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How to Find the Best Unscented Laundry Detergents

A box of laundry pods; a white bottle of laundry detergent; a box of powdered detergent
Dropps/Seventh Generation/Biokleen

While some people love a distinctive scent in their clean laundry, others prefer it to have no scent at all. Unfortunately, thanks to confusing labels, it can be difficult to find a good unscented laundry detergent, but we’ll help you navigate this confusing journey.

When it comes to unscented detergent, brand labels often muddy the waters with words like “fresh” and “clean.” While this might lead you to believe that product is unscented, those words are actually describing the scent. Whether you use unscented detergent due to sensitive skin, an allergy, or you just prefer your clothing to be scent-free, we’ll help you get your laundry just the way you like it.

How to Choose an Unscented Laundry Detergent

When looking for an unscented laundry detergent, you’ll encounter a wide variety of terms that all seem to suggest you’ve found what you’re looking for. Words like “free,” “clean,” “clear,” “natural,” and “green” are all pretty common on laundry detergent labels these days.

In many cases, these words do appear on unscented detergent bottles, but you should always check the product descriptions (or reviews). This way, you can make sure that the product actually is unscented, and not just “naturally” scented. “Perfume-free” and “scent-free” are the magic words you’re looking for in the laundry aisle.

If you also want a detergent that’s gentle and free of other skin irritants, you’ll want to make sure the product doesn’t contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and/or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  • Phosphates
  • Phthalates
  • Parabens

Best Powdered: Biokleen Free & Clear Natural Detergent

Two boxes of Biokleen laundry detergent sitting in front of a blurred-out laundry room background

Powdered detergent is, arguably, the toughest type to find in an unscented formula. This option from Biokleen, however, checks off all of the most important boxes. It contains no artificial dyes or perfumes. It’s also free of chlorine bleach, ammonia, and any other known pollutants or toxins.

Instead, the powder uses biodegradable, plant- and mineral-based ingredients to effectively clean and brighten clothes. It’s also concentrated, so you’ll only need a small amount to wash each load.

Best Powdered

Biokleen Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent

Hypoallergenic and free of dyes and perfumes.

Best Liquid: Seventh Generation Concentrated

A bottle of laundry detergent in a laundry basket; a bottle of laundry detergent against a sky background
Seventh Generation

When you go to the store or search online, there seems to be an infinite amount of unscented options in liquid laundry detergent. However, we like Seventh Generation, as it offers all the cleaning power you need, without any scents, dyes, or harsh ingredients.

The key to this detergent’s cleaning power is a triple-enzyme formula, which breaks down stains naturally. Hypoallergenic and plant-based, it’s even a USDA Certified Biobased Product, made with 96% plant-based ingredients. The concentrated formula also means you can get plenty of laundry done with just a small amount, whether you have a regular or high-efficiency machine.

Best Liquid

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Get a powerful clean without a heavy scent.

Best Pods: Dropps Unscented

Two brown cardboard boxes of Dropps laundry pods, with silver pods sitting in front

When it comes to laundry pods, the top unscented brand is Dropps. The company offers several variations in both scented and unscented. For unscented pods, we like the super-gentle Sensitive Skin & Baby formula. It’s perfect for anyone who’s struggled to find a detergent that won’t irritate their skin. If serious odor and stain removal are more of a concern, there’s an unscented pod for that, too.

Formulated to work in any type of washing machine, these pods feature a perfectly portioned amount of liquid detergent. The plant-based formula is also free of scents, dyes, and a wide variety of irritants and toxins. Whether you’re in search of something for super-sensitive skin, or just trying to go green, these pods are for you.

Best Pods

Dropps Sensitive Skin & Baby Laundry Detergent Pods

Unscented detergent pods gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.

An unscented detergent is a necessity if you have an allergy or sensitive skin, but it can be hard to make sure that’s what you’re getting, thanks to confusing labels. However, all of these detergents are the real unscented deal, so try them all to find your favorite.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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