Photo of Candace Walsh

Candace Walsh

Professional Eco Expert

Best Eco Friendly Laundry Soap & Best Laundry Detergent

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These days, it’s clear that the traditional laundry soap products we’ve grown up with have done the opposite of what they promised — instead of cleaning our clothing, they’ve soiled it with toxic chemical compounds — along with the air, our homes and our bodies. Should we throw it all out and start from scratch? That makes the most sense.

But if you’re like me, you might feel sentimental about “clean laundry smell” and other relics of 20th century cleaning. So I did some research and found out that I can have my “clean laundry smell” and inhale it safely, too. I also found products that reinvent the wheel in delightfully unexpected ways.

Remember that it doesn’t just stop with the soaps... consider switching out PVC laundry baskets for beautiful, fair-trade woven baskets, and re-think the best source of all for clean laundry smell: a basket of clothes line-dried in the sun.

The best eco friendly laundry soap and cleaning products keep your clothes clean without polluting your home or the environment. Choose the best laundry detergent that happens to be good for the ecosystem.

Best Laundry Products by Candace Walsh

The Best You Can Get

  • Maggie’s Pure Land Soap Nuts

    Candace says: Okay, forget anything you ever learned about laundry soap. Forget the crusty, dusty dry powder and the goopy, drippy liquid detergent. Forget (and this is most welcome for me) those fake laundry soap commercial moms with their chipper cheer, their flippy do’s, and their suspiciously natty chore outfits. And please forget the anxiety virus that certain ads tried to instill in terms of adding the, um... fabric softener in time (shudder).

    Maggie’s Pure Land Soap Nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree. Simply place two nuts in the included small cotton sack, cinch it, and throw it into the washing machine with your dirty clothes. I was doubtful as I ran my first load, but the clothes were completely clean afterwards, AND they were also soft (the soap nuts also have natural fabric-softening properties). I should mention that I have two little kids who love to play hard, and their clothes take a beating. But, the Soap Nuts clean their clothes beautifully.

    When washing in cold water, you can reuse the soap nuts two or three times before tossing them into compost or even your back yard. Soap Nuts are my absolute favorite natural cleaning product because they’re cheaper, lighter, and neater than traditional and even more natural laundry soap options, and they are so natural that they literally grow on trees.

    • Simply the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree - no additives!
    • Two hard, acorn-sized nuts are inserted into a cotton pouch and thrown in with your load
    • Miss fragrance? Sprinkle drops of essential oil on the cloth pouch
    • Cheaper, lighter, and better for the environment
  • Sun & Earth’s Dryer Sheets

    Candace says: In place of traditional dryer sheets, which are prime offenders in the scary ingredient category, try Sun & Earth’s dryer sheets. They’re made of unbleached paper, biodegrade in 21 days, and come in two options: citrus-scented and unscented.

    • Gives you the benefits of standard dryer sheets without the chemicals or the long biodegrading time
    • Made from unbleached paper
    • Choose orange-scented or unscented
  • BioKleen Chlorine Free Oxygen Bleach Plus

    Candace says: The production and use of chlorine bleach creates dioxin, among other baddies. Overwhelming research shows that dioxin is linked to cancer and birth defects, among other things. Quite a steep price to pay for really white socks!

    Happily, you can protect your family and yourself and the environment by choosing a chlorine-free oxygen bleach. My fav: BioKleen’s Chlorine Free Oxygen Bleach Plus. It works wonderfully and safely with cloth diapers, as well.

    • Gives you the benefits of traditional bleach, without the harshness and fiber-weakening drawbacks
    • Brightens colors
    • Can also be used on carpet stains
  • Dryer Balls

    Candace says: If you can keep your kids from running off to play catch with these dryer balls, they do a great job softening fabric and reducing drying time in the dryer by up to 25%. Not only will your clothing be ready for you more expediently, you’ll save energy, which is good for the earth and your electric bill.

    • Cuts down on drying time by 25%
    • Softens and fluffs your clothing in the dryer
    • Infinitely reusable
  • Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Baby Blossom Stain Remover

    Candace says: I made the switch to eco-conscious laundry practices, but secretly hoarded my traditional stain stick in a drawer, just for emergencies. Hello...stains happen. And I was willing to bend my rules for the equivalent of a garment 911. Luckily, one of my favorite aromatherapeutic natural cleaner brands - Mrs. Meyers - came out with an effective stain remover that lifts stains without harsh chemicals.

    • Pleasingly scented with essential oils
    • Works on baby and grown-up stains alike - without harsh chemicals
    • All ingredients are biodegradable
    • Cute, cheerful packaging brings a little zest to laundry duty

You will be happy with any of these

  • Ecos Free & Clear Laundry Liquid

    Candace says: Sometimes chemical-free isn’t enough - one person’s essential oil scented laundry is another person’s ticket to rash. Ecos solves this dilemma with its Free & Clear laundry liquid.

    • Fragrance-, soy-, and cellulose-free, for those with sensitivities
    • Can be used in front-loading machines
  • Ecos Delicate Wash

    Candace says: “Just dip it in Woolite” was a mantra for my mom and her friends... a reliable, cheap, and convenient way to cut down on trips to the dry cleaner. But Ecos Delicate Wash fills the Woolite void without the fakey fragrance and funky chem-lab additives.

    • Scented with lavender and chamomile
    • Contains gentle, fabric-softening properties
    • Minimizes dry cleaning load
    • Cleans delicate clothing extra-gently
  • Static Eliminator Dryer Sheets

    Candace says: Another option that replaces dryer-sheets: polynylon, reusable static eliminator sheets. They remove pet fur and zap static cling, two things a lot of people cite when they explain why they’re standing by their old friends, traditional dryer sheets (three of the harmful chemicals in those “old friends” appear on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List).

    • Hypo-allergenic
    • Removes pet fur from laundry
    • Re-usable up to 250 times
  • Handwoven Palm Leaf Woven Laundry Basket

    Candace says: Say no to cold, awkward, and non-biodegradable plastic and vinyl laundry baskets and hello to these lovely, nature-sourced palm leaf laundry baskets. Bringing clean, folded laundry to a family member’s room has never felt so much like delivering a gift - and isn’t that exactly what you’re doing?

    • Hinged lid with center handle
    • Fair-trade, made in Bangladesh
    • Handwoven palm leaf basket is lightweight and ventilated
    • Aesthetically pleasing
    • Multi-purposes as an ad-hoc storage solution
  • Nellie’s Laundry Nuggets in Collector’s Tin

    Candace says: Unlike most all laundry soaps, Nellie’s Laundry Soda (in nugget form) leaves no residue, which is best for your skin and your garments. The pre-measured nuggets save you time, attention, and clean up, and the refillable tin cuts down on packaging waste.

    • Non-liquid, mess-free dry soap nuggets are pre-measured for one load
    • Tin is refillable (or, use the can as a piggy bank by popping the tab on top of the can)
    • Fun retro design
    • Front-loader/HE compatible

Related Articles

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