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25 Worst Liquid Laundry Detergents

woman putting detergent into washing machine

Liquid laundry detergent is produced using chemical raw materials. During production of liquid laundry detergent they following are required, a good formula and a mixing tank. Ingredients required include; bleach agents, phosphate, anionic surfactants, dye, preservatives, fragrance, phosphonate derivatives etc.

2/3rd of laundry detergents are produced with hazardous ingredients. These gallons of toxic liquid laundry detergents can cause cancer, eye irritation, kidney, liver and respiratory problems. When you wash clothes using theses toxic liquid laundry detergents, you inhale these toxins and in the process of laundry, these toxins become airborne.

Most times, the manufacturers of liquid laundry detergents do not include on their label all the toxic chemicals in their formula. You may not be aware that the detergent you are using contains cancer-causing chemicals. Chemicals which can potentially damage your health include;

1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
2. Sodium Laureth sulfate (SLES)
3. 1,4-dioxane
4. NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
5. Phosphates etc.

These chemicals are also harmful to the environment and contaminate waterways. Too much detergent when doing your laundry can ruin your clothes. This is because each base component is supposed to be used in a specific concentration. The ingredients used in the production of the detergents vary from brand to brand. In this review of liquid laundry detergents, we are going to look at the worst liquid laundry detergent depending on the chemical used, its concentration, its effect on our health, and its score from the Environmental working group (EWG)

Now, let us begin from the least ranking liquid laundry detergent brand to the worst ranking detergent brand.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

woman sorting through laundry

Original fresh, Ultra Purex Regular Detergent

This liquid laundry detergent contains corrosive ingredients. As a matter of fact, not all the active ingredients are disclosed on the label. The ingredients on the label include; sodium polyacrylate, disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, etc. These ingredients can cause; skin irritation, allergies, chronic aquatic toxicity, can cause nervous system effects, respiratory effects, non- biodegradation.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

woman washing dirty clothes

Sparkling falls, Woolite Everyday Laundry Detergent

Woolite Everyday laundry detergent is not safe to be used for cleaning, according to its rating by EWG. The formula contains some harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde and formaldehyde solution, triethanolamine, Methylisothiazolinone, dodecyl benzenesulfonate etc. The presence of such toxic chemicals could cause cancer, irritation, allergies and respiratory effects. They are also toxic to aquatic life. They pose a great threat to our health and environment. Also, it is non-biodegradable and harmful to our fabrics. Its effect on our body organs should be of high concern.

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

field of blooming lavender

Lavender & Vanilla – Xtra Detergent with the Softness of Escape Softener

This liquid detergent is ranked the 23rd worst laundry detergent. It is not marked green by EWG. The formula contains some harmful ingredients such as quaternium-15, Sodium Borate, Fragrance, The presence of such toxic chemicals could cause cancer, irritation, allergies, development, endocrine, reproductive effects, and respiratory effects. They are also toxic to aquatic life. Such ingredients could lead to health and environmental hazards. It is non-biodegradable and harmful to fabrics. You should also note that some harmful ingredients are not disclosed on its label.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Shelf of laundry detergent

Tide Plus a Touch of Downy Liquid Detergent

This liquid detergent is produced using several toxic ingredients. The listed 29 ingredients by EWG, pose serious concerns for our health and environment. Also, there isn’t full disclosure of most of the products toxic chemical on its label. The known ingredients listed on its label include enzymes and biodegradable surfactants (nonionic and anionic). This liquid laundry detergent earned an F from the EWG.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

row of babies sleeping

Fragrance-Free Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent

From its name, this liquid laundry product is supposed to be used for infant clothes. It washes the fabrics clean, but EWG has found out that it contains ingredients which may cause; respiratory effects, allergies, skin irritation. Aquatic toxicity is one of the dangers you should look out for with this liquid. Most of its ingredients are not disclosed. It has been found to contain toxic chemicals such as; sodium borate, methylisothiazolinone.

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Original, Ajax 2X HE Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent

This liquid laundry detergent has harmful ingredients. The toxic ingredients contained in this detergent include methanol, fragrances, Formaldehyde, synthetic colors, and preservatives. These ingredients can cause damage and cancer to our organs. It is also toxic to aquatic life. It is affordable, yet the price of the detergent isn’t what you consider, but the effects of its components on your health and environment.

