Best Baby Laundry Detergents 2024, Tested & Reviewed

These baby-safe detergents get the dirt out without harsh chemicals or allergens.

clean baby clothes hanging out to dry in the sun

tali ditye author mommyhood101  By: Tali Ditye, Ph.D., Co-founder
  Updated: April 9, 2024

Mommyhood101 independently tests and curates baby gear to help you make informed decisions. If you buy products through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

As you sift through piles of adorable onesies and footed pajamas, you may wonder how to do laundry in a way that maintains the softness and sweetness in your little one's clothing!

We've been reviewing sensitive laundry detergents for over 10 years. If we made our own, here is what it would look like:

✔️  Plant-derived ingredients.
✔️  Hypoallergenic formulation.
✔️  Effective stain fighting.
✔️  No artificial fragrances.
✔️  Liquid or pods.

✔️  No animal testing.
✔️  No parabens or dyes.

✔️  No sulfates or phthalates.

✔️  Dermatologist tested.
✔️  Enzyme-powered.
✔️  Safe for cloth diapers.
✔️  No optical brighteners.

✔️  No chlorine.
✔️  HE compatible.

✔️  No residue.
✔️  Removes breast milk & formula.
✔️  Removes formula & spit-up.

Of course, you will also want the formula to meet your budget constraints. That's a lot to ask, and very few products meet the needs of picky parents!

We gathered some of the most popular and best-rated baby laundry detergents, and we were stain-fighting and spin-cycling for weeks!

assorted baby laundry detergents ready for testing

Here are our top 5 baby laundry detergents we've tested, followed by in-depth reviews of several options.

Tiny humans create an inexplicable volume of dirty laundry. Between spit-up, breast milk or formula, and blowouts, the wash cycle is never-ending! With all this laundering, new parents are often (rightfully) concerned about any potentially harmful ingredients that might be in their laundry detergent. Babies, especially newborns, have very delicate skin. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics observes that:

Because newborns tend to have sensitive skin, and because you don’t know who has handled the clothing and with what before it made its way into your possession, it’s generally a good idea to wash clothes prior to using them.

With this in mind, exploring options for gentle laundry soap is definitely in the baby’s best interest to ensure all clothes are as clean and soft as they are stylish.

In addition to examining effectiveness results, we also reviewed the ingredients in each detergent and researched their ratings from the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Cleaning database to assess the possible risks. The EWG Database rates each cleaning product for safety on a scale of A to F, with A being the least concerning and F being the most concerning (just like a failing grade we hope you never saw when you were in school!). Additionally, they rate each individual ingredient in the products for deeper insight into potential human and environmental impacts.

Full disclosure: Some of these baby laundry detergents, including the Grab Green, Dapple, and Noodle & Boo varieties, were sent to us as free test samples by the manufacturer.

Here are the Best Baby Laundry Detergents of 2024!

grab green laundry detergent pods sensitive

1. Grab Green Baby Laundry Detergent Pods

Grab Green makes a full line of baby-friendly household cleaning products, and was kind enough to send us samples of their newest baby laundry detergent pods! These pods come in three varieties: fragrance-free (our favorite), chamomile scent, and dreamy rosewood scent. In our hands-on Grab Green Baby laundry pods review, we learned several important things. First, Grab Green does an excellent job with their waste-free packaging, eco-friendly and non-toxic ingredients, and commitment to making sensitive products that you (and your little one) will love! Second, the chamomile and dreamy rosewood scents score a B on the EWG website, which is pretty great for a laundry detergent. While we prefer the fragrance-free version, it is not yet scored by EWG; judging by other products with similar ingredient lists, we suspect it will achieve an A. Third, the Grab Green baby laundry pods we tested were extremely effective at removing the toughest stains we threw at them, including avocado, chocolate, mustard, and baby formula. Usually, when a laundry detergent is relatively sensitive and uses ingredients that score well on the EWG site, they tend not to be so great at cleaning. Grab Green Baby detergent pods were a strong exception to this rule, working surprisingly well at removing even the worst stains (mustard!). Finally, we appreciated the reasonable prices and easy-to-use packaging.

