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Ecological rating of laundry detergents

Published in October 2020.

What is this article about?

Find out the eco-friendliness of dozens of brands of laundry detergents. The rating includes sustainable palm oil policy, the presence of aquatoxic chemicals, the use of recycled packaging, and the company's overall environmental ethos.

This page is an annex to the article: Choosing healthy and eco-friendly personal care and home care products, where you will find our methodology to rate the eco-friendliness of home and personal care manufacturers, as well as a list of toxic chemicals often found in cleaning products.


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How are products rated?

Brand Ethos includes the company's ecological values and its commitment to sustainability beyond other factors rated in other columns. Ecological brands that are carbon neutral (or even better carbon positive), have a reforestation programme, an efficient waste reduction system, or donate part of their profits to environmental charities (e.g. 1% for the Planet) obtained an A grade.

The company's palm oil policy is one of the most important factors in the global environmental impact. Vast palm plantations in Southeast Asia have caused untold ecological devastation, destroying the tropical rainforest and its biodiversity. According to ASAP 235 animal species are on the brink of extinction in Southeast Asia, including the Javan and Sumatran rhinos, the Sumatran tiger, and 80% of primates in the region, such as the Bornean Orangutan. This is why it can make a real difference to use products that do not contain palm oil derivatives (ideally) or at least choose sustainable palm oil. Companies can source their palm oil responsibly in part thanks to the criteria established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Companies that use unsustainable palm oil did not get a A rating even if all other categories were outstanding.

Aquatoxic substances were rated from A (safe) to G (most toxic). Only chemicals rated D and above are listed, as those from A to C are considered reasonably safe. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is abbreviated as SLES. Whenever the composition does not specify the type of surfactant, the rating is set as D as the most common anionic surfactant is SLES (D) and the most common amphoteric surfactants is Cocoamidopropyl Betaine (D).

The health hazard column consists mostly of allergens and skin irritants, although some of the most noxious chemicals have also been linked to general body toxicity, endocrine disruption and cancer. In addition to being an allergn, Butylphenyl Methylpropional (aka Lilial) is toxic, an endocrine disruptor with suspected of damaging fertility, and accumulates in the body over time. Bronopol and DMDM Hydantoin are both formaldehyde releasers with potential carcinogenic effects. They can cause respiratory irritation, asthma and allergic skin reaction.

Isothiazolinones are the most common allergens. They are also biocides and therefore toxic to the environment. The most aquatoxic are Benzisothiazolinone (BIT) and Octylisothiazolinone (OIT). They are listed only in that category to avoid listing it it in both columns. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) and Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) are less toxic to water life but more allergenic and are consequently listed under health hazard. All four are listed by their acronyms. Alpha-isomethyl ionone is another allergn that is also toxic both to the enviornment and to human health, although less in known about it.


Ecological ratings of laundry detergent brands

Best value A-rated laundry detergents

Ecover Black & Dark (1L bottle)

Ecodoo (5L bottle)

Sodasan (1.5L bottle)

