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What's the Best Eco-Friendly Detergent?

By gabrielleblair |

Vaska cleaning products eco friendly detergent

Friends. I have a question for you. Have any of you tried Vaska cleaning products? Their clean and crisp packaging caught my eye (it’s true, packaging design is a major influencer in my buying decisions) and now I’m curious.

I’m on the hunt for a really good eco-detergent. I’ve tried 3 different kinds so far with varying results, but none seem to be as efficient as my tried-and-true Tide.

What about you? Have you discovered a low-maintenance, earth-wise detergent that really gets out the stains? If yes, please share! I’m not kidding about being on the hunt. And if you’ve tried Vaska products, I’d love to hear what you think.

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About gabrielleblair

gabrielleblair

gabrielleblair

Gabrielle Blair is author of the popular Design Mom blog and a founder of Kirtsy — an influential social media community for women. Gabrielle also blogs at Babble's Family Style. She lives with her husband and six children in Normany, France. Read bio and latest posts → Read Gabrielle's latest posts →

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26 thoughts on “What's the Best Eco-Friendly Detergent?

  1. Lisa says:

    i haven’t tried vaska but also like the packaging. i do use and love Rockin’ Green http://rockingreensoap.com/ for our cloth diapers and everything else!

  2. findingmagnolia says:

    We use Biokleen, and aside from a really intense berebere (Ethiopian hot pepper) stain, it has gotten out everything. I just use the regular detergent as a pretreatment for stains, and there’s no need for a second product. I keep a small bottle of it in our bathroom linen closet, which is where our dirty clothes hamper lives, and rub it into stains at the end of the day as I’m tossing items into the hamper. By wash day (up to a week later), the detergent has worked its magic, and stains come out.

  3. nicky says:

    using the lavender one right now. i love the smell and the clothes come out naturally soft from the dryer better than any detergent i’ve tried before. however, it is not getting out stains (like on my daughter’s cotton bibs) very well. i think i am going to go back to tide as well. maybe save this for lighter washes? i have been on the hunt for the perfect eco detergent forever too!

  4. marlena says:

    I use Method which you can get at Target. I especially LOVE the packaging of the pump – it’s a small, cool-looking and easy to use pump that has 50 loads in it and you almost can’t believe it because it’s so SMALL. The baby version smells delicious too. And the bonus is that my plumber tells me to use half the amount they recommend in my machine, which means one small container is 100 loads of laundry for about $12. You can’t lose! As for stains I use OxyClean spray which gets out just about everything with my extremely messy 3.5-yr-old daughter (paint, soup, markers, glue, dirt, etc).

  5. stephanie says:

    I am in love with Charlie’s. It works really, really well. Love it. http://www.charliesoap.com/

  6. Alicia says:

    Homemade! I make laundry soap using pure soap (like ivory), borax, washing soda, and water. There are countless recipes online, and you can add essential oils if your family isn’t sensitive to it for scent (we like lavendar oil). To brighten whites (and disinfect the washing machine a bit) we add a cup of vinegar to the load. It takes about 20 minutes total to throw together a few gallons (and I find that 20 minutes even as a full time working mom of 3 very small boys), and you use about 1/4-1/2 cup per load – one batch lasts my family about a month. In addition to being detergent free and environmentally friendly, it is so cheap that it’s nearly free.

    Many stains can be removed by pouring boiling water on the stain, but you can also make a paste of hot water and baking soda (add a little hydrogen peroxide and you have basically made oxyclean) and scrub that on the stain or do a few hours’ soak in the washing machine in hot water and baking soda.

  7. bdaiss says:

    I’m with Marlena – I love Method and their handy dandy pump. I really truly truly love Seventh Generation the mostest, but aside from one specialty store (which charges double what they should) it’s hard to find here. So Method is my usual choice. And oxy-clean. Which isn’t so environmentally friendly, but using it on tough stains is more friendly than all the clothes I’d have to toss if I didn’t. : )

  8. Elizabeth Aquino says:

    I think the only detergent that works nearly as well as Tide and is still affordable, especially for a big family, is Seventh Generation. You can even get it at Target now for under $20 (for the big one!). If I have stubbornly stained clothing I’ll put one of those new Tide stain removers gel things in with it, but there’s a part of me that thinks I’m succumbing to a scam with them!

  9. JenniferL says:

    I really, really like Dropps detergent. They discontinued carrying it at my local grocery store and Walmart, but I order it in bulk on Amazon and it turns out its cheaper that way. I love that it come in predispensed packets that doesn’t get your hands messy or soapy from a leaky cap and they are totally portable with you on vacation. I use OxyClean’s Max Power gel stick for more intense stains (even ones I missed the first time) but on its own, the Dropps clean our clothes very, very well. And, the scent-free, color-free version was just fine for my youngest baby, so no need to pay extra for the Dreft! Plus, you only have a small bag to recycle when they’re gone instead of a big, soapy, messy detergent bottle! Love it!

