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First published 6 July 2018, updated 29 July 2021

There’s nothing as nice as the smell of freshly washed clothes, is there? Unfortunately, your laundry detergent could be having a harmful effect both on your family and on the environment.

That fresh laundry smell can come at a high cost. Laundry fragrances are designed to stay in your clothes, meaning that your skin and lungs are constantly exposed to them. It’s the same with other toxic ingredients used in laundry detergents. They wouldn’t be so bad if it was just a one time exposure, but some of these ingredients are designed to stick to your clothing, which means that you can’t get away from them.

Manufacturers aren’t required to list the specific ingredients of their products, because they are deemed to be commercially sensitive. This makes it even harder for consumers who are trying to make informed decisions about the products they use for their families.

So what’s the answer?

Do you choose a ‘sensitive’ formula? Unfortunately, that’s no guarantee of a non toxic laundry detergent. You can’t trust the big name brands with their claims of ‘sensitive’ formulas. You have to get to the bottom of each and every ingredient.

And it’s not just about our health. Laundry products end up in our waterways, so we have to think of the environment when we’re choosing products, too. So many ingredients are toxic to aquatic life, not biodegradable (so they never break down and stay in our waterways and oceans), or cause algal buildup which kills fish and plants.

Contents hide

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 SEE RELATED:

Shopping Guide: What To Look For In Natural Laundry Powders

Problems with Optical Brighteners (And What You Can Do About It)

Laundry Powders Smackdown – Eco vs Mainstream

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Introduction

So how do you wade through the greenwash and misinformation to find the best laundry products for your family? The ones which are truly non toxic for you and the environment?

Well, that’s where I come in. I’ve spent months finding all the ingredients in laundry detergents, researching them and reviewing them so that I can recommend nothing but the best to you.

There are heaps of laundry detergents available in Australia. I’ve researched nearly 60 different products from different brands! I didn’t do all of the mainstream ones, because I know that they’re going to be mostly the same. But I did try to do as many ‘natural’ and ‘sensitive’ ones as possible. The list of laundry products that I’ve reviewed are all in alphabetical order, below.

Ingredients to Avoid

Phosphates

Phosphates are a problem because they enhance algae growth and reduce the oxygen available for fish and plants in streams and lakes.

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 SEE RELATED:

Detox Your Home: The Laundry

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Optical brighteners

They’re not biodegradable, so once they get into our waterways they don’t go away. Studies investigating the harm that optical brighteners do to the environment haven’t been conclusive. Optical brighteners have also been linked to contact dermatitis and skin irritations, but the research is not conclusive, either. Until we know exactly what optical brighteners do the environment and our skin, it’s best to avoid them.

Fragrance

Synthetic fragrances are a problem because you don’t know what’s in it – it could be any of 3,000 toxic chemicals. Fragrances can contain phthalates and skin irritants. Avoid!

Dyes

Completely unnecessary ingredient. No one needs blue laundry liquid, and it adds unknown chemicals to our waterways.

Harsh surfactants

Surfactants are the detergent part of the laundry detergent, and they’re an essential part of the ingredients. However, there are harsh surfactants that can cause skin irritation, and are toxic to aquatic life. Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES), and Sodium Methyl Ester Sulfonate (MES) are all examples of these.

Note that sodium lauryl sulfate is fine in cleaning products. I don’t like it in personal care products as it’s an irritant, but it’s fine for people and the environment in cleaning products. There’s a scientific review here, which explains more.

Preservatives

Laundry liquids are mostly water, so you need preservatives to prevent it going off. And some of the preservatives that I found are highly toxic to both people and the environment. I found laundry products with Benzisothiazolinone (irritant and environmental concerns), Triethanolamine (TEA – irritant and allergen), Methylchloroisothiazolinone (irritant and allergen) and Methylisothiazone (another irritant and allergen). We need preservatives, but choose safe ones!

Ethoxylated ingredients

Although many “green” brands will say that they avoid ethoxylated ingredients, they may not actually be that problematic. HERA (Health Environment Research Agenda) did an assessement on ethoxylated ingredients a few years back and concluded that they were low risk both for people and the environment.

Green Light: Best Laundry Detergent

Abode Laundry Liquid – Eucalyptus

Updated June 2021

Also available in Lavender & Mint, Zero Sensitive & Baby

Made in Australia, with good ingredients. No issues with this. Packaging is recyclable #2 HDPE.

Ingredients: Water, soda ash, sodium citrate (food grade), sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, sodium coco sulphate, baking soda (food grade), alkylpolyglucosides (derived from corn, wheat and coconut) and pure Australian grown Blue Mallee eucalyptus essential oil.

