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As vegans, we all want to embrace products that are more sustainable and won’t lead to the mistreatment of the animals that surround us.
Unfortunately, finding products that are both cruelty- and animal-free can take a bit of research. In fact, finding a laundry detergent that meets these requirements is tough, especially when we know that the testing practices of many of the leading detergent brands include the maltreatment of animals.
Fortunately, the vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular due to its clear benefits; and as a result, cruelty-free, vegan laundry detergent is becoming more readily available. With this in mind, this guide will look at some of the better options that are out there on the market today.
Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons why switching across to a vegan laundry detergent makes sense.
Why switch to a more natural laundry detergent?
Vegan detergent is generally considered to be a far safer for us humans to use than the standard, chemically-ladened, laundry detergent you see on the shelves of supermarkets. However, the benefits do not stop with us.
Many of the companies who manufacture these products use animals to see if the chemicals would be harmful to your skin. Oftentimes, this testing is done on rabbits (you know, cute little bunnies like Thumper!).
Their fur is shaved, and their skin is rubbed down with these harsh chemicals. This horrifically barbaric procedure creates open wounds on their skin that are obviously extremely painful, and it is typically left there for weeks. Chemicals are also dripped into their eyes, where it causes clouded vision and blindness, not to mention the immediate, agonizing discomfort. (1, 2)
If you choose to use an eco-friendly laundry detergent that does not use animals in any way, you are helping to protect these innocent creatures from harm. On a wider, more environmental scale, you are also doing your bit to protect our waterways and seas from pollution by opting for a more natural laundry detergent.
Chemicals, like sodium triphosphate, are pollutants and can make their way into our waterways, which can lead to lakes and rivers becoming effectively dead. (3)
Such chemicals can actually boost the growth of toxic algae, and these “blooms” release toxins and deplete the oxygen levels in the water, leading to the destruction of fish stocks.
The impact of polluted waterways also has a devastating effects on hundreds of other species too. However, switching to a more environmentally friendly, phosphate-free laundry detergent can help combat some of the issues faced by our waterways today.
What are some other benefits of using a natural vegan laundry soap?
The reasons stated above for ditching your old powder or liquid and switching to a vegan laundry detergent should be enough. However, if you need even more persuading, here are some of the other benefits using natural laundry detergent brings:
Better for your skin
Natural detergents are safer for your skin.
When you use harsh chemicals to clean your clothing, not all of the soap residue gets washed out. When you wear your clothes, the chemicals that remain in the fabric rub against your bare skin…and you just know that isn’t going to end well!
Making the switch to a detergent that is made from more natural ingredients means harsh chemicals will not be coming in contact with your skin.
Most of these solutions are hypoallergenic or at least designed to be gentle on your skin, which means that they will not further irritate any dermatological issues that you may have.
Less mess and clogging
These types of laundry soaps are much better for your drains and septic systems. When you put a less natural soap powder down a drain, you may find that the functionality of your pipework will slow over time.
Clogs can occur when the soap residue builds up inside of the pipes, whereas mild, natural soaps dissolve far better and run right through them.
Ecologically sounder packaging
More eco-friendly packaging is used when you purchase natural, vegan laundry soaps, and the packaging that holds the soap isn’t as excessive as it is with some of the more mainstream brands of laundry detergent.
Less packaging means less waste; and the result is a more efficient, environmentally–friendly way to wash your laundry.
Safer for allergy sufferers
Natural laundry detergents are generally considered to be a much better option for people with allergies or respiratory problems. When you use harsh powdered chemicals to wash your clothing, some of the residual dust will end up getting into the air.
The same is true with most household cleaners, but especially when you are dealing with powders or sprays. When you use powdered laundry soap made from natural, eco-friendly ingredients, you’ll be breathing air that is cleaner and safer to inhale each time you put a wash on.
Better for your clothes
Using the right type of vegan laundry detergent is a great way to protect your garments. When you use plant-based solutions to clean your fabrics, you are eliminating the harsh chemicals that may damage your clothes over time.