nestig cloud crib

Overall, we think the Grab Green baby detergent pods are the best baby laundry detergent available this year! Only two little cons. First, the chamomile and dreamy rosewood scents were a little too strong for our preferences, thus our inclination to use the fragrance-free version. Second, some of the pods had tiny leaks which caused some detergent powder to leak out into the bag. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning. The EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide does not specifically list the fragrance-free version of Grab Green baby laundry detergent pods, but judging by-products with very similar ingredients, we expect it would score an A. The chamomile and dreamy rosewood versions score a B, with the score reduction being driven by the addition of fragrance (which can cause some allergies or skin irritation in the most sensitive babies). Overall, we are very impressed with these detergent pods, and find them to show excellent sensitivity, ingredient quality and safety, ease of use, and effectiveness, not to mention the reasonable price! You can check out the Grab Green baby laundry pods here!

baby clothes next to a bottle of noodle and boo ultra-safe baby laundry detergent

2. Noodle & Boo Ultra-Safe Laundry Detergent

Noodle & Boo sent us free samples of this detergent, and we're so happy they did! This was one of the first samples that actually led us to start purchasing a product for our own personal use, so a big thanks to Noodle & Boo for introducing us to one of our new favorite detergents! Noodle & Boo developed a plant-based detergent with impressive stain-fighting enzymes that actually work to remove stubborn stains. They call it Ultra-Safe for a reason, it contains no sulfates, phthalates, optical brighteners, 1.4-dioxane, dyes, formaldehyde, or phosphates, making it eco-friendly and biodegradable. The EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide does not specifically list Noodle & Boo ultra-safe detergent, so we had to manually calculate a rough score. Overall, we estimate a B grade according to a review of ingredients, which is quite good overall. The only concerning ingredient is fragrance, but we think you'll love the subtle smell of clothes after being cleaned with Noodle and Boo!

The Noodle & Boo detergent works in both high-efficiency (HE) and traditional washing machines, and its concentrated formula goes a long way. Each load of laundry uses one ounce, making this laundry detergent cost about 50 cents per load. Yes, that's way more expensive than most others on this list, but we promise it's worth it. Clothes come out smelling truly amazing, somehow just like you'd expect a baby to smell, and truly super soft. It's an impressive detergent, and we absolutely love how clothes feel and smell after using it! Also recommended by our friends at Scarymommy, VeryWellFamily, and Popsugar, you can check out the Noodle and Boo Ultra Safe laundry detergent here.

a bottle of the mama bear gentle sensitive baby laundry detergent

3. Mama Bear Baby Gentle Laundry Detergent

This detergent has one of our favorite formulations on the list. In our testing, clothes came out clean, and even some of our older kids’ wash seemed brighter. Mama Bear is fragrance-free, and there was no scent at all, but the clothes were warm and soft with absolutely no residue. We also noticed clothes appeared wrinkle-free right out of the dryer. Mama Bear Baby detergent is one of the more affordable detergents on this list at about $20 for two 40-ounce bottles. Each bottle 53 loads each bottle can clean up to 53 washes when measured for medium loads, making this 4x concentrated detergent just $0.22 per load. The detergent portion is small, so we appreciated the cleaning power this formulation packs without needing to put too much detergent into each load. Mama Bear is formulated to wash in both hot and cold water cycles.

nestig cloud crib

The Mama Bear laundry detergent contains 95% USDA-certified bio-based content, is EPA Safer Choice approved, and has never been tested on animals. According to the EWG, it only contains one ingredient ranking level D for high concern, three ingredients at risk level C, six at level B, and the majority at level A. Overall, this detergent is given a score of C for moderate concern with a high focus on environmental impact and some risk for asthma/respiratory and skin/allergy reactions for babies who are more sensitive. Our test parents were happy with this formula’s friendliness for sensitive skin and we felt safe using it for tiny newborn clothes. Also recommended by our friends at Babygearlab, you can check out the Mama Bear laundry detergent here.