Abode Laundry Powder Wild Lavender & Mint

Updated June 2021

Also available in Eucalyptus and Zero Sensitive

Made in Australia, with good ingredients. No issues with this. Packaging is recyclable #2 HDPE.

Ingredients: Soda ash (alkalinity builder), baking soda (food grade), sodium citrate (food grade), sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (derived from coconut oil), sodium coco sulphate (derived from coconut oil), sodium disilicate (derived from sand), alkylpolyglucosides (derived from corn, wheat and coconut) and pure lavender and mint essential oils).

Ecostore Laundry Liquid – Geranium & Orange

Updated June 2021

Ecostore’s packaging as a whole was around 63.5% sugar based plastic packaging, with the rest made up of recycled plastic, HDPE & PP and a very small amount of other plastics (under 3%). They’re aiming to get to 50% sugar plastic and 50% recycled plastic by 2025 and look like they’re well on track. Products are made in New Zealand.

Phenoxyethanol – although I avoid on skincare products, it’s not an issue in laundry products as it’s rinsed off and it’s not an environmental toxin.

Ingredients: Aqua, Lauryl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Oleic Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Polyaspartate*, Phenoxyethanol*, Sodium Coco Sulphate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate. Fragrance ingredients: Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Juniperus Virginiana (Red Cedar) Wood Extract, Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) Extract. (Components of Natural Essentials Oils: Limonene)

Ecostore Top & Front Loader Laundry Powder – Lemon

Updated June 2021

No issues with this one. Indeed, I use this at home! The packaging here is cardboard that’s fully recyclable, but there is a sugar plastic based scoop inside (brought back after being phased out because customers didn’t know how much powder to use). Product is made in New Zealand.

Ingredients: Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Cellulose Gum (Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose), Sodium Citrate, Sodium Polyaspartate, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Sulphate, Sodium Coco Sulphate, Sodium Silicate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Oleic Acid. Fragrance ingredients: Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil (fraction). (Components of Natural Essentials Oils: Citral, Limonene)

Ecologic Laundry Liquid – Citrus Fusion

Updated June 2021

Ecologic Laundry Liquid – Citrus Fusion

No issues with the ingredients. Made in Australia, but I couldn’t find out anything about the plastic.

Ingredients: Purified Aqua, Coco glucoside, Organic Soapwort Herb Extract, Organic Saponified Olive oil, Seaweed Extract, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Organic Extracts of Lavender, Horsetail Herb & Witch Hazel Bark, Guar Gum, Citrus Seed Extract, Orange, Mandarin and Tangelo Essential oils.

Happi Earth Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Happi Earth Laundry Liquid

Made in Australia with great ingredients that are food grade certified organic. The pouch is made from kraft paper with a plastic lining. It can’t be recycled but they will sterilise and refill if you send the packaging back to them.

Ingredients: Organic soapberry nut super-concentrate, organic vegan (bean) glycerine, organic eucalyptus essential oil, organic orange essential oil, organic ethanol. Certified organic ingredients (ACO).

Kin Kin Naturals Laundry Liquid – Eucalypt & Lemon Myrtle

Updated June 2021

Good ingredients and another one that’s made in Australia. Recyclable #2 HDPE plastic packaging with a #5 PP lid.

Ingredients: Coconut-based anionic and nonionic surfactants (NO alcohol ethoxylate, LAS or SLS),  rain water,  potassium coconut soap, potassium citrate, enzymes, organic eucalypt essential oil,  organic lemon myrtle essential oil,  tangerine essential oil.

Koala Eco Natural Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Koala Eco is another Australian owned and made brand. Good ingredients again, and this time the bottle is made from 100% post consumer recycled packaging that’s recyclable and refillable. Love it!

Ingredients: Aqua (purified water), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Glucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate (plant-based biodegradable surfactants), plant-based biodegradable solubiliser, eco-certified enzymes, Eucalyptus Maculata Citriodora (Lemon Scented Eucalptus essential oil) Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary essential oil), Dehydroacetic Acid (Eco-certified biodegradable preservative suitable for greywater and septic tanks).

Organic Clean Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Organic Clean Laundry Liquid

Yet another good Australian product, also made here (and in a solar powered factory!) and also ACO certified organic.

Ingredients: Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract*, Potassium Oleate, Potassium Cocoate, Glycerine, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Carbonate, Xanthan Gum,  Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Melaeuca Ericifolia (Rosalina) Oil, Eucalyptus Polybracetea Oil. *Certified Organic Ingredients

Planet Luxe Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Planet Luxe Laundry Liquid

Nothing wrong with the ingredients in this one, either. Made in Australia and packaged in #1 PET recyclable packaging.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Soapwort Extract, Guar Gum, Kakadu Plum Extract, Citric Acid, Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Organic Lavender Extract, Organic Witch Hazel Extract, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Sorbate*.

