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The Best Septic Safe Laundry Detergents (Liquid, Powder, Pods, & More)

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Septic Safe Laundry Detergents

Choosing the right laundry detergent is important for keeping your clothes clean, but it’s also crucial when you live in a home with a septic tank. Some detergents can be harsh on septic systems, so it’s important to choose one that is safe for your home. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why these detergents are safe for septic tanks and the ingredients or chemicals you should avoid. We’ll also recommend some of the best septic safe laundry detergents on the market, so you know exactly what you should buy.

Related: The Best Chemical-Free Laundry Detergents

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Best Overall
ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
  • 2 Pack
  • Formulated with plant-derived ingredients
  • Dermatologist tested and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
Best Concentrated
Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
  • Plant-based, multi-enzyme formula
  • USDA Biobased Product Certified and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified
  • Fragrance-free and Hypoallergenic
9.7
Check Price on Amazon
Best Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
  • 2 Pack, concentrated powder detergent
  • Formulated with only 4 natural ingredients
  • EPA Safer Choice certified and hypoallergenic
9.7
Check Price on Amazon

What Makes Laundry Detergent Safe for Septic Tanks?

The cleaning products you use in your home can impact the effectiveness of your septic tank because of the chemicals or ingredients used in the soaps and detergents. The laundry detergent should not contain any ingredients that prevent the breakdown of waste as it should occur in the septic tank.

Natural plant-based cleaning products are often the best option if you have a septic tank. They’re also generally safer for the larger environment (and also safer for your family).

Thankfully, some cleaning products are labeled as “septic safe”, so the search to find a suitable product may not be as difficult as you anticipated. And to make things easier, we’re providing our list of top recommendations below.

There are a few ingredients and chemicals that you’ll want to avoid when choosing a laundry detergent for your septic tank. These chemicals can cause problems with the breakdown of waste in the septic tank, and they can also be harmful to the environment.

Some of the ingredients or chemicals you should avoid include:

  • Phosphates: This ingredient is often used in laundry detergents to improve cleaning power, but it can also promote the growth of algae in waterways. Phosphates can also interfere with the natural process of decomposition in septic tanks.
  • Chlorine bleach: Chlorine bleach is a strong disinfectant that can kill bacteria, but it can also be harmful to the environment. Bleach can also damage septic tank bacteria, which is essential for the breakdown of waste.
  • Chemical fragrances (naturally-derived fragrances are ok): Artificial fragrances can be made from a variety of chemicals, some of which can be harmful to the environment.
  • Artificial whiteners and brighteners: These ingredients can also be made from a variety of chemicals, and they can be harmful to the environment.
  • Parabens and sulfates: Parabens and sulfates are often used in laundry detergents to improve cleaning power, but they can also be harmful to the environment.

Some of the best septic safe laundry detergents use natural ingredients that are gentle on both your clothes and your septic system. These products are often plant-based and use enzymes to break down stains and dirt.

Making the switch to a septic safe laundry detergent is an important step in protecting your septic system, and it’s also better for the environment.

The Best Septic Safe Laundry Detergents

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t use regular laundry detergent if you have a septic tank. But what are your options? What are the best safe products out there? Here are our recommendations.

Best Overall: ECOS Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent

ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent, Magnolia Lily, 200 Loads, 100oz Bottle by Earth Friendly Products (Pack of 2)ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent

The ECOS hypoallergenic detergent removes stains, brightens whites, and protects color from fading. This septic-safe detergent uses coconut, a natural and renewable resource with strong cleaning properties. The plant-based surfactants in this product effectively clean stubborn stains without being harsh on fabrics.

The ECOS detergent is a 100% vegan product free of damaging chemicals like dyes, brighteners, parabens, and phosphates. The brand promises not to use more than 500 nasty ingredients commonly found in cleaning products.

This product is dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic & pH-balanced making it a safe choice for people who have sensitive skin. It is also U.S. EPA Safer Choice certified, which has been formulated to be safer for your family and the environment.