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

tide detergent with bleach

Original, Tide Plus Bleach Alternative HE

This product is ranked the19th worst liquid laundry detergent. Tide Plus Bleach toxic ingredients include sodium borate, ethanolamine, disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate, fragrance. These ingredients can cause cancer and damage to our body organs, allergies, respiratory effects, asthma. Just like other hazardous substances, it is also toxic to aquatic life. It is affordable. However, not all Tide products are harmful. Most of them are among the best liquid laundry products. But this particular product can be harmful to our health and environment.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

man doing laundry

Fab Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent, Spring Magic

Fab liquid laundry detergent is not eco-friendly. This liquid laundry detergent contains toxic chemicals that are not only harmful to fabrics but also to the environment. One of its harmful ingredients is known as carcinogen (Formaldehyde). It also contains other harmful ingredients such as sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate and alcohol ethoxylates etc. It’s very affordable and is suitable for most laundry washers, but they are harmful to aquatic life and pose a great danger to our health. They can cause allergic reactions and respiratory effects.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

washing machine full of clothes

Cheer Bright Clean HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Most of the ingredients in this liquid detergent are highly toxic. They can harm the endocrine/reproductive and development systems. They can also cause cancer, and respiratory effects. The product is not suitable for laundry purposes .It’s harmful to our health and environment and as such should not even be on the market. It deserved to be given an F score by EWG.

(Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan/Getty Images)

people washing clothes

All Small & Mighty Laundry Detergent HE Fresh Rain

The ingredients on this product are listed on the label using vague terms. Making it hard to know which ingredient it is. Terms like stabilizer, fabric brighteners, buffer, nonionic surfactants, anionic surfactants, and color have no specific meaning. Its fragrance is not listed on the label, yet it smells like fresh rain. It earned an F form EWG. It can cause respiratory effects and cancer. Not recommended!

(Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

woman sitting on washing machine

Persil Porclean Power Liquid Sensitive Skin Detergent

This liquid detergent contains Sodium Borate which can cause development/ reproductive and endocrine effects. It also contains Boric Acid, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Alcohol ethoxy sulfates which can cause chronic aquatic toxicity, damage to body organs, respiratory effects, digestive system effects, damage to vision, nervous system effects, and cancer. Most of the ingredients in this product formula can cause environmental hazards and health problems.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

rows of washing machines

Gain Liquid Detergent

Most of these toxic detergents clean our clothes, but the ingredients used to make them may be harmful to our health. The ingredients in Gain liquid detergent has adverse effects on hormones and is harmful to the environment. Sodium borate is a toxic chemical which can cause reproductive, development, and endocrine effects. It causes respiratory, skin and eye irritation. Most of the ingredients in the formula are potential non- biodegradable substances and are toxic to aquatic life. EWG rated it an F.

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

people doing laundry

Xtra Scentsations Liquid Laundry Detergent, Summer Fiesta

This product ingredients include; Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Sodium Laureth sulfate, linear alkyl benzene sulfonate, sodium carbonate. This toxic ingredient could be harmful not only for fabrics but health in general. This should be of concern because they could cause; chronic aquatic toxicity, damage to body system, respiratory effects, developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects, digestive system effects, acute aquatic toxicity, nervous system effects, cancer, damage to vision. The liquid laundry detergent earned an F score from EWG.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

woman standing near washing machine

Up & Up Fabric Softener Concentrated Liquid Lavender

The manufacturers of this liquid detergent failed to disclose the complete list of the ingredients on the label of the product. Most terms written are vague and not specific. They pose a threat to our health and environment. These fabric softeners should be avoided because they cause asthma and contain ingredients potential for respiratory effect and organ effects.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

woman next to bag of laundry

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean 

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean liquid laundry detergent earned an F score from EWG. It is not eco-friendly and contains toxic substances that are both harmful to our health and the environment. These harmful ingredients include; sodium borate, Quaternium-15, Fragrance, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate. It’s very affordable and is suitable for most washers, but they are harmful to aquatic life. They can cause allergic reactions, respiratory effects, skin irritation, and nervous system effects. It is non- biodegradable and like most products in this category, some of its ingredients are not disclosed on the label.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

woman folding laundry

Dynamo Liquid Laundry Detergent

The manufacturers of the Dynamo laundry detergent failed to disclose all the ingredients contained in the detergent. It listed five ingredients which include formaldehyde, ethoxylates and sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate, sodium carbonate. With just the presence of formaldehyde the liquid detergent has been branded as toxic by EWG. This is because such ingredients make it harmful to health and environment. It can even cause cancer and respiratory effects.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

rows of tide detergent in store

 Tide Liquid Detergent with Febreze Freshness

When tested by EWG the Tide liquid detergent with Febreze freshness got an F score. This is because its formula contained just one F-rated ingredient, Sodium borate. This substance can result in endocrine, development and reproductive effects. It could also cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation. It is harmful to our health and environment.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

person opening washing machine

Wisk High-Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent

The ingredients disclosed on the label of the wisk high-efficiency detergent are vague and nonspecific. It deserved an F rating from EWG because the ingredients listed on its label include unclear terms like water softener, buffer, stabilizer, fabric brighteners, colors, nonionic surfactants, fragrance, anionic surfactants, and polymers. Hence, the chance of containing harmful substances is quite high, given its effect on fabrics.

(Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

huge pile of laundry

Dynamo 2x Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear

For this product, the toxic ingredients include methanol, preservatives, Formaldehyde and formaldehyde, synthetic colors, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate, and synthetic fragrances. These liquid laundry detergent ingredients cause cancer and damage to our body organs. Poor disclosure of ingredients on its label by the company; it is Corrosive and may contain ingredients with potential for cancer; respiratory effects; chronic aquatic toxicity. It is harmful to our health and environment.

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images for Tide)

lady in laundromat

Era 2X Ultra Liquid Detergent with Oxi Booster

This liquid detergent formula contains a lot of harmful ingredients. The listed ingredients pose serious concerns for our health and the environment. Many of these ingredients can cause respiratory effects, cancer, development, endocrine, reproductive effect. The known ingredients listed on its label include Sodium Borate, Ethanolamine, “Biodegradable surfactants (anionic and nonionic) and enzymes. This product earned an F score from the EWG.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

 row of washing machines

Ivory Ultra-Snow Liquid Laundry Detergent

It’s with reference to the fact that this liquid detergent is encouraged for new mothers to use for washing their baby wears, that EWG gave it an F rating. Harmful chemicals were found in its formula. This detergent contains toxic ingredients such as sodium borate, which has developmental, endocrine and reproductive effects. Ethanolamine is another ingredient, which can cause respiratory effects. Several other toxic ingredients which are used in this product are hazardous to health and the environment.

(Photo by Eric Gay-Pool/Getty Images)

empty laundromat at night

Dreft Liquid Detergent

This liquid detergent also got an F score by EWG. Its formula contains some harmful substances such as sodium borate, ethanolamine disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate, fragrance, Biodegradable Anionic surfactants, biodegradable nonionic surfactants, enzymes. The presence of such toxic chemicals could cause Cancer, irritation, allergies and respiratory effects. They are also toxic to aquatic life. They pose a great threat to our health and environment. It is non-biodegradable and Harmful to our fabrics. Most of its ingredients are not disclosed therefore its effect on our body organs should be of high concern.

(Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

clothes hanging on hangers

Ajax 2x Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent With Bleach Alternative

This product includes substances such as; formaldehyde, colors, preservatives, formaldehyde, fragrance, methanol, linear alkyl benzene sulfonate. These toxic ingredients are quite harmful. This should be of concern because they are corrosive and contain toxic ingredients which can cause cancer, asthma, and damage to vision. The concentration of these toxic ingredients may lead to government enforcing a restriction on its use.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

clothes hanging outside to dry

Caldrea Sandalwood Riceflower Laundry Detergent

This liquid detergent, just like the others is also made with harmful ingredients. The listed ingredients by EWG include; sodium borate, alcohol alkoxylates, alcohol ethoxylates, fragrance, stilbene triazine derivative, Methyliso thiazolinone, Citrus reticulate (mandarin) oil. The concentration of these ingredients used in the product, pose serious concerns for our health and the environment. Its manufacturer did not disclose most of these toxic ingredients on its label. It may cause, damage to DNA, cancer, respiratory effects, biodegradation, chronic aquatic toxicity, general systemic effects, organ effects, nervous system effects, digestive system effects, skin irritation, and damage to our vision.

(Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

lady washing clothes with basket

All 2x Ultra Stainlifter Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent

The formula used to produce the All 2x ultra stainlifter contains harmful substances. The ingredients include; Buffer, stabilizers, colors, fragrance, fabric brighteners and cleaning agents. Some governments have enforced restriction in the use of this product. The ingredients are potential non-biodegradable substances and are harmful to aquatic life. Rated an F from the EWG this liquid laundry detergent deserves to be ranked among the worst liquid laundry detergents.

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Written by Camille Moore

Camille has a master's degree from Saint Joseph University's Writing Studies program. Her writing has been published on several websites, and she enjoys writing articles and short stories in her spare time. You can follow Camille on Twitter @CamealAshley.