Resparkle Natural Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Resparkle is another Australian owned and made brand, with good ingredients. It’s made right here in Melbourne and the packaging is plastic free and compostable. It even comes with a wooden spoon for measuring!

Ingredients: Soybean extracts, green tea extracts, grapefruit extracts, sodium hydrogen carbonate.

Orange Light

Aware Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Aware Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Aware is in my orange list for not specifying ingredients. Their website does say no artificial fragrances, dyes or optical brighteners. It’s also palm oil free and says “no added phosphates” (which is not the same as no phosphates, so I wonder about the wording there).

All the ingredients listing says is “non ionic surfactant” and “anionic” surfactant. These aren’t ingredients, they’re groups of ingredients. Both can include ethoxylated alcohols and other potentially problematic ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate, for example, is an anionic surfactant. The problem is that you just don’t know what’s in this because the manufacturer chooses not to disclose.

The product is, however, endorsed by the National Asthma Council of Australia. It is also endorsed by Planet Ark, which is what’s snuck it into my orange list instead of going in to my red list.

Made in: Australia

Ingredients (from MSDS): 15-30% Non-Ionic Surfactant*, Soap*, 5-15% Anionic Surfactant*, Alcohol*,<1% Rosa damascene Flower oil*, Preservative (*plant based – non palm oil)

Aware Sensitive Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Aware Sensitive Laundry Powder

As with the laundry liquid, above, the non disclosure of ingredients is the issue here. It’s made it into my orange list because of their endorsements by Planet Ark and the National Asthma Council of Australia.

Ingredients (from MSDS): Plant Oil Surfactants, Sodium Citrate, Minerals*, Cellulose Colloids, Washing Soda.

Bondi Wash Laundry Liquid Wash

Updated June 2021

Bondi Wash Laundry Liquid Wash

The problem with this is the sodium phytate. It’s a phosphate, which is an issue for the environment because phosphates can cause algal blooms, which starves fish of oxygen. Strangely enough, Bondi Wash mentions phosphates as an ingredient to avoid in one of their own blog posts.

Ingredients: Water (aqua), plant-derived surfactants, glyceryl caprylate (plant-based), Australian bush oils, essential oils, xanthan gum, acacia senegal gum, sodium phytate.

Bosisto’s Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Bosisto’s Sensitive Laundry Liquid

The problem here is the complete lack of disclosure of ingredients. There’s no MSDS available online that I could find. They do say no synthetic fragrances or dyes, optical brighteners, bleaches, enzymes, zeolites, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), or added phosphates. But when I asked for further clarification, they said they didn’t have to disclose, so they wouldn’t.

They are made in Australia, but locally grown eucalyptus oil isn’t enough to make me want to use this when I’ve got no idea what else is in here.

Ingredients: Natural Eucalyptus Oil (100% locally grown at our farm in Inglewood Australia) along with Water, Anionic and non-ionic Surfactants, Alkalinity builders and other non-hazardous ingredients.

Bygum Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Bygum Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid

Although the ingredients aren’t fully disclosed, this looks like it’s a soap based product. The potassium hydroxide disappears during saponification (the process of turning oils into soap), so it’s not an issue.

Ingredients: Environmentally Friendly Soap, Oleic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil, Water, Potassium Hydroxide (undetectable after saponification process)

Dirt. Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Dirt. Laundry Liquid

Again, there’s no full disclosure on what the non-ionic and anionic surfactants really are, or which preservatives they’re using. However, the website says there are no phosphates or parabens, synthetic fragrances or dyes, or optical brighteners. The surfactants are readily biodegradable, too.

The packaging is recyclable through RedCycle, but Dirt run a refill programme, which is even better.

Dirt also uses RSPO sustainable palm oil, and they have a very sensible explanation of why they use sustainable palm oil instead of coconut oil. Palm oil can be a very emotive issue, so I love to see a reasonable and logical stance on it.

Ingredients: Nonionic Surfactants, Anionic Surfactants, Alkaline Salts, Organic Enzymes, Spring Scented Natural Fragrance (Essential Oils: Cedarwood, Tonka bean, Lemon, Lavandin, Bergamot, Lavender and Eucalyptus), Preservatives.

Earthwise Laundry Powder – Orange & Eucalyptus

Updated June 2021

Earthwise Laundry Powder – Orange & Eucalyptus

This one isn’t as bad as the laundry liquid from the same brand. There is sodium coco sulphate which is an irritant and is toxic to aquatic life. It’s just not my favourite brand.

