9 Best Eco


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Dec 02, 2023

9 Best Eco

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed's editors. Purchases made

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed's editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.

Reviewed's mission is to help you buy the best stuff and get the most out of what you already own. Our team of product experts thoroughly vet every product we recommend to help you cut through the clutter and find what you need.

Tide Purclean offers similar cleaning power to regular Tide but with a 75% plant-based formula. Read More

Seventh Generation Free & Clear detergent packs above-average staining fighting power, and the company seems to actually care about the environment. Read More

Dropps is an eco-friendly laundry pod. Its plastic-free design and plant-based formula means Dropps are better for the Earth. Read More

Earth Breeze is an eco-friendly laundry sheet that dissolves in water and works well to clean clothing. Read More

Tru Earth laundry strips are cellulose pads soaked in detergent. The end result is a powerful cleaning product that is completely plastic-free. Read More

Updated April 20, 2023

Over past decades, store shelves have stocked an increasing amount of eco-friendly laundry detergents promising to clean your clothes without harming the environment. But, with so many green labels promising plant-based this and carbon offset that, it can be hard to separate facts from marketing jargon.

That's why we cut through the greenwash and put the best eco-friendly laundry detergents to the test at our laundry labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

We spent three weeks evaluating the most popular soaps—from plant-based laundry sheets to organic liquid detergents. We evaluated them on how well they remove stains and odor, how affordable they are, how many plant-based ingredients they include, and other eco-friendly practices.

With its amazing stain removal and recyclable bottle, the Tide Purclean (available at Amazon) is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent you can buy. If you’re looking for a detergent that's made by a company with a long track record of environmental advocacy, check out Seventh Generation Free & Clear (available at Amazon). However, there are many great eco-friendly laundry detergents in our guide to choose from.

Tide Purclean is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent you can buy.

Our testing showed that Tide Purclean Free is the best eco-friendly laundry detergent, removing the most amount of stains.

Tide Purclean is a new detergent with a familiar name and a reduced environmental impact. It claims to clean as well as conventional Tide, and our tests proved that claim to be 100% true. In fact, it's far and away the best eco-friendly detergent we tested.

However, there are two drawbacks: cost and content. Tide is typically considered a big-name brand, and Purclean is no different. Tracking its price over time on Amazon, we can see that it's one of the more expensive eco-friendly laundry detergents we’ve tested.

Purclean can be described as a hybrid detergent—only 75% of its ingredients are plant-based, and some of the rest are petroleum-derived. Compared to Seventh Generation's 97% plant-derived formula, it's less green. However, Purclean is still free of dyes, chlorine, phosphates, and optical brighteners and is usable in high-efficiency and regular washers. But if you want to do Mother Earth a small favor without sacrificing performance, Purclean is the best choice for clean laundry.

Powerful performance

Excels at stain removal

Some petroleum-derived ingredients

We love Seventh Generation Free & Clear for it's stain-fighting power and good track record of green practices.

Seventh Generation laundry detergent is one of the most popular eco-friendly brands on the market, producing everything from facial tissue to diapers. The company's Free & Clear detergent impressed us with both its primarily plant-based ingredients and stain removal.

In our original roundup, this detergent did not claim the top spot. However, in our retest, we gave more weight to the corporate culture surrounding these detergent companies—Seventh Generation's Free & Clear scored top marks. Not only does the detergent pack above-average stain-fighting power, but Seventh Generation is also committed to the eco-friendly cause. It's a certified B-Corporation, and partners with the Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council.

The detergent bottle itself is made of 80% recycled plastic, and the ingredients inside are 97% biological and plant-based. Seventh Generation also has a good track record with transparency and environmental advocacy.

During testing, our testers remarked at the near lack of scent (expected since this is a fragrance free version). During the stain-removal rounds, this detergent came in third overall. We found that it removes 5% fewer stains than traditional Tide, which is impressive considering the Seventh Generation contains fewer chemicals.

