As much as I love my babies, I’ll be the first to admit it; it isn’t all flowers and rainbows. Especially not the flowers part! Those sweet, innocent, beautiful babies are sometimes massive stink machines! Whether it’s because of something that they ate, or a leaky diaper, their clothes get put through the ringer. That’s why I always make sure to use the best baby detergent I can get my hands on to keep their clothes as fresh and clean as possible!
But what makes one detergent better than another, you might ask. Aren’t they all the same. And to that, I would say, ABSOLUTELY NOT! There are some big differences between the quality, makeup, and usage of different baby detergents, which make some more effective than others. In this article, I’ll lead show you what goes into making the best detergents on the market, and provide you with some great examples of great detergents.
Best Baby Detergent (Updated)
Number of Loads
(*) Below, you'll find my detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Types of Detergents
Basically, you can either choose your detergent in either liquid or powder form. I personally use a tag team approach with my detergents, using powders for certain types of clothes and liquids for others. I do this because each type of detergent has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Powder - Powder detergents are generally more powerful than their liquid counterparts, making them perfect for heavy or tough stains. They can also be measured really precisely, which will you to make sure that you don’t end up wasting any.
Liquid - Liquid detergents are easier to store and quicker to use, and will work great for general use. These types of detergents also allow you to pre-treat stains, which helps on tough stains.
What To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Detergent
There are lots of different factors that go into the making of a good detergent, and it isn’t all just stain fighting. If you would like more information on what to look for in a detergent, please take a look at this video.
1. Washer Compatibility
At my house, we have a high-efficiency washer, or HE as you’ll see on detergent packaging, and we love it! However, if you have an old hand-me-down washer or an older model, make sure that you don’t use an HE detergent, and if you have an HE washer, be sure to use a detergent designed for that type. Otherwise, you’re baby’s clothes won’t come out the way you want them to.
While you might think that the smell of lilacs or sunflowers smells just divine, the odds are that your baby won’t! Different smells can make babies crabby, which in turn will make for an unhappy mama. Besides, the chemicals used to create those lovely smells might cause an allergic reaction in your baby. Speaking of which…
3. Gentle For Sensitive Skin
Whatever detergent you decide to use on your little one’s clothes, be sure that it specifically states that it is designed to be hypoallergenic or for sensitive skin. That way, you can get your little one’s clothes fresh and clean, all while making sure their sensitive skin stays happy and healthy.
4. Stain Removal
I know this is somewhat obvious, but let me explain. I have said many times that not all detergents are created equal. Aside from smells and washer compatibility, this is the biggest issue lots of detergents have.
To put it plainly, they just don’t work well on hard to remove stains. Stains that, as a parent, you’ll see lots of as you wash your baby’s clothes. Pee stains, poop stains, and spit up, just to name a few, and they are tough to get out! You always need to be sure that you are using the toughest stain remover or you’ll be throwing your money away.
5. Softener Compatibility
Baby’s clothes are, as a rule, extremely soft, which only makes sense, since that’s how babies are as well. To keep your baby’s clothes feeling as soft as possible, you can use a good fragrance-free fabric softener. Just be sure that whatever softener you pick is compatible with your detergent choice as well. Usually, all you need to do to guarantee their compatibility is to buy the two from the same company.
6. Number of Loads Per Package
If you’re anything like me, you want to make sure that you stretch your money as far as it will possibly go. All of the detergents that I use are tough on stains, but not my wallet. That’s because I make sure to get detergents that will stretch a good long way, letting me use less to get more loads of wash done.
Top Five Baby Detergents
The Good: It’s natural, it’s powerful, and a little bit of it goes a long way! Rockin' Green, which you can check out here, is a powdered detergent that was primarily designed with cloth diapers in mind. Since it was designed to get stains out of diapers, it works great on clothing too, all without ruining the clothes in the process.
The Bad: Rockin’ Green only comes as a powder, which might not work for some users. While it is a powder, and a little bit of it goes a long way, is a bit more expensive than some other detergents. Rockin’ Green is also designed for HE washers, so it might not work well for someone who has an older model washing machine.
The Long and Short of It: Rockin’ Green is an extremely powerful baby detergent that is great at removing stains without damaging clothing. However, it only comes as a powder and should be used in a high-efficiency washing machine to get the best results possible.
The Good: This detergent from Dreft, which you can look into here, is one of the most popular brands of detergent for babies. If you are looking for a detergent that will be good for your newborn’s extra-sensitive skin, this will be a great choice for you. This detergent is also specially formulated to be used in any washer, making it good for you even if you don’t have an HE model.
Even if your baby has outgrown the newborn stage, you can keep using this detergent since it will be strong on stains, or you can bump up to the Dreft’s other detergents which are designed for older babies. They have a detergent for active babies or for bigger kids too.
The Bad: While it has a lot of really good qualities, this particular detergent uses a lot of perfumes, which some users might find a bit overpowering. However, what some may find to be overpowering, others might find quite pleasant. Simply do a sniff check before you purchase to see if this detergent will work for you.
The Long and Short of It: A great detergent that comes in multiple formulas based on your baby’s development, it can be used in any washer. This soap has a strong pleasant odor, which some users may find overpowering.
The Good: Of all the detergents that I have ever tried, all is near the top as far as powerful stain fighting power is concerned. In my experience, even though it is a liquid detergent, you don’t need too much of it to remove even the toughest stains. Since it has been formulated for use with babies, this detergent doesn’t use a ton of scents, although it does have a barely noticeable pleasant odor to it. If you are interested in this detergent and would like more information, you can do so here.
The Bad: While I have always found that this detergent goes a long way for its package size, it still will not give you the sheer number of loads that some other types of detergents might. That fact, combined with a higher price, might make this a better backup soap than an everyday kind of soap.
The Long and Short of It: An extremely powerful, and expensive, detergent that won’t go a long way, all might be a better fit for an every once in a while soap for really tough stains.
The Good: This detergent from Seventh Generation was designed for people who like all natural ingredients in their cleaners. It is 95% derived from plant based materials and doesn’t use any chemical whiteners or dyes. This design makes it great for any clothing that requires a gentle, yet powerful, approach to keeping them looking their best. This detergent, which is available here, is especially good for cloth diapers.
The Bad: While the detergent works well, it doesn’t go especially far and is a bit more expensive than some of the others that I have tried out. Each bottle of the detergent is only good for about 53 loads of wash, making it one that you will have to repurchase often to keep yourself well supplied.
The Long and Short of It: While this natural detergent from Seventh Generation is good for not damaging clothes while cleaning them thoroughly, it comes in a smaller and more expensive bottle, which will not give you as many loads as some other detergents.
The Good: If you are looking for a good workhorse kind of detergent, then this offering from Purex might be the right fit for you. It is dye free, and dermatologist approved, making it perfect for your baby’s sensitive skin. It is also really cheap, making it possible to stockpile the stuff for everyday use.
The Bad: While it is cheap, and is great to have on hand for normal stains, this detergent will not work for heavier stains. I found that I had to pretreat, wash, and rewash to get out some tougher stains using this detergent, and who has the time for that!?
The Long and Short of It: If you want a cheap detergent for normal, everyday stains, then Purex, which is available here, will work well for you. If you want a detergent that will remove extremely tough stains with one washing than you might be disappointed.
What A Fresh Idea!
And there you have it! I hope that through this article I have helped guide you to the best baby detergent for you and your family. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll get to spend a little bit less time washing clothes, and a lot more time with those babies that you love so much!
If you have any comments or questions or have another great recommendation for a baby detergent, let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!