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The Great Laundry Escape

The Great Laundry Escape

Posted on 03. Jul, 2009 by in Laundry, Products

I am very excited about this post. This is what I envisioned as the meat of this site. Switching my daily products to a natural or organic alternative and posting a review and breakdown of those products.

And so I start if off with the great laundry escape. An escape from the daily norm to a natural or organic norm. Looking for ingredients that are naturally based, not chemically produced, as well as ingredients that are sustainable and biodegradable, benefiting both the body and the environment we live in. I felt laundry was a great place to start since we are in contact with it for such long periods throughout the day.

Alas, here are my findings
I have compared and contrasted seven different detergents and three different dryer sheets. I gave them each a pass/fail grade based on my personal preference and have also mentioned the ingredients in each. The areas I graded them in were: Stains, Cleanse and Scent for the detergent and Static, Soft and Scent for the dryer sheets.

  • Stains: I wanted to see how they performed with the everyday stains; dirt, bbq sauce, ketchup and junk.
  • Cleanse: I looked at how bright and fresh the clothes were as well as the smell.
  • Scent: Because I am quite particular about smells (some people think I’m weird), I put a lot of weight into how the detergents smell and whether I like it or not. Ultimately this would be what I was going to smell all day long, so I want a fresh, clean smell, nothing to fragrant or strong.
  • Static: Pretty much what it implies, how staticy or not the clothes were.
  • Softness: I was interested to see how soft the clothes were in comparison to our usual dryer sheets.


  Price Stains Cleanse Scent
Seventh Generation
Free & Clear – 32 oz
Ingredients: Aqua, sodium laureth sulfate, coconut alcohol…
Free & Clear – 50 oz
Ingredients: Corn & Coconut Oil Based Cleaners
Arm & Hammer
Essentials Mountain Rain – 50 oz
Ingredients: Baking Soda, coconut-based surfactants…
Seventh Generation
Eucalyptus & Lavender – 50 oz
Ingredients: Aqua, sodium laureth sulfate, coconut alcohol…
Ultra – 51 oz
Ingredients: Plant-based soap, non-ionic/anionic surfactants…
Ultra Lemongrass – 50 oz
Ingredients: 100% natural anionic coconut oil-based surfactant…
Mrs. Meyers
Lemon Verbena – 64 oz
Ingredients: Water, plant-derived surfactants, cotton extract…
  Price Static Soft Scent
Seventh Generation
Free & Clear Dryer Sheets
Ingredients: Di-hydroxyethyl methyl-ammonium methyl sulfates…
Mrs. Meyers
Lemon Verbena Dryer Sheets
Ingredients: Vegetable-derived softening agent, essential oils…
Arm & Hammer
Essentials Mtn. Rain Dryer Sheets
Ingredients: Biodegradable fabric softening agents…


The Ingredients
What we need to pay attention to are the ingredients. What I found with a lot of natural detergents are they don’t specifically list the ingredients, they only say “plant-based cleaners” or “plant-based surfactants” or “plant-based soaps”. I’m sure this is better than the harsher chemical detergents but I would still like to know exactly what a “plant-based surfactant” or “plant-based soap” consists of. However, there are a few that do a good job. Seventh Generation was very explicit about their ingredients, which I love, but I don’t like that there is sodium laureth sulfate. I know there has been debate about this ingredient and it’s family members; sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate and they haven’t been proven to be a carcinogen or too harmful but given the chance I would prefer other natural ingredients. Ecover, Ecos and Mrs. Meyers all have done very good in this respect with the latter being my choice.

Mrs. Meyers - Lemon Verbena

Mrs. Meyers - Lemon Verbena

In Conclusion
I was very pleased with all of the products I tested. Everything cleaned real well and was effective on stains. I think most of them would be very suitable for any household laundry need, especially for those who want a more natural, healthy product.

The issues I had were with the scent of a couple of them (remember I am weird like that). They were the eucalyptus/lavender scents and the only problem is they were a bit too flower-ish or patchouli-ish for my liking (kinda crazy, I know). Other than that I loved em! I have highlighted my favorites in blue so you can see the ones I prefer.

I would love to hear what your thoughts or experiences have been with natural laundry detergents. Please share away in the comments section below. Also if I have misstated or misunderstood anything please let me know, I would be happy to know any facts I am not versed in.

Happy washing!

2 Responses to “The Great Laundry Escape”

  1. Kim

    18. Feb, 2010

    Thanks for the review of these products. I just wanted to say that Ecover dishwashing soap makes an excellent body wash and shampoo also. It is economical, mild and cleans well. There are many “organic” shampoos and body washes that are very expensive and still contain SLS and other undesirables.

    Reply to this comment
  2. The Active Organic

    25. Jul, 2010

    Kim, thanks for the comments! I agree there are still a lot of products that have SLS in them. From everything I have seen and have researched there are a few that are great. I have used Ecover and Ecos most recently and have really enjoyed them! As I go through this journey I will be sure to post and share my findings so we all can discuss.

    Reply to this comment

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