TRADITIONAL laundry products have a lot to answer for when it comes to irritating both our skin and the environment – many are made with toxic chemical compounds that contribute to both water and air pollution.
The best eco-friendly laundry products are made without all those nasties, and also minimise environmental impact with clever packaging and refillable containers.
If you can’t bear the thought of not using a liquid laundry detergent, then there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives that customers love, from brands like Method and Ecover.
In addition to detergent, both bio and non bio varieties, you’ll also find eco fabric softener as well as recycled, and refillable, packaging options.
For those looking to reduce their plastic use even further with eco-friendly laundry products, soap nuts, laundry eggs and wool dryer balls are all becoming increasingly popular alternatives to liquid and powder softeners.
These not only minimise waste since they can be reused time and again, but they’ll also save you money in the long run – an Ecoegg laundry egg can be used for over 200 washes until you need to refill the natural mineral pellets which clean your clothes.
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1. We tried: Ecover
- (AD) Ecover Bio Laundry Detergent, £9 from Amazon – buy here
- (AD) Ecover Sensitive Fabric Softener, £2.65 from Amazon – buy here
Ecover has recently improved its laundry formula with new ingredients they claim actively cares for your clothes.
We tested out both the Ecover Bio Laundry Detergent (holds 42 washes) and the Sensitive Fabric Softener (holds 50 washes) – and we were a big fan of both.
They smell great and they’re good for your conscience, with the bottle made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (although the cap’s just 50 per cent, for now).
The formula is made in a certified zero waste factory from plant-based ingredients and is vegan friendly.
It’s also dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, what’s not to love?!
2. We tried: smol fabric conditioner
- smol fabric conditioner twin starter pack, from £10 for two – buy here
When we heard about laundry subscription, smol, we’ll be honest and say that were pretty sceptical. Surely the packaging would be full of plastic? What if we didn’t like the product, or if came too frequently? There was the worry that we’d run out before our next load, too.
But honestly, smol has a good thing going. With subscription service smol, customers can tailor their deliveries of eco laundry capsules to their needs – which will save money, and minimise waste.
We tried their fabric conditioner – which came in a plastic-free box containing two big grey bottles of super concentrated liquid, and a pump.
You simply remove one of the screw tops from the bottles (which apparently hold 64 washes each!), and screw on the pump. It’s that simple.
We were a little shocked at the grey colour, but found it was made from 100 per cent post-consumer waste and is fully recyclable.
Since it’s super concentrated, you only need four pumps, which didn’t feel like a lot but it was definitely enough and it meant that we weren’t creating more waste by using less powerful conditioners… Plus, it even left big loads, like towels and sheets, smelling and feeling great.
What’s more is, if you keep the box, and sign up to a subscription service as and when you need it – you can return four empty bottles for smol to reuse and refill.
With every four bottles returned, smol will also donate 24 laundry washes to charity.
And if you do decide to sign up to a subscription, the price is determined by how often you wash. You simply tell smol how often you put your washing machine on and use fabric conditioner, and they will calculate and regularly deliver what you need.
You’re not tied into anything, and you can cancel or pause at any time, or modify your order using your login.
smol estimates that if you wash your clothes twice a week, and use fabric conditioner every time, they calculate that you would need two bottles delivered every eight months – costing £10.
It’s plastic-free, not tested on animals (only towels!) and uses absolutely no animal fat – like some other big brands. What’s not to love?
3. Best concentrated laundry liquid: Method Concentrated Laundry Detergent
- (AD) Method Concentrated Laundry Detergent, £6.50 from Amazon – buy here
Method is a household name in eco friendly cleaning and laundry products, known for its colourful products that are primarily plant-based, yet manage to be tough on dirt and stains.
This ultra-concentrated laundry detergent can clean up to 39 loads, and works on whites or coloured items.
The product is 95 per cent plant-based with no harsh chemicals, and there’s a refill available so you can minimise your plastic use, too.
What’s more is that the bottle is made from recycled plastic, too – so Method really pull out all the stops to make your daily laundry chores better for the environment, giving you more peace of mind.
4. Best soap nuts: Ecozone Soap Nuts
- (AD) Ecozone Soap Nuts, £15.89 from Amazon – buy here
Soap nuts are a berry harvested from an Indian tree, which contain a natural cleansing soap ingredient once they come into contact with the water.
Ecozone’s soap nuts tick a lot of boxes for reviewers: they’re non-toxic and suitable for those with allergies and sensitive skin.
Plus, listen up savvy shoppers, they can save you money on your washing, too – using these works out to about 3p a wash since one kilo of nuts lasts about 330 washes!
They’re also vegan, hypoallergenic and biodegradable – plus, they come in a handy cotton pouch.