With natural products, you might notice that the colors run less; keeping them brighter for a longer. Many people state that their clothes are often softer, too, when using a vegan laundry detergent.
This may be because the soap residue is washed off fully as the natural ingredients in the powder or liquid dissolve better than the man-made chemicals so readily used in other, less ecologically friendly brands.
More natural smell
We all like our clothes to smell fresh and clean, but sometimes our clothes don’t smell that fresh when they are newly washed – they can often smell a little, well, chemically.
If you use vegan detergent, you may find you end up with a more natural-smelling fabric, or even very little scent at all.
While this odorless result may not be to everyone’s taste, it is proof that there are far less chemicals present in your washing powder when you pick up a vegan option.
Buy more, save more
Though this isn’t necessarily true of all brands, eco-friendly laundry detergent can be more expensive to purchase.
However, as lots of the manufacturers are either vegan themselves or simply environmentally aware, many of the more natural options on the market today are sold in bulk, which means they are given a more cost-effective price point and come with less packaging too.
So stocking up can save you a fair amount if you have the room at home to store the bigger packs.
Concentrated vegan laundry soap is another option. Buying your laundry detergent in this way will allow you to dilute the formula to a level that is right for your clothes each time you wash, cutting down further on packaging and waste.
Best Vegan laundry detergent reviews
Now that you know some of the benefits of using vegan laundry soap, let’s take a look at some of the best options available to clean your laundry cruelty-free.
Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
What makes Puracy Natural Liquid laundry detergent so impressive is its 10x formulation that allows you to get a full 96 loads out of a single bottle.
All of the ingredients in Puracy have been formulated to be 100 percent biodegradable so that you are leaving the smallest footprint possible.
The detergent uses ingredients derived from coconuts and other plant and minerals sources for a solid cleaning performance. Unfortunately, however, these ingredients do not leave much of a scent on your clothes, so for those of you who like a brighter smell from your wash, you may want to look elsewhere.
Despite its stronger formulation, Puracy is a detergent that won’t damage your delicate clothing items or cause issues with your septic systems. Additionally, as a certified cruelty-free product, Puracy doesn’t use animals in its testing phases.
But (and it’s a big but), EWG’s rating of Puracy’s product is shocking to say the least. Scoring a frankly diabolical “F”, this natural laundry detergent seems to be concerning for a number of reasons, especially with regard to its potential for developmental and reproductive toxicity.
- This concentrated formula will last 10 times as long as some mainstream laundry soaps on the market
- Each purchase you make, a donation is given to a charity for local children and families in need
- Biodegradable ingredients are used, which is safer for the environment
- Awful “F” rating on EWG
- No certification from Green Seal, Eco-Scale, or EcoLogo
- The pump action dispensing method is not the best
- It doesn’t have much of a scent
Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Laundry Detergent
If you need a rockin’ detergent that has minimal environmental impact, Rockin’ Green Classic Rock laundry detergent is a great option. The Smashing Watermelons variety will make your clothes smell summery and fresh, but if delicious watermelon isn’t your favorite fragrance, Rockin’ Green has several other options to choose from.
The formulation of this vegan detergent is designed for soft-to-moderate water and is made with no fillers or dyes. As you would expect from a cruelty-free detergent, Rockin’ Green is never tested on animals. However, it remains strong enough for deep cleaning, but is also mild enough for things like cloth diapers.
Because of the lack of chemicals, Rockin’ Green doesn’t froth up as much as some of the mainstream detergents. Some people might want more suds in their wash, but when it comes to cleaning power, Rockin’ Green does have a strong overall performance.
For the full Rockin’ Green range, click here.
- This detergent comes in a number of unique scents that include watermelon, cherry, and lavender mint
- There are three formulas available to correspond to your water so that your clothes are always soft
- Works well with cloth diapers, but you need to get the load quantities right
- It’s great at removing stains (although not a miracle cure for some of the hardier, more stubborn ones)
- Some moms have reported rashes on their babies after use
- May not leave your clothes smelling as fresh as you’d like
- This is not a super sudsy formula
Method Naturally Derived 8X Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Method already has a great reputation when it comes to delivering a great clean to those who want to lessen their environmental impact.
