People with sensitive skin already know how extra cautious they need to be when choosing proper skincare products, but that level of awareness is also important beyond the bathroom. In fact, the soap you use to clean your clothes can also trigger inflamed skin. To make it even easier for you to know if the liquid or powder formula you're using is safe, the best laundry detergents for eczema come with a "free and clear" label, which means they are all 100% fragrance- and dye-free.
Shopping for a detergent for sensitive skin is a lot like shopping for an eczema-safe body soap: start by looking at the product's ingredients. Specifically, you'll want to look for hypoallergenic detergents that avoid known irritants like artificial fragrances, dyes, and/or colorants (Look for that all-important "free and clear" label as a quick short cut). Similarly, you can also scan for is a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association (NEA) as a good indicator.
The type of detergent you choose will be based on personal preference, but think about your household's laundry habits as you weigh costs and features. Liquid detergents dissolve quickly and can often be easier to measure out (look for a pod or a specially designed cap to make the process even more convenient). Powder detergents are still an affordable alternative, but they have come along way from the cardboard boxes of the past — modern versions are made with minimal ingredients and able to dissolve in cold water. If you're eco-minded, you can find green options made with less plastic and primarily plant-based ingredients, just note you will likely need to spend a little more upfront.
Below, you'll find a list of the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin. They're all formulated for those who are eczema-prone and will still ensure your clothes and sheets come out fresh and clean.
1. The Overall Best Liquid Detergent
Having earned an impressive 4.7 stars after more than 6,600 ratings on Amazon, this concentrated All Free and Clear detergent is not only a great value (you should be able to get 110 loads clean with this 83-ounce bottle), it's favored by many shoppers because it keeps their sensitive-skin needs top of mind. It's free of synthetic fragrances and dyes, and also claims to remove 99% of top allergens from your laundry (think pet dander, grass, and tree pollens). This version of All is accepted by the National Eczema Association. One other benefit to this pick is it part of the brand's "Stainlifters" family, which works to get rid of tough stains with in-wash pre-treaters, so you don't need a separate stain remover.
One helpful review: "We have people in our house with psoriasis and eczema which really limits what detergent we can use. All Free and Clear doesn't irritate our skin and does the job of getting even the grossest toddler clothes clean."
2. The Best Eco-Friendly Detergent
Though this Seventh Generation detergent has many of the same qualities as the pick above — there are zero artificial fragrances, dyes, and brighteners — it's higher cost-per-use (this version contains enough liquid for up to 66 loads) may be worth it if you are looking for an environmentally friendly option. It's formulated with plant-based enzymes that, as shoppers confirmed, "works great on stains." In addition, it boasts a Leaping Bunny cruelty-free seal, and has earned a USDA-certification as being a 99% bio-based product, meaning it's made from renewable materials. Plus, the bottle is more compact, which not only means it's easier to handle, there was less plastic used to make it. The ultra-concentrated formula means you won't need to use nearly as much, and one reviewer even called its "easy dose" cap "genius" because it helps you squeeze out the exact right amount every time.
One helpful review: "Was a little concerned that this ultra concentrated version would not clean my clothes as great, or that I would have to use more than recommended, but that has not been the case. Typically, I will use one 'squeeze' for a normal load, and 2 'squeezes' for very dirty clothes or extra large loads. My clothes always come out clean (even my messy toddler's clothes!). I have a front-loading HE washer and this product works great with it."
3. The Best Powder Detergent
If you prefer to use a powder laundry detergent, this one by Charlie's Soap is an excellent option that's free of fragrance, brighteners, fillers, and dyes . And though it's made with only four-plant based and biodegradable ingredients, it's still a powerful and hypoallergenic cleaner that has earned more than 2,500 five-star ratings from Amazon users who rave that their clothes come out looking "like new" after one use. Using the suggested 1 tablespoon dose, the bag featured here should give you enough soap for 100 loads of laundry. Just note, if you're running a cold cycle, the water needs to be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results (for reference, the average cold cycle is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Bonus: The brand suggests the powder can also be used to clean residue off of the interior surfaces of your washing machine itself — just throw a scoop of it in with a load of rags and run a hot cycle.
One helpful review: "I did a lot of research on products when I was pregnant. When it came to laundry I needed something that worked, and was safe for me and my baby. That meant scent and dye free. But I also wanted something that was safe for the environment. I have sensitive skin and turns out my baby does too. I tried a few different soaps but this was the only one that didn't trigger my eczema. My clothes are clean, works well on stains and no residue to irritate my skin. I'm happy and won't use anything else."
4. The Best Laundry Pods
For a convenient option, these Tide pods are pre-measured for you, so all you have to do is drop the recommended amount into your washer and you're good to go (depending on the size of your load, you can get as much as 73 uses out of this container). There are no synthetic fragrances or dyes included in the ingredients and this hypoallergenic pick has been given the seal of approval from both the National Eczema Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation. In addition to being a cleaning agent, these pods are formulated with Downy softener, which means your clothes will also be much softer overall. The detergent has an impressive 4.8 stars across more than 9,000 ratings, with many of them from people with eczema and other skin sensitivities. One tip mentioned by several reviewers: Place the pod in the machine before adding clothes on top. Otherwise, it may not fully disintegrate, leaving residue on your top-most clothes.
One helpful review: "Not only do these do a great job cleaning our girl’s clothes but they also are great for my hubby’s sweaty workouts clothes, our dog’s muddy towels, etc, etc. These rarely leave a stain uncleaned, dissolve well, and while they’re fragrance free, they do a good job of getting unpleasant odors out of dirty clothes.
You May Also Like: A Free & Clear Fabric Softener
This plant-based fabric softener reduces static cling and softens your clothes without synthetic fragrance, dyes, or animal-derived products. Like the Seventh Generation detergent, the softener is a free and clear product and USDA-certified bio-based, which is good for your skin and the environment. Fans appreciate that the softener is truly scent-free.
One helpful review: "There are some eczema issues in my family and we have to use all fragrance free products with gentle ingredients and this is one of the softeners that meets that qualification. No eczema issues are triggered when we use this softener and towels come out nice and fluffy..."
You May Also Like: These Fragrance-Free Dryer Sheets
Finding eczema-friendly dryer sheets can be a challenge with so many fragrant picks on this market, but these hypoallergenic ones by All are accepted by the National Eczema Association. They're free of perfumes, dyes, and residue and specially treated to leave fabrics static-free. Reviewers note that you'll rarely need to use more than one sheet per load to get rid of cling and add a little softness to your threads.
One helpful review: "These work just like the scented dryer sheets without all the heavy perfume. It’s great to be able to have static free clothes right out of the dryer. Glad to have found these, was doing without due to husband’s allergies to heavy perfumes. Would recommend these to everyone."
This article was originally published on