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How to Choose the Safest Laundry Detergent for Your Family (Including Babies, Toddlers, and Kids!)

How to Choose the Safest Laundry Detergent for Your Family (Including Babies, Toddlers, and Kids!)

The clean team at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials takes the mystery out of shopping for a safe detergent that will get your clothes, bedding, and household linen clean!

As a parent, keeping your family safe and healthy is always your top priority. And when it comes to choosing a household cleaning product like laundry detergent, you’ve got to perform a real balancing act: you want a detergent that cleans well (babies, toddlers, and kids get super messy!) while being gentle and non-irritating to young and newborn skin. But navigating all your detergent options can get overwhelming pretty quickly, especially with full hands, a full schedule, and a very full laundry basket!

At Heritage Park, we get it. We’ve got babies and little ones of our own, and we are up to our elbows in laundry. Every. Single. Day. Choosing any household product -- especially one that cleans clothing and linen that touches your family’s skin -- requires some thought. Fortunately, we’ve done the research. And we’re happy to share some detailed, inside knowledge straight from the experts at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials. Read on to learn more about selecting the safest, best laundry detergent for your family and why Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent is a perfect choice.

How Laundry Detergents Can Affect Young Children

Parents of a newborn baby are often surprised at just how sensitive their skin is. Along with being brand new to all the allergies and irritants of everyday life, babies are also still developing their immune systems. Baby and toddler soap and shampoo are specially formulated for their delicate skin, which can take up to two years to mature. Similarly, you want to choose a gentle, non-irritating detergent to wash toddler and baby clothes, towels, bedding, and even cloth diapers. Any chemicals that remain in cloth or fabric have the potential to trigger allergies or irritation on sensitive skin.

choose a gentle, non-irritating detergent to wash toddler and baby clothes, towels, bedding, and even cloth diapers

Allergies and Irritation

Babies, toddlers, children, and even adults can develop an allergic reaction or sensitivity to a detergent. This is often caused by chemicals, dyes, or fragrances in the detergent (see below to learn more about fragrances and scents). Most often these reactions manifest as a rash or skin irritation that is known as contact dermatitis.

Note about fabric softener and dryer sheets: fabric softener and dryer sheets can also cause allergic reactions and irritation - they should be avoided. Fabric softener and dryer sheets also cause a waxy build-up on fabric.


Many babies and younger children have dry skin. They are also prone to eczema, which is defined by patches of scaly, dry skin. Eczema is an underlying condition that can be worsened by coming in contact with any chemicals, dyes, or fragrance. This can begin an unpleasant cycle of dryness, itching, irritation, and so on.

Environmental Safety

Many detergents contain chemical compounds and long lists of ingredients. While these may not be harmful chemicals per se, as parents, we certainly want to expose our children to fewer chemicals rather than more. We recommend carefully reading the ingredient list on the bottle, and if you don’t understand the name of a particular chemical, look it up (a good rule of thumb for laundry soap or any household cleaner). Also look for words like biodegradable, septic-safe, and, of course, free from animal testing.

Special safety note: while most laundry detergent pods are biodegradable, some don’t dissolve properly, particularly in a front-loading washing machine which can lead to damaging build up. Laundry pod designs can also resemble candy, so these possess a unique danger of ingestion. Keep all detergent, even powder and liquid detergent, securely out of reach of babies, toddlers, and young children and post the poison control center number in an easy-to-access spot in your home.

Scented vs. Unscented Detergent for Young Children

Many of us enjoy a light fragrance to our clean laundry. We are used to it, and it signals that our clothes and linen are “clean.” But, just like dyes, fragrances in laundry detergent can be problematic for babies and young children (and, yes, even some adults!). Along with skin irritation, fragrances in laundry detergent can also trigger typical “allergic” symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes.

This is why we recommend choosing a fragrance-free detergent for babies and children. Added fragrances do nothing to get laundry any cleaner, and can trigger adverse reactions, particularly in babies, toddlers, and children. If you do opt for a scented detergent for your family, look for one fragranced with a natural essential oil like our All-Purpose Detergent in Lavender Mist.