The all-natural formula ensures that the ECOS laundry detergent is septic-safe and also safer for the environment in general. An additional benefit is that this product softens fabrics so you don’t need to spend money on a separate fabric softener.

Here are some of the features that put ECOS in our best overall spot on the Septic Safe Laundry Detergents list:

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Chemical-free
  • Dermatologist tested to be pH-balanced and hypoallergenic
  • U.S. EPA Safer Choice certified

Check the price on Amazon


Best Concentrated: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Stain Fighting Formula, Free & Clear Unscented, 40 oz (53 Loads)Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

A concentrated laundry detergent allows you to use less product for each laundry load. If you are looking for a concentrated detergent that is also septic safe then the Seventh Generation Concentrated Liquid Laundry detergent would be the ideal choice for you.

The Seventh Generation Detergent has a triple-enzyme formula that removes tough stains without the use of fragrances, dyes, and artificial brighteners. It features plant-based enzymes like Protease and Amylase that remove stubborn stains be it grass, tomato sauce, or chocolate, this product has you covered.

This detergent is a USDA Certified Biobased Product which means that it contains 96% plant-based ingredients. It is also an EPA Safer Choice Certified Product designed to be safer for your family and the environment.

The 96% plant-based formula ensures that this detergent is completely septic safe. It is also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free making it gentle on sensitive skin.

  • Plant-based formula
  • Natural enzymes to remove tough stains
  • USDA Biobased Product Certified and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic

Check the price on Amazon


Best Powder: Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder (100 Loads, 2 Pack) Hypoallergenic Deep Cleaning Washing Powder Detergent – Eco-Friendly, Safe, and EffectiveCharlie’s Soap Laundry Powder

If you are more comfortable using a powder detergent then you should consider buying the Charlie’s Soap Laundry powder. It is a concentrated powder detergent that offers good value for money. You only need 1 tablespoon per large load to deep clean your laundry and remove stubborn odors and stains.

The hypoallergenic, EPA Safer choice certified formula contains only four ingredients that don’t harm the environment and are septic safe as well. This detergent will also remove residues from your previous detergent and soften fabrics so you don’t need to spend on a separate fabric softener.

All Charlie’s soap products are third-party tested to ensure that they work properly and have a low impact on the environment. No sulfates, parabens, chemical brighteners, perfumes, or fillers have been added to this product.

  • Formulated with only 4 natural ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Powder detergent
  • Concentrated
  • EPA Safer Choice certified
  • Contains fabric softener
  • No Chemicals

Check the price on Amazon


Best Pods: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs

Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs, Free & Clear, 90 Loads (2 pouches, 45 Ct EA)Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs

For some people, detergent pods are the most convenient and mess-free option when it comes to doing the laundry. If you fall in that category then we suggest investing in the Seventh Generation detergent pods. The hypoallergenic formula contains four powerful enzymes that fight tough stains without added fragrances, dyes, or artificial brighteners.

The Seventh Generation offers fast-dissolving laundry pods that work in both high-efficiency (HE) and standard machines. These pods can be used in hot as well as cold water for your convenience.

Another notable feature of this product is that it is EPA Safer Choice Certified which means that it has been designed to be planet-friendly. It is also USDA-certified Biobased containing 94% plant-based ingredients to ensure that the pods are planet-friendly and septic-safe.

  • Formulated with multiple enzymes to be a strong stain fighter
  • EPA Safer Choice Certified and USDA Certified Biobased Product Certified
  • Works in all water temperatures
  • Hypoallergenic, no harsh chemicals, safe for sensitive skin

Related: Laundry Detergent Rash: How to Treat and Prevent It

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Best Fragrance: Method Liquid Laundry Detergent

Method Liquid Laundry Detergent, Hypoallergenic + Biodegradable Formula, Plant-Based Stain Remover, Lavender + Cypress Scent, 1.5 Liter Bottle, 1 Pack (66 Total Loads), Packaging May VaryMethod Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you prefer a laundry detergent that has a fresh and pleasant scent then the Method Liquid detergent is the ideal choice for you. This lavender + cypress scented detergent comes in a clear, recyclable bottle and contains a powerful plant-based formula. It is a versatile detergent that fights tough stains, keeps whites white, and protects colors from fading.

