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Seventh Generation Detergent Review: Read This Before You Buy

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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 ECOS 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.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Eco-Friendly Detergent

Before buying an eco-friendly laundry detergent, here are some key criteria you should watch out for:

The Leaping Bunny Logo

The “leaping bunny” logo means that the product is cruelty-free and hasn’t been tested on animals. Animal rights and environmental rights intersect in various ways, and I think most of us eco-conscious people out here would like to know that our “Free Clear” detergent is also free and clear of animal cruelty.

A Lack Of Synthetic Chemicals

Many of the chemicals used in regular detergents are bad for the environment and toxic to humans. [1] 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.

100% Biodegradable

Seventh Generation, and many other eco-friendly detergents, 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.

What is the Seventh Generation Detergent?

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.

Seventh Generation is a US-based company established in Vermont in 1988. They are a certified B corporation, meaning they are committed to ethical and eco-friendly business practices. [2]

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.

Seventh Generation Detergent Benefits

What I really 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.

a clothesline with clothes hanging on it

And while plant-based detergents are not usually a match for normal laundry detergents when it comes to removing stains, Seventh Generation comes very close based on my own experience.

The Seventh Generation Free Clear laundry detergent can also be used in a vast majority of washing machines, including front-loading washers, top-loading washers, and high-efficiency HE washing machines.

I bought a HE washing machine a couple of years ago in an attempt to cut down on my water use, but it can be a pain to find detergents suitable for it.

Now I use a HE washer with an eco-friendly laundry detergent, so I’m basically Eco-Superman.

Seventh Generation Free Clear is also free and clear from animal products, which is something I like to hear. My household is mostly vegetarian or vegan, so we like to avoid animal products wherever we can.

Based on the leaping bunny logo on the bottle, this also hasn’t been tested on poor defenseless animals, thank goodness.

Overall this stuff is good If you’re dealing with everyday stains and smelly clothes. If I’m just doing a normal wash, I put some of this detergent in with no problems.

PROS

  • USDA certified product
  • Made from 97% plant-derived ingredients
  • Formula is hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable

Interested in other products like this? You can find more of them in our Green Store.

Seventh Generation Detergent Shortfalls

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 like cotton.

However, we’ve been conditioned to think that “clean clothes” smell of artificial fragrances, so you kinda have to unlearn that habit.

But if you really want your clothes to have a nice floral scent, you can always try out other Seventh Generation laundry detergents that have natural essential oils in them.

Another thing I noticed is if I’m tackling a red wine stain or a very messy cloth diaper, I do have to pre-treat the stains for a while and let them soak first. However, I would do that with traditional detergents all the time anyway, so it’s no different with Seventh Generation.

Lastly, despite being a very popular green cleaning brand, this detergent is hard to find online or in physical stores. I experienced that firsthand while writing this review, so when you get lucky and you find that it’s available, you need to stock up on it fast.

I guess that implies that this plant based cleaning product is in high demand, which I’m happy to hear for sure.

CONS

  • Smell isn’t amazing
  • Stocks always run out fast

Other People’s Thoughts

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, 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, User

This stuff is awesome. My baby broke out from Tide and Gain, so we use this and honestly it works so great on stains and odor.


Ellen, User

Seventh Generation Detergent: Should You Buy It?

For me, Seventh Generation Detergent is one of the better green cleaning products I’ve tried. It’s especially worth considering if you’ve got young babies like myself.

A lot of regular detergents use harsh synthetic ingredients which can irritate your baby’s skin and cause damage to the environment.

However, Seventh Generation Free and Clear Detergent is dye free, fragrance free, and 97% plant-based, so it’s a very gentle clothes-washing formula for skin that’s sensitive like my baby’s.

It’s also totally biodegradable, so Mother Earth is happy as well as my family.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Seventh Generation Detergent.



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