For this year, it is time to find out with baby detergent is the best for all of us. I haven’t covered baby detergent for a while. I figured I would get back into it since it is something that you definitely use the most, along with diapers.
I recommended arm and hammer’s washing soda before in my other review for the best baby detergent. It is one of the best in terms of being natural, and environmentally friendly laundry detergent while being extremely powerful at washing your baby clothes. After using it for a while, I do notice that it has some flaws to it:
- It fades colors slightly
- It is slightly caustic (you must not touch this stuff because it can burn your skin)
Of course don’t get me wrong. Washing soda has plenty of merits for it to stay in your cabinet. For example:
- It cleans very well
- It can be used to remove strong odors in the house
- It does not do harm to the environment (it biodegradable so it easily breaks down into harmless byproducts)
- It can be used as a water softener (if your water has lots of minerals in it)
You see, even though washing soda is still one of my favorite laundry detergents, it is time to find something that has the same or better cleaning capabilities, environmental friendliness, better protection for colors, and hopefully less dangerous to touch.
One friendly reminder is that all the safe and effective laundry detergents I show you here are generally twice as expensive as regular laundry detergent and bleach. Unfortunately, there’s no manufacturer who is willing to be price competitive with regular laundry detergents for now.
This is why I highly recommend that you only use these laundry detergent for your:
- Baby clothes
- Cloth diapers
- Baby bibs
- Or whatever baby stuff that stays in constant contact with your baby’s skin
Don’t use this stuff for your regular “adult” laundry unless you know you can afford it, or be willing to sacrifice for the sake of our environment. We are all living under financial stress constantly, so if you really can’t use it for every piece of garment in the house, it is still understandable.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the safest, and most powerful laundry detergent you can ever use.
Ever wonder what would happen if the washing soda I mentioned earlier got an upgrade? What you get is basically oxiclean laundry baby stain soaker. Don’t get this confused with other oxiclean models. Not all oxicleans are equal. This oxiclean laundry baby stain soaker is the only one that is completely environmentally friendly and safe to use.
It Contains Only Two Ingredients:
1. Sodium Carbonate Peroxide(or sodium percarbonate) – when dissolved in water, it becomes sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash) and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide itself has powerful stain removing abilities, especially on blood stains. Both of these are biodegradable, but they are also extremely powerful stuff so do not touch this stuff with your bare hands.
2.Sodium Carbonate – This is also known as washing soda or soda ash. As I mentioned before with the arm and hammer washing soda, do not confuse this with baking soda. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, not sodium carbonate. You might be wondering what’s the two letter difference supposed to mean.
You can think of it this way. They are entirely different substances. Sodium bicarbonate is known as baking soda, because people literally bake stuff with it. It can be used as a temporary antacid if you have acid reflux problems. It can also be used to clean and deodorize things. However, its strength is more mild because its pH value makes it less caustic.
Sodium carbonate on the other hand is much more powerful at cleaning, However, you can not bake stuff with it. You should also not eat it. It is definitely not safe to eat.
How Effective Is Oxiclean Baby Stain Soaker?
Oxiclean is very powerful, natural, and leaves your baby clothes sparkling clean and smelling fresh. Of course, there won’t be a scent, because this stuff has no fragrance or essential oils added to it. It is interesting to note that oxiclean does not fade your clothes too much even after using it for a while.
However, even though it has powerful cleaning capabilities, I don’t recommend you using it alone as a cleaning agent. You should consider it along the lines of bleach without chlorine. Oxiclean is best used as a stain pretreatment before you actually dump your clothes into the wash. You should definitely use another laundry detergent on top of that.
You can buy this version of oxiclean online. However, personally I feel that the ones they sell at the local stores are slightly better in terms of quality. The problem is that it might not be easy to find around your area.
After you have pretreated your clothes with the powerful stain remover I mentioned earlier, it is time to use some Dr. Bronner’s soaps.
When I first heard of this laundry detergent, I was completely weirded out. The reason is because Dr. Bronner’s soaps are famous for being capable of washing anything in your house including:
- Your hands
- Your face
- Your hair (it does dry your hair a bit though so be careful)
- You floor
- Your food (seriously, I am not kidding)
What’s interesting about Dr. Bronner’s soap is that they are all pure castile soap. What that means is that all their soaps are made with plant based oils (like vegetable oils for example). As you are aware, conventional soaps are made with animal fats (also known as lard). For people who are vegans, Dr. Bronner’s soaps are perfect for you.
Even though Dr. Bronner makes a lot of great soaps, not all of them contain 100% safe ingredients. Some products have sodium lauryl sulfate, or other harmful chemicals. The ones I recommended here are definitely safe to be used on your baby’s clothes.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients they use to make their soaps:
- Hemp seed oil
- Jojoba seed oil
- Coconut oil
- Potassium hydroxide (it is a strong base that turns soap into soap kind of like sodium hydroxide. It is a strong base like washing soda, however don’t try salinity your own soap with washing soda, because I don’t think it works)
- Palm kernel oil (they are producing sustainable palm oil. Read about it here if you wish)
- Olive oil
- Citric acid
- Tocopherol (a form of vitamin E)
All of the above ingredients are safe, biodegradable and completely environmentally friendly. Dr. Bronner’s soap cleans very well, but is has some weaknesses to it.
