“Free & Clear” Laundry Detergent not in the Clear: Review of Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent

I was asked to sample and review Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent as part of Seventh Generation’s Generation Good community of which I am a member.

I received 3 sample-sized packets of the laundry detergent and decided to test them out on three different laundry loads: toddler clothes, my and my husband’s clothes, and my husband’s sweat- and dirt-stained and sun-drenched work clothes.

In all three instances the detergent did its job. Food stains on my toddler’s clothes weren’t removed any better or worse than other detergents that I have tried. The sweat, dirt, and sun-drenched smell did not come out from my husband’s clothes, but I honestly was not expecting it to come out given the state of the clothes. Overall, I was satisfied with how clean the clothes came out.

Seventh Generation markets their Free & Clear detergent as one for sensitive skin: “Natural Laundry Detergent that’s tough on stains, but gentle to your world. With no dyes, optical brighteners or synthetic fragrances, our natural laundry detergent gives you great results – even in cold water.”

Although no one in our household suffers from very sensitive skin, I personally prefer things without added scents since fragrance usually means added chemicals, especially when it comes to baby products.

Although I do appreciate that the laundry detergent is free of dyes and synthetic fragrances, I do take issue with some of the synthetic ingredients in the detergent (bolded by me):

Ingredients: water, laureth-6 (plant-derived cleaning agent), sodium lauryl sulfate (plant-derived cleaning agent), sodium citrate (plant-derived water softener), glycerin (plant-derived enzyme stabilizer), sodium chloride (mineral-based viscosity modifier), oleic acid (plant-derived anti-foaming agent), sodium hydroxide (mineral-based pH adjuster), calcium chloride (mineral-based enzyme stabilizer), citric acid (plant-derived pH adjuster), protease, amylase, and mannanase (plant-derived enzyme blend soil removers), and benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (synthetic preservatives).

The detergent contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), benzisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone, which, in addition to some other ingredients, resulted in the detergent earning a grade of “D” from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Sodium lauryl sulfate, benzisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone are of concern when it comes to aquatic toxicity, skin irritation, allergies, and damage, as well as organ and immune system toxicity.

I do think this detergent is better than other commercial/chemical-laden detergents found at mass retailers; however, I was disappointed at the ingredients and the EWG ranking in this “natural” detergent since it comes from a company that prides itself on being natural and environmentally friendly.  Because of my concern over the use of benzisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, and SLS, I will not be using Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent.

I received the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent for free for the purpose of my review. Opinions are 100% my own.

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