Laudry detergent

What Is a “Mild Detergent” for Washing Clothes?

Many laundry detergents are made up of chemicals that are designed to attack stubborn stains and persistent dirt on your clothes. But what if your skin begins to react to these chemicals? This is where a mild laundry detergent comes in.

A mild detergent is a gentle detergent that containing only surface-active agents that dissolve dirt and grease. This differs from other detergents that often contain enzymes or abrasives, depending on the product.


Types of Mild Detergent

There are various mild laundry detergents that are available in powder, liquid, and capsule forms.

The best way to use powdered detergent is to mix it with an equal amount of water to reduce the abrasiveness on your clothing.

Try to follow the guidelines on the products to ensure that you are using them properly for your specific machine. If you’re unsure about which detergent may be best for your skin, keep a lookout for “non-biological” detergents.

“Biological” detergents contain enzymes that break down the proteins that make up the stains on your clothes. They are usually the most effective at producing thoroughly cleaned clothes.

These enzymes are the ones that can cause skin irritation, and if that is occurring for you then “non-bio” detergents may be the best way forward.

Other potential irritants are perfumes, which are added to washing detergents to help prevent unpleasant smells and to leave your clothes fresh and fragrant after a wash.

Optical brighteners and dyes can also react badly to your skin, as they include chemicals designed to brighten your clothes and make them look whiter and cleaner.


How Can You Know if Your Skin Is Sensitive to Detergent?

When you run your clothes through a cycle in your washing machine, you assume that all of the detergent is fully rinsed out of your garments by the end of the wash. This is not always the case.

Every machine is different, and differing amounts and brands of detergent are used, meaning that the amount of detergent that is left behind on your clothes will differ for each household.

If each item of clothing, towel, and sheet has lingering amounts of strong detergent on them, then that is a lot of detergent consistently coming into contact with your skin.

If you feel like your clothes are causing irritation, itching, and discomfort after you’ve just washed them, then you may need to consider a milder option of detergent.

It is often recommended to use mild detergents if you have an infant or young child, as their skin is extra sensitive for their first few years as well.


What Are the Best Mild Detergent Options in the UK?

liquid laundry detergent in washing machine drum

Every individual has unique skin, and you may find that, even within your household, you may all have different reactions to the same detergent.

Trial and error are the best option here, and the best way to narrow it down is to try to test different “non-bio” detergents until you find the best one for you.

Amazon options

  1. ZERO (Non-Bio) Washing Powder is one of the more affordable options and comes in a fully recyclable cardboard box. It is also plant-based and has biodegradable ingredients. Check it out here.
  2. Presto! Laundry Capsules Sensitive (Non-Bio) is one of the pricier options and is an Amazon-brand product. It does not contain any enzymes but does have a mild fragrance. See it here.
  3. Ecozone Concentrated Non-Bio Laundry Liquid is somewhere in the middle of the price range and does contain a mild scent. It has no harsh chemicals. Check it out here.
  4. Neutral 0% Sensitive White Washing Powder has been approved by the British Allergy Foundation and has no dyes, perfumes, or optical brighteners. See how much it costs and read reviews here.
  5. Earth Friendly Products Ecos Lavender Laundry Detergent is the most expensive option on the list, but offers up to 100 washes, and has a fabric softener included. It is also hypoallergenic. Check it out here.


Easily available in your local Tesco

  1. Persil 3-in-1 Non-Biological Capsules. These pods are easily available from Tesco and have been approved by the British Skin Foundation. See them on here.
  2. Fairy Non-Biological Washing Pods have been approved by the Skin Health Alliance and will dissolve at any temperature. They also have a mild but pleasant scent. Check them out here.
  3. Surcare Non-Biological Laundry Liquid has been successfully approved by the British Allergy Foundation and comes in a liquid form that only needs small amounts in each wash. Read about it here.
  4. Ecover Zero Non-Biological Laundry Liquid has no enzymes, no fragrances, dyes, or optical brighteners. It has been approved by both dermatologists and Allergy UK. It also has entirely plant-based, biodegradable, and renewable ingredients, as well as the bottle being made of 25% recycled plastic. See it here.

If you feel that your skin is still having some kind of reaction, even to the milder detergents, try setting your machine to an additional ‘Spin and Drain’ cycle after the first wash has completed, just to give your clothes an extra rinse!