You might be surprised at just how much dirty laundry your little human is capable of producing, so you want a detergent that is strong enough to get those tough stains out in one wash (to save having to wash them a second consecutive time), without being too harsh on your little one's skin.
Our pick of the best baby-friendly washing powders and detergents
Here's a glance at our shortlist of the best baby washing powders and detergents you can buy.
Surprised not to see some of the big brand names on our list? We've deliberately chosen those detergents that are specifically designed for babies' delicate, sensitive skin. Want to find out more and know what you should be looking for? Read on!
Best all-rounder: Bollicine Certified Eco Organic Baby Clothes Laundry Liquid and Fabric Softener
Best washing powder for baby's clothes: Bambino Mio, Miocare (Natural Washing Powder)
Best for sensitive skin: Nimble Laundry Lover
Best for fine fabrics: Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid New Waterlily & Honeydew Fragrance
Best eco-friendly detergent: Earth Friendly Products Baby Laundry Detergent
Best big-brand detergent for babies: Persil and Comfort Sensitive Skin Bundle
Best for nappies: TotsBots - Reusable Nappy Washing Potion
Best alternative for baby laundry: Fragrance Free Ecoegg
Best for stains: Napisan Non Biological Stain Remover
What to consider when choosing a detergent
There are three main things to consider when choosing a baby-skin friendly detergent:
Use non-bio detergents: Non-bio simply means the product doesn’t contain enzymes that deposit in fabrics.
Use liquid detergent: Unlike powder detergents which are made with insoluble ingredients, liquid detergents dissolve easily so less likely to leave residue behind.
Use eco-friendly detergents: Unlike mainstream detergents which are made with petroleum-based chemicals, plant-based ingredients found in eco-friendly products are very gentle on fabrics and skin.
A few tips for your washing detergent include:
Choose fragrance-free: Try not to be tempted to buy beautifully scented detergents that use chemical fragrances. Instead, opt for ones that are fragrance-free. You can always spray some natural oils, such as lavender, around your nursery to make it smell wonderful, instead of adding overpowering fragrances to your baby’s clothes and linens.
Try a patch test first: Before you do a whole load of washing with a new detergent, try washing one item, such as a baby grow or blanket, with the new product first. This way, you’ll know straight away whether it has a negative effect on your baby’s skin – and be able to pinpoint it to that one item. It’s then easy to switch detergents if your baby does have a reaction.
Look at the ingredients: Some common chemical ingredients can be harsh on sensitive skin, so before you buy, check the packaging. Detergents and softeners that use low-toxicity, natural, plant-based ingredients are much more delicate on baby-soft skin.
So what are the best baby laundry products out there? Here's our guide to the best baby clothes washing detergents:
Persil and Comfort Sensitive Skin Laundry Bundle
Best big-brand detergent for babies
This is the only big-brand combo we've included on our list because not only are these easier to pick up from your local supermarket if you're running low on supplies, this unique Comfort and Non-Bio Persil bundle is cost effective and sure to last a while for the whole family. Tough on stains but gentle on baby's skin, you can get cleanliness and softness in just a small dose.
Amazon review: "I bought this product off Amazon to save me going into my local supermarket. I have Prime so it was delivered next day! Perfect combination of products which can be used together and saves me having to find each one individually. Chuck in one capsules and dash of softener and leaves clothes clean and smelling fantastic."
Earth Friendly Products Baby Laundry Detergent
Best eco-friendly detergent
This is an Amazon's Choice product, and 1.5 litres is good for 50 washes. It's made from renewable plant extracts. Besides being a laundry detergent, it's also a fabric conditioner. This product is free from any nasty ingredients that can be harmful to your baby's skin.
Amazon review: "This eco friendly laundry product works well, does what it says it will, and I thoroughly recommend. It combines cleansing with conditioning very effectively. It won't tackle really stubborn stains, for which a stain remover is necessary, but for everyday laundry, it is fine and kind to the planet too."
Bollicine Certified Eco Organic Baby Clothes Laundry Liquid and Fabric Softener
These products are the perfect combo to keep your baby clothes clean. They are made for sensitive skin, are dermatologically-tested and vegan-friendly. Bollicine products are free from petroleum, lanolin, mineral oil, PEGs, SLS, SLES and parabens. They're also made with with easily biodegradable vegetable-based surfactants, verified according to the standards set by the ICEA Eco Bio cleaners board. If you like to have liquid detergent and a separate fabric softener, this is the best option for you.
Amazon review: "I love this product and use it for washing my baby's clothes. It doesn’t have a scent (which is how it should be) but clothes smell fresh and are lovely and soft. I recommend it to all my mummy friends. Instructions on the bottle are in Italian but I contacted the seller and had the instructions sent to me in no time at all. Very pleased."
Bambino Mio, Miocare (Natural Washing Powder)
Best washing powder for baby's clothes
If you're after the best baby washing powder, this is the one for you. The Bambino Mio is an environmentally friendly laundry detergent suitable for sensitive skin. It can be used on whites, darks and coloured laundry. It's very effective for washing at low temperatures. It's free-from nasties such as dyes, enzymes, optical brighteners and perfumes as it's made from plant and mineral-based ingredients. It's also eco-friendly and is not tested on animals, so you'll be doing your bit for the environment.
Amazon review: "I have been using this powder ever since my baby boy was born, 11 months now. It has good washing results, not strongly perfumed, which I prefer. Sometimes the powder doesn't dissolve completely."
Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid New Waterlily u0026 Honeydew Fragrance
Best for fine fabrics
The Ecover delicate laundry liquid is suitable for fine fabrics, silks and woollens. It was designed to preserve the softness of delicate fibres and protect their colour. It also cares for skin thanks to its plant-based ingredients. It contains no petrochemical-based ingredients, is not tested on animals and the bottle and label are 100 per cent recyclable.
Amazon review: "I've been struggling to find a good eco-friendly laundry detergent for delicate fabrics (silk, lace etc). This product did not fault at all, and very pleased with the result and cost."
Nimble Laundry Lover
Best for sensitive skin
Laundry Lover is a washing detergent made from naturally derived ingredients, making it gentle on sensitive skin, and free from enzymes that can irritate the skin, optical brighteners and dyes. The allergen-free unique formula is tough on everyday stains without using harsh chemicals. It leaves your baby's clothes smelling fresh and clean.
Tested by Sophie Knight, mum to Eli (2): "This detergent has a lovely, subtle smell - fresh like a fabric conditioner. It got rid of little stains brilliantly, even without an additional stain remover, although with something like berry juice I still used a stain product as well. It left my little boy's clothes lovely and soft, smelling fresh for several days. It's great to use a detergent that you know is designed for children's skin."
TotsBots - Resuable Nappy Washing Potion
Best for nappies
A good one for parents who use reusable cloth nappies, this 'Washing Potion' will make your laundry hygienically clean at 30 degrees so it's better for the environment in more ways than one. Free from enzymes, allergy tested and Vegan Society approved, there are lots of delicious scents to choose from such as bubblegum, peppermint and parma violet.
Amazon review: "I find this very effective at getting our cloth nappies clean. I briefly tried using Fairy Non Bio to try and cut costs but soon got build up and suddenly the nappies kept staining. I also briefly tried Violets and whilst not bad it didn’t seem as good at preventing stains. I don’t really smell the bubblegum scent but the nappies so smell nice and fresh so I’m sticking with it."
Fragrance Free Ecoegg
Best alternative for baby laundry
Ideal for little ones (and adults!) with dermatological problems, Ecoeggs were developed for people with sensitive skin and to be kind to the environment. Designed to completely replace laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, these are fragrance free, though you can get others with fragrance. Those include Fresh Linen and Spring Blossom but still only carry a 'hint' of fragrance as they are natural fragrances, non-irritant, and non-allergen.
Review: "This seems to work well, it is easy to use if you follow the instructions and not having to use washing powder or softener is great. Doesn't leave clothes smelling of anything in particular like washing powder does, but certainly leaves them fresh. I have had a few items with stubborn stains that haven't come out (toddler in the house!) but it's possible washing powder would also have struggled.
"My son's eczema has much improved over the last few months. I'm not sure whether it is definitely connected to changing to the egg but it is a coincidence that he had terrible eczema for the first two years of his life and it significantly improved at the same time as switching to this."
Napisan Non Biological Stain Remover
Best for stains
Babies and stains go hand in hand which is why so many people love Napisan - and have done for decades. Napisan works by releasing active oxygen to remove stains, leaving your clothes as white as possible. Not only does it clean but it also kills the germs you cannot see to leave your baby's clothes more hygienic. You will however need to use this on top of your detergent of choice.
Review: "I literally can not live without this product! Thank you again Amazon. I use it in all my white washes, clothes, linen and bedding for antibacterial and to keep whites white! It’s actually very difficult to find this product on the shelf anymore. Amazon is the absolute cheapest! And always has it in stock. If you haven’t tried this product, you MUST, it is better than all of the new whitening and antibacterial laundry products on the market!"
Expert advice on choosing the best baby laundry products
We've spoken to Von Sy, founder of plant-based cleaning product brand Nimble and detergent chemist. He has over a decade of experience working for the world’s largest detergents manufacturer. He shared his thoughts on three main things parents can keep in mind when choosing a detergent for little ones' clothes:
“Through my work in the detergents industry, one of the key things I learned when looking for a detergent to use on sensitive skin is to pick one that will leave minimal residues. Big brand manufacturers often use surfactants (the cleaning ingredient) which are derived from petroleum, which contain heavy metals and other impurities which deposit on the fabrics and can cause irritation for baby’s sensitive skin."
The things to take into consideration when choosing baby laundry products to keep your mind at ease are whether these items are hypoallergenic, cost-efficient, dermatologist/paediatrician recommended and residue-free.
We also spoke to Pippa Hobson, an expert at Zoono, the skin and surface sanitiser brand. She said:
“A baby’s skin is super sensitive and therefore much more likely to react to both environmental factors, like temperature, sweat and wind, as well as harsh chemicals, such as dyes, detergents and water quality. As a result, it’s important to use low-toxicity products for all your household chores if you have little ones in the home."
How to wash your baby clothes
Once you've chosen the right baby laundry products, you can usually just put all of your baby clothes and washable items in the washing machine as normal. Some harsher stains, however, might need to be pre-treated. Try baking soda or lemon juice for a natural way to remove stains. Also, baby bubble bath can soften stains and make them easier to remove in the washing machine.
However tempting, don't overload your washing machine. If your washing machine offers it, always select the “hand-wash” setting or the “gentle” cycle to keep clothes in great condition. When drying, chose the option for delicate clothing. Another important tip is to read the labels before washing any clothing and, for maximum efficiency, separate clothes by colour, material or level of dirtiness.
How to wash reusable baby nappies
To wash reusable baby nappies, you first need to remove the waste. You'll then need to fill a bucket with warm water and a baby bubble bath or baking soda and soak the nappies to remove the stains (these might require light scrubbing). When the waste has been cleared, it can then be placed in the washing machine. Wash separately.