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Babies have delicate skin that can react to the harsh chemical ingredients in some laundry detergents. Therefore, parents and caregivers should use special detergents for baby clothes.
Some babies may not experience any symptoms of skin irritation from regular laundry detergent. However, baby-safe laundry detergents reduce the risk of a baby developing a skin reaction.
This article provides an overview of the best laundry detergents designed especially for babies.
- Best for newborns: Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent
- Best for stubborn stains: Amway Home SA8 Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Best fragrance-free: Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent
- Best for sensitive skin: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
- Best hypoallergenic: Ecos Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent
- Best for eczema: Honest Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
- Best eco-friendly and organic: Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent
- Best natural: Mrs. Meyer’s Baby Laundry Detergent Liquid
- Best low cost: All Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Best for cloth diapers: Dropps Baby Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent Pods
- Best refillable: Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:
- Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Ingredients: MNT selects products that list all ingredients clearly, with manufacturing processes outlined.
- Safety: MNT chooses products containing ingredients deemed safe for topical use.
- Reputable: MNT chooses products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for newborns: Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent
- Price: $18.87
- Size: 50 fluid ounces (fl oz)
- Number of washes: 32
- Price per load: $0.59
Dreft formulates this detergent specifically for newborns.
It is hypoallergenic, meaning it is safe to use with allergies.
Dreft states that it is suitable for both standard and high-efficiency washing machines.
Other products by Dreft include Stage 2: Active Baby and Family Friendly detergents, which allow users to adapt their laundry detergent to a growing infant’s skin needs.
- Advantage: Positive customer reviews claims this detergent brightens clothing and keeps them looking new.
- Disadvantages: Some users say they do not like the scent. Others claim the detergent caused rashes on their baby’s skin.
Best for stubborn stains: Amway Home SA8 Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Price: $11.25
- Size: 33.8 fl oz
- Number of washes: 33
- Price per load: $0.34
Amway states that this concentrated liquid laundry detergent is suitable for stubborn stains and is allergy tested.
It is effective at low temperatures (15°C/59°F), and the enzyme combination helps remove stubborn stains and ingrained dirt.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice program recognizes it as compliant, meaning it is safe for a person’s health and the environment.
- Advantage: Positive customer reviews claim it is effective at removing stubborn stains.
- Disadvantage: This detergent has recently been rebranded and is no longer specifically marketed for babies.
Best fragrance-free: Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent
- Price: $19.99
- Size: 60 fl oz
- Number of washes: 60
- Price per load: $0.33
Artificial fragrances may irritate sensitive skin. Choosing a fragrance-free detergent may prevent this.
This product uses enzymes to remove specific proteins that cause stains while being safe on skin.
It is triple concentrated, meaning a person can use less detergent per load. This helps one bottle last longer.
- Advantage: This does not contain chlorine, phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, or dyes.
- Disadvantage: This is not suitable for non-high-efficiency laundry machines.
Best for sensitive skin: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
- Price: $14.99
- Size: 40 fl oz
- Number of washes: 53
- Price per load: $0.28
This detergent contains enzymes designed to break down the most common baby stains, such as milk and formula spills, spit-up, and feces.
This detergent is also an EPA Safer Choice certified product. The manufacturers formulate it to be gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin.
- Advantages: This is low cost, suitable for sensitive skin, and contains enzyme stain removers.
- Disadvantage: Some customers complain about babies experiencing rashes and poor packaging.
Best hypoallergenic: Ecos Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent
- Price: $21
- Size: 50 fl oz
- Number of washes: 50
- Price per load: $0.21
This laundry detergent is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for babies with allergies.
Learn about allergic reactions in babies here.
With a built-in fabric softener, it is also a good value. It comes in both fragrance-free and scented formulas.
It contains plant-based ingredients and omits dyes, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates.
According to its manufacturer, the detergent is also 100% vegan and climate positive. The EPA labels it a Safer Choice certified product.
- Advantages: It is suitable for allergies and has EPA Safer Choice certification.
- Disadvantage: Some customers complain about bottles leaking during shipment.
Best for eczema: Honest Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent
- Price: $16.99
- Size: 70 fl oz
- Number of washes: 70
- Price per load: $0.24
This product has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, meaning that they have recognized it as having been created or intended for use by people with eczema or severe sensitive skin conditions.
Learn about the best creams for baby eczema here.
This laundry detergent utilizes four stain-fighting enzymes to treat tough stains.
- Advantages: It is hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, and fragrance-free.
- Disadvantage: Some customers complain about a musty odor.
Best eco-friendly and organic: Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent
- Price: $13.99
- Size: 93 fl oz
- Number of washes: 62
- Price per load: $0.23
This concentrated liquid laundry detergent uses no fragrance, dyes, or optical brighteners. It can also work well on a cold wash, reducing energy use.
The eco-friendly detergent contains plant-based ingredients and is packaged in plastic made from sugarcane.
Ecover follows the highest technical standards for defining biodegradability, whereby at least 70% of organic ingredients break down within 28 days.
This product is dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic.
- Advantages: Customers report it works well in cold water and uses eco-friendly ingredients and packaging.
- Disadvantage: Customers complain about shipping and packaging issues.
Learn more about organic and natural products for babies here.
