as a baby laundry product but it is gentle enough for babies because it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. (Parents’ reviews also agree, and they are more than happy to be able to use just this one laundry product for all family members’ clothes!) Charlie’s Soap explains that this formula contains no fragrance and optical brighteners, among other things, and will not leave chemical residue in the fabric of your baby’s clothes.
This product is green inside and out. The packaging is made from post-consumer products that have been recycled and reprocessed, while the laundry powder itself is made to be biodegradable. However, because of that, it is very natural and common for the odor of the product to change slightly, especially after the bag has already been opened. But rest assured, Charlie’s Soap promises it will not affect the effectiveness to cleanse, and the smell should also dissipate quickly.
The powder is good for all kinds of washes, so feel free to use it with whatever kind of machine you’d like. It is super cost-saving and just one bag can take care of up to one hundred medium loads of laundry!
2. Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Free and Clear Unscented
This Seventh Generation baby detergent is rather advanced, if you look at their efforts in incorporating technological advances into its production. It is made of mainly plant-based materials; with 96% of overall ingredients USDA certified bio-based products, and the entire solution 100% biodegradable.
It is also labelled as EPA Safer Choice product. The formula is both gentle and strong at the same time. Because it uses several enzymes to deal with the stains, it is considered strong, especially this 4x Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent formula. But also because of its natural base and the fact that it is free of brighteners, dyes, and synthetic fragrances, it is also very gentle. This Seventh Generation formula is non-toxic and hypoallergenic, so it should not cause your baby any irritation.
It works with both standard washing and the front load machines, but its 4x power boosts the concentration and effectiveness in removing stains while still supporting the same number of wash loads as its normal 2x formula. The variations under this formula are as follows: Free & Clear and Geranium Blossoms & Vanilla.
3. Biokleen Laundry Liquid, Free & Clear detergent
Talk about heavy duty washing. This is probably one of the best choices to go for when you have large wash loads but still demand the gentleness suitable for your baby’s clothes and of course, skin. Biokleen Laundry Liquid is super effective and is does not compromise strength for softness.
It’s nothing crazy fancy like using enzymes to get rid of stains, but the variations of the chemicals used here, for example Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS (among a number of others), which is people are commonly warned of, are actually plant based surfactants. They also use grapefruit seed extracts to help get the job done, but it does not leave any smell either. It does not use any artificial fragrances or preservatives to enhance it. This is because the formula is designed to leave little to no residue on fabrics after rinsing.
This formula comes as 3x concentrated and one bottle can be used for 128 High Efficiency washes, but only 64 for the standard wash. Within the same line of formula, you also have available Citrus Essence, Cold Water, Sports, and Baby variations to choose from but we thought this Free & Clear one was the simplest.
4. Tide PODS Free and Gentle Laundry Detergent Pacs
This Tide product comes a little differently than the other ones we’ve seen. They come in pacs. And by that we mean they come in capsules. Once again, this product is not marketed specifically towards washing babies’ clothes, but it is gentle enough and also effective enough to just use it to wash both parents’ and their children’s clothes, as many have said in their reviews.
These capsules come without fragrances and dyes, but it still works to brighten your fabric. But don’t worry about that, it is still tested by dermatologists and it is hypoallergenic, so it should not cause any skin irritation.
For various sizes of wash loads and machines, you can adjust by adding more capsules to fit your requirements. For example, you can use 1 capsule for a normal load, 2 for larger loads, and 3 if it’s just unbearably huge, as it could be with all your baby’s clothes and sheets and cloth diapers. It can be used with any kind of washing machine, although it is specially designed for High Efficiency wash, allowing 6 times the usual cleaning power in just half the amount of time.
So if you’re looking for something innovative, effective, and gentle for the skin, this is definitely one to consider.
5. Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Laundry Detergent (HE)
This Dreft formula is specifically made for newborns, as indicated as “Stage 1”. Dreft is one of the few brands that carefully split up their product range so as to be more specific to various development stages. They also have Stage 2 for active babies and then another one for children. This Stage 1 formula is hypoallergenic, so you do not have to worry about it irritating your newborn baby’s skin; but at the same time, it is also quite effective in removing his/her stains.
With this formula, you can use it with both High Efficiency washing machines as well as the standard ones, which is rather convenient especially when you have so much more laundry load to take care of. Your laundry list goes on and on now, starting with your baby’s clothes, those little onesies, napkins, bibs, cloth diapers, etc. and Dreft is happy to accommodate all. While this formula should be good enough with your newborns’ stains and generally can continue to be used even after your baby is outgrown that stage, the Stage 1 formula is still compatible as long as there are no heavy stains like dirt, for which Stage 2 formula for active babies may suit better.
6. Green Shield Organic Free and Clear Baby Laundry Detergent
Green Shield Organic Free and Clear Baby Laundry Detergent is a USDA Certified Organic baby laundry detergent, so you can be sure of its gentleness, towards your baby, his/her clothes, and the environment all at the same time.
It is ‘free’ of any harsh chemicals, because in order to pass USDA’s requirements, it needs to refrain from using a long list of chemicals conventional detergents may use in their product. It is also ‘free’ of any fragrances and dyes, thus making this formula hypoallergenic. And it is designed to ‘clear’ stains effectively while its gentle ingredients are also safe for color.
In terms of efficiency, this Green Shield’s organic formula can be used with both High Efficiency machines and standard ones. However, say you are measuring with the 50 oz sized bottle, the you should be able to fit in up to 50 loads with HE washes, but perhaps only 33 for the standard wash. Therefore, while it is formulated to be gentle and environmentally friendly, it is also up to you how to utilize it best.
7. Babyganics 3x Baby Laundry Detergent, Fragrance Free
Babyganics has a wide array of products, all of which are designed to be mild and gentle, as well as deriving from natural products. This baby laundry detergent formula is derived from plant-based and enzyme-based materials that are not only safe and natural, but also effective in removing stains which your baby is bound to make. Babyganics is proud to tell you that they do not use harsh chemicals, so the ones that you would commonly find in conventional laundry detergent (as well as a wide range of other cleansing products) like optical brighteners, phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, and so on. Note that sulfates, for example Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS and its several variations are commonly added to increase bubbles in shampoos, soaps, and detergents alike.
It has also been tested by pediatricians and dermatologists and qualifies as not allergenic. So while they do not explicitly market that it will not cause or exacerbate eczema, many parents have said in their review that this is the detergent for eczema.
And similar to other baby laundry detergents, this Babyganics formula is also compatible with High Efficiency washing use and can provide you with as much as 60 loads/washes. The one we chose to present is fragrance free, but you can also choose a lavender-scented one with the same formula.
If anyone has tried these formulas, please feel free to share with us how your experience was using them; or if you also have your personal favorite that we did not include in this list, feel free to recommend to other parents as well in the comment section below!