Good stain removal


Bottle is made of 80% recycled plastic

Contains some irritants

The Dropps Laundry Pods are the best eco-friendly laundry pods you can buy, taking up minimal shelf space.

Dropps laundry detergent is an all-natural alternative to regular detergent pods and, for the most part, it lives up to the hype. Dropps presents a very eco-friendly attitude with policies like carbon-neutral shipping and promoting environmental causes. These laundry pods are also free from dyes, phosphates, and optical brighteners. And the company is partnered with Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting fisheries and removing plastics from the sea.

After our cleaning tests, we found that the Dropps removed 67% of our testing stains. We’ve tested both the Fresh Start scent for this eco-friendly roundup, which we liked, and the fragrance-free version for sensitive skin. However, we found the packaging of the Fresh Start pods a little cumbersome and one of the packages we received had a burst pod.


Good cleaning


The Earth Breeze Laundry Sheets are the best eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets we tested.

Earth Breeze sheets are no ordinary laundry soap, but rather cellulose pads soaked in detergent. We’ve done an individual review on them before and for this round of testing we found similar results.

Earth Breeze sheets removed about 59% of our test stains. However, we noticed that the fresh scent the sheets were supposed to impart did not last long. These sheets are ideal for people who want a completely plastic- and mess-free laundry experience. The Earth Breeze laundry sheets are also a great option if you're short on space or don't want to deal with picking up a heavy laundry detergent bottle.

Good at stain removal

Easy to use


Smell doesn't last long

Tru Earth laundry strips are easy to use because you simply tear and toss the strip into the washer. It combines the convenience of a detergent pod while being easier to transport and less enticing to children.

As a stain fighter, we found these strips to be on par with some of the top contenders on this list. Tru Earth laundry strips removed about 59% of our testing stains, allowing it to tie for fourth place in our roundup.

The recommended dose for a medium-sized load is half a strip and weighs just a fraction of what liquid competitors recommend. The whole package weighs just 2.5 ounces, so it takes a lot less energy to transport. Also, these hypoallergenic laundry strips contain no added dyes and are paraben-, phosphate-, and chlorine bleach-free.

Combine that with the fact that the strips are biodegradable and the packaging is plastic-free, Tru Earth laundry strips ended up pretty high on our list.


Good cleaning

Scent doesn't last as long as others we tested

The Method laundry detergent might seem like a good idea if other detergents are too expensive, but it lacks a no-mess pump bottle and some stain-removal power of Method's 8X detergent.

However, Method's 3-in-1 detergent is one of our favorite detergents. During testing, it removed 66% of our testing stains and left our laundry with a pleasant, but not overly assertive scent. We did miss the no-mess pump of the 8X because the cap, which doubles as a measuring cup, felt a bit too small so spills happened often.

Even though a less-concentrated detergent wastes energy in the shipping process by moving water, at least the 3-in-1 formula is somewhat environmentally sound. By our count, nearly all of the contents in the bottle are either biodegradable or plant-derived. Even the container itself is made from 100% recycled plastic.

Good cleaning power

Nice scent


Measuring cap is too small

Biokleen touts its Citrus Essence Laundry Liquid as 100% plant-based, boasts an EPA Safer Choice stamp of approval, and its citrus-scent is like a tall glass of Florida orange juice. Our reviewers loved both the scent and the price.

However, in our stain removal tests, it couldn't stand up to the best "green" suds or traditional detergents that use harsh chemicals. It had a particularly tough time with grease stains.

That being said, it's important to remember that most clothes just aren't that dirty. If you work in agriculture or construction, you might want to steer clear of Biokleen laundry detergent, but it could be a fine choice for folks who just need to spruce up their laundry and enjoy smelling like oranges.

The Biokleen laundry detergents are plant-based and made in the U.S. without artificial fragrances or dyes. Additionally, Biokleen laundry detergents are cruelty-free and do not contain phosphates, chlorine, ammonia, or brighteners.


