The Best Zero-Waste Laundry Detergent Review (Eco-nuts, TruEarth, BunchaFarmers, and 7th Generation)
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Ready to make the swap to a more eco-friendly, natural, low-waste laundry detergent but don’t know where to start? I got you!
In today’s post, I’ll be reviewing four eco-laundry detergent brands: soap nuts, Seventh Generation, TruEarth, and BunchaFarmers.
I was inspired to make this video after I was kindly gifted 3/4 of these brands. A huge thanks to TruEarth and BunchaFarmers for their products and to our friends for the bottle of the Seventh Generation. I already had the Eco-nuts on hand so I figured, why not compare the four? I will be comparing them on three areas: how eco-friendly is the product/brand, how clean it gets my clothes, how cost effective is the product. Those will all be on a scale of 10 and I will complete each brand with an overall average score as well.
One last thing, these are all my opinions. I was not paid by any of these brands to endorse these products. These are my own thoughts on how these products work and my own thoughts on their eco-friendliness. I also used each product for a minimum of a month.
That being said, let's get started!
Eco-nuts Review/Soap Nuts Review:
I love my soap nuts! They were one of my very first swaps after we got rid of our big liquid bottle of artificially scented gain detergent. I was so intrigued by them since they are completely natural and can be returned to the earth after use. I was bummed by the first brand I tried since it still came in a plastic bag within a cloth bag. But, this second brand I tried (INSERT BRAND) came plastic free! This makes soap nuts completely plastic-free AND they can be composted at the end of their life which makes their carbon footprint virtually nothing (though not completely nothing depending on where you live in the world and where you buy them from).
To use them, you place 3-6 berries/nuts in a small laundry bag and add it to the wash. The water and motion make the nuts suds up and they wash your clothes! The best part is that the berries last several loads and then you can add them to your compost pile.
I found that they get a really good clean, too. After all, I used them for nearly two years before even contemplating trying other options and I only wanted to try other options for the sake of this video/post! They suds up when added to water and can even be used to clean dishes, too, but I find they clean my clothes really well without leaving them smelling artificial. Our clothes have never smelled bad using them.
Virtually zero waste
Can be composted
Fabric bag can easily be reused
Last a long time
Cost effective ($36.00 for the bag which is $1.06 per ounce and you can use the berries longer than they say you can. A bag can be up to 500 loads!)
Can be used as a soap throughout the rest of the house
Not easily accessible, have to order online most of the time
Not a strong smell, if any smell
Some brands come with non-recyclable plastic bags
Grown usually in India and have to be shipped throughout the world resulting in a sometimes larger carbon footprint
Zero-waste rating: depending on the brand 10/10 (if you can get a brand that ships their products plastic-free, this is a completely zero waste option since they can be composted)
Cleanliness rating: 9/10 (not quite as sudsy as commercial soaps, but definitely gets clothes very clean)
Price rating: 10/10 (you can get 3-6 uses per 3-6 nuts/berries making one box/bag of nuts/berries very affordable and cost effective!)
Overall rating: 9.67/10
BunchaFarmers Detergent Review:
A big thank you to BunchaFarmers for gifting me some of their products to try back in the spring. You can find the full video review here, but I will still talk a bit about their detergent here. This detergent is a great option for those who are new to zero waste because it’s not something as weird as soap nuts. BunchaFarmers is a concentrated powder and you only need a small amount to get the job done. They use all natural and organic ingredients that are safe for pets and kids.
One downside is the plastic, though it is recyclable or it can easily be upcycled! I keep mine around in case I need it as it is a nice container. A plus, though for those living in the US or Canada is that all of their products are made in Canada so shipping emissions will be lower than those coming from Asia.
Low shipping emissions (for those living in North America)
Strong scent comparable to commercial detergent
Good price to quantity ratio
$16.95 per container
$00.49 per ounce
32 to 142 loads per container
Not sold in many stores, probably have to order online
Zero waste rating: 7/10 (plastic container plus plastic scoop but balanced out with organic ingredients. While the product isn’t necessarily zero waste, the company does all it can to be sustainable)
Cleanliness rating: 10/10 (got my clothes very clean and even left a strong smell on my clothes after the matter as well)
Price rating: 10/10 (very affordable for what you get and they offer two sizes)
Overall rating: 9/10
Seventh Generation Detergent Review:
I just want to start by saying that I by no means think that Seventh Generation is a zero waste brand. I want to dive into this in a later post, but for the sake of this laundry detergent brand compassision, I wanted to add them to the mix. I did this mainly because a friend gifted us this bottle but also because this is the most easily accessible brand on this list. Every other brand has to be ordered online but you can snag this at your local Walmart or Target. If this if your only “eco” option, you should go for it over something like Tide, for example.
That being said, I liked this detergent. It was comparable to things like Tide or Gain without all the hidden ingredients. They use essential oils and other natural ingredients, but, like BunchaFarmers, it still comes in plastic (though recyclable). It left my clothes feeling and smelling clean and I thought it did a good job. I think this is another great swap for beginners as it is basically the same thing as Tide but slightly more sustainable.
But, Seventh Generation’s parent company is Unilever, which looks “green” in comparison to companies like Coca Cola and P&G, but that doesn’t make them zero waste. They do do things like get Rainforest Alliance certifications for their teas and work towards sustainably sourcing their palm oil, which are good small steps to see from large companies, yes, but still not great.
Easily accessible in almost every store
Comparable to commercial detergents
Easy to use like “normal” detergents
Essential oils vs artificial fragrances
Owned by a larger, ultimately more wasteful company
Comes in plastic that is hard to upcycle
Zero waste rating: 4/10 (better than most detergents, but not close to the others on this list)
Cleanliness rating: 10/10 (left my clothes feeling very clean and fresh)
Price rating: 10/10 (good price for what you get)
Overall rating: 8/10
This is a brand I had been hearing about for a while but I was waiting for my soap nuts to run out. But, then I was gifted the other two brands, so I figured, why not get a fourth brand to add to this review? A big thank you to TruEarth for gifting me their concentrated laundry strips to review and compare to these other brands.
First off, I love this idea! I love that they come in cardboard, require no water (meaning less emissions when shipping) and are all natural as well. They are also very compact which is great if you live in a small space or can’t do heavy lifting either. I also love their variety of scents including natural, unscented, and baby scented. All left my clothing smelling and feeling fresh and are very easy to use.
To use these strips, you tear one square in half along the perforation. One strip = one load! The strip works like a bar of soap; when water is added, it turns to soap! You could even tear the strip in half for a small load. From my experience, I would tear the strip into a few pieces so that it doesn’t get any potential gloop on your clothes (this happened on my first load, but no worries, it wiped off very easily).
Comes in cardboard (recyclable or compostable)
Concentrate means no water (water means it is heavier and requires more fuel for shipping)
Natural materials and biodegradable (great for camping)
Made in Canada (less emissions for those living in North America)
A little on the pricier side
Not sold in many stores, probably have to order online
Zero Waste Rating: 9/10 (Very low waste, but still not perfectly zero waste)
Cleanliness Rating: 9/10 (Left my clothes clean, but the sheets left a slight residue)
Price Rating: 7/10 (Quite pricey in comparison to the other brands, not the most affordable)
Overall Rating: 8.3/10
Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you found this helpful and this helps you find the best brand that works for you and your family. I encourage you to try another brand if the first one doesn’t work for you!
If you’d like to read more brand reviews, don’t forget to check out the following:
As always, remember that the small changes you make have a big impact in the long run :)