Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Updating: May 15, 2019 –

Best Laundry Detergent Without Optical Brighteners Detergent

In a hurry? I understand we all live busy lives and some of us do not have time to read all about the cost per ounce, reported adverse reactions, etc. If this is you, skip right to selecting the number one rated detergent without optical brighteners. (here)

However, I hope you’ll stick around and continue reading for some eye-opening information and extensive details about the options available to you. This list took months to research and compile. I hope it helps.

Update - 2019.04.04

My Top Three Picks

For those of you in a hurry and don’t want to read all of my research and results here are my top three picks!

  1. Seventh Generation
  2. Bio-O-Kleen
  3. Ecos

 

Getting The Most Current Information On Optical Brightener Free Detergents

There are several websites such as Diaper Jungle, Homequicks. and even the ArmyStudyGuide that are listing detergents, such as multiple forms of Cheer as “Optical Brightener Free”, however, these statements are FALSE! I have done extensive research and there is only one variety of Cheer that is optical-brightener free! (See notes for links to cheer ingredients)

Please do your homework. When it comes to the safety of your infant or military family it’s better to stick with a list you know is thoroughly researched and current. Check the date of the article to find out if its the most up to date information on current laundry detergents.
detergents-we-tested-without-optical-brighteners

What Are Optical Brighteners In Laundry Detergent?

Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals that are added to liquid & powder laundry detergents. Laundry detergent manufacturers add this chemical for the sole purpose of making clothing appear whiter and brighter, and thereby looking cleaner.

OBAs (optical brightening agents) are added to most of the American laundry detergents today, to make whites appear whiter, but the reality is that they can also cause colors to fade, especially dark colored clothes. Have you ever had a new black blouse that only after a few washes looked grayish and worn out? That would be the OBAs doing their job, making clothes appear lighter/brighter! I would never use harsh synthetic chemicals to wash my cloth diapers, but the fact that they fade dark clothes is why I don’t use them on my clothes either!

optical-brighteners-on-the-label

Does All Detergent Have Optical Brighteners?

No, not all laundry detergents have optical brighteners in them!  Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals. So if you’re trying to keep chemicals away from your precious little ones’ skin, this is something you should be checking out on the labels!

What To Look For On The Ingredients Label

  • Blankophor,
  • Dikaphor,
  • Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
  • DMS,
  • Fluorescent Brighteners,
  • Fluorescent Brightening Agents,
  • Fluorescent Optical Brighteners,
  • Fluorescent White Dyes,
  • Fluorescent Whitening Agents (FWAs),
  • Intrawite (textile use),
  • Kolocron,
  • Optiblanc,
  • Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs),
  • Optical Whiteners,
  • Organic Fluorescent Dyes,
  • Tinopal,
  • Tuboblanc,
  • Uvitex.

 

Helpful Video

List Of Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

 

 
ImageProductDetailsHe

Safe?

Link
allens Best Detergent for Cloth Diapers

Allens Naturally Powder

Best for babies with sensitive skin, however, doesn’t clean very well!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
  • Rinses well in cold water
Yes

 

allens-powder

Allens Naturally Ultra Powder

Although there are no brighteners, the label reads “Not recommended for military uniforms”.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

allens-liquid-detergent

Allens Naturally Liquid

Allen’s Naturally liquid laundry detergent requires only 1/4 oz for HE Machines.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance

Yes

Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Attitude Baby Fragrance-Free

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Awesome for sensitive skin and eczema!
Yes

 

attitude-ylang-ylang-and-tangerine-laundry-liquid-1800ml-4

Attitude
Ylang-Ylang & Tangerine

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Good Value For Money
Yes

 

lavendar-grapefruit

Attitude
Lavender & Grapefruit

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners

Yes

baby-ganics-laundry-detergent

BabyGanics Loads of Love 3X, Fragrance-Free

Loads of Love is an unscented detergent that has none of all the “bad stuff” in regular laundry detergent. This means that it is free from petrolatum, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrance, and parabens.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

babyganics

BabyGanics 3X Lavender liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Synthetic Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

BioKleen Liquid Detergent

Bio-O-Kleen Liquid Laundry Detergent

The liquid brand is a good choice

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Perfumes
Yes

 

Biokleen-Laundry-Powder-Free-and-Clear---10-Lb

Bio-O-Kleen Powder Free & Clear

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Contains Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

bumgenius laundry detergent

BumGenius Powder

Moms report cloth diapers are clean, and no funky smell.  Commonly used on both pocket diapers and prefolds.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

laundry-detergent-caldrea-sweet-pea

Caldrea
Sweet Pea Laundry Detergent

Contains plant-derived surfactants, Borax and essential oils of Geranium, Orange, Jasmine, Coriander, Rose and Bergamot.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
No

 

charlie-banana-detergent

Charlie Banana Powder Fragrance-Free

No lingering chemical-based fragrance. It’s completely free from perfume or parabens. It dissolves quickly in cold water, and you won’t have to worry about residues on your clothes after rinsing the soap off. This works great for babies and individuals who suffer from allergic reactions to certain components in regular laundry soaps. Safe and effective for all fabrics including silk, wool, linen, cotton and high-tech microfiber athletic and waterproof gear.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Charlie’s Soap Powder

