Keep Baby’s Clothes Clean With The Best Baby Detergents (2020 Guide)

Keep Baby’s Clothes Clean With The Best Baby Detergents (2020 Guide)

If you’re like I used to be, you've probably never given a second thought to doing laundry. 

But then you become a mom and start to do a lot of reading about why you should consider going green when a baby is brought into a household.

And you feel as though you have a responsibility: to keep your baby safe, no matter what!

You'll then start to do this with the lotions you use on your little one, the food you allow to enter their bodies, and the detergent you use to clean their clothes.

You may be reading this, thinking, “What’s the big deal? Aren’t all laundry detergents the same?”

The answer is NO, especially not for a baby.

Here are all of the topics we'll go over in this guide:

However, I understand as a mom you may be short on time and just want to know which detergents are best. So, if you're really not that interested in all the background information, just skip ahead to "Best Baby Detergents".

All About Baby Detergent

Baby laundry detergent is specially formulated to handle a baby’s delicate skin, free from dyes, fragrance, and other irritants that may be too harsh for your little one. 

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of baby laundry detergents. Moms around the globe swear by their powerful, yet safe stain removing properties!

Why You Shouldn't Use Regular Laundry Detergent for Your Baby

Always remember that your baby has very delicate skin.

When you wash your baby’s clothes or sheets in regular petroleum based detergent (like Tide and Dreft), its ingredients are likely to irritate your little one and even create a rash.

This is because detergents leave behind a residue that sits around on your baby’s clothes.

Just imagine how you would feel if you rested your head on something every night that made you itchy, uncomfortable, and possibly interfered with your breathing. 

Regular laundry detergents contain a lot of chemicals, dyes, and fragrances as well. Your baby could have an allergy to these harsh ingredients, making them irritable and feel itchy.

Also, besides washing your baby’s clothes and sheets, other items that are washable and come in contact with your baby on a regular basis include swaddle blankets, wash clothes, baby towels, cloth diapers, burp cloths, and stuffed animals.

Using regular detergent on these items could also interfere with your baby’s health and happiness.

In my opinion, your baby is dealing with enough each day—why make them more uncomfortable than they already are in their brand, new world?

What to Look for in a Safe Baby Laundry Detergent

Keep in mind that you don’t have to fall victim to marketing schemes and feel forced into buying a detergent labeled a “baby friendly” detergent.

A lot of moms end up getting sucked into this tactic, but you'll learn that there are other great, less expensive, and just as effective alternatives on the market.

You'll also learn that regular detergent can cause so many problems for babies!

Here are the three big things that you must remember when shopping for a baby detergent.

Gentle on baby's skin. Remember, many of the big brand "normal" laundry detergents like Dreft and Tide contain enough chemicals and fragrances which can really irritate your baby's sin.

No toxic chemicals and fragrances. Yep, the ingredients found in most of the big-name laundry detergents are a sight behold: things like FD&C Yellow 3, laureth-9, benzisothiazolinone, phenols, and synthetic detergents. Not the kind of stuff you want going anywhere near your little one.

A detergent that actually works! Yes, I know I've been going on about how safe and natural you want your newborn laundry detergent to be, but it's also important that the detergent is actually effective at removing stains!

You’re probably thinking what in the world will get your child’s clothes clean without some of these ingredients?

Reactions To Detergent: What To Watch Out For

There are some red flags to keep your eyes peeled for in regards to allergic reactions to detergents. They include:

  • Red, itchy rashes or patches across skin (can be localized or all over)
  • Rash disappears immediately after removed from potential irritant (taking a blanket away, switching detergent, etc.)
  • Wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Excessive crying
  • Appearing to be uncomfortable, itchy, or in pain

3 Types of Baby Detergents

Just like regular detergent, baby detergent can come in many forms. You can purchase liquid, powder, or pods.

1. Liquid

Liquid baby detergent is ideal for moms who use cloth diapers and need to pretreat stains.

However, it also works wonders on spit up marks and baby food stains. Most moms choose liquid baby detergents because they are easy to pour and measure. 

2. Powder

Powder baby detergent is extremely cost effective, but it can be a pain to pour and it doesn’t really pretreat stains.

It does do its job once it’s in the washer, and is said to make a strong impact on stains that are old or extremely cemented into fabrics. 

3. Pods

Probably the easiest and mess-free to use, pods are already pre-measured: simply toss them into your washer and they get to work.

