The 12 Best Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin of 2022

All Free Clear removes stains without irritating your skin.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

12 Best Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin of 2022

Amazon

If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to irritation, or you’re living with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or eczema, it can be hard to find a product that doesn't worsen your symptoms. Even though studies show 60–70% of women and 50–60% of men have sensitive skin, most laundry detergents still contain irritating chemicals.

Reviewed & Approved

All Free Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent is our top choice because it’s free of perfumes and dyes yet is still tough on stains. Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent is a great pick for people with eczema, as it was recognized by national skin care associations since it’s safe to use on irritated, sensitive skin.

Choosing the right detergent for your sensitive skin begins with knowing what to avoid and what to look for. You’ll want to avoid irritants such as dyes, fragrances, surfactants, and preservatives. “These are added chemicals that do more harm than good to your skin health. And while artificial fragrances smell good, they can irritate your skin,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. 

Products made for sensitive skin are often labeled “free and clear,” “hypoallergenic,” or “scent and dye free.” Labels like these can help you streamline your search. After that, check to make sure you don’t have a specific allergy to anything on the ingredients list. Products with fewer ingredients may be less likely to irritate your skin than those with a long list of chemicals. Liquid detergents may also be better than powders because they are easier to rinse off. 

Everyone’s skin is different, so it might take a bit of trial and error to find the best detergent for your skin. To speed up that process, we consulted experts, conducted research, examined ingredients, and interviewed people with sensitive skin to help you find the best laundry detergent. It’s worth noting that we’ve included detergents that have formulas we don’t define as fully clean. That’s because many of these ingredients make detergents efficient in removing stains, dirt, and debris from your clothes. We’ve narrowed down a list of laundry detergents for sensitive skin that will still get the job done when it comes to cleaning your clothes. 

Here are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: All Free Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent

All Free Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: This is an affordable, hypoallergenic detergent that is highly rated by skin care authorities, dermatologists, and people with sensitive skin. 

It's Worth Noting: Clothes may come out stiff after use in washing machines. 

All Free Clear laundry detergent is our best overall pick for sensitive skin because it’s affordable, hypoallergenic, and free from perfumes and dyes while still being tough on stains and dander. This detergent is endorsed by the National Eczema Association. Despite being a liquid detergent, it's not messy and is readily available from most stores. Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, recommends this product for people with sensitive skin. 

This sensitive skin detergent is also great for people with significant allergies, as it removes up to 99% of allergens such as pollen, dust mite matter, and pet dander. It’s worth noting that it doesn't contain softeners, so your clothes may be a little stiff after a wash. And while its lack of perfume is great for mitigating skin reactions, you may miss the lingering fresh scent on your clothes after washing.

Price at time of publication: $18

Product details: 

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Unscented 
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best for Eczema: Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent

Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: Tide’s Free and Gentle laundry detergent is recognized by national skincare authorities and is free of fragrance or dye. 

It's Worth Noting: Dispensing may be messy.

Most detergents for sensitive skin seem to trade irritation for washing ability, but Tide Free and Gentle checks both boxes. This product is made with minimal chemicals (just 13 on its ingredient list) and is designed to keep skin safe. Recognized by the National Eczema Association and National Psoriasis Foundation, it's a good start for anyone looking for a product designed especially for people with eczema. 

Gibran Shaikh MD, a dermatologist with The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, recommends Tide Free and Gentle because it’s hypoallergenic and contains no dyes or perfumes, which is great for sensitive skin. 

It's available in two formulas for regular and high-efficiency washing machine use. However, its unscented formula may be a turnoff to some who prefer a fresh scent, and its wide-mouth dispenser could get messy when you go to fill your detergent dispenser drawer. 

Cost at time of publication: $13

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Unscented 
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Eco-Friendly: Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: It’s an eco-friendly, cruelty-free detergent that has zero artificial dyes, fragrances, or artificial brighteners.

It's Worth Noting: It’s a bit more expensive than similar brands. 

This Seventh Generation laundry detergent is gentle on sensitive skin while also washing well. It’s our pick for best eco-friendly detergent because it’s free from artificial fragrance, dye, and brighteners. Optical brighteners in detergents (which are ingredients used to make the color of your clothes appear brighter) are not only more likely to irritate sensitive skin, but they’re also bad for the environment because they’re not biodegradable.

Seventh Generation Concentrated detergent is USDA-certified as a 99% bio-based product, EPA Safer Choice certified, and has a cruelty-free seal from Leaping Bunny. Its customized bottle also helps you get the exact amount of detergent you need for each wash with minimal waste. 