Liquid Laundry Detergents

Product Brand Ethos Recycled bottle Palm oil Aquatoxic substances Health hazard RATING
Sodasan A+ 100% RSPO - - A+
Ecover Black & Dark
(S.C. Johnson & Son)
A 100% RSPO - - A+
Bio-D B 100% RSPO
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • - A-
    Ecodoo
    (Ekibio)
    A+ 100% RSPO
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • - A-
    Ecover (Non-)Bio
    (S.C. Johnson & Son)
    A 100% RSPO
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • - A-
    Ecover Wool & Silk
    (S.C. Johnson & Son)
    A 100% RSPO
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • - A-
    Etamine du Lys B 50% RSPO
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • - A-
    Greenscents (all types) B no, but refill 0%
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • - A-
    Attitude A no, but
    carbon neutral
    not RSPO - - B+
    Ecover Colour
    (S.C. Johnson & Son)
    A 100% RSPO
  • Laureth-6
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • - B+
    Frosch (Rainett) A 100% 0%
  • Laureth-7
  • SLES
  • - B+
    Sonett (all types) B no organic - - B+
    L'Arbre Vert (all liquid types) A no RSPO
  • Dimethicone
  • SLES
  • - B-
    ECOS Hypoallergenic PLUS with enzymes B 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Phenoxyethanol C+
    Ecoleaf
    Suma
    B 100% RSPO
  • Alcohol ethoxylate
  • BIT
  • - C
    Ecozone B 100% RSPO
  • PPG-5-Laureth-5
  • SLES
  • Phenoxyethanol C
    ECOS Hypoallergenic B 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • MIT C-
    ECOS Hypoallergenic Baby B 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • MIT C-
    ECOS Ultra Concentrated Hypoallergenic B 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • MIT C-
    Le Chat Baby
    (Henkel)
    C 50% partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - C-
    Le Chat Sensitive
    (Henkel)
    C 50% partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - C-
    Maison Verte (liquid) A- 100% not RSPO
  • Dimethicone
  • SLES
  • - C-
    Seventh Generation (all types) A 100% RSPO
  • Laureth-6
  • BIT
  • MIT C-
    Method Laundry Detergent
    S.C. Johnson & Son
    A 100% not RSPO Alpha-isomethyl ionon, BIT Alpha-isomethyl ionon, MIT, Phenoxyethanol D+
    Tandil Color
    (Aldi)
    B 70% RSPO
  • C12-15 Pareth-7
  • BIT
  • Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  • SLES
  • MIT D+
    Comfort Pure
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • DMDM Hydantoin D
    Comfort Blue
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Lilial, DMDM Hydantoin D
    Dreft ECO
    (BlueSun)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Phenoxyethanol D
    Fairy Washing Liquid
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - D
    Persil
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone D-
    Persil Sensitive Skin Almond
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT D
    Skip Sensitive Skin
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • C12-15 Pareth-7
  • Phosphonates
  • SLES
  • - D
    Comfort Sunshiny Days
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Lilial D-
    Dreft Everyday Care
    (BlueSun)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Benzyl salicylate, Lilial D-
    Surf Tropical Lily
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Lilial D-
    MIR Black
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E+
    Omo (most types)
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E+
    Coral Optimal Colour
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • OIT
  • Phosphonates
  • MIT E
    Bold 2 in 1 Gel
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Benzyl Salicylate E
    Dash Colour 2-in-1
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone E
    Dreft Ultimate Care
    (BlueSun)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • MIT E
    Skip Ultimate Active/Fresh Clean
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Lilial E
    Surf 5 Herbal Extract
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Benzyl Salicylate, MIT E
    Woolite Sensitive
    (Reckitt Benckiser)
    C no some
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • MIT E
    X•TRA Total
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E
    Ariel Washing Gel Original
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Ethanolamine, MIT E-
    Japanese Cherry Blossom Laundry
    (Carrefour)
    C no some
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Benzyl salicylate, MIT E-
    EXPERT Blue
    (Carrefour)
    C no some
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E-
    Dixan Colour
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • MIT E-
    Ariel Colour
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Dimethicone
  • Phosphonates
  • SLES
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Ethanolamine, MIT F
    Ariel Original
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Dimethicone
  • Phosphates
  • SLES
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Ethanolamine, MIT F
    Bonux 3-in-1
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl salicylate, Ethanolamine, MIT F
    Omino Bianco Sensitive
    (Bolton Group)
    D no not RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Bronopol F
    Omino Bianco Black Care
    (Bolton Group)
    D no not RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • CMIT, MIT F
    Omino Bianco Heart of Marseille
    (Bolton Group)
    D no not RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • CMIT, MIT F

    Laundry Capsules

    Product Brand Ethos Recycled box Palm oil Aquatoxic substances Health hazard RATING
    L'Arbre Vert (capsules) A no RSPO - Ethanolamine C-
    Dreft Platinum Pods
    (BlueSun)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (C10-13)
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - D+
    Dixan 4-in-1 Disc Extreme Power
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • - D+
    Persil 4-in-1 Discs Colour
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - D+
    Persil Duo Caps (Colour/Universal)
    (Henkel)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - D+
    Fairy Washing Pods
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - D
    Maison Verte (capsules) A- 100% not RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Ethanolamine D
    Persil (capsules)
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Benzyl Salicylate D
    Bold All In One Washing Pods
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Benzyl Salicylate D-
    Ariel Original All-in-One Pods
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Dimethicone
  • Simethicone
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Lilial, Ethanolamine E
    Dash All-in-1 Pods
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (C10-13)
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone E
    Dash Platinum Pods
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (C10-13)
  • Phosphonates
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone E
    Daz (capsules)
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Lilial E
    Modere Laundry Detergent D- no not RSPO BIT CMIT, MIT E-

    D : Avoid if possible

    • Ace
    • Bounce
    • Cascade
    • Cheer
    • Era
    • Gain
    • Rindex 3 in 1
    • Tide


    In the same report


    Choosing healthy and eco-friendly personal care and home care products

    Ecological rating of washing-up liquids and dishwasher tablets

    Ecological rating of home cleaning products

    Ecological rating of hand soaps, body washes, shampoos and conditioners


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