Best Zero Waste Laundry Detergents: Reviewed (2023)

As someone who is committed to living a zero waste lifestyle, finding the perfect laundry detergent that aligns with my values has been quite a journey. I’ve tried a variety of eco-friendly brands in search of the best option in terms of convenience, price, and zero waste. After much experimentation, these are my top picks for the best zero waste laundry detergent. But first, let’s start with WHY you need to start looking at zero waste laundry detergents.

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Why should we use eco-friendly detergent?

Using eco-friendly laundry detergent matters because traditional laundry detergents can harm the environment and our health. They contain harmful chemicals like phosphates, bleach, and synthetic fragrances. These can harm aquatic life, pollute waterways, and cause skin irritation and other health problems.

Eco-friendly laundry detergents are made from plant-based or natural ingredients, are biodegradable, and come in recyclable or compostable packaging. They reduce our carbon footprint and prevent the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. Many natural detergents require less water and energy to produce and transport. By choosing eco-friendly laundry detergent, we can make a positive impact on both our health and the planet.

How to Choose the Best Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

I have researched and tested various brands of laundry detergent, based on the following criterias:

  • Ingredients: I made sure to look for detergents that are free of harmful chemicals such as phosphates, phthalates, and artificial fragrances. Instead, I opted for natural and plant-based ingredients that are gentle on the skin and the environment.
  • Packaging: I looked for brands that used minimal and recyclable packaging. Some even offered refillable options that helped reduce waste.
  • Concentration: I preferred detergents that are highly concentrated, requiring less product per load. This not only saves money in the long run, but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with production and transportation.
  • Biodegradability: I made sure to choose detergents that are biodegradable and safe for the environment. Some even had certifications from third-party organizations that validated their eco-friendliness.
  • Performance: Of course, the detergent still had to effectively clean my clothes. I tested multiple brands to ensure they could remove stains and odors without leaving any residue or causing any damage to my garments.

Now let’s take a look at 6 brands of eco friendly detergents which I personally tested and follow to see the pros and cons for each of them.

Tru Earth Laundry Strips (Best Service)

These paper-thin strips come in a compostable cardboard envelope, making them an excellent option for zero waste enthusiasts. Simply tear off a strip and toss it in the wash, no measuring or pouring required. Not only are they convenient and environmentally friendly, but they’re also affordable and effective at cleaning even the toughest stains. I’ve tested the Tru Earth Eco-Strips laundry detergent and here are my findings on its specific pros and cons based on my experience:

Pros of Tru Earth Laundry Strips

  • The Tru Earth laundry strips are effective and leave clothes clean and fresh-smelling.
  • The subtle fragrance is not overpowering, making it suitable for smell-sensitive individuals.
  • The packaging is eco-friendly, recyclable, compostable, and lightweight, making it easy to carry.
  • The ingredients are safe for people, animals, and the planet, with no parabens, bleach, dyes, or phosphates.
  • The laundry strips are easy to use and don’t require measuring, making it convenient for forgetful individuals.
  • The company offers free shipping, significant savings on subscription, and a money-back guarantee.

Cons of Tru Earth Laundry Strips

  • Even the fragrance-free option has a faint aroma, which may be a turn-off for individuals who prefer unscented products.
  • Tru Earth could make more of an effort to obtain cruelty-free certifications for their vegan products.
  • The laundry strips are relatively expensive compared to regular and eco-friendly detergents.
  • Amazon may ship the strips in non-recyclable plastic, which goes against the eco-friendly aspect of the product.

Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods (Best Plastic Free Option)

These pre-measured pods come in a compostable cardboard box and dissolve completely in the wash, leaving no plastic waste behind. They’re also cruelty-free and free of harsh chemicals, making them a safe option for those with sensitive skin. Plus, with a variety of scents to choose from, your laundry will smell amazing! I recently tried the Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods and found the following specific pros and cons:

Pros of Laundry Detergent Pods

  • Effective: I was impressed with how well the pods cleaned my clothes and removed tough stains and odors.
  • Eco-friendly and safe ingredients: I appreciated that the detergent pods are made with eco-friendly and safe ingredients, making them a great choice for households with young children or pets.
  • Recyclable, carbon-neutral, plastic-free packaging: The packaging of the pods is also eco-friendly, which is a huge plus for me as I try to reduce my plastic waste.
  • Affordable: I found the price of the detergent pods to be relatively affordable, especially considering their effectiveness and eco-friendliness.
  • Wide variety of problem-solving types: I liked that Dropps offers a wide variety of detergent pods for different types of laundry problems, such as sensitive skin or hard water.

Cons of Laundry Detergent Pods

  • Pods don’t dissolve well in cold water: I did have some trouble with the pods not dissolving completely in cold water, which was a bit frustrating.
  • Not perfect for all stains: While the detergent pods worked well on most stains, there were a few types of stains that didn’t come out completely, even after multiple washes.

