Get A Gentle, Fragrance-Free Clean: The 9 Best Laundry Detergents For Sensitive Skin
Ever thrown a favorite sweater in the laundry only to find it itchy and uncomfortable post-wash? It's not the lack of fabric softener; rather, traditional detergents typically use harsh surfactants in order to remove all the grime from our clothes. And while those heavy-duty formulas can lift grease stains galore, a lot of those ingredients (namely, sulfates, preservatives, and fragrance) can cause atopic dermatitis, especially for those with an already compromised skin barrier.
That's why board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, says, "It's best to use laundry detergents that are made especially for sensitive skin and are fragrance-free." Think about it: If you have sensitive skin, you probably avoid harsh, chemical-laden cleansers for your face and body, no?
Good news: There are tons of options out there specifically for those with supersensitive skin (or those simply looking for minimal, skin-supporting ingredients). Start with these nine: gentle, fragrance-free, and they don't skimp on efficacy—so that favorite sweater remains clean and cozy.
True Laundry 101 Load Clear Laundry Detergent
This four-time concentrated laundry detergent puts in the capital-W work without the use of perfumes or dyes. (Sweat, stains, and sports odors are gone faster than you can say fragrance-free). Needless to say, True truly gets the job done.
101 Load Clear Laundry Detergent, True Laundry ($16.99)
Dinobi Laundry Detergent
This plant-based detergent is made with super-simple ingredients: just water, plant-based surfactants, vegetable-derived fatty alcohol, and lavender essential oil. It leaves a heavenly scent on your clothes while remaining extra gentle on your skin (a win-win, we'd say). Plus, it comes in glassware packaging, so you can recycle or upcycle the product when you're running low.
Laundry Detergent, Dinobi ($17.99)
The Green Laundress Laundry Soap
You'll want to have this powder detergent on your radar: It's made with Castile soap, a super-gentle solution made from plant-based oils that we're big fans of here at mbg. In addition to the high-quality ingredients, this powder gives you super-concentrated results; it's not diluted with water like liquid detergents, so you can get off grime with half the amount of product.
Laundry Soap, The Green Laundress ($17)
Urban Hydration Lemon Coconut Oil Laundry Detergent
This laundry detergent smells like a treat: Lemon and coconut oil are the stars of this formula, offering a sweet, subtle scent that's not too overpowering once your clothes are dried and ready. The solution also includes vitamin A for an extra boost of skin-supporting ingredients.
Lemon Coconut Oil Laundry Detergent, Urban Hydration ($6)
The Simply Co. Unscented Laundry Detergent
When it comes to sensitive skin, minimal ingredients are key. And this unscented powder detergent just has three: Baking soda, washing soda, and organic Castile soap. The brand was created by Lauren Singer, a leader of the zero-waste movement, so you know this detergent trumps on the sustainable front. The powder itself is 100% biodegradable; the packaging, recyclable when you're all through.
Unscented Laundry Detergent, The Simply Co. ($18)
Dropps Baby Sensitive-Skin Laundry Detergent Pods
A sensitive-skin trick: When searching for the most gentle products possible, opt for the baby-safe options. These Dropps pods are 100% dye-free, scent-free, and enzyme-free (great for washing delicates), and the formula itself is hypoallergenic.
Baby-Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent Pods, Dropps ($16.80)
Molly's Suds Unscented Laundry Powder
Another powder option to add to the mix, Molly's Suds unscented detergent is powerful, yet oh-so gentle. Despite the brand's name, you won't find any soapy suds in your laundry with this one: The powder includes a low-sudsing formula, which can yield a safer, more natural clean (as with sulfate-free shampoos, just because a detergent doesn't foam up doesn't mean it's not working).
Unscented Laundry Powder, Molly's Suds ($21.99)
Arm & Hammer Sensitive-Skin Perfume- and Dye-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer (it's a common active in many aluminum-free deodorants), but it's also great for keeping your whites a brilliant white. That's why baking soda is the workhorse in this low-sudsing Arm & Hammer formula, coupled with biodegradable surfactants to yield a deep, effective clean.
Sensitive-Skin Perfume- and Dye-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent, Arm & Hammer ($12.58)
Charlie's Soap Natural Laundry Powder
Charlie's uses a combination of washing soda and plant-based surfactants to effectively remove gunk on all your clothes—be it delicate separates or greasy dungarees. A bonus: This green laundry powder can clean the inside of your washing machine, too (as traditional detergents may leave some residue behind). Just take a tablespoon of the powder and wash a load of rags before moving on to your clothes.
Natural Laundry Powder, Charlie's Soap ($17.99)
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