  10. Janet says:

    Recently started using Ecos, found at Costco, and so far I like it (but it’s still pretty new so I can’t say for sure): http://www.ecos.com/ecosliquid.html#spec

  11. Kate says:

    Another vote here for Charlie’s Soap! Now, it is completely unscented — I mean VOID of all smell — so if you like your clothes to come out smelling like something other than plain old clothes, then it won’t be for you.

    But it works great for all of our family’s clothes and even our cloth diapers, too. I now buy it in 4 gallon drums off Amazon. It only takes a tablespoon per load, so 1 of those drums will last you a LOOOOONG time.

  12. jo says:

    i use seventh generation or method, and both seem to work well enough for me. we don’t ever seem to have any stains so terrible that these products won’t get them out.

  13. L says:

    I love this stuff. http://www.nelliesallnatural.com/
    And the packaging will make you swoon!
    We love it and feel great using it! We also use the dryer balls.

  14. AEL says:

    We got Soapnuts for a mild baby detergent, and liked it so much that now it’s all we use! We originally got the liquid concentrate from NaturOli (http://naturoli.com/) but are currently using the less-concentrated Maggie’s Liquid (http://www.amazon.com/Maggies-Soap-Nuts-Liquid-32-ounces/dp/B001HXG0M6/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1294430613&sr=8-5). We like that, in addition to working really well on all kinds of stains, the soapnuts are totally naturally-derived and make our clothes really soft, so that we don’t need fabric softener.

  15. lou says:

    yes! this is a topic in the front of my mind! ^_^
    glad to hear i’m not the only lady who’s into laundry soap! hehee

    top 3:
    -sapodilla. this is my favourite. i get it at whole foods (it may be local – we’re in vancouver). i love the mint/rosemary one. it’s awesome. http://www.sapadilla.com/default.aspx
    -method (but the pump drove me crazy, it wasn’t easy to get the soap out as i have to angle it to get into the soap dispenser and the pump didn’t like the angle).
    -seventh gen.

  16. hb says:

    Another Charlie’s Soap vote! In addition to the things the others have mentioned, I’ve noticed it seems to last a long time–one small bag lasted me 3- 4 months! ($12/bag) But the thing I love most about Charlie’s is that it doesn’t bother our childrens’ eczema AND our clothes never have a static problem. I tried to go back to Tide when my youngest turned 1 but suddenly our clothes were static-y again and both my boys started getting eczema rashes again. Back to Charlie’s!

  17. helenlam says:

    I use the unscented one (which does have a faint lavender/herbal scent still!) and I really do like it! I think it removes stains well and softens decently too. I don’t use fabric softener anymore…

  18. Heidi says:

    I like method (especially the pump bottle it comes in) I also really like Nature Clean which is reasonably pried and comes in large refill sizes, that are even more economical

  19. Holly says:

    I LOVE Babyganics! I used to use 7th Generation but Babyganics definitely cleans better.

  20. not an only child says:

    Rockin’ Green is great. I started using it for cloth diapers and loved it so much we use it for all our laundry now. It works better that the tide I had always used and it’s Eco-friendly and a family business. http://www.rockingreensoap.com

  21. Nikki says:

    We alternate between Ecos (found at Costco) or Seventh Generation. I’m pretty happy with either.

  22. Elise says:

    Charlies Laundry Soap – hands down! I buy it in the gallon size (liquid – they also sell powder which I hear is great) and shipping is free. I started using it for my son’s rashiness, and it not only cleared that up, but cleaned everything SOOO much better. try it out!

  23. Robin says:

    I use Vaska and love it! It’s made in the SF Bay Area, and I like to buy local products when possible. The lavender scent is lovely…not at all cloying, and it gets my clothes clean. I would definitely recommend it.

  24. Jenni says:

    I’ve been using ‘green’ laundry detergent for 4 years & have used many products… seventh generation, the costco enviro-friendly brand (can’t recall the name), method, etc… but by far my favorite is biokleen.
    My kids (3yo & 1yo) have sensitive skin & this brand has been the best at cleaning yet not irritating their skin.
    Sometime, when I’m dealing with heavily soiled items, I’ll presoak them in Borax & also add some to the wash-load… & there have been very few stains that don’t come out.
    The packaging isn’t as pretty as Vaska, but it’s not repulsive to look at. :)

  25. Lori Orion says:

    +1 for Ecos brand, and +1 for purchasing it at Costco! Very effective detergent, wonderful scent, and great price. I also add Borax for particularly soiled loads. It adds an amazing softness to sheets and towels too.

  26. christina says:

    charlie’s soap! i live overseas [so can't go buying detergent all that often] and love charlie’s soap because it really does last a long time and is so reasonably priced. i buy the powder form and it’s light and easy for someone to bring over to me in their luggage. clothes seem to be perfectly clean! i buy from amazon as well for free shipping.

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