The fragrance is essential oil based and is phthalate free, too.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda), Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide (Oxygen Whitener and Brightener), Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Sodium Citrate (Chelating Agent from Citrus), Sodium Silicate (Minerals Salts), Sodium Coco Sulfate, Polyoxyalkylene Alkylether (Plant Based Surfactants), Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil, Fragrance* (Essential Oil Blend).

Ecover Laundry Liquid Zero

Updated June 2021

Ecover Laundry Liquid Zero

This seems to be an okay product. Do note that Ecover is owned by SC Johnson, who test on animals.

Ingredients: Aqua, Fatty alcohol ethoxylate C12-18, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Potassium oleate, Alcohol denat., Sodium citrate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polypropylene terephthalate, Citric acid, Glycerin

Ecover Non-Bio Washing Powder Zero

Updated June 2021

Ecover Non-Bio Washing Powder Zero

As with the Ecover laundry liquid, this is okay, although there are still a few so-so ingredients.

Ingredients: Sodium sulfate, Sodium carbonate peroxide, Zeolite, Sodium C12-18 alkyl sulfate*, Aqua, TAED, Sodium citrate, Fatty acids methyl esters ethoxylates, Laureth-7, Sodium polyaspartate, Sodium oleate, Sodium Carboxymethyl Starch, Sodium Silicate, Sodium carbonate, Cellulose gum.

EnviroClean Front Load Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

EnviroClean Front Load Laundry Liquid

Packaging says no optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances or phosphates, and that everything is plant based. They’re palm oil free and don’t use SLS/SLES. But they don’t disclose ingredients, just give the usual groups of ingredients that they use.

Made in Australia and packaged using HDPE plastic containers, which are fully recyclable.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Plant Based Anionic and Non-Ionic Surfactants, Emulsifier, Proprietary Blend Natural Oils (Fragrance), Food Grade Vegetable Colour (all plant based ingredients)

Herbon Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Hebron Laundry Liquid

There are a couple of ingredients with issues. There are some questions about both coco betaine and ethanolamines when it comes to aquatic toxicity, so this stays in the orange list for me.

It’s made in Australia, and packaged in HDPE recyclable packaging.

Ingredients: Purified water, Sodium Cocoate, Coco Betaine, Coconut Ethanolamine, Eucalyptus Oil, Methyl Glycinate.

Macro Laundry Liquid Geranium & Musk

Updated July 2021

It’s okay. There’s worse products out there, but there’s also better. A note on the fragrance, though. Just because it’s “naturally derived” doesn’t mean it’s natural. This simply means that it started as natural, but has gone through lots of processing. And that processing can involve lots of toxic chemicals, and you end up with an ingredient that’s basically synthetic. Zero fragrance or essential oils, that’s what you’re looking for.

Made in New Zealand, and I couldn’t find any information about the packaging.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate, Glycerin, Coco Glucoside, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Citric Acid, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Fragrance (Naturally Derived)

Macro Laundry Powder Geranium & Musk

Updated July 2021

This is better than the liquid, which is often the case, as powders don’t need preservatives like liquids do. See comments above on the “naturally derived” fragrance. This does also have Polyoxyalkylene Alkyl Ether, and the problem with alkyl ether sulfates is that they can be irritating to the skin, but also can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Coco Sulfate, Polyoxyalkylene Alkyl Ether, Fragrance (Naturally Derived).

Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda

Updated June 2021

Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda

This one is okay. The sodium metasilicate isn’t as much of an issue in laundry products as it is in other cleaning products, so although EWG flags it, it’s okay here.

Ingredients: Sodium carbonate (soda ash), sodium metasilicate, sodium chloride and coconut based (lauryl) ethoxylated fatty alcohol (i.e. linear alcohol ethoxylate).

Simply Clean Lemon Myrtle Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Simply Clean Lemon Myrtle Laundry Liquid

The issue with this one is the optical brightener. Simply Clean’s website does say that it’s one that is readily biodegradable, non toxic and doesn’t persist in the environment. But without knowing exactly which chemical it is, it’s hard to know if this is true or not. So it’s in my orange list.

Made in Australia.

Ingredients: Pure Australian lemon myrtle oil (backhousia citriodora), sodium carbonate, alkyl polyglucoside, potassium cocoate & sodium coco-sulfate, sodium citrate & sodium polyaspartate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, phenoxyethanol & sorbic acid, optical brightener, water.