Meliora Laundry Powder (Best Cost-Effective Option)

Made with just four natural ingredients, this laundry powder is a great option for those who want to keep it simple. It comes in a reusable metal container, making it an eco-friendly choice. It’s also cost-effective, as a little goes a long way, and it’s great for sensitive skin. After testing Meliora Laundry Powder, here are my thoughts:

Pros of Meliora Laundry Powder

  • I love that this detergent is free of fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and brighteners. It’s perfect for those with sensitive skin, like me.
  • The ingredient list is extremely simple, and the scented options use organic essential oils. I particularly love the lavender scent.
  • It’s great to know that this detergent is made in the USA, specifically in Chicago.
  • The concentration is impressive! I only need one tablespoon for a standard washing machine, or 1/2 scoop for a high efficiency machine.
  • It’s safe for septic systems and 100% biodegradable, which is great for the environment.
  • I’ve used this detergent for hand washing delicates and spot cleaning with excellent results.
  • The fact that this detergent is plastic-free is a huge bonus for me.

Cons of Meliora Laundry Powder

  • The powder can be a bit messier than pods, but given the cost savings and eco-friendliness, I don’t mind.

Common Good Laundry Detergent (Best Ingredients)

This plant-based laundry detergent comes in a refillable glass bottle, making it a chic and sustainable addition to your laundry room. It’s also cruelty-free and free of harsh chemicals, making it a safe choice for your family and the environment. Plus, with a variety of scents to choose from, you’ll love doing laundry! After a few tests with Common Good laundry detergent, I have some pros and cons to share:

Pros Meliora of Common Good Laundry Detergent

  • The plant-based ingredients used in this detergent made me feel good about using it. I felt like I was making a more environmentally friendly choice.
  • The scent options were really nice. I personally tried the lavender and I loved it. It was not too overpowering but left my clothes smelling fresh and clean.
  • The detergent was effective and cleaned my clothes well. I didn’t have any issues with stains or dirt remaining on my clothes after washing.
  • The bottle design was really convenient for dispensing the detergent. It had a pump that made it easy to measure out the amount of detergent needed for each load.

Cons of Common Good Laundry Detergent

  • The price point is higher than some other laundry detergents on the market. While I appreciated the environmentally friendly ingredients, it did make it harder to justify the higher cost.
  • Some other people online mentioned issues with the packaging leaking during shipping, which is definitely a concern when it comes to potential waste and mess. Didn’t happen to me, but it’s still an issue.

Eco-Max Hypoallergenic Laundry Wash (Best Cleaning Effect)

This eco-friendly laundry detergent comes in a recyclable and refillable aluminum bottle, making it a zero waste option. It’s hypoallergenic and free of harsh chemicals, making it safe for your skin and the environment. Plus, it’s effective at removing stains and keeping your clothes looking their best. I recently tried the Eco-Max Hypoallergenic Laundry Wash and here’s my take on it:

Pros of Eco-Max Hypoallergenic Laundry Wash

  • This laundry wash is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, which is perfect for people with sensitive skin or allergies.
  • The product is concentrated and a little goes a long way, which means it lasts longer and is more cost-effective.
  • The formula is plant-based and eco-friendly, which is a great option for those who are conscious about the environment.
  • The detergent is effective in removing stains and dirt from clothes, even in cold water.
  • The packaging is recyclable and the product is made in Canada.

Cons of Eco-Max Hypoallergenic Laundry Wash

  • The consistency of the product is quite thin, which can make it a bit messy when pouring it into the washing machine.
  • The bottle is large and heavy, making it difficult to pour and store.
  • The detergent doesn’t have a strong scent, which some people might not like.

Nellie’s Laundry Soda(Most Versatile Option)

Nellie’s is another practical and eco-friendly option that offers a range of products to suit your needs. Their plant-based formulas are free of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, making them a safe and gentle choice for sensitive skin. Nellie’s also offers different options, including powder and liquid detergents, as well as scent-free and scented options, allowing you to choose the product that works best for your lifestyle. I also tried Nellie’s Laundry Soda and here are my thoughts:

Pros of Nellie’s Laundry Soda

  • Clothes come out clean and fresh without any harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances.
  • The soda dissolves easily in cold water, which is great for energy savings and preserving fabric colors.
  • The packaging is eco-friendly and reusable.
  • It’s versatile and can be used for both regular and HE machines.

Cons of Nellie’s Laundry Soda

  • The scoop is a bit small and difficult to measure out for larger loads.
  • The scent is very mild and may not be enough for those who prefer a stronger fragrance.
  • It’s not as widely available in stores as some other brands, so it may require ordering online.


In conclusion, there are plenty of options out there for zero waste laundry detergent. It’s all about finding the one that works best for your lifestyle and values. After testing and analyzing several eco-friendly laundry detergent brands, I can confidently recommend two of them – Meliora and Dropps, with the mention that other brands did also pretty good. Regardless of options you choose, it is now easier than ever to make a positive impact while still achieving clean and fresh laundry. So why not make the switch today and join the movement towards a more sustainable future!