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People with sensitive skin often use special cleansers, lotions, and other gentle skincare items. But one product that's often overlooked is laundry detergent. When you toss your clothes and linens in the wash, you might think the soap is completely eliminated in the rinse cycle. However, you can expect trace amounts to remain on the fabric, which can irritate the skin, causing rashes, allergic reactions, itching, inflammation.
If you or anyone else in your household tends to have adverse reactions to certain skincare and cleaning products, swapping out your laundry soap for a pared-down hypoallergenic option with minimal ingredients might help. But don't worry—this doesn't mean your clothes, bedding, and towels will be any less clean, fluffy, or fresh.
To help you select the right product for your household, here are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent is formulated specifically for sensitive skin. You won't find any dyes, synthetic fragrances, harsh chemicals, or artificial brighteners on the ingredients list.
It's USDA Certified Biobased Product, meaning at least 97 percent of its plant-based ingredients are renewable biological. The safe and effective formula is not only gentle on the skin, but it's also better for the environment.
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day is a go-to for natural, gentle cleaning and household products. The brand's concentrated liquid laundry detergent contains plant-derived ingredients, including stain-fighting enzymes to effectively clean fabrics without irritating your skin.
This biodegradable laundry detergent has a light lavender scent, which comes from natural oils. Mrs. Meyer's has an entire line of lavender products if you want to carry the fresh scent throughout your home.
For a non-liquid option, you might consider the Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods from Grab Green. With a naturally derived ingredients list containing zero chlorine, dyes, optical brighteners, or phosphates, it's ideal for sensitive skin.
Natural scent options include Birch Branch, Oak Tree, Olive Leaf, Rose, or Rain (fragrance-free). The super-gentle formula carefully cleans and softens fabrics while minimizing the risk of a reaction. Plus, the pre-measured powdered pods make it easy to start a load of laundry.
All Free Clear is the number-one recommended detergent for sensitive skin by dermatologists and pediatricians, and we can see why. It contains zero perfumes or dyes, which makes it gentle on the skin. Also, this laundry soap washes out 99 percent of allergens from your fabrics—including pet dander, dust, and pollen—while effectively cleaning your clothes and linens.
Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear is another excellent pick. Like most of the brand's products, it contains baking soda, which is great for cleaning and removing odors from clothes but also gentle on the skin. The hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested formula doesn't have any perfumes or dyes and rinses totally clean.
If you have littles at home or just want to be extra careful about the products you use, we recommend Noodle & Boo Ultra-Safe Laundry Detergent. It's made without any dyes, sulfates, phosphates, formaldehyde, or synthetic brighteners.
What you'll get is an eco-friendly, biodegradable solution filled with planted-based ingredients. This pediatrician-approved laundry soap is hypoallergenic and clinically tested for sensitive skin. And you can count on it to remove odors and stains while preserving the integrity of your clothes and linens.
Tangent GC Hypoallergenic Detergent is another great option. It contains only four ingredients, none of which are fragrances, perfumes, or dyes. With a blend of plant-derived surfactants, this natural laundry soap is ideal for sensitive skin. It's also a cruelty-free and fossil-free product.
Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Detergent is another great option for those who prefer pods. You can get a box of 64, 160, or 240 pre-measured pods, which contain a gentle liquid formula. Dropps doesn't use any harsh chemicals, dyes, phosphates, or chlorine—just natural, eco-friendly, biodegradable ingredients.
We're talking earth-derived glycerin and other plant-based surfactants, which attract and pull out dirt and stains from fabrics, allowing them to be rinsed away. The EPA Safer Choice program approves the formula, and the packaging is recyclable and compostable.
Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent is another baby-geared option that's suitable for anyone with sensitive or delicate skin. This pediatrician-recommended, hypoallergenic laundry soap has a fresh but not overpowering scent. The natural formula includes biodegradable surfactants and enzymes for removing dirt, stains, and other messes—all of which are gentle on the skin.
When it comes to laundry soap, Tide is a household name. But the brand's Purclean Plant Based Detergent is nothing like the famous dark blue liquid. While it does have a light honey lavender scent, this product contains 65-percent plant-based ingredients and no chlorine, dyes, brightening agents, or phosphates.
Best of all, it's easy on the skin yet still just as powerful at cleaning your clothes as the original formula. Also, this detergent is made at a zero-waste manufacturing site that uses electricity from 100-percent renewable wind power.
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This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, a Portland-based toddler mom and professional writer with inherently sensitive skin and substantial experience researching, reviewing, and writing about household products. She also contributes to Byrdie and MyDomaine.