12 of the Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Substitutes

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Have you or perhaps your little child ever worn newly washed clothes only to experience their skin break out in hives or rashes? You are not alone. That’s why we want to provide you with the best non-toxic laundry detergent substitutes that are safe and don’t harm your skin.

This can be a common scenario for many families that use commercial laundry detergents. Hence, many people opt for non-toxic laundry detergent substitutes.

If you ever worry about skin allergic reactions or are cautious about the toxic chemicals in most store-bought detergents, it’s time to look for natural and non-toxic alternatives. 

Non-toxic laundry detergent substitutes are eco-friendly and mostly made from natural ingredients that remove tough stains yet are very affordable and safe to use.

We’ve found options below that are not only non-toxic or natural – they are eco-friendly, too!

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #1- Lemon

When life gives you lemons, accept them and use them to remove stains on clothes. As per Marieke van der Graaf, owner of Laundrylicious in California, lemon has an organic bleaching magic that can remove rust stains, brighten cotton undergarments, and make your clothes lemony fresh.

Just use them on white clothes only as it may bleach the colored ones. Blot the stain with lemon juice instead of rubbing it for best results.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #2 – Table Salt

Sure, your favorite pasta dish may not taste good without it, but did you know salt can remove grease, gravy, and blood stains?

This ingredient is not only a laundry booster; you can rely on it to eliminate certain stains.

However, how to use salt on clothes depends on the type of stain. For instance, soak blood stains in salt-filled water. While salt should be left on grease stains before you scrub the stain away.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #3 – Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best eco-laundry detergents. You should have a bottle at home – not only because it is an excellent household cleaner but also because it is a good laundry booster.

Vinegar is also a miracle laundry worker. It is safer than fabric softeners and chlorine bleach and works on any fabric.

Read our article – Can Vinegar Clean Clothes? to learn how to clean clothes with vinegar.

Tip: Use only white vinegar and not apple cider vinegar. The latter will most likely stain fabrics.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #4 – Baking Soda

You can use baking soda to freshen your carpet, so why not use it to deodorize your clothes? Baking soda is an excellent natural laundry detergent because it’s safe, non-toxic, and economical. You can use it with water to soak stained clothes in.

To learn how to clean your clothes with baking soda, read our post – Can Baking Soda Clean Clothes?

or watch my video below.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #5 – Essential Oils

Essential oils provide a chemical-free way to combat mold, mildew, and bacteria. 

Add a few drops of lavender, tea tree, or any of your favorite oils with vinegar to prevent mildew formation and create a fresh laundry scent.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #6 – Rubbing Alcohol

Do you have pen marks or ink stains on your child’s school uniform? You can use rubbing alcohol as a safe, non-toxic laundry detergent.

To remove these stains, allow the solution to penetrate the affected area until the stain dissolves. Then wash the clothes. When using rubbing alcohol to remove stains use caution because it may ruin certain fabrics like silk, wool, or acrylic fibers.

Read our article – Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean? to learn how to use rubbing alcohol to remove stains in clothes.

Laundry Detergent Substitutes #7 – Hydrogen Peroxide

Did you know you can use hydrogen peroxide as a natural, non-toxic laundry detergent substitute? It is an excellent substitute for the much harsher chlorine bleach used to whiten clothes.

Hydrogen Peroxide has oxidizing properties, making it a bleach alternative. It removes underarm yellowing color and dye from curry, nail polish, and red wine stains.

A 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is best for washing clothes.

8. Borax

Borax is a mineral composed of boron, oxygen, and sodium. It produces no toxic fumes, thus safe for the environment.

It best performs by removing stains, especially those found in cloth diapers. However, borax may irritate those who have sensitive skin.

9. Talc, Chalk, or Cornstarch

Talc, chalk, or cornstarch are powerful non-toxic laundry detergents for oily stains. If you spill oil on your clothes, treat it immediately with these products.

Sprinkle any of these items liberally on the affected area. Allow them to sit for about 10 minutes until they absorb the oil. Scrub them away and wash or dry clean the clothes following the laundry care directions.

10. Mouthwash

Are smelly gym socks one of your worries? Feel free to use mouthwash, as it’s the least toxic detergent that can let you achieve a fresher smell.

Just pour a sugar-free, alcohol-based mouthwash into the wash cycle to remove your gym-acquired bacteria and gunk.

You can also use mouthwash to keep your washing machine clean and smelling fresh.

11. Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a popular cleaning staple. It’s the perfect example of a non-toxic cleaning agent.

You can use it to ward off bugs and, of course, as a laundry detergent. Mix it with warm, clean water and put it on your extra-soiled clothes or laundry items to whiten them.

12. Miracle II Soap

Miracle II Soap is a versatile organic all-purpose soap that is also a laundry detergent and can replace your regular commercial laundry detergent. It is known for its gentle and natural ingredients. So, if you have sensitive skin, look no further.

Add about one tablespoon of Miracle II Soap to a load of laundry to wash your clothes with it.

To learn more about Miracle II Soap read my review – Miracle II Soap: The Ultimate Review of its Unparalleled Cleaning Benefits


As you can see, there are a lot of household items you can use to replace the regular harsh detergents at the store. While store-bought detergents are efficient in doing their jobs, unfortunately, a lot of them contain toxic chemicals.

However, natural laundry detergents can fight bacteria, foul odors, dirt, and stains without harming you or the environment.

Not to mention that they are affordable and usually available in your home. So, why hesitate to use non-toxic laundry detergent substitutes for your precious clothes?

Want to learn more about non-toxic substitutes for cleaning your home? Read our post – Discover 10 Non-Toxic Dish Soap Alternatives for a Safer and Cleaner Home

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