Simply Clean Lemon Myrtle Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Simply Clean Lemon Myrtle Laundry Powder

Sodium metasilicate, although it’s flagged as a red ingredient, is generally okay in laundry products. It’s the optical brightener that has this in the orange list. As per my comments above, without knowing exactly which optical brightener it is, it’s hard to know about the environmental effects.

Made in Australia.

Ingredients: Pure Australian lemon myrtle oil (backhousia citriodora), sodium carbonate, sodium citrate & polyacrylic acid & tetrasodium edta, sodium metasilicate, alkylbenzenesulphonic acid/sodium salt* , very low dose colour protector (optical brightener).

Sonett Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Sonett Laundry Powder

Sodium metasilicate is flagged red as it can be an issue in some cleaning products, but is okay in laundry products. If you try to avoid palm oil, it is at least disclosed in this list!

Made in Germany.

Ingredients: Sodium soap* (derived from vegetable oils; palm oil, rape seed, sunflower and coconut oil), sodium carbonate, bentonite, zeolite, sodium C12–C14 fatty alcohol sulphate (sodium lauryl sulfate), sodium silicate, sodium metasilicate, sodium disilicate.*Certified organically grown.

Zero Co Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Zero Co Laundry Liquid

Sodium hydroxide which can be okay if it’s used in low concentrations, and sodium coco sulphate which can have some toxicity for aquatic life. It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best either.

Ingredients: Water, Citric Acid, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Coco Sulphate, Coconut fatty acid, Sodium hydroxide, Enzymes (Protease, Amylase, Pectate Lyase, Mannanase, Lipase), Decyl Glucoside, Methyl Ester Ethoxylate*, Coco-Glucoside, Calcium Chloride Dihydrate, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Lemon Myrtle & Australian Grey Gum, Phthalate free and palm oil free).

Red Light

Red light products are products that I don’t recommend. This is either because they contain ingredients that can cuase environmental problems (environmental toxicity) or have adverse effects on human health.

Some products are in the red light category because they don’t actually disclose ingredients, instead list non specific ingredients like “surfactants” rather than which surfactants they are.

Also just because an ingredient is listed as “plant based”, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe or natural. It simply means that a plant based ingredient has been chemically processed, and as you don’t know what the actual ingredient is, you don’t know if there are any contamination concerns due to the method of processing.

Aldi Trimat Advanced Liquid Laundry Detergent

Updated June 2021

Aldi Trimat Advanced Liquid Laundry Detergent

Ingredients that aren’t good for the environment or for the people using the products like synthetic fragrance and MCI and MIT. Plus there are other ingredients which aren’t disclosed at all.

Ingredients (from MSDS): Alcohols, C-12-14, ethoxylated; benzenesulfonic acid, dodecyl-, sodium salt; propylene glycol; enzymes; fragrance; 5-chloro-2-methyl-2H-4-isothiazol-3-one (MCI); 2-methyl-2h-isothiazol-3-one (MIT); ingredients determined to be non hazardous.

Aldi Almat Powder Laundry Detergent

Updated June 2021

Aldi Almat Powder Laundry Detergent

There are two optical brighteners in this, as well as fragrance and a surfactant that’s an irritant. Another one that I wouldn’t use.

Ingredients (from MSDS): Sodium Carbonate, Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium percarbonate, Ethoxylated C12 – C15 alcohols, Citric acid, Sodium Silicate; Benzenesulfonic acid, 2,2′-(1,2-ethenediyl)bis[5-[[4-(4-morpholinyl)-6-(phenylamino)-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl]amino]-, sodium salt (1:2)*; Benzenesulfonic acid, 2,2′-([1,1′-biphenyl]-4,4′-diyldi-2,1-ethenediyl)bis-, disodium salt**; Bentonite; Fragrance; Silicone antifoam. [Note: *This is an optical brightener -Fluorescent brightener 71; **another optical brightener, Fluorescent Brightener 351.

Amway SA8™ Premium Concentrated Laundry Detergent Liquid

Updated June 2021

Amway SA8™ Premium Concentrated Laundry Detergent Liquid

There’s fragrance, optical brightener, artificial colours, potassium hydroxide – all sorts of issues with this. Another one that I wouldn’t use.

Ingredients: Ethoxylated Alcohol, Water, Cocamide DEA, Ethanol, Coconut Fatty acids, C8-18 and C18-unsaturated (surfactant), Propylene Glycol (stabiliser), Glycereth-26 (stabiliser), Potassium Hydroxide (neutraliser), Fragrance, Subtilisins (proteolytic enzymes), Citric Acid, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate (Fluorescent Brightener), Sodium Chloride, Solvent Blue 58.