Though the Method Naturally Derived 8X Concentrated Laundry Detergent container is small in size, this detergent has a very strong formulation that simply needs four pumps for a single load of laundry. With this amount, you will be able to do 75 loads per 30-ounce bottle.
The pump works great and is a brilliant way of reducing waste. That being said, you will need a place to store your bottle in an upright position, otherwise you could end up with leaked laundry detergent everywhere.
Method is dedicated to environmental sustainability; the product is derived naturally from plant enzymes and materials, the bottles are 100 percent recycled, and the formulas naturally biodegrade. Thumbs up!
For more Method products, click here.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Method is now owned by S C Johnson – a company that openly admits to testing on animals. While the Method range itself currently isn’t tested on animals (see image below), many ethical vegans will choose not to support the parent company, opting for a different cruelty-free detergent instead.
- The concentrated formula is housed in a small, easy to carry bottle
- This vegan laundry detergent works well on low-water cycles
- Great, fresh smell
- The pump dispenser is easy to use with one hand and saves both space and wasted detergent. However, could possibly do with being a little sturdier
- Refill bags are available, cutting waste and packaging further still
- It does not work great on tough stains, but then many “standard” detergents don’t either
- The pump leaks a bit if the bottle is not kept upright
- Pump is a great idea, but could be better made
- Method is now owned by S C Johnson
Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder
Molly’s Suds’ most famous claim is that its detergent is a “wise choice for people against toxins.” I’m sure most of us fall into that category, so you’ll appreciate the company’s stand against putting anything unnatural into its product’s formulation.
With a highly concentrated formulation, you simply add about a tablespoon of the powder to your loads, and it’s safe for your septic systems and high-efficiency washers too. On top of this, with its thoroughly natural ingredients, you can rest assured that this product was not tested on animals. Plus, it’s also safe for those with sensitive skin.
Unfortunately, the formula is not designed specifically for hard water, which means that your clothes could lack some of the softness that you desire from freshly washed fabrics. The lack of scent will also be a concern for some, though.
- It makes your clothes extremely soft
- This natural formula requires less per load, which means that it will last longer and save you money
- Designed to not irritate people with sensitive skin, brilliant for allergy sufferers
- Great EWG rating
- Minimal ingredients
- It is still tough to get really hard stains clean with this formula
- This detergent does not work quite as well with hard water
Sun & Earth Natural Laundry Detergent
Natural, botanical fragrances are often better smelling than synthetic ones, which is why Sun and Earth Natural Laundry Detergent is so good. Its scents are actually derived from natural plant-based sources so that your clothes will smell amazing while the rest of the formula get things nice and clean. Additionally, this detergent uses no chemical preservatives, GMOs, or dyes and is safe for sensitive skin.
This vegan detergent can be used in high-efficiency washers and is also safe for septic systems. From a company-wide perspective, Sun & Earth is dedicated to green practices; they purchase only wind power for their factories and they have a minuscule carbon footprint.
Being that this detergent is only two times concentrated, it may not be the most economical option, but that will depend largely on how quickly your family goes through a bottle. Like Molly’s Suds, Sun & Earth has received an A rating from EWG.
For more great products from Sun and Earth, click here.
- It works well in all types of water including hot, cold, hard, and soft
- This detergent comes in natural scent options, such as citrus and lavender
- It is great for keeping white clothes white and your colored laundry bright
- This formula is very gentle on your skin, making it great for your little one’s clothing
- “A” rating on EWG
- Nothing at all!
Planet Ultra Powdered HE Laundry Detergent
Planet Ultra Powdered HE Laundry Detergent is a natural detergent that can provide 40 loads of laundry in a high-efficiency washer, which is fairly impressive as this is per 64-ounce box. The formulation of this detergent is very strong, but it is also safe for most delicates.
Additionally, Planet Ultra is 100 percent hypoallergenic for those who have sensitive skin. It is a powder formula though, which may be issue for some because of its messy nature.