Similar to Allen’s Naturally, however ingredients are proprietary. Extensive studies by Clemson University have shown it leaves no residue. Biodegradable. Technically a “detergent” (not soap, despite its name). Complaints of chemical burns and rash have been reported!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

cheer-powder-he-detergent-box

Cheer Stay colorful Powdered Detergent Fresh Clean Scent

There are several other websites (as of May 15, 2019) such as :

  1. Diaper Jungle who claims Cheer Free and Gentle has no optical brighteners, this statement is FALSE! – (link to manufacturers ingredient list)
  2. Homequicks claims Cheer and Cheer Free are optical brightener free. this statement is FALSE! – Cheer (ingredient list) and Cheer Free (ingredient list)
  3. ArmyStudyGuide.com list multiple forms of Cheer (as well as other detergents) as “Optical Brightener Free”, however, these statements are FALSE!

I have done extensive research, with 1,000’s of man hours for this post, combing through ingredients and this variety of Cheer is the ONLY one that is optical-brightener free!  .PDF Ingredients from the manufacturer.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners

Screenshots of DiaperJungle, Homequicks, and ArmyStudyGuide.

N/A

 

Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Clorox Green Works Liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
Yes

 

country save Best Detergent for Cloth Diaper

Country Save Liquid

Cost effective, additive free, and great results.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

country save optical brightener free laundry detergent

Country Save Powdered

Cost effective, additive free, and great results.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Dropps Liquid Laundry Pacs – Fresh Scent

Plant-based and rather weak. It would take a lot of product to accomplish a good clean.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • NPE Free
  • No Phosphate
  • No Chlorine
Yes

 

ECOS Free Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Earth Friendly Products Baby Ecos Disney Laundry Detergent, Lavender and Chamomile

Phosphate-free, chlorine-free, enzyme-free, borine-free, cocamide DEA-free, dye-free, and free of petroleum ingredients.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
Yes

 

Earthview Laundry Detergent, Fragrance Free

Earthview Laundry Detergent

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Healthy Child Compliant
  • No Animal Testing
  • HE Safe
  • Methylisothiazolinone-free
  • Fragrance-Free
Yes

 

envirorite Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

EnviroRite Clearly Clean

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
N/A

 

HEX-Performance-Advance-Laundry-Detergent-Free-and-Clear-

H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Free + Clear Liquid

Eliminates tough odors – including smell caused by sweat, bacteria, mold, and mildew!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Fresh Clean Scent Liquid

A light, fresh scent that doesn’t linger.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes

 

honest-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergent

Honest Company liquid

Plant-based. Contains sodium cocoate, which can build up in diapers, trapping bacteria and causing repellency issues. This baby laundry soap has a neutral pH level, which means it does not irritate the skin.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent

Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent

Contains vegetable-based surfactants including those derived from coconuts

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for Septic Systems
  • Not tested on Animals
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

lifekind-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergent

Lifekind Naturally Safer Triple Concentrated

Contains Seed & Pulp Extracts, Orange Peel Extracts, Surfactants from Coconuts.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Maggies Soap Nuts Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Maggie’s Soap NutsMaggie’s Soap Nuts

100% natural – Grows on Trees!!! Perfect for hunting camo! This is actually a natural soap, not a detergent and can build up on fibers and cause repelling issues. Perfect for regular laundry.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Mountain Green 3X Free and Clear

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Fragrance-Free
  • PETA acceptable product
Yes

 

mollys-suds-all-sport-wash

Molly’s Suds All Sport Wash Liquid

NOTES: Ingredients
Purified water, decyl glucoside, vegetable glycerin, plant based minerals and enzymes, sodium bicarbonate, cocomide MEA, vanilla extract, organic sweet orange oil, plant based alcohol* *Alcohol is used in processing, however, it is not in the finished product. Note: Seasonal variations in raw materials may affect product color but does not affect efficacy

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes

 

Sodium percarbonate Sodium carbonate Citric acid Pure lemon essential oil

Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener Powder

Does not contain surfactants.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

mollys-suds-sensitive-skin-no-optical-brighteners

Molly’s Suds Sensitive Skin Powder

Does not contain surfactants.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

natureclean-2 nature clean cloth diaper laundry detergent

Nature Clean liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Nature_clean_3L_Laundry_Liquid

Nature Clean Refill liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

nature-clean-powder-detergent

Nature Clean Powder

Although this is an excellent product, it ships from Canada so if you are in the USA shipping is outrageous!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Nellie’s Laundry Soda

Contains coconut oil based ingredients. Not considered strong enough to properly clean a dirty diaper. Too expensive to be able to use enough to get a proper clean.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

oxy-prime-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergent

OXY-PRIME Powder

Rinses completely and decomposes almost immediately in the environment leaving no toxic by-products or phosphates to the water table.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

planet Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Planet Ultra Powder

Not an effective detergent.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent

From Austin, Texas; No phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, dyes, allergens.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

rockin-green-watermelon-classic-rock

Rockin Green Classic Rock Formula, Smashing Watermelons

Fantastic for hard water

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

Natural-HE-Powder-Laundry-Detergent-by-Rockin-Green-Perfect-for-Cloth-Diapers-Classic-Rock-Formula-for-Normal-Water-Up-to-90-Loads-Per-Bag-45-oz-Unscented-0

Rockin Green Unscented

Fantastic for hard water

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrances
Yes

 

Ruby Moon laundry detergent

Ruby Moon Cloth Diaper Detergent- Warm Vanilla Sugar

This product is not really a detergent, it is mainly water softeners and salt. Not recommended for cloth diapers as it contains no surfactant.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Some varieties have fragrance
Yes

 

 

 

sensiclean Best Detergent for Cloth Diapers

Sensi Clean Liquid

Very expensive. Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Seventh Generation Natural 4X Concentrated Free and Clear Unscented

Use 1/2 cap in your cloth diaper prewash and 1 1/2 caps in the main wash. Wash on hot; add a water softener, such as Calgon if your water is at all hard. Does contain essential oils.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

seventh-genration-detergent-baby-no-optical-brighteners

Seventh Generation Baby

Plant-derived enzyme stain removers. Certified Cruelty Free. From Vermont; 0% fragrances, dyes, or artificial brighteners.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Perfumes
Yes

 

sportwash Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Sport-Wash Residue Free

Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
 

Yes

sun-earth-cloth-diaper-detergent

Sun and Earth Unscented

 The free and clear variety does not contain synthetic fragrances.  Ingredients in this detergent are problematic for build-up/repellency issues with cloth diapers.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance

Ingredient PDF

Yes

 

Trader Joes Best Detergent for Cloth Diapers

Trader Joe’s Liquid

Contains fabric softener which can buildup and cause repellency issues with cloth diapers.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
Yes

 

vaska Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart

Vaska Baby

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

seventh-genration-detergent-baby-no-optical-brighteners

Vaska Perfect

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

 

 

Discontinued Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

You can check eBay and other outlets that deal in discontinued products for these oldies but goodies.

  • A Happy Green Life
  • Bio-Vert
  • Bio-Vert with no perfume

Hard To Find Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Can optical brighteners be washed out?

Yes, optical brighteners can be washed out of your laundry. The folks over at Clean It Guide have an article “How To Remove Optical Brighteners From Clothes” that is simple to follow. I did exactly what they said and IT WORKED!

ACU, OCP Uniform Washing In Optical Brightener Free Detergent

On the care label, the instructions are to launder in a mild detergent which does NOT contain “optical brighteners.” The reason the instructions say not to use detergents with optical brighteners is that they make Army uniforms a lot more visible (not quite glow in the dark, but close).

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  1. This is interesting. I’ll have to look at my current detergent to see about any of the ingredients that are optical brighteners but now it makes so much sense to why my blacks fade fast from certain detergent use.

    I also love ECOS but I can’t find the Disney one, the current line of ECOS I can fine all include fabric softener, so those are out of the question.

    So on that note I hope my current detergent doesn’t have any, and I can continue using it because it’s the most cost effective (and also plant based) for me to do the laundry for a household of 4.

    Thanks for this info! I’ll start researching more now.

    • Cleanitguide.com has an article on how to remove the optical brighteners, once removed they are gone for good unless you wash the clothes in a detergent that has the brighteners in them again. the article is here: https://cleanitguide.com/how-to-remove-optical-brighteners-from-clothes/ I followed the instructions on that page and switched to this brand https://amzn.to/2tV4RI5 – I suppose I should write a post about the huge difference I noticed in my baby’s rashes – lack of. Prior to researching optical brighteners, I used Foca.. cheap and I felt it worked really well. I never associated the “heat bumps” and skin rashes because they were so mild. I just assumed it was baby acne! Now? No baby acne? Weird, huh?

  2. Cheer laundry detergent does not have optical brighteners. Too bad P&G has been minimizing this brand and becoming harder to find. Most stores that carry it will now have liquid or powder, but not both.

    • Cheer laundry detergent does not have optical brighteners. Too bad P&G has been minimizing this brand and becoming harder to find. Most stores that carry it will now have liquid or powder, but not both.

      Hi Jonathan,
      I looked into this, as promised and unfortunately, All but one of the Cheer products do have optical brighteners. Here is a list of what I found along with the source:

      The Only one that I found free of optical brighteners was Cheer stay colorful Powdered Detergent – Fresh Clean. This products only brightener” is Sodium Percarbonate which is a combination of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. This is a chemical and exposure to the pure chemical can cause burns, skin irritation, eye irritations, and even blindness! However, it is not an “optical” brightener. I will be adding this one to our list, Thanks for bringing my attention to this one! Appreciate it!!

    • Thanks Jonathan! I will look into it. Appreciate your pointing this out to me. It’s really hard to keep up with all of the brands. That’s why user input like yours is so important to me. The more we know, the better we can make educated choices. Hope to hear more from you

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