Best natural: Mrs. Meyer’s Baby Laundry Detergent
- Price: $17.99
- Size: 64 fl oz
- Number of washes: 64
- Price per load: $0.28
This biodegradable detergent contains essential oils for fragrance, plant-derived cleaning agents, and stain-fighting enzymes. The baby detergent blends scents of apple, mint, honeysuckle, lemon, and spring wildflowers.
Essential oils can irritate sensitive skin, making this product unsuitable for babies with eczema or similar skin conditions.
The formula works in both high-efficiency and conventional washing machines.
Mrs. Meyer’s states its products are not tested on animals.
- Advantage: It is cruelty-free and biodegradable.
- Disadvantage: Customers complain about bottles leaking during shipping.
Learn about essential oil safety for babies here.
Best low cost: All Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Price: $16.36
- Size: 75 fl oz
- Number of washes: 100
- Price per load: $0.16
This hypoallergenic baby liquid laundry detergent is a budget-friendly option.
The manufacturer says the detergent has concentrated cleaning power and is safe to use in any washing machine at any temperature.
It is hypoallergenic and does not contain dyes that irritate sensitive skin.
- Advantage: This product is a low cost bulk buy.
- Disadvantages: Customers complain about subpar stain removal and lack of scent.
Best for cloth diapers: Dropps Baby Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent Pods
- Price: $26
- Size: 64 pods
- Number of washes: 64
- Price per load: $0.41
Dropps manufactures a range of laundry detergent pods. These pods use a concentrated formula that is 100% dye-free, scent-free, and enzyme-free.
According to Dropps, these pods are specially designed to clean cloth diapers, swaddles, burp cloths, and more.
Dropps pods are suitable for vegans.
Since the pods are pre-dosed, users do not have to guess how much detergent they need per load. This makes them a convenient and cleaner option than liquid detergents.
Small load versions are available, and customers can subscribe for discounts.
- Advantages: These are non-irritating, vegan, pre-dosed pods with subscriptions available.
- Disadvantage: These come at a higher cost than other options.
Learn about reusable cloth diapers here.
Best refillable: Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent
- Price: $26.99
- Size: 48 fl oz
- Number of washes: 192
- Price per load: $0.14
Puracy’s concentrated free and clear formula is, according to its manufacturer, the most concentrated laundry detergent on the market and reduces waste by more than 80%.
The company says it takes two pumps of detergent to clean most loads.
Puracy states that the laundry detergent is hypoallergenic and specially formulated for people with sensitive skin and allergies. It is a 99.4% natural formula.
It contains stain-fighting plant-based enzymes that also eliminate odors and keep fabric colors bright. It does not contain sulfates, perfumes, artificial fragrances, phosphates, allergens, or other chemical ingredients.
The Puracy detergent is also certified cruelty-free. The hand-drawn artwork on the bottle helps support local artists.
- Advantages: This detergent is eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic.
- Disadvantage: Customers complain about shipping issues.
The table below compares the products in this article on key points:
|Price||Size||Loads||Price per load|
|Dreft||$18.87||50 fl oz||32||$0.59|
|Amway||$11.25||33.8 fl oz||33||$0.34|
|Babyganics||$19.99||60 fl oz||60||$0.33|
|Seventh Generation||$14.99||40 fl oz||53||$0.28|
|Ecos||$21||50 fl oz||50||$0.21|
|Honest||$16.99||70 fl oz||70||$0.24|
|Ecover||$13.99||93 fl oz||62||$0.23|
|Mrs. Meyer’s||$17.99||64 fl oz||64||$0.28|
|All Baby||$16.36||75 fl oz||100||$0.16|
|Puracy||$26.99||48 fl oz||192||$0.14|
When choosing a baby laundry detergent, a person may first want to consider whether the product will be gentle on their baby’s skin. Baby skin is often sensitive and may be prone to developing rashes when irritated.
A person should review the detergent’s ingredients for potential irritants. They may also want to consider whether the ingredients and packaging are environmentally friendly.
Finally, a person may want to consider the costs of baby laundry detergent.
Below are a couple of the most frequently asked questions related to baby laundry detergent:
Is it bad to use regular detergent on baby clothes?
A person may use regular detergent to wash baby clothes as long as the detergent does not contain ingredients that may irritate the baby’s skin and cause a rash.
Fragrance in standard laundry detergent may irritate the skin. Detergents may also contain parabens, preservatives, and enzymes that may inflame the skin. Therefore, a person may want to use fragrance-free detergents.
A person should discontinue using any detergent that may have irritated their baby’s skin and caused a rash to develop.
What fabric softener is best for newborns?
A person may want to refrain from using fabric softeners when washing their baby’s laundry. Many softeners contain chemicals that may cause allergic reactions to a baby’s sensitive skin.
Some baby laundry detergents, such as Ecos Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent, come with built-in fabric softeners. These products may be more appropriate for a baby’s laundry.
Babies can have sensitive skin, which traditional laundry detergent may irritate. Choosing a baby laundry detergent can help prevent irritation, rashes, or flare-ups of skin conditions such as eczema.
Descriptors such as dye-free, fragrance-free, and chemical-free are helpful when choosing a detergent for a baby, as their skin is more sensitive than that of adults.