Its cost per load is higher than similar brands, but if caring for your skin while preserving the planet is your goal, it's definitely worth considering.

Cost at time of publication: $30

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Unscented 
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Hypoallergenic: ECOS Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent

ECOS Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: This product is extra gentle on sensitive skin, environmentally friendly, and safe for pets. It’s a plant-based product that washes well without exposing your skin to harsh chemicals. 

It's Worth Noting: It has a scent of magnolia and lily, so if botanicals aren’t your thing, we recommend looking elsewhere.

While most of the products on this list are hypoallergenic, ECOS Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent is our top pick because it’s a powerful plant-based product that's both hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. It omits all the chemicals and irritants that often lurk in many products marketed for sensitive skin, such as dye, formaldehyde, brighteners, and phthalates. 

Debra Jaliman MD, board-certified dermatologist, assistant professor of dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist," recommends this plant-based detergent because it's hypoallergenic, has no dyes, and is good for people with skin sensitivities. 

We love that it’s completely vegan and features coconut as a lead ingredient. However, it smells of magnolia and lilies. If you’re not interested in botanical scents, we recommend opting for an unscented detergent on this list. 

Price at time of publication: $31

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Magnolia and lily
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Smelling: Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Plus Fresh Scent

Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Plus Fresh Scent

Walmart

Why We Like It:  This detergent leaves your clothes with the fresh scent you’re used to without the irritation that often follows.  

It's Worth Noting: It may not be great for whites. 

Arm & Hammer’s Sensitive Skin Plus Fresh Scent laundry detergent is great for people who have sensitive skin but don’t want to give up a fresh-clean scent on their just-washed clothes. This product is designed to be gentle on your skin and tough on dirt and stains while leaving your clothes smelling their best. Elizabeth Mullans, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Uptown Dermatology, recommends this product because it's unlikely to lead to further irritation and has a 100% SkinSAFE rating. 

The product is dye-free and can be used with all washing machine types at all temperatures. It also has eco-friendly recyclable packaging and isn't tested on animals. However, it may not be great at fully-cleaning whites. We recommend saving this one for your colored clothing loads.

Price at time of publication: $14 

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Fresh
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Plant-Based: Method Liquid Laundry Detergent

Method Liquid Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: This dermatologist-recommended laundry detergent is made from plant-based ingredients and is biodegradable. 

It's Worth Noting: Only the Free + Clear option omits dyes.  

Method Liquid Laundry Detergent is a plant-based hypoallergenic, biodegradable product designed to be gentle on your skin. It has a concentrated formula, so a little goes a long way. And it looks out for the planet as this product is not tested on animals, and its bottle is made from recycled plastic. Plus, Dr. Graaf recommends this product for patients with sensitive skin. 

In addition to the fragrance-free option called Free + Clear, it also has a range of botanical scents, including lavender cypress, beach sage, and ginger mango. However, only the Free + Clear option comes without dyes. If dyes have been known to irritate your skin, opt for the Free + Clear version.

Price at time of publication: $15

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Scent: Unscented and scented options
  • Dye-free: Dye-free and dye inclusive options 
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Powder: Charlie's Soap Natural Laundry Powder

Charlie’s Soap Natural Laundry Powder

Charlie's Soap

Why We Like It: This product has a short ingredient list and is free from synthetic fragrances and dyes. 

It’s Worth Noting: If your water is hard, it may not be as effective at cleaning your clothes. 

While liquid detergents are often better for sensitive skin, a powder detergent can be more affordable and easier to ship. Charlie Soap Natural Laundry Powder is hypoallergenic and free from dyes and synthetic fragrances, which makes it unlikely to cause flare-ups or skin irritation. 

We also love that this product is eco-friendly. Charlie’s Soap laundry detergent is EPA Safer Choice certified and, unlike most powder detergents, it won’t leave a residue. A little goes a long way, so you can save money in the long run on an already affordable product. However, it’s worth noting that if your water is unusually hard, it may not get your clothes as clean as you’d like. 

Price at time of publication: $12 for 50 loads, 1.3 pounds

Product details:

  • Type: Powder 
  • Scent: Unscented
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best for Removing Stains: Persil ProClean Laundry Detergent

Persil ProClean Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: It’s both tough on odor and gentle on sensitive skin. 

It's Worth Noting: It contains some irritant chemicals.