What detergent is better for you family? Scented detergent or Fragrance-free detergent

Best Laundry Detergent for Babies

Choosing a baby laundry detergent is easier than you may think. When it comes to baby detergent, less is definitely more. In fact, you may not even need a special detergent for baby clothing; a properly formulated regular detergent may fit the bill. Look for products that have a short list of recognizable ingredients that you can easily read and understand. Avoid products that contain dyes, fragrances, and chemicals such as sulfates. Bleach and brighteners are also common skin irritants, so avoid those as well. Your best bet is to look for a product that has been certified as hypoallergenic, whether it is a baby-specific or all-purpose laundry detergent. In addition to All-Purpose Laundry Detergent, which is perfect for sensitive skin, Heritage Park also produces hypoallergenic, fragrance-free Baby and Toddler Laundry Detergent.

Best Laundry Detergent, Hypoallergenic, Pediatrician and Dermatologist Tested

Best Detergent Products for Tough Stains on Baby and Kids Clothes

Now that we’ve covered gentleness, let’s address the mess! No doubt about it: your family’s clothes and linen get dirty. It’s astonishing how much dirty laundry one little baby can generate. Add to that collateral damage of spit-up, food, and worse on mom and dad’s clothing; a toddler busy exploring her world and getting half of it on her outfit; your newly minted soccer player living his best life on the muddy field; and all the daily spills, accidents, and messes. You could probably be doing laundry -- a lot of it fairly dirty and stained -- all day long.

So how do you get rid of stains without harsh chemicals? The answer is laundry enzymes! Similar to digestive enzymes in saliva, laundry enzymes are natural compounds that act as cleaning catalysts to break down proteins, which form the basis of most stains. You can learn more about the role of enzymes in stain removal and how they work here. Note: do not use an enzyme-based (or “biologic” detergent) to wash protein-based fabrics such as wool, cashmere, or silk, as regular washing with an enzyme detergent can degrade these fabrics over time. Instead, use our hypoallergenic, fragrance-free Silk and Wool Detergent.

Heritage Park All-Purpose Detergent and Baby and Toddler Laundry Detergent are made with a proprietary blend of cleaning enzymes to target tough stains. These concentrated, liquid detergent formulas can be used to spot treat stains or as an enzyme-based pre-soak before washing.

Choose Heritage Park For Your Family: Safe, Gentle, and Effective Detergent

Choosing Heritage Park All-Purpose or Baby and Toddler Laundry Detergents for your family is a smart decision. With Heritage Park, you get the perfect combination of safety and effectiveness in a product that is also gentle on the environment.

  • Concentrated, pH-neutral detergent formula won’t irritate your skin
  • Lab-certified to be hypoallergenic by AMA laboratories, as well as pediatrician tested and dermatologist tested (fragrance free formulas).
  • Powered by plants! Our detergents are made with a short list of natural and naturally-derived plant-based ingredients.
  • Made without harmful chemicals. We never use dyes, phosphates, sulfates, chlorine, bleach, and brighteners in our detergent.
  • Biodegradable and septic- and grey water safe
  • An effective enzyme blend that removes stains naturally; use to spot treat and pre-soak
  • Leaping Bunny approved as never being tested on animals.
At Heritage Park, we source only the best, naturally derived, and sustainable ingredients in all our laundry products.

Along with being safe for people, pets, and the planet, Heritage Park Laundry Essentials operates under strict stewardship guidelines. We firmly believe that safe, natural, and effective products don’t just happen; they are the result of our commitment to your family’s safety; thoughtful selection of ingredients; and a deliberate effort to deliver only the best. As you choose a detergent for your family, keep in mind that we are a family-owned business that crafts our detergent in small batches to ensure the highest quality. Our offices and manufacturing facilities are proudly located in the United States. We are always available to answer questions, and welcome your feedback and comments at any time.

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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