Is Seventh Generation’s “Free and Clear” actually good for your skin and the environment? To answer that question, we take a look at this supposedly eco-friendly laundry detergent in detail.
As someone who 1) exclusively uses eco-friendly products, and 2) has a 6-month old baby who is in cloth diapers almost all the time, I'm always on the lookout for a high-quality natural laundry detergent for sensitive skin.
I've been using the Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent for quite a while now, but recently, I've been seeing more and more reviews about the Seventh Generation Detergent. The “Free and Clear” version, in particular, seems to be gaining popularity among other parents like myself. So, I bought myself a bottle to try it out.
Seventh Generation Free Clear Detergent markets itself as an eco laundry detergent, but is it actually good at washing clothes and at taking care of sensitive skin?
Here's what I found out.
Seventh Generation Free Clear detergent is a natural laundry detergent made from 97% plant based ingredients.
According to the manufacturer, it’s designed to make everyday clothes cleaning more sustainable by using biodegradable ingredients that won’t pollute the earth.
Most reviews seem to agree that the company is indeed environmentally friendly, but of course, I just didn’t want to take their word for it.
I had to make sure by trying Seventh Generation products on my own, starting with their detergent.
What I like about the Seventh Generation Free Clear natural laundry detergent is it doesn’t contain any dyes or scents, so people like me who have very sensitive skin can use it just fine.
And since my baby has sensitive skin as well, I use this stuff to wash her cloth diapers all the time.
I also like that it’s plant based, meaning that it uses plant enzymes instead of nasty chemicals to clean stains.
This assures me that it's mostly biodegradable and better for the environment.
And while plant-based detergents are not usually a match for normal laundry detergents when it comes to removing stains, Seventh Generation is one of the better ones.
The Seventh Generation Free Clear laundry detergent is also free and clear from animal products, which is something I like to hear. However, this is the case for most eco-friendly detergents these days, so it’s not much to write home about.
Overall this stuff is good If you’re dealing with everyday stains and smelly clothes. If you’ve got more complex stains to conquer, however, you might be better reaching for something like Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent.
Interested in other products like this? You can find more of them in our Green Store.
If you’re using the “Free and Clear” version of this product, be aware that your clothes won’t have a particularly exciting smell when they come out of the machine.
It’s hard to describe, but they just sort of smell musty and neutral.
Another thing I noticed is if I’m tackling a red wine stain or a very messy cloth diaper, I have to pre-treat the stains for a while and let them soak first. This isn’t ideal, as I’ve used stronger natural detergents where I didn’t need to bother doing this.
If you’re going for that authentic eco-friendly vibe, it’s worth noting that Seventh Generation also uses new plastic bottles for all of its detergents. While it’s not the biggest crime on the face of the Earth, it is creating demand for new plastic bottles to be created.
Of course, you can recycle many of these bottles, but it would be great if they had some kind of refill system that created less demand for such large volumes of single-use plastics.
It’s also worth noting that this company only has 3.5/5 trees on Growing A Green Family — a rating system that's designed to test the “greenness” of so-called green companies.
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While writing this review for a laundry detergent eco friendly homes can use, I searched for other people's experiences as well so I can give you multiple perspectives on this product. This is to make sure that the review I'm giving you is unbiased. So, here are some additional customer reviews on this product:
I tend to be sensitive to detergents and this one does not bother me at all. Also it gets my clothes very clean. No bothersome scent which is a plus!
Suzanne, Seventh Generation User
I don't know if it was the detergent but I thought my clothes seemed a little less soft after using this. I did like however that it was free and clear/unscented. Cleaned the clothes just fine otherwise.
David, Seventh Generation User
It's ok but doesn't seem to do a darn thing for stains, even light ones. I had a pair of white socks worn for the first time and got some plain dirt on them while in the garden and they were washed the same day and it didn't even removed all the dirt marks. So wont be buying again.
LMS, Seventh Generation User
Before buying an eco-friendly laundry detergent, here are some key criteria you should watch out for:
Many eco-friendly detergents are free from scents, which is good for many people. However, this can leave your shirts smelling musty and weird. Some detergents, like Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent, use subtle safe scents that help give you that “fresh” feeling you’re used to without damaging your skin.
Many of the chemicals used in regular detergents are bad for the environment and toxic to humans.  Many of them also aggravate conditions like eczema and allergies.
The laundry detergent ECOS and Seventh Generation produce (among others) contain very few synthetic ingredients.
Seventh Generation, and many other eco-friendly detergents like the Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent, are biodegradable. This means that once they re-enter the environment in wastewater facilities, they will naturally break down in a manner that doesn’t pollute the earth.
Seventh Generation Detergent is one of the better green cleaning products I’ve tried, but it doesn’t match up to the Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent for stains, dirt, and cost-effectiveness.
The detergent from Puracy is 10x concentrated, so one little pump of the detergent goes a long way to cleaning your clothes. This makes it much more cost-effective than brands like Seventh Generation because you don’t need to use as much for the exact same results.
Its plant-based formula has the potential to wash 96 loads per bottle, so it could easily keep you going for months.
I also like that Puracy has a subtle “fresh linen” scent added to it — you don’t need to put up with that unusual “neutral” smell you get with many brands like Seventh Generation Free Clear.
All in all, I would recommend the Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent if you’re looking for a plant based formula that will clean clothing effectively and leave a lovely fresh linen scent afterward.
Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent
My friend washed my clothes with this today and I was happy with the result. I used a scent booster just for my own comfort. Clothes are clean and smelled good, and it’s not a bad soap.
VERY dissatisfied with Seventh Generation Free and Clear. I live in Florida. Sweating is part of life. T-shirts washing in this product do not stay fresh. Within 2-hours, the t-shirts smell sour and almost moldy. Also, as said above, even light stains washed almost immediately do not come clean. I am returning the product and will not buy it again.
I just discovered your company and products and spend an hour reading reviews. I thought my search for a clean laundry detergent (and other products) had been successful after I studied the product contents. Imagine my disappointment after choosing one item to try first that I discovered it cost close to as much to deliver said item. As much as I would like to use your company I won’t pay close to $11 to garner one bottle of $12 laundry detergent. Thank you.
I don’t read much here about the relative costs of using Seventh Generation and ordinary detergents. It’s no good saying that the environment matters more than price when a household can’t afford it. The review is interesting but clearly written by someone who is not hard-up.