Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Published by MammaJane on

Updating: January 10, 2019 –

So, what is all the hub-bub about detergents without optical brighteners?  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!

Top-Rated 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.

My Top Three Picks

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!

Laundering The Army Combat Uniform (ACU)

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).

List Of Optical Brighteners

  • 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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
allens Best Detergent for Cloth DiapersAllens NaturallyPowderedNoNoUnknown
Allens NaturallyUltra PowderNoNoUnknown
Allens NaturallyLiquid Laundry DetergentsNoNoUnknown-

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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Detergents Without Optical BrightenersAttitudeBaby Fragrance-FreeNoYesUnknown
Attitude

Ylang-Ylang & Tangerine

NoYesUnknown
Attitude

Lavender & Grapefruit

NoYesUnknown

NOTES: Awesome for sensitive skin and eczema!

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
baby-ganics-laundry-detergentBabyGanicsLoads of Love 3X, Fragrance-FreeNoYesUnknown
BabyGanics3X Fragrance-Free liquidNoYesUnknown
BabyGanics3X Lavender liquidNoYesUnknown

NOTES:

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
BioKleen Liquid DetergentBio-O-KleenLiquid Laundry DetergentNo Yespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Bio-O-KleenPowder Free & ClearNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Bio-O-KleenPremium Plus Laundry PowderNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

NOTES: According to various cloth diaper forums, this brand of detergent causes repellency issues with pocket diapers.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
bumgenius laundry detergentBumGeniusPowderNoYesUnknown

NOTES:

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
charlie-banana-detergentCharlie Banana

Powder Fragrance-Free

NoUnknownUnknown

NOTES: quickly dissolves in cold water, rinses thoroughly

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartCharlie’s SoapPowderNoYesUnknown

NOTES: 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!

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
cheer-powder-he-detergent-boxCheer Stay colorful Powdered Detergent Fresh Clean ScentFragranceNoUnknown

NOTES: See notes in the comments section. Thank Jonathan

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Detergents Without Optical BrightenersClorox Green WorksLiquidNoYesUnknown

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
country save Best Detergent for Cloth DiaperCountry SaveLiquidNo YesUnknown
Country SavePowderedNoYesUnknown

NOTES: Cost effective, additive free, and great results.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
DroppsLiquid Laundry Pacs – Fresh ScentNoYesUnknown

NOTES: enzyme-free, NPE-fee, phosphate-free and chlorine-free

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
ECOS Free Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartEarth Friendly ProductsBaby Ecos Disney Laundry Detergent, Lavender and ChamomileNoYesUnknown

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

 ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
envirorite Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartEnviroRiteClearly CleanNo YesUnknown

NOTES: Ingredients: Deionized Water, Vegetable-Based Cleaning Agents, Surfactacts, Microbiostat

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
HEX-Performance-Advance-Laundry-Detergent-Free-and-Clear-H-E-XPerformance Anti-Stink Free + Clear LiquidNoYesUnknown
H-E-XPerformance Anti-Stink Fresh Clean Scent LiquidFragranceYesUnknown

NOTES:

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
 honest-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergentHonest Company liquidNo YesUnknown

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
lifekind-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergentLifekindNaturally Safer Triple ConcentratedNo YesUnknown

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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Maggies Soap Nuts Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartMaggie’s Soap NutsMaggie’s Soap NutsNoYesUnknown

NOTES: 100% natural – Grows on Trees.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Mountain Green3X Free and ClearNoYes peta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Sodium percarbonate Sodium carbonate Citric acid Pure lemon essential oilMolly’s SudsOxygen Whitener PowderNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Molly’s SudsSensitive Skin PowderNo Yes peta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

NOTES: Sodium percarbonate, Sodium carbonate, Citric acid, Pure lemon essential oil

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
natureclean-2 nature clean cloth diaper laundry detergentNature CleanliquidNo Yespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Nature CleanRefill liquidNo Yespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Nature CleanPowderNo Yespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Nellie’sNellie’s Laundry SodaFragranceYesUnknown

NOTES: contains coconut oil based ingredients. From Vancouver; free from SLS, SLES, Phosphates, Fragrance, and Chlorine, biodegradable

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
oxy-prime-cloth-diaper-laundry-detergentOXY-PRIMEOXY-PRIME PowderNo YesUnknown

NOTES:

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
planet Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartPlanetUltra PowderNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
PuracyNatural Liquid Laundry DetergentNoNoUnknown

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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
rockin green soap Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartRockin GreenClassic Rock FormulaOptional FragrancesYesUnknown
Rockin GreenUnscentedNoYesUnknown

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
sensiclean Best Detergent for Cloth DiapersSensiCleanLiquidNoNoUnknown

NOTES: Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
Seventh Generation Natural 4X Concentrated Free and Clear UnscentedNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent
Seventh GenerationBabyNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

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

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
sportwash Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartSport-WashResidue FreeNoNoUnknown

NOTES: Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
sun-earth-cloth-diaper-detergentSun and EarthUnscentedNoYesUnknown

NOTES: Ingredients in this detergent are problematic for build-up/repellency issues with cloth diapers.

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
 Trader Joes Best Detergent for Cloth DiapersTrader Joe’sLiquidNoYespeta-approved cloth diaper laundry detergent

NOTES: 

ImageDetergent
Brand 
Name & SizeHarsh ChemicalsHEPETA APPROVED – Cruelty-Free
vaska Cloth Diaper Detergent ChartVaskaBabyNoNoUnknown
VaskaPerfectessential oilsNoUnknown

NOTES:

Discontinued Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

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

  • Bio-Vert
  • Bio-Vert with no perfume

Hard To Find Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

Further Reading

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!


3 Comments

Jonathan · December 30, 2018 at 12:59 am

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.

MammaJane · December 30, 2018 at 5:26 pm

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

MammaJane · December 30, 2018 at 6:46 pm

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!!

Comments are closed.