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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.

A quick safety note

Be sure to keep all detergents and detergent pods away from babies, as they can be very harmful, and even deadly, if ingested. Pods can easily drop on the floor and be picked up by mobile little ones, so this roundup only includes liquid detergents for added safety.

Healthline

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.

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.

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.

Up&Up Free + Clear Laundry Detergent

Price: $

Target lovers will be happy to know that Up&Up, the Target brand, has the same perks as other name brands without the price tag. It’s free of dyes and perfumes, and reviewers with sensitive skin say it works well for them.

A few reviewers were unhappy with the (lack of) cleaning power of this detergent, but the overall consensus was that it does the job. So if you prefer unscented detergents, this is a solid option. Plus, at less than $6 for 64 loads, the price is right.

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.