Home Blog Home You're here

The Best Vegan, Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergents For Soft, Clean Clothes

by Charlotte Pointing

Nov 15, 2022

Cleaning your clothes shouldn't have to mean hurting animals, that's why we've gathered these cruelty-free and vegan laundry detergents. Plus, many of them are better for the planet too.

Spread the word.

❌ Animals shouldn't suffer for our beauty products. Agree? Find out why I started my cruelty-free subscription box here.

We all need clean clothes. That's why the global laundry care market is so massive; in 2021, it was valued at more than $96 billion. But while some of the biggest detergent brands may get your clothes gleaming, when you look closer, their supply chains are not quite as spotless.

Tide, for example, is one of the biggest laundry detergent brands in the US, but it is not considered cruelty-free. This is because it sells products in markets where animal testing is still required. Arm & Hammer is another popular laundry brand, but again, it is not cruelty-free.

These brands aren't alone. Around the world, the Humane Society International estimates that more than 115 million animals are tested on for various industries every year. Common procedures include skin and eye irritation tests, as well as force-feeding chemicals and formulas to find out their internal impact.

But it is possible to get clean clothes without torturing living creatures. These brands will get your clothes looking immaculate and smelling amazing, without the use of animal testing anywhere in their supply chains. They're also totally vegan.

While animal byproducts are not always used in laundry detergent, some ingredients to look out for include glycerin (which often comes from plant sources but can come from animal fat) and lanolin (which is secreted by sheep, and is sometimes used in wool detergents).

Vegan and cruelty-free laundry detergent brands

TypeLiquid
Sustainable packaging?Made with recycled materials
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - S.C. Johnson

Method's laundry products will not only clean your clothes beautifully but, thanks to all of the brand's bright formulas and aesthetically-pleasing packaging, they will also look great on your shelves.

This fruity detergent is made with plant-based biodegradable ingredients. And, due to the concentrated formula, it will last much longer than regular detergent options, as you can use less of it while still achieving the same level of cleanliness.

If you can't get on board with the nectarine smell, the brand offers several other creative scent options, including Coconut + Cactus Water, Lavender + Cypress, Ginger Mango, and Beach Sage.

TypeSheets
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

The laundry detergent industry has a major problem with water waste. In 2015, the market used 5 million tons of water, and as demand grows, this amount will only keep rising. But that said, some brands are working to solve the problem with new green innovations.

ECOS' ECOSNEXT detergent doesn't need a bottle at all, because it's totally liquidless. The product, which is also plastic-free and hypoallergenic, comes in the form of dissolvable sheets, which you just pop directly into the washing machine's drum. Your laundry will still come out refreshed, clean, and smelling great, only without the big environmental impact.

This detergent comes with no scent, but if you prefer a hint of fragrance, you can also choose Magnolia & Lily or Lavender Vanilla.

This is a sponsored listing.

TypePods
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

As well as water use, the laundry industry has a major problem with packaging waste. A lot of detergents come in plastic bottles or tubs, which inevitably contribute to the millions of tons of packaging that gets thrown out every year and doesn't biodegrade.

But again, some brands are giving the market solutions. As well as being predominantly plant-based, AspenClean's laundry pods are packaged in plastic-free boxes.

These gentle pods are ideal for baby clothes and pet bedding, as well as for anyone who suffers from sensitive skin. But none of these are requirements. AspenClean's highly efficient products are great for anyone who cares about cutting down on laundry waste.

TypePowder
Sustainable packaging?Made with recycled plastic, recyclable via TerraCycle
100% vegan company?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Molly's Suds is dedicated to transparency with its ingredients. Some mainstream brands can be a little cagey with what they put into their products, but Molly's Suds gives you the full picture (which is easy because its ingredient lists are always short).

The brand's Original Laundry Detergent Pods, for example, only include five nontoxic ingredients: sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, unrefined sea salt, and essential oils (or natural fragrance).

The gentle, highly effective formula is ideal for those with sensitive skin or who have reacted badly to mainstream detergents in the past.

TypePowder
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free tin
100% vegan company?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Nellie's solves two big detergent industry problems with one product. Its Laundry Soda is sold in powder form, which means it's totally liquidless and therefore doesn't waste water unnecessarily. Plus, one of its packaging options is a tin, which means it can easily be reused or refilled instead of thrown out.

On top of these credentials, Nellie's product is highly concentrated (so go easy on the amount you use!) and only has four ingredients.

Like many of the other products on this list, Laundry Soda is great for anyone who wants to go green with their laundry products (without compromising on quality or efficiency), but specifically for some of those who may have experienced bad reactions to other detergents on the market.

