6 Best Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin

For people with sensitive skin, life can be a little rough. Whether you have a rash, inflammation, or a more serious skin condition, it can be hard to sleep at night. It can be uncomfortable when the skin comes in contact with anything. I know the struggle, and since you’re here, you probably do, too. 

To help you out with some of that discomfort, we’ve done the research and put together this curated list of laundry detergents that are better for your skin than conventional detergents. We’ve found 6 of the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin that are trusted and used by some of the most scrutinizing of customers. Aside from trying many of these ourselves, we’ve checked these products against the EWG and the think dirty app, so you can trust our picks.

These detergents include natural ingredients to replace harsh chemicals. So, they reduce the risk of triggering allergic reactions and irritation. Eczema, Psoriasis, and general inflammation are issues my family is very familiar with. I can tell you that switching to a gentler detergent, free from fragrance and harsh chemicals is one of the best things to begin with when addressing itchiness and irritation.

Things to Consider Before Buying Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

Natural laundry detergents can be the best choice for anyone interested in the well-being of our environment. Since they’re plant-based, they include no toxins that can harm our planet.

Also, they aren’t packed with the types of chemicals or fragrances that typically cause skin irritation. Therefore, they’re especially great for children and babies who have sensitive skin.

In addition, people with eczema and other skin conditions may find these choices most helpful. Some may find that a change to natural detergents improves symptoms.

The only reason these detergents might not work for you is if you want your laundry to be heavily scented after washing.

Before buying laundry detergent for sensitive skin, you should consider the following:

  • Price 
  • Whether it’s powder or liquid 
  • If it’s HE (high efficiency) friendly 
  • Ingredients 

We’ve put all these factors into consideration before bringing you these choices, but you should check out which one suits you best.

At a Glance (our top picks)

Better Life Unscented- Liquid, plant-based formula
- Ultra-concentrated and color-safe
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Molly's Suds Unscented- Powdered detergent formula
- Eco-friendly and safe for sensitive skin
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Seventh Generation Unscented Pouches- Mess-free pods
- Quadruple-enzyme formula to fight tough stains
- Hypoallergenic detergent
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1. Better Life Unscented

Our first featured product is this plant-based detergent that can reduce the risk of rashes and irritation a great deal. Let’s find out how it can be a good replacement for traditional detergents.

First off, it doesn’t include harsh chemicals that you normally find in most detergents. Using 100% natural cleaning agents like soap bark extract and potassium cocoate, it leaves your laundry fresh and clean without the residue and fragrance of common detergents.

Not to mention, it’s biodegradable and non-toxic. All the more reason that we love this eco-friendly product.

The Better Life natural laundry detergent formula doesn’t cause colors to fade despite being concentrated. Therefore, you can use it with both cold and hot water with no worries.

Last but not least, it’s compatible with all washing machines. For people with sensitive skin, eczema, or other conditions, this hypoallergenic detergent may just become your best friend.

What We Like:

  • Plant-based formula
  • Ultra-concentrated and color-safe
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable
  • Works with all types of washing machines
  • Moderately-priced

What We Dislike:

  • Might not be suitable to use with tough stains

2. ECOS Free & Clear Liquid

Another product that we think you should try is this detergent by ECOS. For its many qualities, it’s been rated Amazon’s Choice.

The first thing you might come to admire is that it’s 4-times ultra-concentrated than standard detergent. For this reason, it can balance the scales between being safe for the skin and powerful on stains.

Secondly, we couldn’t help but like the design of the container. Unlike the previous product, this liquid detergent comes with a pump so you can use it with ease. According to the manufacturer, a dose of 5 pumps is suitable for one HE load.

This laundry detergent comes with a built-in fabric softener. This way, it can save you money that you could’ve spent on a softening product. If you struggle with rashes after using normal detergent, you should give this one a shot. It contains no dyes, parabens, phosphates, or optical brighteners.

What We Like:

  • Ultra-concentrated formula
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with built-in fabric softener
  • Doesn’t include harmful chemicals
  • Moderately-priced

What We Dislike:

  • You might need to use more than 5 pumps for standard washers

3. Molly’s Suds Unscented

The next product on our list can be a game-changer for a lot of people with sensitive skin. The makers of this detergent took great care when they created its formula. Made of naturally-derived ingredients, it has been rated ‘A’ in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

As a result, it can be one of the best choices for people with allergies, fragrance sensitivities, as well as newborn babies.

Also, Molly’s Suds laundry powder works with all sorts of washing machines.

It’s safe to use with all types of fabric except for silk and leather. You can use it with synthetic clothing, natural fibers, and blends with no risk of fading colors.

Let’s not forget about its price, which should be affordable for the average household.

What We Like:

  • Eco-friendly and safe for sensitive skin
  • Works with all washing machines
  • Mid-range price

What We Dislike:

  • The powder might take a long while to dissolve into water
  • Might not be the best choice for heavy stains

4. Charlie’s Soap Powder Unscented

Another product that we really like is Charlie’s Soap Powder. Unscented and free from chemicals, it is a great option for those with sensitive skin, including babies.