We all know how important it is to reduce our carbon footprint and to be eco-sustainable. Planet Ultra is 100 percent biodegradable, so that you won’t have to be concerned about what happens to it after your laundry is completed.
This is also a great detergent for those who prefer their laundry to be fragrance-free. Obviously, if you like scented detergent this may mean you’ll want to look at some of the other vegan laundry powders on the market instead.
- This detergent works well in both hot and cold water
- A great option for individuals who have sensitive skin
- Costs less than most leading brands
- Formula works great with cloth diapers and harsh stains
- The powder can leave white stains on dark clothes if it is not mixed with water before it is added to the wash
- May fade colors over time
- Doesn’t seem to protect clothing as well as some other brands
- Can leave tough smells in clothing
Attitude Laundry Detergent
Attitude laundry detergent is a great eco-sustainable option for most environmentally conscious consumers.
First, it has a cruelty-free formulation that ensures that it was never tested on animals. Secondly, it is designed for high-efficiency washers so that you can rest assured that you aren’t wasting valuable resources during your laundry.
It has a very crisp scent and has a 3x level of concentration. This means that you will only need a small cap full for a full load of laundry. For those who like citrus scents, Attitude comes in pink grapefruit, which is accomplished using only plant-based fragrances.
For more scent options from Attitude, click here.
- This vegan laundry detergent comes in great natural scents like citrus, grapefruit, and wildflowers
- This formula is designed for cold water, which means that you will use less energy to wash your clothes
- All of the ingredients are plant-based, making this a cruelty-free option that will not irritate your skin
- Gentle on your clothes, too
- Excellent “A” rating on EWG
- The bottles can leak, especially if they are not upright
- There is not a handle on the bottle, making it difficult for some to hold and pour
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
What makes Charlie’s Soap laundry powder so interesting is the fact that it will deliver 100 loads per 2.64-pound package.
This is primarily a result of its excellent concentration, which comes from a formula that uses coconut oil, washing soda, and sodium metasilicate for drying the powder. You’ll only need about a tablespoon of the product for a single load.
This detergent is 100 percent biodegradable and the manufacturer claims it is perfect for those who don’t want to release toxic chemicals into our environment. In fact, according to the marketing spiel, Charlie’s will even help remove some of the toxic residues that are left over from less eco-friendly detergents. Your clothes will even be softer over time.
Sound great, right? Well, not so fast. According to EWG, Charlie’s Soap may contain ingredients which could have negative respiratory effects, cause impaired vision, and be potentially damaging to our waterways. Its overall rating comes in at a lowly “D” – not good.
IMPORTANT EDIT: Charlie’s Soap has now been upgraded to a “B” on EWG. It is still marked as “Some Concern” for Asthma/Respiratory and Cancer categories, but a massive improvement on the lowly D they had previously.
- Only a little soap is required for a load of laundry; meaning that this 2.64-pound bag will wash 100 loads with ease
- It works great in hot and cold water
- This formula does a fantastic job on tough stains
- The bag is very inconvenient to use without having an occasional spill
- Though the formula is advertised as fragrance-free, there is still a slight scent
- May leave a white residue on dark clothing
Roux Maison All Natural Laundry Detergent + Odor Eliminator
While Roux Maison’s all-natural laundry detergent packaging might look a little industrial, or even old-timey, its ability to clean clothes with a very minimal eco-footprint is nothing short of impressive. It has a lot of ability to remove stains yet has a very pleasant scent, which comprises of ambrosia and sweet tea.
Despite its overall stain removing ability, it’s also gentle enough to not damage your clothes and will even make them feel softer. The bottles are BPA-free and its formulation doesn’t contain anything nasty like formaldehyde, phosphates, or phthalates. It’s also hypoallergenic for those who have sensitive skin.
The cap on this product may cause some distress; it’s a bit too small to use it for measurement. Therefore, it may be more beneficial to use a different container to measure out your detergent.
