Those with sensitive skin often have trouble finding laundry detergent that doesn’t cause irritation. But the trade-off for clean clothes, sheets, and towels needn’t be rashes and other allergic reactions. The best hypoallergenic laundry detergents do a solid job of banishing dirt, stains, and odor while omitting a variety of potential irritants and common allergens. These products tend to have much simpler ingredient lists, which can mean fewer problems for sensitive skin. Read on to learn about ingredients to steer clear of, as well as those to look for, plus other features to be found in the best hypoallergenic laundry detergents. You’re likely to discover a product here that suits your style and your skin.
- BEST OVERALL: Tide Free and Gentle Eco-Box Liquid Laundry Detergent
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear Pure
- BEST POWDER: Biokleen Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent
- BEST PODS: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs
- BEST SCENTED: ECOS® 2X Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Tru Earth Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent Sheets
- BEST FOR BABIES: Amazon Brand – Mama Bear Gentle Laundry Detergent
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
People with sensitive skin or such conditions as eczema may wish to put serious thought into what comes in contact with their skin. Household cleaning products, including soaps and laundry detergents, may seem innocuous, but the trace residue they leave behind can be irritating. When shopping for the best hypoallergenic laundry detergent, keep the products’ ingredients, performance, eco-friendliness, and scent in mind.
Hypoallergenic laundry detergents are designed and formulated to spare those with sensitive skin from itchy, unattractive distress. While there is no official standard for hypoallergenic detergents, many of these products omit common irritants, including dyes, chlorine, fragrance, preservatives, and optical brighteners. These ingredients are among the common additives that can cause sensitivities, allergies, and skin condition flare-ups. Fortunately, a hypoallergenic detergent without these ingredients will clean and freshen laundry just as well as regular products, typically relying on enzymes and plant-based surfactants.
Most labels will advertise their omitted ingredients, so you can make an informed choice according to your skin’s needs and any known allergies. For those with more severe allergies or skin conditions, it may take some trial and error as well as consulting with a doctor to find the right laundry detergent.
Why not do right by the planet while also taking care of your skin? Since hypoallergenic detergents omit many harsh chemical ingredients, they are often more eco-friendly and natural than standard detergents.
Today’s detergent types include pods, liquids, powders, and strips. Pods are the most convenient since there’s no measuring necessary. They pack an ultra-concentrated formula into a tiny package that may be more eco-friendly to package and ship. However, pods often come at a premium price.
Liquid and powder detergents are a popular and cost-friendly pick. While these formulas can contain eco-friendly ingredients, the products are heavy and take a lot of energy to ship. Look for ultra-concentrated formulas or cardboard packaging for an eco-friendly boost. When it comes to sensitive skin, liquid and powder detergents can be best because they enable you to use less potentially irritating soap.
Laundry detergent strips are convenient as well as among the most eco-friendly options. These easy-to-transport products come in lightweight, pre-measured sheets that you simply separate and toss in the wash.
For those with very sensitive skin or medical skin conditions, fragrance-free detergents are often the best pick. Many laundry detergent fragrances can contain a slurry of chemicals, which is why they are a common irritant. Tip: When reading package information, look for a fragrance-free hypoallergenic detergent rather than an unscented one; unscented detergents can still contain fragrance ingredients to produce their neutral quality.
Some folks, however, can tolerate certain scents and so may opt for a scented hypoallergenic detergent. These detergents may eliminate various other irritating ingredients while adding fragrance for a more pleasant consumer experience. Instead of chemical fragrances, consider natural fragrances, which are often made with essential oils.
Our Top Picks
With the right hypoallergenic laundry detergent, you can keep your skin healthy and irritation-free. The best hypoallergenic laundry detergents do away with common sensitizing ingredients without sacrificing cleaning power. The following laundry detergents are nonirritating and pack a cleaning punch to get your clothes fresh and clean without the skin-related side effects.
Tide’s Free and Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent formula is a wise choice for those with sensitive skin and a variety of skin conditions. Recognized by the National Eczema Association and National Psoriasis Foundation, this detergent has a dye- and perfume-free ingredients list ideal for reactive skin. The powerful formula removes dirt, food, and stains without harsh additives.
This Eco-Box version puts the ultra-concentrated formula in an eco-friendly cardboard box that does away with large plastic containers. This smart packaging uses 60 percent less plastic and 30 percent less water than the company’s standard packaging.
