Love Your Clothes: Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Recommendations

I love that moment when you arrive home, and as you come in the front door, a lovely fresh fragrant smell engulfs you. Freshly washed laundry! Just like freshly cut grass, the smell of clean laundry always brings me joy.

Over the past couple of years I have slowly been switching out household products to a more eco-friendly option, one at a time. Taking it step by step is easier than all in one go, as of course often the more eco-friendly options can be more costly. Refill is also a great option, but if you try and carry everything all in one go, it may well put you right off! 

Saywood's pastel orange and lemon Lela Shirt, laid on a table, showing the upper body only, with clementines and lemon fruits lying on top of the shirt.

Laundry detergent, I was pleasantly surprised to find, was really quite easy to switch. That fresh laundry smell can become quite particular, so finding one that has a great and lasting smell was important. Finding one that left clothes soft, not cardboardy, and actually cleaned well too, I thought might be tricky. And making sure that the detergents didn’t become irritable on the skin after washing too (I did try one that was really irritable!) But I found quite a few options that I would really recommend. So here they are, my favourite eco-friendly washing detergents, all with less chemicals, better packaging, and all round more planet friendly:

Kair - I had seen Kair on Instagram; once I saw it, it just kept popping up. Kair has beautiful packaging, it is memorable. Having watched them for a little while, I was contacted by their lovely marketing team to see if I wanted to try some of the products. I really did! And whilst they did gift me 3 items to test, I really did love the product and would certainly continue to use it.

Kair comes in beautifully frosted glass bottles, and the scents are just divine. The smell of their products really resonates down the hallway and I just love it - the everyday detergent I use is wild juniper and bergamot, and the delicates/ silk/ wool is cedarwood, amber and iris. I didn’t have to use any additional conditioner either, they left the clothes feeling just as soft as if I had - although Kair does do conditioner too. And they do a beautifully scented refresher spray, which I would really recommend; no need to wash your clothes after every wear (unless they get dirty), a little air and a spritzer always freshens them up for a couple more wears. Plus they have refill pouches you can order too!

Kair is a little more costly than other detergents, but their products have a luxe look and feel, making laundry day feel a bit special. They are a new brand, so as they grow, prices may come down, but I do think their product is worth it, even if you use Kair for those sometimes needed luxe days, and have an everyday option on the side. And Kair’s tagline is definitely something that resonates: Long love your wardrobe.

Dials of a washing machine, with Kair and Ecover products on the shelf above.

Ecover - I have to give Ecover credit as this was the first eco brand I went for. I used their conditioner and delicate liquids, and they too smelt delicious. I still have the first bottles used - they’ve become the refill bottles. I was a little wary at first, as I heard there wasn't much scent to be had, but I disagree. The scent is good… maybe the products have developed since the early stages. The great thing about Ecover is that it is readily available in the supermarkets, and often in refill shops too. So it’s a really easy transition. And the price has come down since it first hit the shelves. It still costs more than your Fairy and Persil for example, but it is definitely a much more comparable price to transition on. Accessibility and affordability is a closer reality.

Smol - The subscription service. I really liked Smol, but I’ll admit, subscription service on laundry isn’t my thing. I personally prefer purchasing when I’m ready, but I imagine for a lot of people, laundry and home product subscriptions are a brilliant way forward. You can have separate subscriptions for each product too, which makes sense, as different household items will run out at different times. 

The scent after washing was good. The detergent comes in little capsules that dissolve in the wash, no plastic! You have to put them in the back of the washing machine at the bottom (ideally before you put the laundry in the drum); I was terrible at forgetting to do this. I kept forgetting to add conditioner too, as that goes in the drawer, but again, the laundry wasn’t stiff on the occasions I forgot. I think once you get used to it, it’ll be a breeze.

And they arrive through the door in cardboard packaging, which is recyclable. There’s even a clever child lock function.

Fill - I came across Fill in our local refill shop, and it did not disappoint! The fragrance is delicious, and it leaves the clothes fresh and soft. The non-bio liquid can be used for normal machine wash and hand wash, which is really handy. The price point is quite competitive, again a little more than conventional laundry detergents, but more attainable. And the great thing about Fill, if you have some storage space at home, you can purchase larger bag-in-box amounts at 5L and 10L directly from their website, which is a good saving on the individual bottles. Plus, they have a few tips and tricks on their website to help you create cleaners out of goods you might already have at home.

An orange and red woven laundry basket sits in front of a washing machine. On top of the basket lid lies Saywood's Etta Oversized Shirtdress in red check. The lilac collar is open and the Saywood label can be seen.

The world of eco-friendly laundry is much better than it was 10 years ago. There’s more competitive options, and more accessible options in terms of local stores, supermarkets and online. And with the rise of refill, hopefully this will become even more accessible. There is definitely a growing market, and as more small brands start to pop up, we will have more options available.

As with everything, it is about finding the solution that works for us as individuals - the solutions have to be sustainable for us too. It has personally taken me a bit of a journey to go from what I was regularly and comfortably using, to slowly switching over and finding what works best for me. These are my favourites that I’ve come across so far. Have you found an eco-friendly laundry detergent that works for you yet?


You can find out more about our clothing care tips and circularity on our Caring For Your Clothes page.

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