Although babies sleep a lot, they also poop and eat quite frequently and such actions warrant frequent changes. But knowing how sensitive the skin of a newborn is, you’d only want to use products that won’t cause any harm to your child.
With so many laundry detergents branding themselves as friendly for babies, which is the right one for your baby? That starts with knowing what ingredients are safe and which ones are not.
Chemicals and fragrances in products marketed for babies are best avoided, especially for newborns who still have delicate skin. And although many would suggest sticking to liquid for washing your baby’s items, Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder does a pretty good job with stains.
While Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder doesn’t have the word “baby” plastered on its label, it pretty much hits the mark when it comes to being safe for your child’s laundry. You’ll also find more options for your baby as you continue to read this guide.
- Seal of Approval: Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
Gets a Nod: Dreft Stage 1 Newborn Hypoallergenic Liquid Baby Laundry Detergent
Also Worthy: GreenShield Organic USDA Baby Laundry Detergent
Qualities of a Good Baby Laundry Detergent
1. Gentle on the skin
Babies have delicate skin, especially newborns. While that sensitivity gives your touch a soothing and nurturing effect (and is thus important in your child’s development), it requires the use of products that won’t irritate or cause problems.
Included among the baby safe products you should consider is laundry detergent. Although the one you currently use for your own clothes may work well, it doesn’t follow that it will suit your child.
While you can always do a test to see how it reacts when in contact with your baby’s skin, sometimes the best option is to go for a detergent that doesn’t contain ingredients that will harm your infant’s skin.
Chemicals, dyes, and perfumes are the top offenders when it comes to skin irritants and are best avoided in products meant for your little one. Instead, you can go for products with natural ingredients.
That way, the chances of triggering an allergic reaction is minimized.
2. Safe to use
A lot of laundry detergents contain ingredients that are unsafe and even worse, bad for the environment. 1,4-dioxane, which is also known as diethylene oxide, is a byproduct of a process to make detergents soft and sudsy.
Short-term exposure to 1,4-dioxane can cause irritation to the eyes and nose, while high exposure can cause severe damage to the liver and kidneys. And since it is a byproduct, it isn’t added to the ingredients list.
While they produce an aroma that can be pleasing, fragrances are chemicals. As such, they can be the source of allergic reactions.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an additive found in cleansing products that allow them to foam. This is considered a moderate hazard by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
SLS has been linked to skin irritation, endocrine disruption, cancer, neurotoxicity, and organ toxicity.
Other unsafe ingredients lurking in laundry detergents include:
When you’re choosing a laundry detergent for your baby, make sure to check the ingredient list. Not only that, read about products that have been flagged by environmental groups and concerned parents.
3. Tough on stains
Your baby’s clothes need to be washed regularly. While there won’t be much staining going on in the early days, you have to think into the future.
The last thing you want is to switch detergents when your baby gets older. Instead, pick one that is pretty good at dealing with stains while they are still young.
You will also need a really tough stain remover if you use cloth diapers. You don’t want to see stains left behind by a bad wash.
The Best Baby Laundry Detergents
1. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
Yes, this product isn’t designed for babies but it ticks all the boxes for what is deemed safe for your little one. It is gentle on skin and tough on stains – important considerations for your child’s laundry detergent.
Not only that, Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder can be used when doing the laundry for the entire family. In other words, you can absolutely switch to this brand for all your washing needs.
This product is best if you have other family members who have sensitive skin. This way, you don’t have to buy a separate product for them.
- Scent-free powder
- Tough on stains
- Safe and effective for a variety of fabrics
- Comes in powder form
2. Dreft Stage 1 Newborn Hypoallergenic Liquid Baby Laundry Detergent
Apart from being pediatrician recommended, Dreft Stage 1 is specially designed for newborn babies. We all know just how sensitive the skin of a baby can be, and the hypoallergenic nature of this product makes it a good choice for laundry needs.
You don’t want your child to have an allergic reaction to the detergent used on their clothes, and Dreft Stage 1 can help avoid that particular scenario. But unlike Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder, this one works best on slightly soiled laundry.
