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15 Gentle Baby Laundry Detergents Are Still Tough on Stains

Yes, they can be effective!

baby sitting in laundry basket
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Babies have notoriously sensitive skin. They get rashes at the drop of a hat, they burn easily, their bug bites get huge, and as parents, we hate that for them. That's why when many of us are shopping for laundry detergent specifically made for baby clothing, we're looking for something with their sensitivities in mind.

What to Consider

All baby laundry detergents are made the same, right? Wrong! But what exactly makes one a good fit for your little one? I contacted dermatologist Anna Chacon, M.D., to fill us in on a few key elements to look for in your baby's next laundry detergent. She tells Best Products that while babies don't necessarily need a specific laundry detergent, those who are showing sensitivity may want to consider something special.

Chacon says that in that case, you’re going to want to look for one that is free of dyes and fragrances, noting that these are best for those who “are prone to allergies or have an atopic tendency, meaning that they tend to suffer more frequently from asthma, hay fever, and/or atopic dermatitis.” Have a baby who breaks out at the drop of a hat? Dye- and fragrance-free are undoubtedly the way to go.

There’s something else important to consider here, says Chacon, and that is that “some products that are called fragrance-free or unscented may still have masking fragrances.” And that “hypoallergenic products such as detergents may still be irritating in children with sensitive skin and may still rarely cause a contact allergy.” So you might need to try a few different options if your little is super sensitive.

Other than that, it's genuinely all about what will get out those stubborn stains. Because let's be real, babies are stain-producing machines. We've made a list of the best gentle baby laundry detergents that are fierce on stains and sensitive to your baby's needs.

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Best for Newborns
Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent
Dreft amazon.com

• Loads: 32 (pack of 2)

This detergent was specifically formulated with newborns in mind. It's extremely gentle on your baby's skin yet unforgiving when it comes to tough stains. Shake in some of your Blissfuls In-Wash Scent Booster by Dreft, and you'll never want to stop washing your baby's clothes and blankets with this stuff!

More: These Are the Natural Kid Shampoos You Should Stock Up On

Best for the Environment
Dropps Small Loads Baby HE Natural Laundry Detergent Pods
dropps Amazon.com

• Loads: 250

At .13 cents a load, this is just genius. Not only does Dropps make “small loads” pods (because baby clothes are so small), but their Baby HE formula is made for baby's sensitive skin. 

Dropps pods are approved by the EPA’s Safer Choice program and are scent-free, dye-free, enzyme-free, chlorine-free. And they're guaranteed to work on even the toughest of stains: cloth diapers.

More: Here's Why We Love Dropps

Best for Sensitive Skin
Babyganics Baby Laundry Detergent
babyganics amazon.com

• Loads: 60

If your baby suffers from eczema, you don’t want anything irritating their sensitive skin. Babyganics’ plant-based detergent is nonallergenic and rinses out clean, so there’s no itchy residue left behind. Plus, it’s super-concentrated, so you’ll get 60 loads from this small container!

Best Stain-Fighting Formula
Seventh Generation Baby Natural 4x Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation amazon.com
$21.20 (24% off)

• Loads: 53 (pack of 2)

Breast milk, formula, spit-up, and of course, dreaded diaper blow-out stains require special attention. Seventh Generation's quadruple-enzyme detergent breaks down whatever your baby leaves behind and gently lifts and washes it away.

Best Pump Detergent
Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
Puracy amazon.com

• Loads: 96

Formulated with plant-based enzymes, this natural option offers clean and easy use with every single load. The pump provides foolproof measurement (sans spills!), and you won't have to worry if the baby on your hip swings her hand right into the detergent. It's super gentle for sensitive skin, yet fierce enough to fight off unwanted stains on your little one's favorite outfits.

Best Soak
OxiClean Baby Stain Fighter
Oxi Clean amazon.com
$7.96 (20% off)

• Loads: 65

This version of OxiClean is made specifically for stains that become common when you have a little one at home. From grass stains to baby food spills and diaper blowouts, this formula can be applied to a smaller stain with a toothbrush prior to a wash cycle or mixed with warm water for a soak cycle. 