Pleasant orange scent

Weaker stain removal

Ecos laundry detergent has been around for decades and is a crowd favorite. We tested the magnolia-and-lily-scented version. The smell reminds us a little of essential oils—light, but pleasant. This detergent is also made in the U.S. and sports an EPA Safe Choice badge.

Our analysis of Ecos’ test results showed that it removed 59% of our test stains. In terms of cleaning power, it's in the back half of the pack. However, it's hard to argue with a cleaning product with a track record as long as Ecos laundry detergent. The reason we ranked this lower down the list is because we liked the scent of Biokleen more and Tru Earth has a bit of an edge in eco-friendliness.

Good value

Nice scent

Plastic bottle

Molly's Suds laundry detergent is a powder that contains no dyes or fragrances and is cruelty-free. Instead, it gets your clothes clean and fresh smelling with the power of mostly baking soda and peppermint oil.

Powdered detergents are often more eco-friendly to ship because unlike liquid detergents they do not contain any water.

Overall, our scans show that Molly's Suds laundry detergent powder removed about 57% of our test stains. It wasn't as powerful as our best overall pick, but it did remove odors relatively well.

Good at odor removal


Powder can be messy to use

Jon Chan has been testing products for Reviewed for more than a decade.

Hey, I’m Jon Chan, the lab manager here at Reviewed, specializing in floor care and laundry products. I test tons of detergents, ranging from sport detergents to those for sensitive skin. When it comes to eco-friendly detergents, I specifically wanted to find a product that did not have any optical brighteners or synthetic fragrances.

We conducted hands-on testing of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents at the Reviewed labs.

To test stain removal, we pitted all detergents against standardized cloth test strips coated with carbon, body oils, blood, cocoa, and red wine. We put them through a cold Normal cycle in an LG front loader set to use cold water—along with eight pounds of towels, pillowcases, and sheets—closely following each manufacturer's instructions for a medium load.

After waiting 12 hours for the stain strips to dry in a dark room, we used a piece of lab equipment called a photo-spectrometer to determine exactly how much of each stain had been lifted.

Aside from effectiveness, we also looked at the companies that made each detergent. We looked for companies that practiced what they preached in terms of caring for the environment and created a detergent that could get your clothes clean for a good price. So while Seventh Generation Free & Clear did not take first place in the stain removal contest, the company has demonstrated exceptional environmentally friendly policies. Its relative cost-effectiveness also gave it a lot of points.

Testing eco-friendly detergents can be a minefield. One reason is that it's tough to define what eco-friendly actually means and what's more a case of greenwashing. For example, a company may tout an ethanol-based detergent that could actually have a greater environmental impact than petroleum-based soaps until better technologies emerge.

Also, coconut and palm oil may be renewable, but they may encourage deforestation. And the green practice of making a biodegradable or recyclable bottle may be offset by the transportation costs of moving a more watery detergent.

Aside from testing the product itself, we also reviewed the corporations that created them. The detergents we tested got points if the companies that made them were B-types or use LEED-certified facilities.

Eco-friendly laundry detergents have ingredients that limit harm to the environment.

Rather than asking whether a laundry detergent is non-toxic, it's better to consider the ingredients' safety.

The bottom line is that nearly all detergent ingredients can be harmful. It's a question of how you come into contact with the ingredients. That's why even the safest laundry detergents still have label warnings like "harmful if swallowed" or "eye irritant."

Through its Safer Choice program, the EPA encourages manufacturers to use the safest possible ingredients in their products.

If you’re looking for a non-toxic laundry detergent, use either an eco-friendly or sensitive skin option. These have safer ingredients but should still be used with care by following the manufacturer's instructions.

Jonathan Chan

Senior Manager of Lab Operations

Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.

David Ellerby

Chief Scientist

Dave Ellerby is Reviewed's Chief Scientist and has a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds and a B.Sc. from the University of Manchester. He has over 25 years of experience designing tests and analyzing data.

Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.

Tide Purclean Seventh Generation Free & Clear