The manufacturers of this detergent paid a lot of attention to its ingredients, using sodium carbonate and sodium metasilicate as cleaning agents. Being non-toxic and hypoallergenic, these ingredients shouldn’t leave any residue on your laundry.

Most standard detergents use synthetic fragrances or dyes to cover stains or odors. This isn’t the case with Charlie’s Soap Powder. Yet, it works effectively to remove stains, odors, and grease from your garments.

Also, even though it’s safe on the skin, this detergent might not be the wisest choice to use on black clothes. It can cause dark colors to fade.

What We Like:

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Powerful detergent
  • Doesn’t cause any residue
  • Compatible with washing machines as well as hand washing
  • Budget-friendly

What We Dislike:

  • Not recommended for use on black clothing
  • Since it’s in powder form, it can be hard to dissolve in some cases

5. Dropps Unscented Pods

Our fifth favorite laundry detergent for sensitive skin is a unique pick because it comes in the form of pods instead of powder or liquid. Let’s take a look at Dropps Unscented Pods and what they have to offer.

For starters, these pods come free from a lot of ingredients that might cause irritations such as dyes, enzymes, NPE, phosphate, and chlorine.

In addition to that, they’re safe to use in all HE and standard washers. All you need to do is add one pod of the Dropps Laundry Detergent into the washing machine drum on any cycle. You can also use them with hot or cold water.

Not only that, these pods work to clean most types of fabric, no matter their color. The only downside here is that you might not be able to use them on delicate fabrics such as silk. This is because pods usually need hot water to dissolve faster, which can damage those materials.

We also love that these pods are made with a plant-based formula. This way, they’re considered eco-friendly as well as better for sensitive skin.

Another way they are better for the environment is that they come in recyclable packaging. Not to mention that the formula itself is biodegradable. Plus, you can rest assured that they’ve never been tested on animals.

What We Like:

  • Natural and biodegradable ingredients
  • Compatible with all washers
  • Great to use with hot and cold water
  • Works with a wide variety of fabrics and colors
  • Moderately-priced

What We Dislike:

  • Shouldn’t be used with delicate fabrics
  • The pod membrane might not dissolve easily in front-loading washing machines
  • Might leave some residue on laundry under certain circumstances

6. Seventh Generation Unscented Pouches

Last but not least, here’s our final candidate that might be one of the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin. With its chemical-free and powerful formula, it can be the perfect choice for people with eczema or allergies.

The first thing that we admired about these pouches is that they contain no fragrances, dyes, or artificial brighteners. 

They’re also fast-dissolving in HE washers and should leave no residue on your laundry. Additionally, they can do their job at all temperatures, so you can use them in hot or cold water.

Let’s not forget that these pouches have landed the EPA Safer Choice Certified Product rating.

If you want a product that combines stain removal and skin safety, you should check out these unscented pouches by Seventh Generation.

What We Like:

  • Quadruple-enzyme formula to fight tough stains
  • Hypoallergenic detergent
  • 94% of the ingredients are plant-based
  • Fast-dissolving and suitable for use in hot or cold water
  • Works in all washing machines
  • Moderately-priced

What We Dislike:

  • The pods might become clumped when used with cold water


What are some chemicals in laundry detergents that I should avoid?

Standard laundry detergents include a lot of harmful substances within their composition. For the majority of people, these can be problematic at times. 

However, for a baby or someone with sensitive skin, these chemicals can lead to further issues like rashes and outbreaks.

Whether your skin is sensitive to these components or not, you should do your best to avoid the following substances.

When should I use hot or cold water with laundry?

Hot water is best to use when you are trying to remove germs or heavily soiled fabrics. It’s also effective in dissolving powdered detergents. Be aware that hot water can cause colors to fade and can be harmful to delicate fabrics.

On the other hand, cold water minimizes clothes shrinkage, color bleeding, and fading. It may not be the best for removing stains, that’s why washing with cold water works best with a heavy-duty detergent. Cold water is also better for man-made fabrics or loosely-knitted clothes. Overall, it might not damage your clothes as much as hot water could. 

Keep in mind, if you’re using powdered detergent or pods, it might not dissolve well in cold water.

What can I use to wash my clothes if I run out of detergent?

While they won’t necessarily replace your powerful detergent, the following ingredients can act as substitutes in a pinch, believe it or not.

  • Vinegar
  • Vodka
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda

Wrap Up

If you’re on a mission to address problems with sensitive skin, your best next step is to use a gentler laundry detergent. Even if you’re wearing 100% cotton clothing that’s gentle on your skin, washing it with harsh chemicals can cause irritations.

Hopefully, after checking out our top picks for the best laundry detergent for sensitive skin, you feel more equipped to make a strong purchasing decision.

Before wrapping up, let’s review the reasons why these laundry detergents are helpful to address problematic skin issues.

First of all, they don’t include strong chemicals like dyes, fragrances, or artificial brighteners. Not to mention that they should leave your laundry clean (as much, if not more than normal detergents do).

Secondly, they’re plant-based and made of naturally-derived ingredients. So they are better for the environment and better for our bodies.

All in all, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Natural detergents are better for the environment, better for your skin and better for your overall health.

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