You can tote them on the go and they are just as effective as other forms of detergent.

The only downfall is that these colorful pods can appear as candy to children, so they need to be locked up or put far out of reach from little hands.

They also tend to be less cost-effective than the other detergent forms. 

Beware of Irritants

Did you know that chemicals can sometimes be released during the washing process and are the result of interactions between separate ingredients?

Also, chemicals go by so many different names, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all, even with a list in front of you.

The best thing you can do is seek out mild products that are free from fragrances and dyes, but also the following toxic chemicals:

  • Surfactants. While this helps the detergent clean better, certain chemicals like quaternium-15 are a known carcinogen. Diethanolamine, another popular one, is linked with skin and eye issues. Also, petroleum distillates are linked to cancer and lung damage. These can all be found in some traditional detergents. 
  • Stabilizers. This helps detergents last on the shelf longer. Unfortunately, they contain ethylene oxide and polyalkylene oxide, which are known to irritate the eyes, lungs, and skin.
  • Bleach. Although it does a great job with removing stains, it can do a number on your body. When bleach combines with waste water, it can form toxic compounds. These compounds can damage your liver and kidneys. 

Finally, don’t overlook plant-based products.

They can help if your baby suffers from eczema outbreaks, as you don't want to aggravate their skin even further with more irritants

Many moms don’t feel they’re as powerful or productive as traditional detergents, which is so totally not true.

Do your research and find a detergent that is just as powerful as a widely sold, name brand one.

Tips for Washing Baby's Clothes

So, you have your baby detergent. Now, consider some of these helpful washing tips (because your time is limited and totally valuable).

1. Wash Your Baby’s Clothes As Soon As You Buy Them!

Are you guilty of being that mom who occasionally throws some clothes right in a drawer that you picked up when pregnant or received as a congratulatory gift?

Well, after reading some laundry tips, to your own horror you may learn that many clothes are coated in formaldehyde to ensure that they don’t wrinkle when being shipped to department stores.

Yikes! Talk about doing a number on your baby’s skin.

So, always make sure you wash all clothing items before wearing them.

2. Removing Tough Stains Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult or Daunting

If anyone knows about scrubbing clothes and constant wardrobe stains, it’s us!

As a mom, you'll have to quickly learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to getting rid of the toughest debris.

The most valuable thing to learn is that immediately rinsing the stain in cold water helps prevent the stain from setting.

Also never dry the clothing if you observed that the stain never comes out.

Simply repeat a wash and once in a while apply a stain treatment to the spot, and follow the treatment product’s directions to a t.

3. Utilize Mother Nature (The Sun!)

You'll learn first-hand that a great and powerful way to beat tough stains (especially if you’re using cloth diapers) is to take advantage of the sun!

Frequently hang your whites on a retractable clothes line if you have severely soiled or stained items (the sun is also a natural germicide).

After letting Mother Nature get to work, you'll notice some stain reduction just by letting the diapers and onesies sit out in direct sunlight for about four hours!

4. Vinegar is Awesome!

Every once in a while, run a vinegar cycle through your washer.

Oddly (and grossly) enough, you'll notice that your washer took on a urine-like smell after washing certain baby items.

So, before washing your own clothes, add a cup of vinegar to some warm water and wipe the machine down with an organic cloth before doing the rest of the family’s laundry.

Try it: you’re sure to notice a fresh difference!

Best Baby Detergents

#1. Charile's Soap

Moms love, love, love Charlie's Soap (click here to check the price on Amazon) as one of their favorite laundry detergent for their kids.

Charlie's soap contains no fragrances, no perfumes, and no chemical brighteners. It is also biodegradable and completely non-toxic!

You'll find that it leaves no residue behind, nor does it have any kind or odor post-washing (it does have a slightly odd smell when you open the container, but it goes away!)

You'll be able to get close to 100 loads out of one container (2.64 lbs.) and spend about the equivalent of two months of a Netflix subscription, which is money well spent as long as it is benefiting the health and well-being of your baby. (You can also wash your own clothes with it).

Keep in mind that Charlie’s isn’t labeled as a “baby” detergent; it's more of a "baby's clothes soap". However, it is one of the safest, most-effective cleansers on the market.

So, it doesn’t need to jump into any kind of marketing or branding strategy to attract the mommy market.