Detergents for sensitive skin typically struggle to remove stains and dirt. But Persil Proclean Power Liquid Laundry Detergent Sensitive Skin is exceptional because it cleans effectively yet is unlikely to irritate your skin. It removes all kinds of stains, including red wine, proteins, and oils, which isn’t always easy to find in a formula made for sensitive skin. It’s also great for washing heavily soiled clothes and removing strong odors.  

This product is dye- and perfume-free but has a strong scent. It combines the power of the original Persil detergent with a hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested formula. But doing this means compromise on both sides—it may still cause reactions, and it's not as strong as the regular formula. 

It works in cold water and with all kinds of washing machines. Some irritants, including sodium borate and polyethyleneimine, are still part of the formula. So your skin may react to it, especially if you are sensitive to any of its ingredients.

Price at time of publication: $15

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Scent: Intense Fresh
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Pod: Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Laundry Detergent

Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Laundry Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: These pods are fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and safe for babies as well. 

It's Worth Noting: This detergent may not be the best for delicate fabric or heavily soiled clothes. 

Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Laundry Detergent was created for sensitive skin, pets, and babies. It’s famous for having no scent whatsoever. Made from plant-based ingredients, it cleans gently without exposing your skin to harmful chemicals. And it's free of fragrance, dye, enzymes, paraben, optical brighteners, phthalates, and phosphates. It's also not tested on animals, so it’s cruelty-free. 

If you’re partial to scented liquids, this detergent may take some time to get used to as it won’t leave any smell on your clothing and it requires tossing the pods straight into the tub of your washing machine. Some users say they like to dissolve the pods in warm water to improve results. Also, it’s worth noting that while these pods may work better for natural fabrics like wool, silk, and cashmere, they may not be the best for delicate or heavily soiled clothes. 

Price at time of publication: $16

Product details:

  • Type: Pods
  • Scent: Intense Unscented
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best Sheets: Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

Amazon

Why We Like It: These laundry sheets are gentle on skin, and are made by a socially and environmentally conscious company.

It's Worth Noting: They may not be great for clothes that are heavily soiled. 

If you want an environment-friendly product, then laundry detergent sheets may appeal to you more than liquids. They don't use plastic bottles, take up little to no space, and are easy to carry around. Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets are some of the best laundry detergent sheets around for people with sensitive skin. And the scent-free option is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. The product is also free from phthalate, phosphate, bleach, dye, and paraben. 

We love that Earth Breeze’s laundry sheets are vegan, cruelty-free, and have a carbon-neutral footprint. In addition to its notable eco-friendly efforts, Earth Breeze has a social program which donates ten free loads to those in need with every purchase. There’s also a 100% product guarantee and refund if you aren’t completely pleased with your purchase. 

On the other hand, this product may not be the best for clothes that need deep cleaning, like athletic wear or uniforms. However, we think these sheets are a great option for washing everyday clothes. 

Price at time of publication: $16

Product details:

  • Type: Sheets
  • Scent: Unscented and scented options
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best for Handwashing: Sensitive Home Laundry Detergent

Sensitive Home Laundry Detergent

Sensitive Home

Why We Like It: It's hypoallergenic and recognized by leading authorities in skin care.

It's Worth Noting: It may not be available at all stores. 

Sensitive skin can react to the slightest whiff of irritant chemicals. So when you want to use a product for handwashing, it has to be extra gentle and free from irritants. It also helps if the product has been rigorously tested and recognized by the leading authorities on sensitive skin and chronic skin conditions. 

This plant-based product is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and recognized by a host of skincare authorities. It has been awarded the National Psoriasis Foundation Seal of Recognition and The National Eczema Foundation Seal of Acceptance. It’s also EPA Safer Choice certified and has EWG “A” rating. 

The formula is 100% biodegradable, with the Free & Clear option containing no fragrance or dye. It also has scented versions in lavender sage and lemon zest, which are bio-based fragrances and not made from synthetics. 

Some people have concerns about its plastic packaging, and (despite its accolades) some users who are specifically sensitive to sulfates may react to this product. However, we think this product will do the job nicely for most sensitive-skin customers. 

Price at time of publication: $11

Product details

  • Type: Sheets
  • Scent: Unscented and scented options
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

Best for Babies: Dreft Pure Gentleness Liquid Baby Detergent

Dreft Pure Gentleness Liquid Baby Detergent

Amazon

Why We Like It: It has a plant-based formula that’s recommended by pediatricians.

It's Worth Noting: It might not handle tough stains and contains some irritant chemicals. 