This scented detergent has been formulated with efficient plant-based stain lifters and lasting fragrances. It features a concentrated formula that delivers strong cleaning power so that one capful is enough to wash a big load.

If you are concerned about the septic tank in your house you can use the Method Liquid Laundry detergent without a worry because it features a cruelty-free, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic formula that is septic-safe and environment friendly.

  • Formulated with plant-based ingredients to remove stains and brighten clothes
  • Biodegradable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Hypoallergenic

Check the price on Amazon


Best Unscented: Method Free + Clear Laundry Detergent

Method Laundry Detergent, Free + Clear, 53.5 Fluid Ounces, 66 Loads, 2 pack, Packaging May VaryMethod Laundry Detergent

The Method free + clear laundry detergent is a septic-safe detergent that does not contain perfume or dyes. It features a concentrated plant-based formula that delivers strong cleaning power for high efficiency and standard washers.

This cruelty-free product has a biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula that fights stubborn dirt and stains while keeping colors bright and whites white.

  • Concentrated, plant-based formula to tackle stains
  • Cruelty-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No fragrance or perfume

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Best Certified Biodegradable: Planet 2x Ultra Laundry Detergent

Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent, 32-Loads, 50-Ounces Bottle (Pack of 4)Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent

If you find it hard to trust eco-friendly claims made by companies you should look for a laundry detergent that is certified biodegradable. A certified biodegradable product like the Planet 2x Ultra Laundry detergent is sure to be septic-safe as well. It is an effective detergent that works well on tough stains while being gentle on your skin.

This detergent is suitable for both standard and high-efficiency (HE) washers and can be used with cold as well as hot water. The Planet 2x Ultra formula is free of added fragrances, dyes, enzymes, artificial brighteners, or synthetic preservatives, making it the perfect choice for people who have septic tanks in their homes.

It is also a safe choice for parents who need to wash baby clothes and diapers daily. The Planet 2X Ultra Liquid Laundry has been certified 100% biodegradable by SCS Global Services which means that its formula is plant-based and phosphate-free.  

  • Biodegradable certified by SCS Global Services
  • Gentle on skin, tough on stains
  • Use in all water temperatures
  • No chemicals

Check the price on Amazon


Best for the Planet: Molly’s Suds

Molly's Suds Laundry Detergent Powder| Natural Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin | Stain Fighting (Peppermint - 120 Loads)Molly’s Suds Laundry Detergent Powder

In our search for septic-safe laundry detergents, we found that Molly’s Suds is really the most planet-friendly option available on the market. This detergent has been formulated with 5 natural stain-fighting ingredients that are safe for the planet and safe for your family.

You only need a single tablespoon of this Laundry Powder to deep clean and gently deodorize 1 load of clothes ensuring good value for money. This detergent is gentle for sensitive skin, the planet, and most fabrics excluding silk and leather.

From Mother Earth to your family, this product is the safest choice for your home. Molly’s Suds is manufactured in the USA with plant-based, vegan ingredients that are certified cruelty-free and peanut-free. This detergent does not leave any residue and rinses clean most types of fabrics.

This product is Septic-safe and soil tested. It is available in both unscented and lightly scented versions so you can choose one according to your preference.

  • Safe for most fabric types and skin
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free

Check the price on Amazon


Most Versatile: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Lavender, 32 ounce, 2-Pack) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMODr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap stands out as an all-in-one cleaner that covers all the cleaning needs of your family. This versatile product is not just a septic-safe laundry detergent it is also suitable for cleaning your face, body, hair, and pets as well. You can even use it to mop the house and clean the dishes.

More than 90% of the ingredients used to make Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile soap are nature-based and organic. Over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade which means that the company follows ethical working conditions & fair prices.

Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap is fully biodegradable and cruelty-free. The all-natural, vegan ingredients present in this formula are safe for septic tanks and the environment as well.