a bottle of the babyganics sensitive laundry detergent for babies

4. Babyganics Baby Laundry Detergent

Babyganics baby laundry detergent is a fragrance-free option formulated without optical brighteners, 1,4 dioxane, chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, sulfates, fragrances, or dyes. According to the EWG, however, this detergent does include one ingredient ranking at level F, five ingredients at level B, and eight ingredients at level A. Despite the majority of low-concern ingredients, this detergent is still ranked as level F for its inclusion of sodium borate (like Puracy detergent, below), which carries a high concern for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects and some concern for respiratory effects, skin irritation/allergies/damage.

One of our test parents had been using Babyganics since his daughter was born (over a year), and he loves it for its plant-based ingredients and powerful stain-fighting. He did note that tough stains (carrot puree and birthday cake) clean best when pretreated with a stain stick or detergent soak prior to washing. In our tests, we observed no scent and clothes came out clean and noticeably fluffy. At about $15 for one 60-ounce bottle, this detergent cleans up to 60 loads when measuring to the ½ cap mark for normal loads ($0.22 per load). Larger loads will need ¾ cap full. Also recommended by our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump, you can check out the Babyganics laundry detergent here.

a bottle of purex baby laundry detergent

5. Purex Baby Laundry Detergent

Many of the brands on this list take a very natural approach to formulation - not Purex! However, it's worth pointing out that Purex was our favorite in terms of cost and effectiveness, even if it's not the gentlest or most sensitive laundry detergent. This detergent contains four ingredients at risk level D, five ingredients ranked at level C, and four at level A. The overall score is level D for high concerns focused primarily on the environment and some concerns for asthma/ respiratory hazards, skin and allergy reactions, and cancer risk. Two 50-ounce bottles cost just $14.97. Measuring 1.5-ounce portions for 33 regular loads per bottle, Purex Baby totals just over $0.22 per load, placing it around the same cost as Babyganics (above).

nestig cloud crib

In our testing, Purex cleaned clothes very well in both warm and cold water, and the laundry came out fresh, fluffy, and very bright. The powerful, “Dirt Lift Action” was able to remove tough stains even without pretreating. Purex for Baby is dermatologist tested to be gentle on the skin, and while this formulation includes chemicals such as Methylisothiazolinone, which carry some concern for skin irritation and allergies, two parents in our focus group were happy to share that after testing through multiple detergents for their kids with eczema and sensitive skin, Purex Baby was the detergent that saved the day. The fragrance is noticeable but mild and does not fade much over time. Based on these results and cost-friendliness, we are confident that Purex Baby could serve as a whole-family detergent, offering gentleness for baby skin and stain-fighting power for active kids and adults. Also recommended by our friends at Babygearlab, you can check out the Purex laundry detergent here.

6. Rebel Green Natural Baby Laundry Detergent

a bottle of rebel green gentle baby detergent

Rebel Green Natural Baby Detergent has very few ingredients, many of which are natural and organic. We had a few concerns with the formulation, save a couple of ingredients including organic essential oils for fragrance—depending on their proprietary formula, some of these oils may cause irritation or allergies in sensitive individuals—and potassium hydroxide—an F-graded substance that can cause burns and eye irritation. We were, however, put at ease to read Rebel Green is designed to have no potassium hydroxide remain in the finished product. This baby laundry detergent is sold in a 64-ounce bottle for $17.99, totaling $0.28 per load for 64 loads.