Dreft has a range of great products for people with sensitive skin. If your baby or child has sensitive skin, this product may be right for them. Dreft Pure Gentleness laundry detergent has a gentle, hypoallergenic, plant-based formula that pediatricians recommend. It contains no dyes, chlorine, phosphates, fragrances, or brighteners and works in all washing machines—even in cold water. This detergent is also made with renewable electricity and is recognized as a US EPA Safer Choice product. 

Although this product is formulated for babies, some children may still react to its ingredients as it contains chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium borate. Also, it may not be as tough on stains as other baby laundry detergents. However, if your baby is experiencing skin reactions, we think a few stains are worth the trade. 

Price at time of publication: $20

Product details

  • Type: Liquid
  • Scent: Unscented
  • Dye-free: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

How We Selected

We interviewed expert dermatologists who told us what to look for when buying a detergent for sensitive skin. They then gave us product recommendations. Based on their advice, we examined the ingredients, reviews, and common considerations of people with sensitive skin to narrow down the best options.

What to Know About Detergents for Sensitive Skin

Key Ingredients

There’s really no one-size-fits-all ingredients list, as allergies and sensitives will vary from person to person. But products recognized by skin care authorities such as the National Eczema Association and National Psoriasis Foundation are likely to be safer for people with sensitive skin than those that aren’t.

Ingredients to Avoid

Although any ingredients in detergent could irritate your skin if you’re allergic to them (including plant-based detergents), fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and surfactants are usually the main culprits. Though manufacturers often try to mask their ingredients, we suggest keeping a sharp eye out for these ingredients: dyes, phthalates, optical brighteners, and synthetic fragrances.

It Might Take Some Trial and Error to Find the Best Detergent for You

Although the products we’ve shared are designed for sensitive skin, there’s no way to predict how your skin will respond to them until you try them. A product that has rave reviews may trigger or worsen your specific flare-up. It may take a while to find the perfect product for you. Sometimes even a plant-based product may not work for you, and one considered stronger or irritating may be mild on your skin.

How to Avoid Irritation When Using Laundry Detergents

To avoid irritation when using detergents, there are some precautions you can take:

  • Wear protective gear like cleaning gloves where possible. Gloves can be a barrier and protect your skin from direct contact with chemicals. 
  • Add an extra rinse. Whether you’re washing by hand or with a washing machine, an extra rinse can reduce the amount of chemicals left on the clothes and reduce your risk of being exposed to irritants. 
  • Consider using a hypoallergenic fabric conditioner. Fabric conditioners or softeners can make clothes less irritating to your skin. 
  • Measure detergent correctly. Aim to use the right amount of detergent, and when in doubt, aim for a lower amount. Using the right amount of detergent makes it easier to rinse away and less likely to irritate you.

Your Questions, Answered

What kind of laundry detergent is best for sensitive skin?

The laundry detergent that's best for sensitive skin contains no irritant chemicals. “People with sensitive skin should avoid fragrances and dyes in detergents. Other possible allergens, including surfactants or preservatives, can also be irritating in some people,” says Jason Miller, MD of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New Jersey.

The easiest way to find these detergents is to look for those that are fragrance-, dye-, and brightener-free. Brands labeled “hypoallergenic,” “free and clear,” and “for sensitive skin” are a good place to start.

What Does a Laundry Detergent Allergy Look Like? 

A laundry detergent allergy may look different for each person. A laundry detergent allergy—also called contact dermatitis—may look like a red, itchy rash in areas where the skin touches the clothing that has laundry residue. The rash may be worse in areas that rub against the clothing. For example, the rash on the skin around the armpit that rubs against a shirt while sparing the vault of the armpit, says Hadley King MD, board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

What Laundry Detergent do Dermatologists Recommend?

Dermatologists recommend hypoallergenic detergents that are free from fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. They also recommend detergents recognized by the National Eczema Association, National Psoriasis Foundation, or other professional bodies.

Who We Are

Dr. Nsisong Asanga is a physician, mother, and freelance writer. Her work has been published by WebMD, VeryWell Health, Healthline, Insider, SELF, and other platforms. Nsisong has sensitive skin and cares for people who do. She loves to search for the best products and share tips to help others keep their skin healthy. 

Was this page helpful?
Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Do LH, Azizi N, Maibach H. Sensitive skin syndrome: An update. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2019;21(3):401-409. doi:10.1007/s40257-019-00499-7

Related Articles