You'll also like how the Charlie’s brand speaks for itself. The company has put all of their items though years of industry field tests and even had their formulas go through something called a third-party test to prove that they are highly effective.

You'll also appreciate that this detergent is certified to have a low environmental impact and have earned a yellow rating from Whole Foods’ nationally acclaimed Eco Scale Program.

A lot of moms can’t say enough good or impressive things about this baby washing powder and how it completely changes the way they do laundry (and think about their families' health and well-being).

#2. Biokleen

Another favorite amongst moms, Biokleen detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal for your baby’s body and skin.

It is super concentrated, but is gentle enough to use on the most delicate items, like cloth diapers. It has zero fragrances, colors, or preservatives.

Biokleen is also great for cleaning those icky stains that you thought you would never get out (worst feeling ever!)

It’s a plant based detergent that is not made with any kind of animal fat and is designed to not irritate your baby's skin, so it's a great baby detergent for really sensitive skin.

A 64-ounce bottle can get you about 60-62 loads out of one bottle, so overall it's a pretty great detergent.

#3. Seventh Generation

If you are looking to get your cloth diapers shiny and new again, then Seventh Generation Free & Clear (click here to check the price on Amazon) is the detergent to use.

In fact, this is a pretty popular gift at a lot of friends and family members’ baby showers. It’s about 96% plant based and it’s biodegradable so you won’t feel guilty about using it.

Some moms have noticed that you get a few less loads of laundry completed, compared to some of the others on this list (it averages about 50 loads per 40 oz.), but you end up saving money because this brand is often sold in bulk.

It has been named an EPA safer choice certified product and contains none of the harmful ingredients that we previously listed in our rant above.

If you are going the cloth diaper route, you totally need this on hand to keep things clean, efficient, and to maintain your own sanity!

#4. Eco-Me

Another treat for your baby’s clothes, Eco-Me (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a liquid detergent that is all natural.

Eco-Me is made from plant-based ingredients that are easy on the skin and effective on the cleaning! A lot of moms preper to opt for their fragrance free detergent, rather than their fragranced ones.

While you may find its overall cleaning power to be effective on the little spit up stains and occasional food dribbles and spills, you may notice it takes a few washes to really get the gross stuff off and heavy duty soils out.

A 32-ounce bottle gets you about 60 washes. A little dab will do since it’s highly concentrated. But again, with tougher debris, you end up using a bit more.

We love that when you wash your kiddo's clothes, they smell just like clothes (completely odorless) when they come out of the washer, and not like a “waterfall” or a “bouquet of roses.”

Plus you can give yourself a little pat on the back when you use it because it is so eco-friendly and is never tested on animals!

#5. Method 8x Free & Clear

Many moms fell in love with Method products many years ago, instantly. So, after scanning the internet to check out their laundry detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) and behold, a free and clear product awaits you!

You can quickly put it to the test and be very pleased with the results.

Liquid, concentrated, and boasting about 75 loads per 30 fl. ounces, it is also a completely plant based product (score!)

The brand boasts that it is composed with smart technology to diminish the toughest dirt build up and stains.

Once your kiddo begins running around at about a year old old, you're going to have your hands full.

Their gorgeous khakis and jeans began to fill up with grass stains, and this detergent is helpful in completely removing them and leaving their apparel looking shiny and new (for the rest of the day, anyway).

#6. Dropps Detergent Pacs

Ok, ok. We told you not to fall into marketing tactics and splurge on a baby only detergent, but we did hear some great things about Dropps detergent packs (click here to check the price on Amazon).

Besides being completely enzyme, fragrance, and dye-free, we absolutely love the convenience of just “dropping” in one of these drops (clever naming technique), especially on the days when your kiddo is super clingy and you have them on your hip during household chores.

While we have been warned that sometimes when toddlers see these colorful cleaning packs, they mistake them for candy, so make sure you store them in an air tight, hard to open container on a high shelf that you can barely reach!

For a 7.8 fl. ounce pack, you receive 20 drops, and hence 20 washes. They are super convenient, and they are often sold in bulk so you can save money overall by getting them in packs of three.

The company does not test on animals and they claim their drops are absolutely safe for all washing machines.

The only qualm we've seen is that you still need to pre-treat your hard to remove stains prior to washing them, unlike some of the other detergents.

#7. Babyganics 3x

Babyganics Baby Laundry Detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a mom’s dream. Why?