This liquid soap has been made with plant-based ingredients and no synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents are present in it. This is why this product is not just good for the environment but also safe for your skin.

Dr.Bronner’s Pure Castile shop is three times more concentrated than most liquid soaps so that less product delivers greater cleaning power.

  • Multi-use cleaner
  • Plant-based and mostly organic ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Vegan

Check the price on Amazon


Best Value: Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Laundry Detergent

Mrs. Meyer's Liquid Laundry Detergent, Cruelty Free and Biodegradable Formula Infused with Essential Oils, Lavender Scent, 64 oz (64 Loads)Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Laundry Detergent

The most economical septic-safe option is Mrs. Meyer’s liquid laundry detergent which offers the best value for money. This liquid detergent has been formulated for mothers everywhere, keeping in mind all the needs and concerns of a family. This product has been made in the USA with plant-derived cleaning agents, stain-fighting enzymes, and essential oils. This vegan formula comes in a lovely lavender scent and is peanut-free and certified cruelty-free. You can use this product without a worry knowing that it is a safe choice for septic tanks, sensitive skin, and the planet.

For our best value slot on the Septic Safe Laundry Detergents list, we have Mrs. Myer’s with these features:

  • Formulated with plant-based ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Cruelty-free

Related: How to Use Wool Dryer Balls, and Why You Should

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bleach with a septic tank?

It’s best to avoid bleach if you have a septic tank. A small amount is not likely to cause any harm, but larger amounts may lead to issues. Chlorine bleach is a strong disinfectant that can kill bacteria, but it can also be harmful to the environment. Bleach can also damage septic tank bacteria, which is essential for the breakdown of waste.

Are laundry detergent pods bad for septic systems?

It depends on the specific ingredients. Some of the ingredients in laundry detergent pods can cause problems with the breakdown of waste in septic tanks, and they can also be harmful to the environment. If you want to use pods, choose a natural, plant-based product.

What laundry detergent ingredients are harmful to septic tanks?

Some of the ingredients or chemicals you should avoid include: phosphates, chlorine bleach, chemical fragrances, artificial whiteners and brighteners, parabens, and sulfates. These chemicals can cause problems with the breakdown of waste in the septic tank, and they can also be harmful to the environment. Choose a natural, plant-based product instead.

Is liquid or powder detergent better for septic systems?

Neither is necessarily better than the other. It depends on the ingredients used in the product.

Is Tide laundry detergent safe for septic systems?

We recommend using natural, plant-based cleaning products that are safe for you, the environment, and your septic system. There are many natural products available to choose from and are listed above.

Is Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent septic safe?

Yes, Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent is septic safe. It’s made with natural ingredients and is biodegradable.

Is Seventh Generation laundry detergent septic safe?

Yes, Seventh Generation laundry detergent is septic safe. It’s made with natural ingredients and is free of chemicals that could cause a problem.

What laundry detergents are good for septic systems?

There are many brands that produce natural detergents that are effective and safe. Our top recommendations for each category are covered in this article.

Related: The Best Septic Leach Field Cleaner

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Best Overall
ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
ECOS® Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent
  • 2 Pack
  • Formulated with plant-derived ingredients
  • Dermatologist tested and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
Best Concentrated
Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
  • Plant-based, multi-enzyme formula
  • USDA Biobased Product Certified and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified
  • Fragrance-free and Hypoallergenic
9.7
Check Price on Amazon
Best Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
  • 2 Pack, concentrated powder detergent
  • Formulated with only 4 natural ingredients
  • EPA Safer Choice certified and hypoallergenic
9.7
Check Price on Amazon

Final Thoughts on Septic Safe Laundry Detergents

Choosing a septic safe laundry detergent is an important decision if you want to protect your septic system. There are a few ingredients and chemicals that you’ll want to avoid, but there are also many great septic safe laundry detergents on the market.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about septic safe laundry detergents and why they’re important for homes with septic tanks. You can find some of our top recommendations above, and we’re confident you’ll be able to find a product that meets your needs.

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