Amway SA8™ Premium Concentrated Laundry Detergent Powder

Updated June 2021

Amway SA8™ Premium Concentrated Laundry Detergent Powder

Another one with synthetic fragrance and optical brightener (distyryl biphenyl derivative), plus pareth 25-7 (an exthoxylated alcohol).

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda), Pareth-25-7 (Nonionic Surfactant), Citric Acid (Organic Water Softener) Fumaric Acid (Dispersant), Hydrated Silica (Absorbent Mineral), Cellulose Gum (Anti Redeposition Agent), Water, Amylase (Starch Stain Remover), Protease (Protein Stain Remover), Distyryl Biphenyl Derivative (Fabric Brightener), Fragrance.

Biozet Attack 3D Clean Action Front and Top Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Biozet Attack 3D Clean Action Front and Top Laundry Powder

So many problem ingredients: fragrance, polyethylene glycol, sodium polyacrylate, disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate, and sodium linear alkylbenzene sulfonate. It’s also made in Taiwan, adding further to the environmental footprint.

Ingredients: Sodium sulfate, Sodium aluminosilicate, Sodium carbonate, Sodium linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, Sodium silicate, Sodium alkyl sulfate, Sodium percarbonate, Water, Alcohol ethoxylate, Polyethylene glycol, Silicone*, Sodium fatty acids, Sodium polyacrylate, Enzymes, Fragrance, Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate.

Bosisto’s Sensitive Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Bosisto’s Sensitive Laundry Powder

Unlike the Bosisto’s laundry liquid, the powder has optical brighteners and a defoamer. Their website does say no synthetic fragrances or dyes, fillers, enzymes, SLS or zeolites. But that’s not enough for me to be able to recommend this.

Ingredients: Natural Eucalyptus Oil (100% locally grown at our farm in Inglewood, Victoria) along with Alkalinity Builders, Oxygen based bleach, Anionic Surfactants, Non Ionic Surfactants, Optical Brightener and Defoamer 

Bygum Eucalyptus Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Bygum Eucalyptus Laundry Powder

Unlike the Bygum laundry liquid, the powder has phosphates and sodium metasilicate, so it’s in the red list.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Sodium Metasilicate, Citric Acid, Environmentally friendly soap, 100% pure Eucalyptus oil.

Cold Power Advanced Clean Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Cold Power Advanced Clean Laundry Liquid

So many ingredients that aren’t great – fragrances, dyes, sodium borate, isothiazolinones (which is a group of ingredients that includes MIT/MCI preservatives). There are all sorts of health risks and environmental toxins in this.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Ethoxylated Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, C12-15 Alcohol EO, Sodium Cocoate, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phosphonic Acid (DTPMP.Na), Sodium Borate, Enzymes, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Glycerin, Silicone Antifoam Compound, Sodium Citrate, Fragrance, Isothiazolinones, Dyes*.

Cold Power Clean & Fresh Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Cold Power Clean & Fresh Laundry Powder

As with the Cold Power laundry liquid, too many ingredients with environmental and health risks for me to ever recommend.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, Sodium Silicate, C12-15 Alcohol EO, Sodium anionic terpolymer, Enzymes, Antifoam Compound, CI fluorescent brightener, Fragrance.

Cold Power Sensitive Pure Clean Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Cold Power Sensitive Pure Clean Laundry Powder

This seems to differ from the standard Cold Power simply because of the absence of enzymes and fragrance, but the ingredients still aren’t great.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, Sodium Silicate, C12-15 Alcohol EO, Sodium anionic terpolymer, Antifoam Compound.

Dynamo Laundry Liquid Professional 7 in 1 with Eucalyptus

Updated June 2021

Dynamo Laundry Liquid Professional 7 in 1 with Eucalyptus

This is another one that I was expecting to have a lot of problematic ingredients, and guess what? It does!

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Ethoxylated Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoate, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phosphonic Acid (DTPMP.Na), Polyvinyl copolymer*, Sodium Borate, Enzymes, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Propylene Glycol, Silicone Antifoam Compound, Sodium Citrate, Fragrance, Isothiazolinones, Dyes.

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

It’s not awful, but I definitely don’t like the synthetic fragrance and colours. The benzisothalianone is moderately toxic to aquatic life and so is the sodium coco sulfate. It’s not as bad as others in the red list, but it’s not good enough to move into my orange list.