Well, as many parents know, babies make lots of messes (many of which seem nearly impossible to come clean). From boogies, to spit up, food smears, pee and poo, just a pint-sized amount of Babyganics laundry detergent is all you need to have lighter, brighter, spot-free (not to mention softer) clothes on your hands in a jiffy.

The detergent has triple cleansing power, all without the use of chlorine, phthalates, artificial fragrances, and dyes. It is great for tots who suffer from various allergies and have sensitive skin.

Plant-based cleaning power is the way to go, and it even works wonders on cloth diapers. And, because it cleans so much, so powerfully using such a small amount, you can count on the fact that it will last you much longer than some other baby detergents.

#8. Puracy Natural

Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) is for you if you’re in the market for an excellent liquid laundry detergent that gets superior results fast.

Rated high and reviewed widely by many moms, Puracy’s detergent is a solid favorite. Why? It was created by doctors specifically for little ones that suffer from sensitive skin and allergy related issues.

It is not only safe and effective, but it contains an enzyme powered formula. So, you can use it on basically any type of fabric: from delicates, to darks, microfiber, and even cloth diapers.

You’ll also find yourself using minimal amounts of it because of its super powerful, 10x concentration, so it will last you for quite some time (about 96 loads).

The detergent is great at cutting out odor, removing residue, discouraging stains, and making all fabrics soft and fresh.

#9. Mama Bear

Mama Bear Laundry Detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) is gentle enough for your own little baby bear.

It is specifically designed for baby laundry, which means your little cub’s clothes will be washed gently, with the most natural ingredients. The liquid detergent was created with a baby’s sensitive skin in mind.

It’s free from phthalates, dyes, and artificial scents, which can really make a little one uncomfortable. It has a light scent derived from essential oils and other botanical extracts. And, it comes with a favorable USDA certification (95% bio-based).

It also rinses completely clean, leaving no residue behind. Moms remark that the super concentrated formula (4x) is great for loosening and lifting touch debris, and treating stains from feeding time or changing time. It’s even gentle enough to treat cloth diapers and combat any unsightly stains that may try to hang around.

It is also long lasting, so one dose of Mama Bear detergent is equivalent to two doses of other leading laundry brands’ product.

#10. Mrs. Meyer's

Mrs. Meyer’s detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) makes every day a clean day.

You’ll love this hardworking liquid formula because it’s very concentrated, but it is also very natural and safe. It works to clean clothes gently and it can defeat even the toughest stains and spots from feeding and diaper time.

The detergent has a soft, delicate scent of blossoms and it has been dermatologist-tested, unlike many other leading detergent brands. Containing 97% of natural ingredients, it's filled with special stain-fighting enzymes, surfactants, and other goodies to wash away dirt, grime, and even residue that are sometimes left behind and irritate a baby’s skin.

Its bottle is also eco-friendly for moms who make the betterment of the environment a main priority! Moms who have been using this detergent also notice that their whites seem whiter and colored clothing looks brighter.

Every day may not be a clean day, but Mrs. Meyer’s can certainly help with that!

#11. Earth Friendly

Earth Friendly Baby Detergent (click here to check the price on Amazon) is made by the happiest place on Earth (Disney) in order to make you one of the happiest moms on Earth when doing laundry.

This liquid detergent is labeled free and clear, so you don’t have to worry about your little one coming in contact with anything dangerous. It’s hypoallergenic, phosphate free, chlorine free, enzyme free, and dye free.

The only thing it’s not free of is highly powerful cleansers that can really do a number on tough dirt and stains. The plant based, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients have never been tested on animals and are packaged in an environmentally-friendly recyclable container.

Moms also love that the detergent is long lasting (2x concentrated), so you’ll end up saving a lot of money and time spent shopping. Moms who use Earth Friendly detergent also notice that even the smelliest of stains are wiped away clothes smell fresher and better than ever!

Wrapping Up

As a parent, you want the best for your child. You are, after all, the most responsible for their health and well-being.

So, give your baby the royal treatment when it comes to washing their clothes and keeping them in pristine condition.

Consider some of the tricks of the trade we mentioned above, and some of the best brands that we've come across on our adventures in mommy hood.

You’re sure to not only see a difference in the overall look and feel of your child’s clothing, but will notice that these detergents are gentle and always cater to your baby’s sensitive skin.


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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