Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
229 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best baby laundry detergents

Last Updated July 2020

Bringing a newborn home from the hospital is always a joy-filled experience, but there’s plenty of anxiety involved, too. The last thing you want to worry about is whether freshly washed clothes are going to irritate your child’s skin. That’s why it’s so important to find the right baby laundry detergent for your little one.

Baby laundry detergent is just what it sounds like — a laundry detergent formulated with a baby’s soft, delicate skin in mind. Babies are more likely to experience allergies and skin irritations like eczema than adults or older children, so they can break out in hives or rashes if they wear clothing that’s been washed in detergent that contains harsh chemicals. In particular, dyes and fragrances can irritate a baby’s thin, sensitive skin. 

But there are many baby laundry detergents on the market, so finding the right option for your child’s clothing can be tough. If you’re confused by all the choices, our buying guide has all the tips you need to choose the best detergent for your new addition. If you’re still not sure, check out our specific product recommendations for the easiest shopping possible. 

If you use baby-safe laundry detergent for the entire family, you don’t necessarily have to separate your little one’s items from the rest of the laundry unless you’re washing cloth diapers.

Key considerations

Formula

Like all laundry detergents, formulas for babies are available in several different types. 

Liquid baby laundry detergent is the most common type and extremely easy to use. It comes in a plastic bottle with a spout for pouring or a pump dispenser. You’ll have a much easier time pretreating stains with a liquid formula, and it isn’t as likely to leave streaks on your baby’s clothing. Liquid detergent is particularly effective for greasy stains, but it usually costs more than powder formulas and isn’t eco-friendly due to its packaging. 

Powder baby laundry detergent typically comes in a box and requires a scoop to measure out. Its packaging is more environmentally friendly than liquid formulas, and the detergent’s shelf life is usually longer. Powder formulas are more affordable, too, and highly effective for white clothing. It can leave streaks on clothing, though. 

Pods or packs of baby laundry detergent are small capsules that contain premeasured amounts of detergent that you just toss into your washer. They’re very easy to use because there’s no measuring necessary, but they can be pricer than other formulas. The pods are also a poisoning or choking hazard for small children, so it’s crucial to keep them where little hands can’t get to them.

Machine type

When you’re choosing a baby laundry detergent, it’s essential to consider the type of washing machine you use. Regular washing machines can usually handle any type of detergent, but a high-efficiency (HE) washer can only take formulas that are clearly marked as HE washer safe. If you have a high-efficiency machine, make sure any detergent you choose is labeled as such. 

EXPERT TIP

If you’re not sure whether a detergent is suitable for your child, ask your pediatrician to get an expert opinion.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Hypoallergenic

Your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive, which is why they may be more prone to allergies, eczema, and other skin issues. The chemicals found in regular laundry detergent can trigger reactions and leave your baby itchy and uncomfortable. Always choose a baby detergent that’s clearly labeled as hypoallergenic because it contains fewer ingredients that are likely to cause an allergic reaction. 

Fragrances and dyes

Fragrances and dyes are some of the most common chemicals to cause irritation for babies. A good baby laundry detergent should be free of both and clearly labeled as fragrance-free and dye-free. 

Keep in mind that unscented and fragrance-free don’t mean the same thing. Detergents that are fragrance-free contain no synthetic fragrances, but an unscented formula usually contains chemicals to mask natural fragrances. 

Diaper-friendly

If your little one uses cloth diapers, you’ll want to be sure to choose a baby detergent that effectively cleans and maintains them. In most cases, oil-free detergents are your best bet because they clean diapers extremely well but won’t damage the material.

Eco-friendly

In most cases, baby laundry detergents are fairly eco-friendly because they contain fewer chemicals than standard detergents. However, if you want a truly eco-friendly option, consider a plant-based detergent, which is biodegradable and much better for the environment. Some manufacturers also make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and use recyclable materials for their packaging.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Always keep laundry detergent out of reach of little hands. Even baby-safe formulas can be dangerous if ingested.

Accessories

Laundry hamper: Seville Classics Water-Hyacinth Laundry Hamper

Having a laundry hamper in your baby’s nursery makes it much easier to keep track of your little one’s laundry. This lidded one from Seville Classics has smaller inner bags that are perfect for baby clothing and features an oval handwoven basket that’s extremely durable. 

Laundry sorter: Simple Houseware Rolling Laundry Sorter

You’ll have an easier time doing laundry for your baby and the rest of the family with a handy laundry sorter that separates your little one’s clothing, which requires special detergent, from everyone else’s items. We love this heavy-duty, four-bag option from Simple Houseware because the wheels make it easy to move to the laundry room when it’s time to do a load. 

EXPERT TIP

If you’re using cloth diapers, wash them every few days. Prevent any stains by soaking them overnight.


Staff  | BestReviews

Baby laundry detergent prices

Baby laundry detergent varies in price based on the formula, ingredients, and size of the container. Most options cost between $3 and $50.

Inexpensive: The most affordable baby laundry detergents are powder formulas or smaller bottles of liquid detergent. They usually aren’t entirely free of chemicals, though. You’ll typically pay between $3 and $13 for these detergents.

Mid-range: These baby laundry detergents are usually powder, liquid, or pod formulas. Some are plant-based and biodegradable, but all are hypoallergenic. They typically cost between $10 and $25.

Expensive: The most expensive baby laundry detergents are usually liquid or pod formulas. All are hypoallergenic, but many are plant-based and biodegradable, too. They’re usually larger containers, so they can be used to do more loads. You’ll generally pay between $25 and $50 for these detergents.  

Tips

  • Wash new items before your child wears them. You should always do this unless your baby’s clothes are made from organic cotton. The clothes may retain chemicals from the manufacturing process that can irritate skin.

  • Read the care instructions on the clothing labels. Baby sleepwear is often made to resist flames, so you have to be careful not to use bleach on the clothing. It can reduce the effectiveness of the flame-resistant coating.

  • Use mesh bags. Avoid losing small items like baby socks in the laundry by placing them in a mesh bag before tossing them in the washer. 

  • Don’t use fabric softener on your baby’s clothes. Fabric softeners often contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. 

  • Wash cloth diapers in a separate load. To avoid spreading germs, be sure to wash diapers separately from the rest of your child’s clothing. 

Your baby is going to come into contact with your clothing, so it’s a good idea to use a baby laundry detergent for all of your laundry.

FAQ

Q. Can I use baby laundry detergent on the rest of my family’s laundry?
A. While it’s best to wash your baby’s laundry in a separate load to prevent the spread of germs, baby laundry detergent can work for the entire family. If anyone else in the family has sensitive skin or skin issues like eczema, the gentle formula of a baby detergent is often a better option than regular chemical-laden detergents. 
 

Q. Is liquid or powder baby laundry detergent better for a baby’s sensitive skin?
A. Powder formulas are usually more eco-friendly, but they don’t rinse out as completely as liquid detergents do. The residue left behind can irritate a baby’s skin, so some parents prefer to use liquid formulas that wash out more easily.
 

Q. How can I tell if a detergent is too harsh for my child’s skin?
A. When you purchase a new detergent, wash only one or two items in it. When your baby wears the items, examine their skin to look for any reaction or irritation. Check your child for signs of discomfort or itching, too. If you notice any type of reaction, the formula is probably not right for your baby. 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey