The best baby washing powder and detergent for clothes, bedding and toys

The best baby washing powder for clothes, bedding and toys

by Aimee Jakes |
Updated on

When doing your baby's laundry, it is advised to use a baby washing powder that has been specifically designed for a baby's delicate skin, especially if they're suffering from a baby skin condition. Your little one's new skin has so many new experiences in the first few months, so reducing the amount of irritants that come into contact with it is a good way to prevent baby rashes.

It might be a surprise just how much dirty laundry your wee human is capable of producing in their little laundry basket - everything from clothing to bedsheets, muslins, sleeping bags and car seat covers. Not only that, but you'll need to know how to keep baby's soft toys clean too. So, you ideally want a detergent that is strong enough to get those tough stains out in one wash. Having to wash the same item over and over again isn't practical, nor is it cheap.

The best baby washing powder and detergent at a glance:

Best big-brand detergent for little ones: Persil Non Bio tough on stains washing powder - Buy now on Amazon

Best eco-friendly detergent: Earth Friendly Products Ecos Lavender Laundry Detergent - Buy now on ECOS

Best for washing reusable nappies: Bambino Mio, Bright & Mighty Nappy Cleanser - Buy now on Amazon

Best for delicate baby fabrics and items: Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid - Buy now on Amazon

You want something that won't be too harsh on your little one's skin to prevent any unwanted reactions or newborn skin peeling. So what is the best baby washing powder or detergent out there? We've chosen some that are specifically designed for babies' delicate, sensitive skin to help you on your way.

Our pick of the best baby-friendly washing powders and detergents

Best big-brand detergent for little ones

This Non-Bio Persil powder is highly concentrated so you can get cleanliness and softness from just a small scoop. What's reassuring is that the British Skin Foundation has recognised Persil's research and commitment to skin care so you can be sure that Persil's promise to be tough on stains but gentle on your baby's skin is independently supported.

This product is also gentle on the environment: the powder is biodegradable and the cardboard packaging is recyclable. It works well, even on cooler wash cycles, meaning less energy is required.

"This is great value for money," said one reviewer. "The box is made of thick cardboard and is sealed properly so it can't spill unless you tear it open. When you open it it's like a flip lid top, so it's easy to have access to the powder then you can close the lid. If there was one thing I'd add to this product, it'd be a powder scoop. I've used persil non-bio for many years. I wash my baby's clothes in it because it's good for sensitive skin and its scent is lovely and fresh smelling. Persil is the best to get stains out too."

Pros

  • This washing powder is non-bio, making it ideal for babies and sensitive skin.
  • The formula is highly concentrated, meaning you will only require a small scoop.
  • It is effective at removing stains even on cooler washes, reducing energy consumption.
  • It is environmentally friendly, biodegradable and has recyclable packaging.

Cons

  • There are no other scents other than fresh, and it may not be to everyone's taste.
  • This washing powder isn't provided with a scoop which can be inconvenient.

Best eco-friendly detergent

Earth Friendly Products Ecos Lavender Laundry Detergent is hypoallergenic and its ingredients are largely plant-derived - so free from any nasty ingredients that can be harmful to your baby's skin. It's also a two-in-one laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, and a 3 litre bottle will stretch to 100 washes, so it's certainly value for money.

"This eco-friendly laundry product works well, does what it says it will, and I thoroughly recommend. It combines cleansing with conditioning very effectively. It won't tackle really stubborn stains, for which a stain remover is necessary, but for everyday laundry, it is fine and kind to the planet too."

On top of its eco-credentials and suitability for sensitive skin, Ecos laundry detergent also ticks a few other feel-good boxes: it's a company owned by women and the detergent is both vegan and not tested on animals. Available in four naturally-derived scents.

Pros

  • The detergent is made with plant-derived ingredients.
  • It has a two in one formula, which acts as a laundry detergent and fabric conditioner.
  • It is suitable for sensitive skin or allergies due to its hypoallergenic formula.
  • This detergent is vegan and has not tested on animals.
  • It is an environmentally friendly formula.

Cons

  • This detergent isn't as powerful on stubborn stains compared to other detergents.

Best for washing reusable nappies

If you're after a great natural baby washing powder that is antibacterial and helps remove stains, this is the one for you. The Bambino Mio Miocare is an environmentally friendly laundry detergent suitable for sensitive skin. Although designed and advertised for washing reusable nappies, it can be used on whites, darks and coloured laundry and is very effective for washing at low temperatures.

It's free-from nasties such as dyes, enzymes, optical brighteners, and perfumes as it's made from plant and mineral-based ingredients. It's also eco-friendly and is not tested on animals, so you'll be doing your bit for the environment.

"Honestly love this product," said a happy reviewer. "Don't have to worry about my little one's skin getting irritated, but it cleans deeply and greatly ... oh and it smells incredible."

Pros

  • This cleanser is made from plant and mineral-based ingredients.
  • It is gentle on sensitive skin.
  • The cleaner has antibacterial and stain removal properties.
  • It has a fresh scent but includes no artificial perfumes.
  • It works well even when washing at lower temperatures.

Cons

  • Some found stains aren't completely removed in a normal wash with this cleanser.

Best for delicate baby fabrics and items

Ecover Delicate Laundry Detergent is dermatologically-tested, so you can be sure it's safe for your family's skin as well as for the environment. Suitable for fine fabrics, silks and woollens, it was designed to preserve the softness of delicate fibres and protect their colour. It also cares for skin thanks to its plant-based ingredients - there are no nasties such as petrochemical-based ingredients.

"I've been struggling to find a good eco-friendly laundry detergent for delicate fabrics (silk, lace etc.)," said one reviewer. "This product did not fault at all, and I was very pleased with the result and cost."

Another reviewer said: "I have to use this for my daughter's skin as it's one of a few that don't irritate her. I have knocked a star off as shame it doesnt come with a pump or measuring cap as difficult to guage the amount needed."

This detergent is not tested on animals, is biodegradable and its bottle and label are 100 per cent recyclable.

Pros

  • It is dermatologically-tested, making it suitable for sensitive skin.
  • It's a great stain removal whilst also being suitable for delicate fabrics.
  • This laundry liquid is free from petrochemical-based ingredients.
  • It is made from plant-based and biodegradable ingredients.

Cons

  • This laundry liquid isn't provided with a measuring cup which can be inconvenient.

Best alternative to detergent

ecoegg Laundry Egg

Rrp: $15.99

Price: $11.99

Ideal for little ones (and adults!) with dermatological problems, Ecoeggs was developed for people with sensitive skin and to be kind to the environment. Wave goodbye to enzymes, bleach and chemical ingredients that irritate. Designed to completely replace laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, these laundry eggs are fragrance-free, though you can get others with fragrance. Those include Fresh Linen and Spring Blossom but still only carry a 'hint' of fragrance as they are natural fragrances, non-irritant, and non-allergen.

"My son's eczema has much improved over the last few months," said one pleased reviewer. "I'm not sure whether it is definitely connected to changing to the egg, but it is a coincidence that he had terrible eczema for the first two years of his life, and it significantly improved at the same time as switching to this."

The tourmaline pellets inside the egg will last roughly 70 washes before needing to be replaced and refills are available. An added bonus of the egg system is that there is no detergent to clog up washing machine filters and pipes. Bonus!

Pros

  • The Ecoegg is environmentally friendly with no single-use plastics.
  • Ecoegg offers different scents, along with a fragrance-free option.
  • It has been developed with dermatological issues in mind therefore gentle with sensitive skin.
  • The tourmaline pellets replace washing powder and softener.
  • Refill pellets are available so you don't need to buy a new egg every time.

Cons

  • You'll need to remember to replace the pellets approximately after 70 washes.
  • The initial purchase of the Ecoegg may be more expensive but is cost-effective in the long run.

Best stain remover for baby items

Babies and stains go hand in hand, which is why so many people love Napisan - and have done for decades. Napisan Non-Biological Stain Remover works by releasing active oxygen to remove stains, leaving your clothes as white as possible. Not only does it clean, but it also kills the germs you cannot see to leave your baby's clothes more hygienic. You will, however, need to use this on top of your detergent of choice at 30 degrees celsius or above.