- It comes in unique southern scents like sweet tea and ambrosia
- Cleans well, even workout clothes are made fresh
- The concentrated formula only requires two capfuls per load
- The scents are made using essential oils, not chemicals
- The plastic bottle is BPA-free
- The cap is small, making it difficult to use when measuring out your two caps full
Earth Friendly Products 2X Ultra ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent With Built in Softener
Earth Friendly’s ECOS is a vegan-friendly detergent that provides a full 100 loads per 100-ounce bottle, which makes it an extremely cost-effective option.
Its chief ingredients are pretty natural, with components like horsetail plant and other plant-derived ingredients making up the bulk of the product.
This detergent is safe for the majority of clothes, including whites, colors, and just about all fabrics that you can throw at it. Additionally, it’s hypoallergenic and can be used in any temperature water. You can even pre-treat a stain with ECOS; simply pour a bit on tougher spots, rub it in, and toss it in with the rest of your load.
Strong odor removal is one of the primary issues with ECOS. While it’s great for removing stains, there might be some residual odor in the clothing.
- The formula has a floral scent that is chemical-free
- It works great on cloth diapers and other tough stains
- The two pack option offers a great value that will wash 200 loads of clothes or more
- It leaves you clothes feeling soft after a wash
- It’s not great for keeping your white clothes white
- Not the best for those with sensitive skin
- The label is not 100 percent clear about the origin of the scent, stating only “natural fragrance”
Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena Laundry Detergent
Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent has a great reputation for being a reliable product that leverages plant-derived ingredients to provide an excellent clean, but is it well-founded?
This detergent claims to be 100 percent biodegradable and perfect for people who may have sensitive skin. However, it scores a lowly “F” on EWG’s rating system. Primary concerns are over its aquatic toxicity and the potential harm it may do developmental and reproductive areas too. It is, however, certified as a green product on the Eco-Scale rating system.
This relatively large bottle provides a full 64 loads, which amounts to an ounce of Mrs. Meyer’s per wash. The lemon verbena is also a very pleasant scent, and unlike some other natural detergents, its unique fragrance will transfer to your clothes after you’ve dried them. This is something those of you who prefer a scent to linger will surely be appreciative of.
Unfortunately, there is no catch feature on the bottle. This means that when you’re pouring the detergent into the cap, there is a tendency for the solution to run down the bottle. Not only is this inconvenient and messy, it’s also wasteful too.
- It comes in unique herb and floral scents including basil, rosemary, geranium, and, this one, lemon verbena
- It is a concentrated formula, so only a little bit of detergent is needed to wash your clothes
- It is great for sensitive skin
- It works well on tough stains
- Poor EWG rating
- The powdered variations are not 100 percent biodegradable
- While pleasant, the scent is quite strong
- The ingredients are only 97 percent natural
- Poor attention to detail with regard to packaging, hard to pour and no “catch” system for drips
Selecting the best vegan laundry detergent
As with so many products of this nature, a lot will come down to your own personal preferences. The type of washing you do, how much you get through, and the types of clothes you will be washing will all affect your decision when it comes to buying the right natural laundry detergent for you and your family.
However, it would be remiss of me not to point you in the direction of a product that I regard to be one of the best out there…and that product would be Sun & Earth’s Natural Laundry Detergent.
It smells great, has absolutely no artificial dyes, fragrances, or preservatives, and is completely hypoallergenic as well. It can also be used at any temperature and is effective in both soft and hard water areas…oh, and it works in both standard and HE (high-efficiency) machines too.
Add to all this the fact that this vegan laundry detergent is given an “A” rating on EWG.org and we have ourselves a winner. Give it a try next time you are shopping for a laundry detergent and let me know what you think.
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About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Cruelty Free International | Types of animal testing | https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/types-animal-testing
- PETA | Cruelty to Animals in Laboratories | https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-laboratories/
- Judi Anne Turner | Laundry Detergent: the Effect of Pollution on Lakes and Rivers | https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/effect-of-pollution-zmaz70ndzgoe?pageid=1#PageContent1