Rebel Green’s Chamomile & Orange Blossom fragrance is subtle and fresh when added to the wash. However, we did notice that the fragrance almost entirely dissipates after drying. Some of our parents were happy with this, preferring no fragrance; others were hoping to have found a lightly perfumed product. Overall, we were pleased with this product, especially with its biodegradable focus and low environmental impact. Rebel Green is USDA Certified Organic, and left clothes clean. One tester who was looking for a gentler detergent option for her child with sensitive skin happily announced she would be making the switch to Rebel Green! Interested? You can check out the Rebel Green laundry detergent here.

7. Woolite Baby Laundry Detergent

a bottle of woolite sensitive baby laundry detergent

When testing and reviewing Woolite Baby detergent, one of the first things we noticed was that the formulation is designed for the best results to wash medium-sized loads or smaller. This was a bit of a snag for some of us, especially those with two or more young children who produce copious amounts of laundry. Based on the standard medium wash measurement, the 100-ounce bottle cleans 66 loads, placing it at around the median level for this list at $0.24 per load. Woolite Baby cleans clothes with both hot and cold water settings and cleans clothes without the use of bleach, phosphates, enzymes, dyes, or optical brighteners. The EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide does not specifically list Woolite Baby Laundry Detergent. However, Woolite ZERO Complete Laundry Detergent is listed and contains all of the ingredients in Woolite Baby Detergent plus a few extras. The Woolite Baby formulation includes three ingredients at risk level D, five ingredients at level C, and three at level A. Overall, the risk assessment for this detergent would be C-D based on the EWG scores and comparison to Woolite ZERO.

In our tests, the fragrance was about the same strength as Purex (above), and far less powerful as All Baby Detergent (below). Woolite Baby was able to tackle tough baby stains as well as active kid clothes.  Laundry came out clean, but some test parents noticed results were “stiffer” or “not as soft” as those from other detergents on this list such as Mama Bear, Purex, or Babyganics (all above). Based on stain-fighting strength, we would be comfortable saying this detergent could take on a whole family’s laundry cycle, but parents would need to estimate detergent measurement for larger loads. Also recommended by our friends at Babygearlab, you can check out the Woolite Baby laundry detergent here.

8. all Baby Laundry Detergent

a bottle of all baby sensitive laundry detergent

All Baby laundry detergent with “stainlifters” is hypoallergenic and free of dyes. This familiar brand is marketed as pediatrician-tested and gentle for babies. However, our test parents made careful note of the inclusion of fragrance and diethanolamine in this formula, creating concern for skin and respiratory hazards.  The EWG also observes a moderate ecological impact concern with chemicals included in this formula.  All Baby detergent can be used at any water temperature, and one 46.5-ounce bottle washes 31 regular-sized loads when detergent is measured to the first fill line. At $5.73 per bottle, All Baby Detergent is one of the most affordable cleaners on this list at just $0.18 per load. This detergent includes one ingredient ranked at F for highest concern, four ingredients at risk level D, four at level C, and four at A. Overall, All Baby Liquid Detergent is assessed at D for high concern with the strongest focus on asthma/ respiratory hazard, cancer risk, and environmental impact, and some concern for skin allergies and irritation.

In tests, we noticed even large loads were cleaned well, and heavy soiling was lifted. However, in brightness comparisons, we found All Baby fell slightly behind other brands including Purex and Mama Bear (both above). Most test parents agreed that All Baby’s “light” floral/fresh scent was actually pretty powerful—even to the point of irritation for some. So, if your family is sensitive to strong fragrances, this might not be the detergent to choose.  A pro-tip from one of our sensitive testers is to run clothes through a second rinse to help dilute the fragrance—though this strategy does incur additional water and energy use and environmental impact. Also recommended by our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, and The Bump, you can check out the All Free and Clear Baby Detergent here.