TypePowder
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free
100% vegan company?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Unilever

As the name suggests, Seventh Generation's Zero Plastic Laundry Detergent Powder is totally plastic-free, liquidless, and biodegradable.

Plus, it's highly efficient at producing clean, spotless clothing, without any of the annoying residues that can sometimes occur from using powder. It's also very good at softening, which means you may not have to purchase any extra softener to get that satisfying smooth and silky feel to your laundry.

This detergent does contain fragrance, but the resulting scent is mild and fresh without being too overpowering.

Best low-waste option:

TypeSheets
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

Kind Laundry is another detergent brand striving to eliminate the industry's waste problem. That's why its products are packaged in plastic-free boxes, and you won't find any liquid in its formulas. The brand's main focus is dissolvable, highly concentrated laundry sheets, which are incredibly easy to use (just throw one in with every load, that's all there is to it).

For tough stains, Kind Laundry also offers a solid Vegan Stain Remover Bar, which can remove everything from coffee to tomato sauce for your favorite clothes. Again, the bar comes packaged in sustainable boxes, with no plastic in sight.

TypeLiquid
Sustainable packaging?Refillable
100% vegan company?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Puracy's Natural Laundry Detergent utilizes plant enzymes, which help to tackle stubborn stains (like that late-night red wine spillage) and unpleasant odors (looking at you, muddy pets).

The concentrated formula reduces waste (just two pumps will do the trick, no need to use any more than that), plus it's easy on sensitive skin. It was even developed with the help of doctors to ensure it's suitable for those with allergies.

The products come unscented for those who prefer zero fragrance. But if you like a little hint of scent, there is also a (very apt) Fresh Linen option. When you're finished, don't throw the bottle away! Puracy also offers a refill pouch.

Best natural detergent:

TypeLiquid
Sustainable packaging?Recyclable
100% vegan company?
Parent company tests on animals?

Dinobi's journey began during a diaper change. After noticing a rash on her baby's legs, founder Sylvia Emuwa started to pay attention to all of the chemicals in the detergent she was using at home.

After that, she decided it was time to intervene, and she made her own natural remedy to lift stains out of clothes without any harsh ingredients. That's why today, you can trust that Dinobi's products are gentle enough for children's clothes, but also for adults with sensitive skin. Emuwa's husband suffers from eczema, and she wanted to make products that were suitable for him too.

This particular liquid detergent from the brand has a soothing lavender scent, but if you prefer unscented, that's an option too. You can also get Bergamot + Lime Gentle Laundry Detergent, as well as Citrus + Clove.

Best value for money:

TypeLiquid
Sustainable packaging?Made with recycled plastic
100% vegan company?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Dr. Bronner's helps to minimize waste by creating products for more than one purpose, like this Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. You don't need to buy separate products for the floor, the dishes, and the laundry, because this gentle formula will clean all of them to the same gleaming standard. (At less than $10 too, you get a lot of use for the price.)

When using this for laundry, all you need to do is pop a couple of tablespoons full in the machine. And, not only is the formula biodegradable (which means it will break down in the environment unlike most mainstream detergents), but the packaging is also made with 100 percent recycled plastic.

TypeLiquid
Sustainable packaging?Sugarcane plastic packaging
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - S.C. Johnson

If you prefer your detergent with no fragrance or dye, Belgian brand Ecover has created a 100 percent fragrance-free formula, which also works in cold water.

Washing with cold water instead of hot can help to save energy costs, but also reduce the chance of wrinkles (so you shouldn't need to spend so long ironing afterward!).

The concentrated detergent is made with no extra chemicals, only plant-based ingredients. That means it's gentle on the skin, as well as the environment.

But you don't have to just take Ecover's word on these claims, as this detergent also has a high Environmental Working Group rating to prove them. The US nonprofit specializes in research around pollutants and chemicals and has strict standards around transparency.

TypeSheets
Sustainable packaging?Plastic-free
100% vegan company?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

Free of plastic and water, Miracle Made has got reducing waste all figured out. Its sheets dissolve quickly in the washing machine, leaving no trace (except for the fact that your laundry is considerably cleaner, of course).

They're also highly concentrated, which means you won't be tempted to use more to increase cleaning power.

If you're a big fan of the brand's products (which also come in recyclable boxes) you can choose to subscribe, which will not only stop you from running out when you really need one but will save you money too.

The verdict

While many mainstream detergent brands are not cruelty-free, come packaged in plastic, and waste water, you can easily find options that care for animals and the planet, whether you prefer liquid options, sheets, or even pods.

To summarize, our top picks are:

Best low-waste: Kind Laundry's Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets
Natural: Dinobi's Calming Lavender Laundry Detergent
Value for money: Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *