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Best Baby Detergent of 2024
Updated on
April 5, 2024

Best Baby Detergent of 2024

By Jen LaBracio | Medically Reviewed by Brittany DiBardino DO
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Best Baby Detergent of 2024.
Best Baby Detergent of 2024

Tiny bodysuits, adorable rompers, beautiful bonnets…there’s no denying that baby clothes are cute, and dressing your little one can be a pretty fun part of being a parent, especially during those early baby and toddler years.

But, reality check: those charming baby clothes are also going to get charmingly dirty. Between spit up and food stains and everything in between, keeping your baby’s clothes clean and free from stubborn stains is no small feat. You’ll need the best baby laundry detergent to get the job done, but one that’s also safe on baby’s soft, delicate skin. So what’s a parent to do?

We’re turning to the experts—a husband and wife dermatologist + pediatrician duo—for the lowdown on all things baby detergent, including what’s safe, what’s not and what you should be looking for when selecting the best baby laundry detergent.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Baby Detergent

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Baby Detergent

Best Affordable Baby Detergent

It’s definitely possible to get all the benefits of a baby-safe detergent without spending a ton. All Free Clear is 2x concentrated, which means a little goes a long way. The formula is 100% free of dyes and perfumes and is hypoallergenic, all at a great price point.

For another affordable option, check out Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear. It’s a lower-sudsing formula that doesn’t contain any dyes, perfumes or preservatives.

Best Natural Baby Detergent

The plant-based formula in Puracy may be free of lots of things (harsh chemicals, perfumes and other artificial fragrance, optical brighteners, phosphates, allergens and more), but according to lots of parents, it still performs well on tough baby and kid stains. It’s ultra-concentrated, so you’ll get up to 192 loads from one 16-ounce bottle.

Best Baby Detergent for Cloth Diapers

Dermatologist recommended and free of dyes, perfumes and phosphates, this hypoallergenic detergent from Tide is one of the most popular picks for cloth-diapering families. It doesn’t lack in stain-fighting capabilities and is a safe choice for baby’s sensitive new skin. (It’s great for the whole family’s laundry, too.)

Want a deep-dive into how to wash cloth diapers? Fluff Love University has you covered.

Best Baby Detergent for Sensitive Skin

Just right for baby’s delicate skin, Seventh Generation Free & Clear is made from plant-based ingredients and free of dyes, fragrances and brighteners but still gets the job done tackling tough stains. It works in both HE and standard machines at all washing temperatures, and it’s also safe for septic systems.

Best Eco-Friendly Baby Detergent

This ECOS laundry detergent isn’t baby-specific but is a solid choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly plant-powered cleaner that can handle tough stains. It’s ultra-concentrated and made without dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates or phthalates, and it’s hypoallergenic formula is safe for sensitive skin. It’s also made in a carbon-neutral factory using 100% renewable energy. It works in any water temperature and features a mild scent.

Safe and Effective

Many baby-only detergents struggle with stain removal, but that’s not the case with Babyganics. Formulated with plant and enzyme-based cleaning power—but without sulfates—a small amount of this detergent does a great job on baby’s dirty bibs, bodysuits and more. Parents love the concentrated formula and that it doesn’t leave behind a scent on baby’s clothes.

Best Baby Detergent Sheets

Laundry sheets—pre-measured, dehydrated sheets of detergent that dissolve in your washing machine— save space and are a more eco-friendly choice than bulky plastic jugs that take hundreds of years to decompose. These fragrance-free sheets are designed for cleaning at any water temperature. Many laundry pros report that detergent sheets don’t work as well on stains as liquid laundry detergents, but some consumers don’t mind the tradeoff because of the environmental benefits. Just be sure to keep them far out of reach of tiny hands.

Best Classic Baby Detergent

Dreft baby detergent has been around for over 80 years—there’s a good chance your parents washed your baby clothes in it. The hypoallergenic stage one formula is designed specifically for newborn’s delicate clothes (and skin) and the detergent works in both regular and HE washers. Dreft does have a distinct scent, and it’s one that not all parents love, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Best Biodegradable Baby Detergent

If you’re already a fan of the garden-inspired scents in Mrs. Meyers’ other cleaning products then it’s worth checking out this baby-specific laundry detergent. This concentrated formula is biodegradable and made from plant-derived cleaning ingredients along with stain-fighting enzymes and essential oils. The baby blossom scent features aromas of spring wildflowers, apple and mint and each bottle can tackle up to 64 loads of laundry.

How We Chose Our Best Baby Detergents

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including baby laundry detergent.
  • We spoke with two experts, dermatologist Dr. Zain Husain, MD, FAAD and founder of New Jersey Dermatology and Aesthetics Center, and board-certified pediatrician, IBCLC and mother of two Dr. Amna Husain, MD, FAAP.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

Do You Need Baby Detergent?

“Babies have highly sensitive skin, especially since their skin and immune system are not fully mature. Their skin can react to various chemicals present in detergents,” says Dr. Zain Husain, MD, FAAD and founder of New Jersey Dermatology and Aesthetics Center.

So should you use a special detergent that’s specifically made for washing baby clothes? Or are there more generic options that might work? Board-certified pediatrician Dr. Amna Husain, MD, FAAP, breaks it down.

“While many detergents label themselves as ‘baby friendly,’ she says, “in reality, they won’t do a good job of actually getting your child’s clothes clean.”

So while it’s definitely okay to use a baby laundry detergent if it works for you, Dr. Husain says it’s also safe to use a regular detergent—the same one you’re using on your own clothes to keep things simple. But there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

What Is the Best Laundry Detergent for Babies?

According to Dr. Husain, keep an eye out for these things when selecting a detergent for your baby—and for your whole family.

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dye-free
  • Plant-based (Not necessary, but recommended as they tend to be less irritating than most chemical-based detergents.)

She also notes the difference between fragrance-free and unscented detergents.

“Fragrance-free is not the same as unscented,” she says. “Unscented means that the fragrance has been masked, but is still present in the detergent.”

As for what to avoid, Dr. Husain discourages the use of:

  • Optical brighteners (they can lead to skin irritation)
  • Industrial-strength bleach solutions (Household bleach, when used correctly, is fine.)
  • Laundry pods

Laundry pods, although convenient, aren’t a safe option for households with babies, since the packets are easy to drop, misplace or accidentally leave in baby’s reach.

“Unfortunately, these are becoming a source of poison and toxicity in young children who are attracted by the bright colors,” Dr. Husain says. “The detergent in single-use laundry packets is very concentrated, so even a small amount can be harmful.” She recommends sticking with traditional powder or liquid laundry detergent until your children are at least five to six years old.

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.