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You’ve probably analyzed (and overanalyzed) everything happening inside your new baby’s body — but what about what’s going on it? Choosing a baby detergent can feel like a daunting game of guess and check, as many babies have sensitive skin and may be prone to cradle cap and eczema.

Good news! There are many options to choose from. And with a little research, you can find a solid choice for your baby’s unique needs.

While many parents opt to simply use whatever detergent their family uses, it can be worth considering a special baby detergent if you are worried about rashes, itchiness, or other concerns on your child’s skin.

It’s reported that at least 10 percent of children in the United States have eczema, and a third of those cases are said to be moderate to severe. So, it’s possible that you may be parenting a child who needs detergent that will help prevent additional flare-ups as a result of dyes, fragrance, and other chemicals.

When analyzing the baby-safe detergents available, we considered:

  • ingredients, fragrance, dyes, additives
  • price
  • doctor recommendations
  • safety for babies
  • consumer reviews

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $6
  • $$ = $6–$10
  • $$$ = $10–$15
  • $$$$ = over $15

Best laundry detergent for babies with sensitive skin or eczema

Regular detergents are technically safe for all family members, but babies tend to have more sensitive skin than adults. If you’re concerned about your baby’s skin, you can also add an extra rinse cycle to your current laundry process to get more detergent out of their clothes.

Best unscented baby laundry detergent

While most laundry detergent will still have some type of smell, unscented types are free of added fragrance and perfumes, which can be irritating to babies’ skin. If you want clothes to have a noticeably pleasant scent, these types may not be for you, as the goal here is a neutral or complete lack of smell.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent

Price: $$

In addition to boasting 97 percent plant-based ingredients and 0 percent artificial fragrances, this detergent has excellent reviews from parents who are happy with its stain-removing properties.

Fans of this detergent say it lives up to its unscented claims and it’s concentrated enough that a little goes a long way. One mom even says, “It washes out even the grossest and toughest stains a baby can make.” Anyone who’s gasped at a stained onesie knows the value in that!

Best hypoallergenic baby laundry detergent

Allergens, or allergy-producing substances, affect people differently. But just because something says “hypoallergenic” on the label doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s allergy-free for you — in fact, the Food and Drug Administration says there aren’t government standards in place for the use of the term.

That being said, if a label claims a product is hypoallergenic, you can generally assume that the brand has gone out of its way to eliminate the more common allergens from their formula. As always, if you have a specific allergy, it’s best to read the full ingredient list instead of going off the label.

all Free Clear Liquid Detergent

Price: $$

This detergent claims to remove 99 percent of common allergens residing on clothes, such as dog, cat, tree, and pollen allergens. And reviewers seem to agree — many folks with sensitive skin or kiddos prone to rashes claim that this is their go-to detergent.

Much like the Arm & Hammer detergent above, there’s not much negative feedback to report. Just remember that if you or your little one has a specific, known allergy, check the ingredient list before choosing this detergent for your family.

Tide Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent

Price: $$$

Tide has been a go-to well-known brand for some time, and this hypoallergenic, dye-free, and perfume-free version seems to not disappoint. It’s also recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation as a safe detergent for sensitive skin.

And this detergent is a crowd pleaser if you’re washing more than just baby’s clothes. One reviewer on Tide’s website says, “With over six people living in my house, between sensitive skin, the desire not to smell flowery, the desire to just have clean clothes, the free & gentle has helped us find a happy medium.”

Best baby laundry detergent for your budget

Two truths: Babies aren’t cheap, and they require a lot of laundry. Choosing to not drop $30+ every time you need a new bottle of detergent does not make you a bad parent. These budget-sensitive options will also do the trick.

Best all-natural detergent

While most baby detergents are already hypoallergenic and dye-free, if you are an Earth-loving mama, these options take extra steps to consider the environment and use plant-based formulas.

Thieves Laundry Soap

Price: $$$$

Thieves is better known for essential oils than detergents, but this formula’s citrusy scent and safety claims have parents hooked. If you’re looking for a truly natural option, Thieves is free from dyes, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, phosphates, synthetic perfume, and optical brighteners.

Based on the reviews, this brand has some truly loyal customers. But while this option might make some folks feel good about using all-natural products on their child’s skin, it may be an overly pricey option for others.

Since babies can have sensitive skin, a safe bet is to look for words such as dye-free, scent- or fragrance-free, and chemical-free when shopping. It’s also wise to run all clothes through a wash cycle before wearing for the first time to remove irritating substances from the clothes themselves.

In the end, the most important things to consider when choosing a baby detergent are your baby’s unique needs and your family’s budget and lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with using the same detergent for the whole family, or buying your baby their own detergent if that feels right.