All’s Free Clean laundry detergent line comes highly recommended by dermatologists and allergists for its pared-down formula. The Free Clean Pure line takes it a step further, creating a hypoallergenic laundry detergent from 99 percent bio-based ingredients. Like most effective hypoallergenic detergents, this laundry liquid is free of perfumes, dyes, and phosphates. It uses a multi-enzyme formula to clean clothes while being gentle on sensitive skin.
The bio-based formula is USDA certified, which means it has been third-party tested to contain a majority of ingredients from renewable biological sources. This bio-based ingredients list also earns an EPA Safer Choice certification, proof that it contains ingredients that are safer for humans and the environment. All of these perks are included in a concentrated liquid formula, at a reasonable price per load.
Biokleen’s Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent features a Bio Active formula that aims to harness the power of natural ingredients, including plants, minerals, microbes, and enzymes, to rid laundry of dirt and odor without harsh chemicals. The simple powder is free of dyes, fragrances, phosphates, chlorine, ammonia, alcohol, and brighteners to give consumers a nonirritating experience.
Instead of harsh cleaners, plant-based surfactants and grapefruit seed extracts help to clean tough stains and odors. The formula rinses clean and leaves no smells or residue behind, washing away completely for an effective clean, even in hard water.
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs offer the convenience of pods with a nonirritating formula. The packs are made for sensitive skin and contain no dyes, fragrances, or artificial brighteners. Instead, an enzymatic formula powers away everyday stains, like spaghetti sauce, chocolate, and coffee. Whitening and anti-graying enzymes also help to keep clothes white and bright.
The formula is both EPA Safer Choice certified and USDA Biobased certified, containing 94 percent biological products. The plant-based ingredients list does not include any animal-derived ingredients, and the detergent is not tested on animals, providing a truly gentle and cruelty-free product.
This scented hypoallergenic detergent from Ecos offers a pared-down ingredients list, without skipping on a pleasant fragrance. The detergent contains a plant-powered concentrated formula, built-in fabric softener, and a lovely magnolia and lily scent.
Although this laundry liquid has many of the traditional perks of standard detergents, it still boasts a hypoallergenic ingredients list. The detergent is free of common irritants, including dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates. The delicate scent is derived from magnolia and lily essential oils rather than chemical blends. As proof of its kinder formulation, the product is EPA Safer Choice certified, gray water and septic safe, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Tru Earth’s Hypoallergenic Laundry Sheets combine convenience and eco-friendliness. Instead of pods, which can have additives to contain their shape, or liquids and powders, which are heavy and bulky to transport, these compact laundry strips are lightweight and ultra-compact. They come in plastic-free and compostable packaging.
Simply place a strip in the washing machine drum, no measuring required. The gentle formula is free of chlorine bleach, added dyes, parabens, and phosphates. This detergent is not suitable for those sensitive to fragrance, however, as it does include a Clean Linen scent to leave clothes smelling fresh.
Tiny babies can make major messes! So those with little ones who have sensitive skin may find Mama Bear Gentle Baby Laundry Detergent ideal. This detergent is specially formulated with plant-based cleaning ingredients to fight all kinds of tough baby stains.
The powerful detergent is both EPA Safer Choice certified and USDA 95 percent Biobased certified to be safe for use on all baby garments, including cloth diapers. This liquid formula is free of dyes, fragrances, and phthalates, relying on nonirritating, stain-fighting enzyme power instead of harsh chemicals to clean messy clothes, bibs, blankets, and diapers.
FAQs About the Best Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergents
When it comes to sensitive skin and laundry detergents, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What may be irritating to one person might not be for the next, so trial and error can be a part of the selection process. If you’re still wondering about the best hypoallergenic laundry detergents for your needs, consider the frequently asked questions and answers below.
Q. What laundry detergent do dermatologists recommend?
Dermatologists often recommend dye-free, fragrance-free laundry detergents to those with sensitive skin.
Q. Can I use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent if I suffer from asthma?
Yes, because asthma can be triggered by allergies, harsh chemicals, and high concentrations of fragrances, including those in laundry detergents. A fragrance-free hypoallergenic laundry detergent may be a suitable pick for those with asthma.
Q. How much hypoallergenic laundry detergent should I use?
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the appropriate amount of detergent to use. Don’t think that hypoallergenic means you must use more product to get a high level of cleaning.
Q. What are the symptoms of being allergic to laundry detergent?
Look for signs of irritated skin, such as itching, hives, burning, peeling, excessive dryness, swelling, and redness, which are all signs of a possible allergy or sensitivity.