9. Puracy Natural Baby Laundry Detergent

a bottle of puracy natural baby laundry detergent

This detergent impressed our testing parents with its dedication to natural ingredients, vegan formulation, 100% recyclable packaging, and charitable proceeds. There was no doubt that this particular brand and marketing appeared pure and chic. With this in mind, we were shocked at the affordable cost-per-load! Puracy Free & Clear, when sold in packs of two bottles, costs $24.69. Each 24-ounce bottle is 10x concentrated, cleaning up to 96 H.E. loads (1 to 2 pumps) per bottle. At 192 loads per 2-pack, this detergent averages just $$0.13 per load, the most affordable on this list! Puracy can be used to pretreat tough stains, and it works as well as many other brands for that purpose. We absolutely loved the pump bottle design, eliminating the need for measuring and spill potential.

The hypoallergenic formula was sensitive-skin friendly, and we were pleased with the overall cleaning power. However, some of our testers noticed that when trying to wash larger loads of laundry including active child and adult clothes, this detergent fell behind most on this list in terms of odor cleansing. The Free & Clear formulation is certainly fragrance-free, but it doesn’t seem to remove odors from clothing. Additionally, while this naturally-derived detergent includes a majority of level A and B ingredients on the EWG scale, the overall grade is still F for its inclusion of sodium borate, which caused some concern for our testers in terms of toxicity. Recommended by our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, and WhatToExpect, you can check out the Puracy Baby Detergent here.

10. Dapple Baby Laundry Detergent Strips

a bottle of dapple strips baby laundry detergent

We had absolutely no idea what to expect from laundry detergent strips. No one in our focus group had even heard of these, let alone used them. One pack of detergent strips includes 32 sheets. By the listed measurement standards one sheet is enough detergent to clean one load of lightly-soiled laundry—though the size of the load is not specified. At $9.99 for one pack, this detergent is $0.31 per light load and $0.62 per heavily soiled load, making this one of the most expensive detergents on this list. Our collective concern was whether the strips would actually dissolve as labeled. Happily, none of the test parents had any trouble with partially dissolved strips.

What we did notice, however, was that even using two or three strips for super loads was not enough to get clothes to smell fresh. These strips are fragrance-free, but like Puracy (above), clothes still have some unclean odor after washing. The strips seemed to do better with smaller, lightly soiled loads. Overall, we found these strips to be insufficient and uneconomical for general household use, but a great option for doing small loads of laundry while on vacation!

11. Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent

a bottle of tide free and gentle laundry detergent

Our Review: While Tide does not market this laundry detergent directly for use with infant laundry, we find it to be a great option. Tide Free and Gentle is free of perfumes/fragrances, phosphates, and dyes, is recommended by dermatologists, is hypoallergenic, and is designed to be gentle enough for people with eczema or psoriasis. The lack of fragrance is really nice, and there are no odors of any harsh chemicals. Sometimes fragrance-free laundry detergents have a harsh chemical smell, but this one doesn't really smell like much at all. Tide Free & Clear detergent includes one ingredient ranking at level F (sodium borate or Borax), three ingredients at level D, thirteen ingredients at level C, five ingredients at level B, and six ingredients at level A. Given that the majority of ingredients are classified as moderate to highest concern for toxicity, EWG gives it an overall rating of F for risks of asthma/respiratory concerns, and developmental and reproductive toxicity concerns. Given the relatively high health, environmental, and disclosure concerns reported by EWG, this laundry detergent is placed relatively low on our list.

We tested it in the liquid detergent formulation, but it's also available as pods and a Free & Gentle fabric softener. We tried it out with hot and cold water washes and found that it was at least as effective (and sometimes more effective) at cleaning as any other detergent on this list. Does it work as well as a harsher option such as regular Tide? No, but that's to be expected with a formula that is more gentle on the skin. We were overall impressed with its power, however, and the clothes came out smelling like nothing but fabric and nice a soft. It is compatible with both HE and standard washing machines (ours is HE). At about $12 for a 100-ounce bottle, this costs about 20 cents per medium-sized load. Since most people use HE washers nowadays, and that requires substantially more detergent, expect the cost to be quite a bit higher (even upwards of about 75 cents per load if using the full pour). Also recommended by our friends at Babylist and Babygearlab, you can check out the Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent here.