Ingredients: Water, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Oleate, Ethanol, Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Benzisothiazolinone, CI 61585

Earth Choice Ultra Concentrate Laundry Powder – Top & Front Loader

Updated June 2021

Earth Choice Ultra Concentrate Laundry Powder – Top & Front Loader

This remains in the red list because of the synthetic fragrance and the potential issues with phthalates and other nasties, but it’s not as bad as the laundry liquid from Earth Choice.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Zeolite, Water, Sodium Methyl Ester Sulfonate, Bentonite, Oleic Acid (Sodium Oleate), Cellulose Gum (Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose), Fragrance.

Earthwise Laundry Liquid – Fragrance Free

Updated June 2021

Earthwise Laundry Liquid – Fragrance Free

I’m always being told that Earthwise is great, but it’s not my favourite. The sodium hydroxymethylglycinate is a formaldehyde releaser and skin toxicant; and the sodium metasilicate is a strong irritant; as is the sodium lauryl ether sulphate. Even if you take into account that laundry liquid should be rinsed off and therefore shouldn’t cause skin irritation, the SLES is toxic to aquatic organisms. Just too many issues for my liking.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda), Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate, Sodium Citrate, Glycerin, Coco Glucoside, Sodium Metasilicate, Citric Acid , Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate.

Euca Concentrated Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Euca Concentrated Laundry Liquid

There’s Coconut DEA, plus unspecified preservative, alkylbenzene sulphonic acid and synthetic colour. Not my favourite.

Made in: Australia

Ingredients (from MSDS): Coconut Di Ethanolamide, Eucalyptus Oil, Alkylbenzene Sulphonic Acid, Xylene Sulphonate*, NL-8*, Preservative, food colour Blue 185 and water.

Euca Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Euca Laundry Powder

With phosphates and alkylbenzene sulphonates (toxicity to aquatic life), I’m afraid this one stays in my red list.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Ethoxylated Alcohol Nonionic, Eucalyptus Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Disodium Trioxosilicate, Sodium Alkylbenzene Sulphonate.

Fab Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Fab Laundry Liquid

Another supermarket standard with lots of ingredients to avoid: Fragrance and dyes, plus isothiazolinones, SLES, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate, C12 – 15 alcohol EO and silicone antifoam compound.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Ethoxylated Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, C12 – 15 Alcohol EO, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Chloride, Phosphonic Acid (DTPMP.Na), Silicone Antifoam Compound, Sodium Citrate, Fragrance, Isothiazolinones, Dyes.

Fab Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Fab Laundry Powder

I couldn’t find a complete ingredients list for this, nor an MSDS. What I could find, though, includes synthetic fragrance, plus sodium tridecyl benzene sulphonate (which is toxic to marine life).

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Tridecyl Benzene Sulfonate, Zeolite, Sodium silicate, Copolymer*, Enzymes, Fragrance.

Herbon Laundry Washing Powder

Updated June 2021

Herbon Laundry Washing Powder

Most of these ingredients aren’t too bad, but there are phosphates, and “coconut ethanolamine” which is likely to be cocamide DEA. It’s carcinogenic for humans and toxic to aquatic life.

Ingredients:  Soda Ash (mineral), Sodium Bicarbonate (mineral), Zeolite (mineral), Phosphate (mineral), Coconut Ethanolamine*, Hydrogen peroxide (a bleach), Eucalyptus oil, purified water.

Hudstone Home Regular Washing Powder

Updated June 2021

Hudstone Home Regular Washing Powder

Again, it’s the problem of non specified ingredients – we just don’t know what’s in this. There are optical brighteners, which isn’t a good sign.

Packaging is compostable, too, which is a bonus. The only other information on their website says the products are “chemical free”, non toxic and biodegradable. All of which are such generic, greenwashing terms that I just can’t recommend this.

Ingredients: Alkaline Mineral Salt, Nonionic & Anionic Surfactants, Enzyme blend, Optical brightener.

Lux Pure Soap Flakes

Updated June 2021

Lux Pure Soap Flakes

It’s really the synthetic fragrance that’s the big issue here. The editronic acid is a skin irritant, too.

Ingredients (from MSDS): Sodium Soap of Tallow and Coconut Oil*, Moisture**, Glycerine, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Etidronic Acid and Tetrasodium EDTA.

Method 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent – Ginger Mango

Updated June 2021

Method 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent – Ginger Mango

Method are a certified BCorp, they use 50% post consumer recycled plastic, and they’re manufactured in a LEED certified factory. But strangely, the ingredients aren’t as good as I thought they’d be.

The fragrances are a mix of natural and synthetic, although they are phthalate free. Laundry products are phosphates free, too. But the preservatives are pretty harsh (methylisothiazolinone and benzylisothiazolinone). As it’s a US brand, Method is listed on EWG cleaning, and it doesn’t score well. Such a shame, I really wanted to like this brand.