Parents recommend letting stained baby clothes soak overnight in this formula. 

Best Cloth Diaper Detergent
Rockin' Green Platinum Series Dirty Diaper Detergent
Rockin' Green amazon.com

• Loads: 90

This powdered laundry detergent is the perfect product to keep on hand if your baby wears cloth diapers. It's formulated with enzymes and ingredients that will go hard on stains but won't harm delicate cloth diapers.   

Pro-tip: It’s also great for washing sweaty hats. Something this baby laundry detergent really gets the “nasty” out of things, and we love it for that.

Best Scented Formula
Mrs. Meyer's Baby Laundry Detergent
Meyer's Clean Day amazon.com

• Loads: 128 (pack of 2)

This cruelty-free detergent contains naturally derived ingredients in the formula, so you'll feel fantastic about freshening up your baby's onesie collection with it. You'll get so addicted to the smell, too. 

Amazon's Choice
Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda
Nellie's amazon.com

• Loads: 100

This Amazon favorite has more than a thousand raving reviews from loyal customers. The tin contains enough all-natural laundry soda (aka sodium carbonate) for 100 loads of laundry (whoa!), and you might be able to stretch it even more with your baby's tiny wardrobe.

Nellie's also has a baby version of the detergent around the same price point. The ingredients are just about all the same, but you'll be able to wash more than 20 more loads with the traditional laundry soda, so we recommend this larger container over the specific baby detergent.

Best Multipurpose Soap
Dr. Bronner's Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Dr. Bronner amazon.com

This certified organic (and vegan!) cleanser does more than just your baby's laundry load. Once diluted, you can also use this olive- and coconut-oil-based liquid soap for bath time, to wash your baby's bottles, and for cleaning up around the house, too. You'll want to keep a bottle near the nursery and in the laundry room.

Best Biobased Formula
Amazon Brand Mama Bear Gentle Baby Laundry Detergent
mama bear amazon.com
$15.80 (28% off)

• Loads: 53 (pack of 2)

Your little one's clothes won't have a single trace of their first spaghetti dinner when you use the Amazon brand Mama Bear Gentle Baby Laundry Detergent. The stain-fighting enzymes lift hard-to-clean residue while the gentle formula handles your tots' clothes with care instead of chemicals. 

Best Powder Option
Molly's Suds Laundry Powder
Molly's Suds amazon.com

• Loads: 70

Feel good about it, Mama! Grab your favorite essential oil and add a few drops to this natural laundry powder for the ultimate clean. The fragrance- and dye-free powder is formulated with Earth-derived ingredients, making it perfect for babies with ultra sensitive skin.

Best Fragrance-Free Formula
The Honest Company Baby Laundry
Honest Baby Honest

• Loads: 70

When it comes to cleaning your tiny human's clothes, removing stains is a top priority. While your baby isn't sipping on fizzy Lambrusco, you'll be happy to know that the Honest Company Baby Detergent actually works for the whole family's stains. 

Plus, the Honest Company's lab tests their natural, plant-derived detergent on every tough stain imaginable, like jam, mud, coffee, and wine.

Best for the Whole Family
All Free + Clear Laundry Detergent
All Amazon.com

• Loads: 31

If you'd rather stick with a familiar brand, you can't go wrong with All Free + Clear. It's not a baby laundry detergent per se, but many new moms won't let anything else touch their newborn's clothing. Plus, it's readily available everywhere you shop.

Best Hypo-Allergenic Formula
Dapple Baby Laundry Detergent
Dapple amazon.com

• Loads: 68 (pack of 3)

Your little tot is new to the planet, and their skin is sensitive. Dapple Baby Laundry Detergent goes easy on their skin but is tough on hard-to-remove stains like the regurgitated strained peas or casual Sunday morning poop explosions that can totally ruin your favorite baby onesies. Best of all, it's free of toxins like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and chlorine — without compromising the cleaning power. 

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