- Recommended by pediatricians
- Specially formulated for newborns
- Can be hit or miss with stains
3. GreenShield Organic USDA Certified Baby Laundry Detergent
Your baby’s laundry extends beyond just clothes. You also have to wash their blankets, cloth diapers (if you’re using such), pillow sheets, and whatever else touched by them.
If you’re the type who wants to go green for all your products, you won’t go wrong with this detergent for your child. GreenShield Organic may have products designed for other users, but this one is specifically made for babies.
This product doesn’t contain any dyes, phosphate, or petrochemicals. Also, it is made with organic ingredients thus making them safe to use.
GreenShield Organic Baby Laundry Detergent is also formulated to work with High Efficiency and regular washing machines. While it works fine, it might not be as effective with heavily soiled items.
- Made from organic ingredients
- Free from harmful ingredients
- Designed for babies but equally safe for adults
- Might not be so tough with stains
4. All Liquid Laundry Detergent
This is the second item on this list that isn’t specifically designed for babies but works just as well. Plus, it comes highly recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians for those with sensitive skin.
Like Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder, you no longer need to purchase a separate detergent for your baby. This way, you can save money that can be used for other expenses.
While it may not bear the words “baby” on its label, all Free Clear is free from perfumes and dyes. As such, you can rest assured that it will be gentle on the skin.
But what is a gentle product if it can’t do anything on those stains, right? Luckily, this product is tough on stains and can be used on just about any washing machine.
- Safe for babies and adults
- Free from harmful ingredients
- Safe to use in just about any washing machine
- Highly recommended
- Some might find the price a bit too much
5. Babyganics 3X Baby Laundry Detergent, Fragrance-Free
You have to be careful when buying a baby laundry detergent from Babyganics. They have two varieties: a fragrance-free one and one with lavender scent.
The item that made this list is, of course, the version that is free of fragrances. While it would be great if we got a whiff of lavender from your child’s clothing, scents can be harmful especially if your baby has sensitive skin.
As such, it’s best to stick with a product that doesn’t contain ingredients that could irritate your baby’s skin. While Babyganics worked well with light to moderate stains, it isn’t quite the best performer when it comes to tough stains.
You will still need a stain remover on hand when using this product.
- Free from sulfate, 1,4-dioxane, and fragrance
- Plant-based cleaner
- Works with High-Efficiency washers
- It doesn’t perform well on heavy stains
6. Baby Ecos Free and Clear Disney Laundry Detergent
This two times ultra-concentrated detergent works on stains but also brightens whites and guards colors. It is also good for those with sensitive skin because it is made without using fragrances, dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates or phthalates.
Since a lot of us want to use products that are friendly for the environment, you couldn’t go wrong with this product. It is made with plant-based ingredients so you rest assured that this is free from chemicals of any kind.
Another good thing about this product: it has a built-in fabric conditioner. And one that reduces static and clings.
This baby laundry detergent is also US EPA Safer Choice certified, making it safe to use for washing your little one’s clothes and other items.
- An earth-friendly product
- Free from ingredients deemed harmful
- Works well on normal stains
- It might be difficult to remove tough stains
7. Honest Company Laundry Detergent
This product is yet another on this list that doesn’t feature the word “baby” on the package, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used on your tot. It doesn’t have any harsh chemicals in its makeup and it won’t damage fabrics.
This laundry detergent from Honest Company is plant-based and free from SLS, fragrances, dyes, phosphates, 1,4-dioxane, optical brighteners, and other harmful ingredients.
It guarantees a four-in-one performance: it cleans, it fights stains, it brightens, and it softens – all in a natural way.
- Free from harmful chemicals
- Works on stains
- Might not be as effective with tough stains
It’s important to use products that won’t harm your baby’s skin. But that doesn’t mean you should just shop for items slapped with the word “baby” on them.
As you’ll find on this list, there are laundry detergents safe for use on your baby’s laundry but are not specifically designed for them. All you need to do is find one that is tough on stains, gentle on skin, safe to use, and fits your budget.