5. Best laundry egg: Ecoegg Laundry Egg
Eco laundry eggs are a bit like the Marmite of the eco laundry product world – people either love them, or hate ’em.
Ecoegg is a popular choice for eco-conscious shoppers as it comes in three scents and colour combos.
It can last for over 200 washes, which could mean a year of clean laundry, and it’s filled with natural mineral pellets that have won the seal of approval from both Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society – meaning these are great for anyone with sensitive skin.
It also wins points in the eco department by allowing you to skip the rinse cycle and the fabric conditioner, saving you on your water bills, and plastic usage.
6. Best wool dryer balls: Dryerballs
- Dryerballs, set of three for £15.95 from AndKeep – buy here
Wool dryer balls are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative, cutting down on fabric conditioner use and energy on drying time.
These all-natural dryer balls from AndKeep are estimated to last between three and five years, and will cut down fabric softener usage as they naturally make clothes feel softer… ultimately saving you money!
Dryer balls also helps save your tumble from any toxic residue left behind from chemical fabric softener, lengthening the life of your clothes, and machine.
They’re estimated to cut your drying time by 25 per cent, saving your energy and money on bills.
7. Best subscription capsules: smol
- smol laundry detergent capsule plans, from £4.50 from smol – buy here
A highly concentrated laundry capsule in a small size, the packaging that comes with smol’s laundry detergent subscription service is also plastic-free and uses essential oils to create its signature scent.
These are available in bio and non bio varieties, and the brand makes dishwasher capsules too – as well as fragrance-free products.
Still not sure? You can test the product out with a free trial that will last you nine free washes, and just pay £1 for postage.
8. Best detergent strips: TruEarth
- TruEarth Eco-Strips Laundry Detergent, 64 for £24.95 from AndKeep – buy here
It can be difficult to measure exactly how much laundry detergent you need, or the best way to control your plastic usage when it comes to the best laundry products.
These strips by TruEarth work out at one wash per strip, saving you all the drama – and money.
Each plant-based strip boasts a hypo-allergenic, concentrated eco-friendly cleaning powder – without the nasty chemicals, and kind to sensitive skin.
The strips are vegan, and certified by dermatologists and completely biodegradable – while being suitable for use in any washing machine.
Plus, the packaging is plastic-free, and compostable – and TruEarth are a low carbon emission company, too, so its eco-credentials are pretty special.
9. Best non bio detergent: Splosh
- Non bio laundry detergent, £4.95 from Splosh – buy here
Clothes will come out super soft from first use of this eco-friendly detergent – plus, it’s non bio and means it’ll be super soft on skin too… even the most sensitive.
What we love about this product from Splosh is that it’s adaptable – if you live in a soft water area, you can add water to the bottle to make it last longer, and ultimately save you money in the long run.
The bottle also boasts a Clever Cap, automatically measuring out the right dose for your laundry every singe time you pour – so you don’t waste money guessing!
It’s also a better, plant-based alternative to liquitabs as it’s enzyme-free, but still perfect for your delicates – including your silks and woollens.
1o. Best bulk buy: Ecozone
- Ecozone Non Bio Laundry Liquid, £20.99 from Ocado – buy here
We get it, kids can be messy – and with big families, comes big loads of laundry on a near daily basis. It doesn’t mean you can’t be eco-friendly when it comes to your laundry products, though!
Ecozone has introduced a whopping 166 wash Mega Pack, while still upholding its promise of being eco-conscious and kinder to your skin, and planet.
It is gentle on skin, and not tested on animals – plus, it works just as well on an energy-saving 30 degree wash, too.
11. Best bio detergent: Persil Bio
- Persil Laundry Washing Liquid Detergent Bio, £5 from Ocado – buy here
Persil Bio Laundry Liquid is a great example of a well-known brand taking much-needed steps in helping reduce the impact of plastic on the environment.
The packaging is made from recycled materials, and is 100 per cent recyclable – so none of this partly-recycled rubbish!
The bottle is also smaller than normal, but the detergent is super concentrated – meaning you need less than usual, ultimately saving you those hard-earned pennies in the long run.
Persil’s bio detergent is made with plant-based, biodegradable stain removers that works hard, even on an energy-saving 30 degree wash.
12. Best packaging: Seventh Generation
- Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent, £14.99 from Caara – buy here
Forget plastic that is partly recyclable, or ending up in landfills and our oceans – this packaging from Seventh Generation is a real gamechanger.
The cardboard packaging is made from 100 per cent recycled fibres, which can be chucked in your home compost bin or recycling.
One bottle is enough for 66 washes, and is made from 96 per cent plant-based ingredients – without any nasty fragrances, colourants, or chemicals.
Enjoyed our round-up of eco friendly laundry products? Then you may enjoy our picks of the best zero waste gifts, too.
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This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.