Ingredients: Propranediol, Monoisopropylanolamine, Glycerin, Sodium Citrate, Soy Methyl Ester Ethoxylate, Lauryl Ethoxylate, Peg 600 Decyl Ether, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Polyester, Fragrance (Parfum), Calcium Chloride, Carboxymethylinulin, Methylisothiazolinone, Benzylisothiazolinone, Protease, Amylase, Mannanase, Distyrylbiphenolsulfonate.

Omo Sensitive Front & Top Loader Laundry Detergent Washing Powder

Updated June 2021

Omo Sensitive Front & Top Loader Laundry Detergent Washing Powder

This is another supermarket standard that I expected to have lots of ingredients that I try to avoid, and I wasn’t disappointed. There’s optical brighteners, plus a few other ingredients that are toxic to marine life.

Ingredients: Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Zeolite, Sodium Acrylic Acid/ma Copolymer, C12-15 Pareth-7, Tetraacetyl Ethylene Diamine, Disodium Anilinomorpholinotriazinylaminostilbenesulfonate, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Sodium Edtmp, Phenylpropyl Ethyl Methicone, Water.

Purity Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Purity Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Don’t be fooled by the cute baby on the pack. This one has optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances and some very irritating preservatives.

Ingredients: Water – Purified, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate*, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside*, Coco-Glucoside*, Sodium Citrate*, Potassium Oleate*, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate (Optical brightener), Trisodium Dicarboxymethyl Alaninate, Sodium Polyaspartate, Fragrance, Benzisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone. *Derived from plant ingredients.

Softly Delicates Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Softly Delicates Laundry Liquid

Synthetic fragrances and TEA are irritating, plus the TEA is toxic to aquatic life. Again, the surfactants are not disclosed so I don’t know what sort of issues these might have.

Ingredients (from MSDS): Water, Nonionic SurfactantsAnionic surfactants, Triethanolamine (TEA), Sodium Citrate, Potassium Oleate, Trisodium N-(2-hydroxyethyl) ethylenediaminetriacetate, Antifoaming Agent, Fragrance, Pearlising Agent, 1,2-Benzoisothiazolin-3-one.

Surf Sensitive Laundry Liquid 

Updated June 2021

Surf Sensitive Laundry Liquid

Another supermarket standard with the same problem ingredients: SLES, surfactants and preservatives that are skin irritants. But no fragrance, so that makes it “sensitive” apparently.

Ingredients: Water, C12-C15 Pareth-7, Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium-Cocoate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Diethylenetriamine Pentamethylene Phosphonate, Polypropylene Terephthalate/Polyoxyethylene Terephthalate*, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Benzisothiazolin-3-One.

Surf Laundry Powder Tropical

Updated June 2021

Surf Laundry Powder Tropical

Similar issues to the Surf Sensitive above, but with dyes, fragrances and optical brighteners as well.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, Sodium Silicate, Zeolite, Sodium Acrylic Acid/Ma Copolymer,  PerfumePhenylpropyl Ethyl MethiconeDisodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Disodium Anilinomorpholinotriazinylaminostilbenesulfonate,  Cellulose Gum, Water, Dyes.

Tri Nature Alpha Plus Laundry Liquid

Updated June 2021

Tri Nature Alpha Plus Laundry Liquid

I’ve seen worse, but this one does have optical brighteners, which aren’t usually great for the environment.

Ingredients: Water, Potassium Cocoate, Potassium Olivate, Cocodimethylamine Oxide, Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates, Optical Brightener, Essential oil based fragrance.

Tri Nature Alpha Plus Laundry Powder

Updated June 2021

Tri Nature Alpha Plus Laundry Powder

As with the laundry liquid from Tri Nature, there’s optical brighteners and there’s also sodium polyacrylate which is non biodegradable and persistent in the environment.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Citrate, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Sodium Gluconate, Optical Brightener (UV Absorber), Sodium Polyacrylate, Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Soapwort Extract, Mint Balm Extract, Essential oil based fragrance.

Where to buy natural laundry detergents?

Of course, this great big list might leave you even more confused. If there’s so much greenwashing and misinformation out there, who do you trust when it comes to buying cleaning products that are truly natural? And how do you really find the best laundry detergent?

The answer is Hello Charlie. I do all of this research to help parents who are trying to get to the bottom of what’s really good for their families, but I also do this because we won’t put anything on our shelves until we’ve thoroughly researched and reviewed every single product.

So if you don’t want to do all the research yourself, you know that you can shop with confidence at Hello Charlie!

Click here to browse our full range of natural laundry products.

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