Every day is laundry day when you have a baby.
But because most laundry detergents are laden with harsh chemicals and fragrances, washing your baby’s duds along with everyone else’s isn't a great idea (think about what those detergents do to your clothes and skin, too).
The best baby laundry detergent is gentle on skin, clothes, and your laundry equipment, but tough on spit up, puree, and “omg what even IS that” stains.
Here’s a list of the best and most popular, sensitive skin, parent-approved baby detergents, rated.
- Do You Really Need a Separate Detergent for Your Baby?
- How to Choose a Gentle Detergent
- 10+ Baby Laundry Detergents
- #1 Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
- #2 Charlie's Soap Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent
- #3 Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Detergent Powder
- #4 Seventh Generation Baby Concentrated Laundry Detergent
- #5 Biokleen Baby Laundry Liquid
- #6 Rockin' Green Platinum Series Dirty Diaper Powdered Laundry Detergent
- #7 Cleancult Non Toxic Laundry Detergent Pods
- #8 Babyganics 3X Baby Detergent
- #9 Dropps HE Baby Laundry Detergent Packs
- #10 All Free and Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent
- #11 Dreft Stage 1 Newborn Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
Do You Really Need a Separate Detergent for Your Baby?
Babies have ridiculously sensitive skin. They just haven’t been exposed to the elements like we have. We’re more…”weathered”.
Add harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, and dyes to the equation, and your baby could end up with a nasty rash.
Most detergents are packed with irritants (so you get a false sense of “clean” with the smell), those formulated specifically for babies are usually fragrance-free with simpler, gentler ingredients.
If you already use a gentle detergent, you don't need to buy a special detergent just for your baby’s clothes. But if you don’t, you might want to consider switching even for your own laundry. After all, consider what those irritants do to your clothes and skin, too.
How to Choose a Gentle Detergent
Here are the detergent criteria we use to rate and choose one for us:
If it’s not perfume, brightener, bleach, and dye free, it doesn't touch Poppy's clothes. I also try to skip most powders, since they don't rinse out as easily as liquid and can leave tiny flakes of detergent in clothing fibers.
A laundry detergent has to be able to lift baby muck out of clothes. While I'm not above treating seriously soiled items with a skin-friendly stain remover first, I also have days when I just want to be able to toss my laundry in the machine and walk away.
Ok, just like everyone else, I adore a clean baby smell. “Clean” doesn't mean an explosion of spring flowers, just that clothes don’t smell like yesterday's blowout. Mild natural fragrance is a bonus (ie peppermint) but not a must-have.
Given the sheer volume of laundry that babies generate, price matters. Most baby detergents cost more, but some are capable of washing significantly more, too. So even if I can't spot an immediate saving, I try to choose laundry detergents that’ll go the extra mile.
Still here? Fantastic. Let's tackle that dirty laundry!
10+ Baby Laundry Detergents
Yes, it's a powder. No, it's not marketed as a “baby” laundry detergent. That doesn't doesn't detract from its reputation for being one of the very best laundry detergents for cloth diapers. This option is so good at cleaning diapers without damaging them that it comes highly recommended by a number of leading cloth diaper manufacturers. It doesn't contain any fragrance or harsh ingredients, and rinses out without leaving a residue. Cloth diapers are extremely sensitive and finicky so if it’s good enough for cloth, it’s good enough for clothes!
Made with only 5 ingredients, the cleaning power of Molly’s Suds is astounding. This product is well rounded, and is insanely popular even for adult use.
Proof that dynamite comes in small packages, this super concentrated baby laundry detergent tackles just about any baby-related mess with its gentle, yet powerful plant-based formula. It does have a mild natural fragrance though, so if you prefer no scent at all, you might want to skip this one.
Are you all about protecting the environment? If so, this eco-friendly option should be right at home in your laundry room. More importantly, though, this baby laundry detergent is safe for even the most sensitive skin. Free of fragrance, enzymes, and nasty chemicals, this one is well worth a try if your baby seems to break out with even the most gentle laundry detergents.
Great for cloth diapers (bet you didn't see that coming, right?), Rockin Green’s Dirty Diaper laundry detergent uses all natural ingredients and plant-based enzymes to break down dirt and eliminate odors WITHOUT irritating sensitive skin or damaging fabric fibers. It's also vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and biodegradable, so you can rest easy knowing you're doing your bit for the environment.
Ideal for eczema-prone skin, these handy laundry pods are hypoallergenic and consist of high quality organic ingredients. They are pricey, but the cost might just be worth it for households with serious skin issues that flare up at the drop of a hat. Just remember to always store laundry pods in a safe place — kids can easily mistake them for candy.
It's a little pricier than most, but this popular baby laundry detergent has a loyal following who swear by its gentle cleaning power. With a dermatologist tested formula that’s plant-based, fragrance, dye, and brightener-free, its suitable for most babies. However, it does contain small amounts of the decidedly dodgy preservative, Methylisothiazolinone — dubbed 2013’s allergen of the year, so if your little one has super sensitive skin, you might want to give this one a miss.
Convenience meets baby-friendly mildness in these EPA Safer Choice approved laundry detergent pods. With a plant-based formula that's hypoallergenic and non-toxic, it's easy on delicate skin, but it doesn't pull any punches when it comes to busting stains and odors. If you're looking for a hassle-free laundry detergent for the whole family, this is a solid choice.
It might not be all-natural or even formulated specifically for babies, but this gentle laundry detergent is easily one of the best mainstream options available for sensitive skin — and one of the most affordable too. Recommended by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians, it's safe for delicate skin and delivers reliable cleaning action.
The ingredients aren't nearly as mild as others on our list, but that doesn't stop dermatologists from recommending it or thousands of satisfied parents from using it. A hypoallergenic formulation with 65% plant-based ingredients means its still much milder than standard laundry detergent, but if you or your baby are sensitive to synthetic fragrances, you’ll want to avoid this laundry detergent.
And there you go. 10 baby laundry detergents that are gentle on delicate skin and tough enough to handle whatever your nugget dishes out.
Remember that babies with super sensitive skin can sometimes react to natural (and seemingly harmless) ingredients, so don't be afraid to shop around if a “clean” baby laundry detergent doesn't agree with your baby.
If irritation occurs on your little one’s face, hands, forearms, or other areas that frequently rest against you, consider switching your detergent too — your baby could be reacting to chemicals and irritants embedded in the fibers of your clothes.