Washing baby clothes is one of the first things you do to prepare for bringing your new bub home from the hospital. And, because babies have beautifully fresh, soft skin, we want to avoid overloading and exposing them to chemicals that may irritate their skin. To keep those tiny little cute clothes (that let's be honest, tend to endure a fair bit of bodily fluids!) in tip-top shape, you need detergent that's effective but also gentle and non-irritating. In this article we'll show you how to choose the best laundry detergent for babies, to keep their clothes clean, soft, smelling great (and not bad for the environment either)!
Choosing the best laundry detergent for babies in Australia
1. What to look for in a detergent
In general, choosing the best laundry detergent for babies shouldn't be hard - but you need to know what to look out for. You'll want to make sure the detergent you choose is free of harsh chemicals dyes and perfumes. These can cause irritation on sensitive skin and may even cause allergic reactions. If possible, look for ingredients that are hypoallergenic or fragrance-free as well. You may also want to avoid products with enzymes or optical brighteners since these can irritate baby's sensitive skin as well.
2. Washing routine
We recommend washing baby clothes at least once every two to three days or so—or of course when they're visibly dirty (we know there's many fluids that tend to find their way on baby clothing in the first few months). This will help keep the bacteria levels under control while still allowing enough time for any stains on the fabric from feeding time to fade away naturally before they become permanent stains from repeated wearing.
The best eco (and baby) friendly laundry detergents in Australia
$0.42 per wash
I really love ecostore detergents! I find them really well-priced and accessible from many supermarkets and pharmacies. ecostore products are free from the nasty ingredients commonly found in laundry products including optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic surfactants, dyes and synthetic fragrances. Plus, their bottles are made from a mix of recycled and sugar plastic.
$0.15 per wash
This divine hand-made laundry powder is proudly made in Victoria in small batches and uses only quality natural ingredients from local producers who respect the earth and the people involved in their production.
Packaged in repurposed glass jars and made from 100% pure coconut oil soap, grated and ground together with washing soda and essential oils, this is a seriously effective as well as super earth-friendly laundry powder. Perfect for use with top and front loaders, cold and warm water.
I've personally used this and absolutely love it - from washing baby clothes to towels, it really lasts a long time (you only need one heaped teaspoon per load) and smells really clean.
$1 per wash
Although on the pricier side, I've loved the Koala products I've used - I think they smell really great! Firstly, I love that this is Aussie made, always a bonus! This biodegradable and eco-friendly plant-derived formula effectively washes without the use of harsh chemicals, and is safe for sensitive skin. Infused with the scents of Australia, it's grey water safe, vegan, cruelty free and palm oil free. Koala Eco products are 100% post consumer recycled & recyclable bottles, meaning there are no new plastics created with each bottle (yay!).
$0.37 per wash
I haven't tried these as yet, however they have a 5 star rating on Flora and Fauna! They are a convenient alternative to laundry liquids and powders. Pre-measured and perfect for travelling and the (sleep-deprived) busy parent, the clever little mess-free sheets dissolve completely and are free from palm oil, parabens, phosphates, added dyes, optical whiteners and bleach. Also vegan and cruelty free with recyclable cardboard packaging.
$0.62 per wash
This pH-adjusted formula is perfect for gentle, but effective cleaning. Created with plant and mineral-based ingredients, this laundry liquid liquid can be used on hot or cold cycles in top and front loader machines. Due to the high concentration formula, only a tablespoon is needed per wash. Also made in Australia without any palm oils, artificial fragrances, or petrochemicals.
$0.16 per wash
Have you heard of soapberries before? This is the ultimate natural solution to washing your babies clothes in the most natural way. Think living-in-the-wild kinda natural.
Often called 'soapnuts', they're actually a fruit from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, which grows in several different regions around the world, but is most prevalent in the Himalayas. The shell of the fruit is then collected, dried and packed for use. The shell is exceptionally high in 'saponin' which is nature's soap. This saponin content reduces the surface tension of the water so it will remove dirt and leave fabrics, soft and clean.
Chemical-free, grey water safe, septic safe, fully compostable and 100% sustainable, their use ensures that deforestation is reduced in the Himalayas. Odourless, hypo-allergenic, naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, soapberries are perfect for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
How to choose what to wash baby clothes in Australia
At the end of the day, there's no blanket rule here for choosing the best eco friendly laundry detergents in Australia. I definitely recommend you try lots of different brands so you can see which one works best for your family and preferences. Sometimes I fall into the trap of loving a product simply because it smells good! But there's lots of considerations here besides the smell - including cost, texture (strip vs liquid vs powder), effectiveness, ingredients and other things that you might personally value such as whether it's vegan and compostable. I hope this list helps you discover your new favourite detergent for washing baby clothes.