In addition to budgeting and stain-fighting power, there are certain qualities you will want to look for (or look to avoid) when selecting a safe, gentle baby detergent. The EWG offers a wonderful guide for decoding labels on your cleaners. Below are some of our highlights and recommendations.

How to Pick a Baby Laundry Detergent

  • Hypoallergenic: The chemicals, dyes, and additives in laundry detergent can trigger contact dermatitis in both children and adults. This can include symptoms such as rashes, itching, bumpy skin, tenderness, swelling, burning sensation, oozing and/ or crusty blisters, and very dry and cracking skin (eczema). Laundry detergents that claim to be “hypoallergenic” indicate an effort to formulate the cleaner without the inclusion of many known allergy irritants. All of the detergents on this list (except for Grab Green Pods) list “hypoallergenic” or “allergen-free” on their packaging. This is great—but you should keep in mind that this does not mean the detergent is allergy-proof. As seen in our tests, even some of the primarily plant and mineral-based detergents such as Babyganics 3x still received an F score from the EWG due to the inclusion of Sodium Tetraborate, a mineral-derived enzyme stabilizer that can cause skin irritation, allergies, and damage and can negatively impact endocrine, reproductive, respiratory systems. When considering whether detergent is causing rashes on your baby, health experts at Healthline recommend, “If your baby or toddler is experiencing rash-like symptoms, consider which areas of their body have not touched freshly washed clothing. Typically, this would be the face or head and the area underneath their diaper.” If these areas are clear from irritation, the rash may be due to your detergent.
  • Dermatologist Tested: Similar to “hypoallergenic” marketing, you should understand that this label is also just what it says. The product was tested by a dermatologist (a doctor specializing in skin health). Some of the products on this list boast this label along with “Pediatrician Approved.” These are excellent indicators that product makers have done some due diligence, but since all children are different, you should expect varied responses and reactions to different detergents—especially if your baby has particular sensitivities.
  • Water Temperature Formulation and HE compliance: Many modern washers are high-efficiency to reduce the amount of water and energy needed to do a load of laundry. If you have an HE washer, it is important you ensure your laundry soap is specifically formulated for use in your machine. HE-compliant detergents are designed to clean clothes in low water and produce fewer suds to avoid additional rinse cycles. You may also want to ensure your detergent is formulated for use in varying water temperatures, as cold water washes use less energy.
  • Surfactants: In the practical sense, some kind of surfactant will be a primary ingredient in detergents. Surfactants or “surface active agents” may act as wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common surfactant used in many detergents (even some on this list). This particular surfactant has been linked through urban myth to cancer. However, according to most research, SLS is an irritant but not a carcinogen, in fact, according to a 2015 study in Environmental Health Insights, SLS is safe for use in household cleaning products. The EWG ranks SLS as a level C ingredient, citing low to moderate concern most specifically, or eye contact and ingestion. However, some detergents are switching to alternative surfactants to include more innocuous ingredients like Earnest Mom’s use of coco-glucoside, a coconut-based additive. We highly recommend checking the EWG to evaluate the surfactants listed in your detergent.

