What We Like
Effectively cleans food-based stains
Scented with essential oils
Easily identifiable all-natural ingredients
Great company philosophy
What We Don't Like
Scent is incredibly strong and earthy
Expensive—even for green detergent
The green cleaning movement started with DIY formulas, most of which relied heavily on earthy scents and ingredients you’d find in your kitchen. Now, commercial products bring these same sort of ingredients to mainstream consumers, but with gentler scents and in liquid and powder formulas. If you miss the smell of original eco-friendly detergents, Zum Clean Laundry Liquid—with its strong patchouli, frankincense and myrrh, and tea tree citrus scents—is for you. Read on for our full review.
Cleaning Performance: Get smelly clothes clean again
If you’re dealing with smelly clothes, this laundry soap is great at targeting odors and restoring freshness. We tested the Zum Clean Laundry Soap out on gym clothes first, as they’re generally our stinkiest, sweatiest laundry. After one wash, we were happy to find our clothes fresh, soft, and free of stains—even the pesky underarm ones that commonly appear on well-worn gym tees.
The directions say to use ½ a capful in high-efficiency washing machines or a full capful in top-loading machines. We tried both and didn’t see a noticeable difference in how clean our clothes were after the wash. We did, however, end up with a much stronger scent when using the full capful. With the higher cost of Zum Laundry Liquid, we recommend using the lower dose to prolong the life of your bottle.
Scent: Very strong, almost overpowering
If you like everyone to know when you enter a room, Zum Clean Laundry Soap will certainly do the trick. We opted for the frankincense and myrrh scent, but the soap also comes in sea salt, patchouli, lavender, tea tree citrus, rosemary mint, sweet orange, and eucalyptus citrus varieties.
After one wash, we were happy to find our clothes fresh, soft, and free of stains—even the pesky underarm ones that commonly appear on well-worn gym tees.
While doing our laundry, we could smell the soap at work all through the house. The scent also lingered far beyond folding our clothes. Days after we’d put them away, and when we finally wore them, they were still highly fragrant. If you like strong scents, this a real perk, and many Zum devotees love it for just that reason. If you’re a fan of subtler scents, though, Zum may not be the right brand for you.
Ingredients: A simple, transparent formula
Of all the green cleaning products we’ve used, Zum has the most straight-forward formula. The bottle lists just five ingredients: potassium cocoate (saponified 100 percent coconut oil), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), fragrance (essential oil), and glycerin (sourced from veggies). It was reassuring to know exactly what was in the bottle and how it impacted both the product and our home.
We washed our toddler’s clothes with Zum Clean Laundry Soap to see if the simple ingredients would work well on his eczema-prone skin, but he couldn’t get past the scent long enough to wear them for more than a few minutes. The laundry soap is free of parabens, phosphates, petrochemicals, sulfates, and other potentially harmful ingredients that tend to irritate sensitive skin, though, so it’s worth a shot if you know you like the fragrance beforehand.
Commitment to Environment: A company run by real people
Indigo Wild, the company behind Zum, works to make its production process as environmentally-friendly as possible. The company is cruelty-free and every bottle of detergent is filled and labeled by hand—not machine.
Our toddler couldn’t get past the scent long enough to wear his clean clothes for more than a few minutes.
The loving philosophy that launched the company in 1996 can also still be seen in the way they market their products and the causes they support. Indigo Wild is very involved in breast cancer awareness charities and dog rescues in their native Kansas City. While other eco-friendly brands support causes more closely related to their products, Indigo Wild aligns with causes that personally impact their employees. We appreciate a company that can tell an authentic story about both its products and its philosophy.
Price: Expensive but effective
Zum Clean Laundry Soap is on the expensive side, compared to both chemically-enhanced and all-natural laundry products available on the market. At $14.25 for 32-ounce bottle, it comes out to almost 50 cents per wash. If you know you love the detergent, though, you can buy a larger 64-ounce bottle for $21, which would make your per-wash cost closer to 30 cents. While it is expensive, it could be worth it if you like knowing exactly what’s in your laundry soap and you’re fond of Zum’s earthy scents.
Zum Clean Laundry Soap vs. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent
If you like the scent of clean laundry but don’t want to embrace the earthiness of Zum Clean Laundry Soap’s available scents, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent is another popular option. It comes in a variety of scents that can coordinate with other cleaning products, including dryer sheets, spray cleaners, and even candles and personal care products.
We prefer the subtle floral and fruit scents of Mrs. Meyer’s products, such as honeysuckle or geranium, to the overwhelming fragrances from Zum. Of course, there are Zum devotees who choose it specifically for earthy scents like frankincense and myrrh, lavender cedar, and patchouli. Mrs. Meyer’s also gets a nod for price as it’s more affordable with a 64-ounce bottle going for $16 as opposed to Zum’s $21.
With essential oil-based scents, non-toxic ingredients, and plant or mineral-based formulas, both are great options for going green. At the end of the day, it just depends on what clean laundry scent you prefer.
Take a peek at some of the other best green laundry detergents you can buy.
Buy it if you’re fond of fragrance.
Indigo Wild Zum Clean Laundry Soap cleans well and has an easy-to-understand list of all-natural ingredients. We wanted to like it—especially since the ingredients would be great for our son’s sensitive skin, but ultimately, we found the frankincense and myrrh scent to be way too strong. If you have extra money to spend on green cleaning products and you like earthy smells, you’ll love this laundry soap. If not, embrace one of the other fragrance-free or subtly scented green products on the market.
- Product Name Zum Clean Laundry Soap
- Product Brand Indigo Wild
- Price $21
- Weight 4.65 lbs.
- Scents Frankincense and myrrh, frankincense patchouli, sea salt, lavender, tea tree citrus, lavender cedar, rosemary mint, lavender mint, eucalyptus citrus, sweet orange