When you use Dr. Bronner’s soap to wash your baby’s clothes, don’t forget to add a small amount of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. The reason is because Dr. Bronner’s soap leaves behind an oily film after you clean with it. You have to use small amount of white vinegar to rinse it out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Dr. Bronner’s soaps are concentrated soaps. In other words, you just need to use a little bit and dilute it with water. They have instructions on their website as to how much to dilute, and how much vinegar to use to rinse your laundry.
Do not rely on their bottle labels for instructions. They write a whole bunch of irrelevant stuff there, so go to the link I just gave you and find the dilutions instructions there.
Let’s talk about the variety of “flavors” of soaps they make that you can try for your laundry.
Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Oil Pure Castile Soap
As the name implies, this soap has tea tree essential oil on top of the ingredients I mentioned earlier. When it comes to Dr. Bronner’s soaps, those with essential oils mixed in, have the ability of killing fleas. If you suspect that your mattress sheets or whatever is flea infested then this flavor and other essential oil flavors are definitely the right for you.
However, keep in mind that tea tree castile soap smells very strong so use with caution. The smell probably won’t go away for days. If you like the smell of tea tree essential oil, then this might not be too bad for you.
Also keep in mind that some people are allergic to tea tree oil. If your baby is allergic to it, then don’t use it, or you might get skin irritations. If tea tree oil flavor interests you then get the tea tree oil flavor here.
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Baby Mild
This is considered mild because it doesn’t contain any essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil.
It is basically the castile soap itself without any scent to it. I should also mention that all Dr Bronner’s soaps are called “18-in-1”. I just didn’t add it to their titles because it will make it way too long. It is called 18-in-1 because there are at least 18 uses to it like I mentioned earlier. You can wash almost anything with it. The name simply implies how versatile this product is.
I give you a word of warning here. After you realize that you can wash anything, you might try washing your baby’s hair with it. Yes, all Dr. Bronner’s pure Castile soaps are completely safe to use on your kids, but it is not tear free. I don’t know why, but it burns if you get it into your eyes. Dr. Bronner even deliberately emphasize that on their website. Even though Dr. Bronner’s soap is versatile, I highly recommend you only use it for your laundry.
Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure Castile Soap
This variation contains peppermint which is also great for killing bugs that are hiding in your mattresses. If the strength of this soap is not enough to kill all the bugs hiding there, then simply buy yourself a bottle of peppermint essential oil to enhance the strength.
Essential oils itself is a natural enemy of bugs because it can destroy their exoskeletons. This applies to the tea tree oil version I mentioned earlier also.
Of course, don’t forget that peppermint can also cause skin allergies, so check to see if your baby is allergic to it first. If you would the peppermint version then get the peppermint flavor here.
Dr. Bronner’s Eucaluptus Pure Castile Soap
I haven’t tried this Eucaluptus flavor. Just like any other essential oil version, double check for skin allergies. You can get the Eucaluptus flavor here.
Pure-Castile Soap, Lavender
Just like all the other soaps mentioned earlier. This lavender flavor is the final safe Dr. Bronner’s soap I recommend in this article. As usual, double check your baby for skin allergies before buying in bulk. If you are interested in the lavender flavor then get it here.
Why Didn’t I Recommend Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner?
Some people heavily recommend the Dr. Bronner’s sal suds liquid cleaner. I left this out of my recommendations, because it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a surfactant which is something that helps reduce surface tension of water so that it can mix with the detergent easier and clean stains better. According to ewg, sodium lauryl sulfate does not cause any major problem on the human body. It:
- Does not cause cancer
- Does not mutate genes
- Is highly biodegradable
- Is toxic to sea creatures (your laundry detergent eventually flushes into the ocean through the water pipe lines)
- Does cause skin irritation in some people
Sodium lauryl sulfate barely does any harm to the our bodies. However, they are terrible when it comes to environmental friendliness. It is true that they are biodegradable, but the fish will have to swim in the stuff for a while before they can break down.
Final Note On Dr. Bronner’s Soap
Another fact I have to mention is that plant extracts like lavender and tea tree oil contains a bit of contaminations sometimes. These contaminants might not exist depending on how well they processed their washing soaps. However, this applies to all essential oils around the world. The biggest concern with contamination is that it might contain formaldehyde, which links to carcinogens. However, essential oils itself has anticancer properties, so in my opinion, it balances it out.
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to use bleach on your children’s clothing while avoiding chlorine? The reason we want that is because chlorine is related to dioxin pollution. It is actually possible to bleach your beloved clothing while avoiding this toxic chemical. This can be done with Ecover non chlorine bleach.
Even though this is called bleach, theoretically it should not affect colored clothing too strongly, because the “bleach” ingredients involved is actually hydrogen peroxide and washing soda combined. In other words, this is similar to the oxiclean baby soaker mentioned earlier, except ecover is bigger in size.
Even though most of the times, ecover bleach is pretty much color safe, but I highly recommend you try it on “not-so-obvious” locations of your selected clothing first before splurging it into the washing machine.