What to Avoid

  • Fragrance/ Scent: The biggest concern with fragrances is that we actually have no idea what they are. “The term “fragrance” on an ingredient list means the product contains a chemical cocktail that may consist of dozens of substances for which there is limited safety data.” Because fragrances can be proprietary, companies do not need to list the full ingredients, leaving the consumer at risk for possible irritants and allergens. We highly recommend products that are “Fragrance-Free” or “Free & Clear” and the like, especially for washing baby clothes.
  • Dyes: When it comes down to necessity, dyes are not really the powerhouse in cleaners—so why are they even there? The typical culprit is a blue dye, which is present to counteract yellowing, but there are many irritants, allergies, and other health hazards associated with detergent dyes, and for this reason, we recommend a dye-free detergent that will actually clean the clothing discoloration, instead of just whitewashing it.
  • Harsh Chemicals: Some detergents (including a few in this list) will avoid the use of “harsh chemicals” in formulations to create safer, gentler cleaners. This “habitual offenders” list is often cited in media and naturalistic efforts to support alternative cleaning options: optical brighteners, enzyme stabilizers, and parabens.
    • Optical Brighteners: This refers to a number of different chemicals that can be used to make fabrics appear brighter. “[Optical brightener] coats clothing in the washing machine and sticks to fabric even after rinsing.” Some brighteners can cause skin irritation, and for this reason, it is best avoided since the chemical is intended to remain on fabric and will most certainly come into contact with the skin.
    • Enzyme Stabilizers: “Enzymes used in cleaning products have an excellent safety profile, with little ability to cause adverse responses in humans.” These proteins help break down and remove soil from clothing during the wash. While enzymes themselves do not pose an acute hazard, enzyme stabilizers such as boric acid can be highly toxic. So, be on the lookout for these additives.
    • Parabens: These chemicals are used as preservatives in cosmetics and cleaners. When searching the ingredients list you may notice parabens listed with prefixes including the most common: methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. According to Reuters Health News, “Some parabens are banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not limited use of the ingredients.” These chemicals have been shown through studies to negatively impact the reproductive system. “Men who have been exposed to common chemicals known as parabens have lower testosterone levels and more sperm that are abnormally shaped and slow-moving, according to a study that suggests these ingredients may contribute to infertility.”

Here are additional baby laundry detergents we tested but didn't make it onto this list:

Attitude Sensitive Baby Laundry Detergent receives glowing scores from EWG, one of the only laundry detergents we know that receive an A score, which is impressive! It does this partly by not including a fragrance, but also by not including any relatively harsh cleaning agents. However, when we tried it out, we really didn't like how our laundry smelled after it came out of the wash, and we didn't think it did a great job removing even minor stains. If you're looking for what is likely the safest and most sensitive laundry detergents for babies, this could be perfect for you, but you'll need to compromise on smell, effectiveness, and price.

Dreft Baby Stage 1 is not specifically listed on the EWG Database, but we checked, and it contains the same ingredients as Dreft Baby Stage 2, excluding amylase (a level B enzyme). Dreft Baby detergent ranks an F on the EWG scale, with the greatest concern for its inclusion of sodium borate, fragrance, and fabric brighteners. In terms of cleaning, the tests were sufficient, but we were much more impressed with other free & clear, and brightener-free options on this list.

Seventh Generation Fresh Scent is also absent from the EWG list, but we researched each of its ingredients individually and can safely assume this detergent would rank a C or D based on similar formulations. There were a few testers in our group who love Seventh Generation brand cleaners, and we were generally pleased with the results.  However, we were concerned about the almond oil present in this detergent. Due to the potential for severe contact-allergy reaction to nut oils, this detergent was bumped from our top ten.


The American Academy of Pediatrics observes, “It is a common recommendation that baby clothes should be washed separately, using special ‘baby’ detergents that supposedly leave fewer residues and are therefore less likely to cause skin irritation.” However, many parents (multi-taskers that we are) would prefer to wash the whole family’s clothes together. But what if we could have the best of both worlds—a “baby” detergent that is both gentle for sensitive skin and powerful; enough to tackle clothing stains and odors for everyone in the house? As we discovered through our testing and focus groups, many of the laundry detergents on this list can be used for the whole family such as Mama Bear Gentle Laundry Detergent and Purex for Baby. That being said, there were also detergents that fell behind in tests with dirtier/ larger loads. Grab Green {Stage 1} Pods and Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent did well in tests with lightly soiled baby clothes but didn’t have the stain-fighting power needed for deeper stains and powerful odors—even with pre-treating in Puracy’s tests. A pro tip from “seasoned” parents is to immediately rinse major stain causes like formula, blowouts, and baby food. While this is not always possible, making sure you get to it as soon as you can will make all the difference.

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