"I use it in all my white washes, clothes, linen and bedding for antibacterial and to keep whites white!" enthused one reviewer. "If you haven't tried this product, you MUST, it is better than all of the new whitening and antibacterial laundry products on the market!"

Although powerful, this is gentle enough to use on baby and family items - as parents have been doing successfully now for two to three generations.

"I have used Napisan for years, I used it 40 years ago for my son’s Terry nappies and later to keep his sports wear fresh," said anther reviewer. "It is also great for adding to the washing machine when washing trainers, gardening gloves and other items that need to be really clean."

Pros

  • Great for cleaning all sorts of stains and ousting odours, whilst brightening your clothes.
  • It's biological and germicidal killing 99.9% of bacteria.
  • Napisan can be used on a variety of items including all fabrics.
  • It works in cycle temperatures of 30 degrees and above

Cons

  • Each box is 800g - for the price, some customers expected a larger quantity.
  • It needs to be used on top of your normal detergent for a boost.

Best for sensitive skin

Nimble laundry lover

This detergent is free of practically everything you might want your little one to avoid from parabens to harsh chemicals, enzymes and animal products. Its ingredients are plant-based but it still works wonders on most stains.

"I got this because I was trying to save money by buying in “bulk” but oh my goodness, not only is this value for money quantity wise, it washes SO WELL," said a very happy reviewer. "I started using this for our adult clothing as well whereas they were previously separated. It’s good for sensitive skin as my little one hasn’t reacted at all. I couldn’t be happier."

It's a concentrated formula so 225 washes are possible from this 5L container.

Pros

  • It's concentrated formula offers good value for money with up to 225 washes.
  • It is free of harsh chemicals and enzymes.
  • This detergent is made out of plant-based ingredients.
  • It is allergen-free which makes it good for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Although the bulk size is great value, it maybe inconvenient to store.

What to consider when choosing the best baby washing detergent

There are three main things to consider when choosing a baby-skin-friendly detergent:

Non-bio detergents: Non-bio simply means the product doesn't contain enzymes that deposit in fabrics. Enzymes can irritate sensitive skin.

Liquid detergent: Unlike powder detergents which are made with insoluble ingredients, liquid detergents dissolve easily, so less likely to leave residue behind.

Eco-friendly detergents: Plant-based ingredients found in eco-friendly baby products are very gentle on fabrics and skin. We don't love some mainstream detergents because they contain petroleum-based chemicals.

Expert advice on choosing the best baby laundry products

We've spoken to Von Sy, founder of plant-based cleaning product brand Nimble and detergent chemist. He has over a decade of experience working for the world's largest detergents manufacturer. He shared his thoughts on three main things parents can keep in mind when choosing a detergent for little ones' clothes:

"Through my work in the detergents industry, one of the key things I learned when looking for a detergent to use on sensitive skin is to pick one that will leave minimal residues. Big brand manufacturers often use surfactants (the cleaning ingredient) which are derived from petroleum, which contain heavy metals and other impurities which deposit on the fabrics and can cause irritation for baby's sensitive skin."

A few tips from Von Sy for choosing your washing detergent:

Choose fragrance-free: Do not opt for beautifully scented detergents that use chemical fragrances. Instead, choose ones that are fragrance-free. You can always spray some natural oils, such as lavender, around your nursery to make it smell wonderful. You should avoid adding overpowering fragrances to your baby's clothes and linens.

Try a patch test first: Before you do a whole load of washing with a new detergent, try washing one item, such as a baby sleepsuit or blanket, with the new product first. This way, you'll know straight away whether it has a negative effect on your baby's skin – and be able to pinpoint it to that one item. It's then easy to switch detergents if your baby does have a reaction.

Look at the ingredients: Some common chemical ingredients can be harsh on sensitive skin, so before you buy, check the packaging. Detergents and softeners that use low-toxicity, natural, plant-based ingredients are much more delicate on baby-soft skin.

About the expert

Von Sy Founded Nimble in 2015 after becoming an uncle for the first time. He was shocked at the amount of chemicals used in most cleaning products, so he decided to create an effective alternative which is suitable for families with babies and young children.

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Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.