How Is Ecover Different From OxiClean?
You might be wondering why I would recommend ecover, when you can buy oxiclean since they are made from the same ingredients of soda ash, and hydrogen peroxide. I do it for the following reasons:
- Different ingredient ratios – To be honest, I have no idea when it comes to the ratio of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide in both brands. Obviously, when the ratio is different, the cleaning results will vary. This is one reason why I want you to try both of them and see which one works better for you
- Price flexibility – If at one point, either ecover or oxiclean decides to make their products much more expensive, then you can at least purchase the other one as a backup without being bullied into spending extra dollars.
Another thing I have to point out is that, only ecover non chlorine liquid bleach has the same ingredients as oxiclean baby stain soaker. The powder version is a completely different product. For some reason, on amazon, the ingredients of the liquid version of ecover does not match the ingredients listed on ewg.
The powdered version of this product includes the following as ingredients:
- Zeolite – a type of adsorber (generally safe)
- Carbonates? – depending on the type of carbonate, it can be safe or not safe
- Silicates? – depending on the type of silicate, it can be safe or not safe
- Citrate? – depending on the type of citrate, it can be safe or not safe
- Sulfates – generally safe, unless there’s an insanely high amount
- Plant Based Non-Ionic Surfactants
- Cellulose Derivatives
- Plant Based Soap
- Enzymes – powerful, and natural. You probably heard about this in biology class, but in the laundry world, be careful not to breathe this stuff, because it can affect your lungs
If You want Ecover, Only Get The Liquid Version
It is unclear why the powder version of ecover nonchlorine bleach has so many different ingredients that is not detailed in ewg. They also don’t openly disclose the full name of their ingredients. For example, when they mentioned “citrate”, are they referring to the ingredient “sodium citrate” or some other toxic ingredient? Since they didn’t specify, it is best to stay away from their powder version. If you want to use a safe and efficient bleach for your baby clothes, then get it on amazon here.
In terms of ingredients, this is basically a similar product to Ecover non chlorine liquid bleach, and oxiclean baby stain soaker. However, some people say that ecover works a bit better than the seventh generation product. Prices are roughly the same. I added this to your list so you can have another option down the road.
This product can only be purchased on Amazon if you have prime membership though.
This might have crossed your mind. Can you make your own chlorine free bleach? I mean the ingredients are simple after all. However, it is unclear as to what their proportions are, and whether or not it would be too powerful if you mixed the ingredients yourself.
Reminder About The Ingredients
Just a reminder, the ingredients of chlorine free bleach is:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sodium carbonate
Word Of Warning
If you really do want to try making this stuff yourself, then remember to handle the ingredients with caution, because they are either caustic or powerful oxidizers so handle it as if you are handling some kind of boiling flesh melting acid. When you mix the ingredients together, remember to:
- wear gloves
- Be extremely careful of splashing
- wear a face mask
- Do the mixing outside or under a ventilation hood
- Have the windows in the house stay open
Where To Get the Ingredients
If you know where to find these ingredients, then go ahead and buy it where your heart feels comfortable. However, if you don’t know where you can get this stuff, then I will tell you here.
For The Hydrogen Peroxide
Before you head out to your local pharmacy to get your hydrogen peroxide, let me tell you ahead of time that it is not worth your money to buy it there. The main reason is because pharmacies, or many local stores only sell 3% hydrogen peroxide. Not only is this an extreme downgraded version of the original food grade hydrogen peroxide, it probably contains impurities that you don’t really need. Real, and pure food grade hydrogen peroxide never goes by 3% dilutions. They always go by at least 35% dilutions.
Another reason you should not buy the cheap 3% hydrogen peroxide in the local stores is because laundry is a long term thing. If you buy 3% hydrogen peroxide to do your laundry then you are actually paying many times more money compared to buying an actual food grade hydrogen peroxide and diluting it yourself. 3% hydrogen peroxide is literally 97% water that you are purchasing. If the hydrogen peroxide you are buying are old, then the water content is even higher.
This is why I highly recommend you to purchase your hydrogen peroxide from amazon. Not only is it cheaper, you are actually paying a lot less after diluting it yourself. If you don’t believe me, go check the prices, and calculate the dilutions yourself.
For The Washing Soda
If you are lucky, you might be able to find it at your local store. However, many stores have taken it off their shelves. I don’t blame them, because this stuff is close to be as powerful as lye. There are only two methods to get washing soda.
The first method is to get your washing soda from amazon. This method is the easiest and most convenient, but it is also the most expensive.
The second method is to make it yourself from baking soda. Personally I find it cheaper to get baking soda from Costco. They are roughly $6.50 for 13.5 pounds. If there is no Costco around you then get it on Amazon here. You can save at least four times the amount of money compared to buying sodium carbonate directly.
If you want to see how to make your own washing soda from baking soda, then check out the video here. When you make this stuff, make sure the area you are in has opened windows and ventilation. The reason is because there would be plenty of carbon dioxide released in the process. Even though carbon dioxide is normally harmless, but too much of it, can impair your body’s ability to circulate oxygen, so be careful.