Green Detergents vs Conventional Detergents

Green detergents vs conventional detergents, which is better? Is it really green? What are the environmental benefits? If you’re not sure what’s the difference or what will be the consequences of going green with your laundry detergent than you’re at the right place.

You may also appreciate the list I made of 7 Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents (For Best Results)

What is a detergent anyway?

A detergent is a material with the ability to connect with water and oil at the same time. Since water and oil strive to go separately it’s an important quality.

In other words, detergents connect water and oil. and this makes them very good for cleaning.

Detergents can be made from natural materials (green detergents) or from unnatural materials than they are regarded to as conventional Detergents.

Green Detergents vs Conventional Detergents

So in recent years, we see more detergents that mark themselves as “Green” or “Bio-degradable” or “Eco-friendly” However, the difference between those is not always clear.

Green detergentsConventional detergents
Derived from plants
(natural sources)
Derived from petrochemicals
(un-natural source)
Bio-degradableNot bio-degradable
Does not pollute
“Eco friendly”
Pollutes rivers and soils and harms
fishes skin
Just like regular soaps. has no known hazards.Not healthy to breathe.
Not healthy for the skin, can cause a rash on sensitive skin.

7 Examples of green laundry detergent I happily recommended

This is the basic differences but now let’s get into each segment with more details.

What are green detergents?

So green detergents are made from natural materials derived from plants, just like soaps.

Therefore, Soaps and Detergent are actually a lot alike.

Regular soaps (hands soap, shower soap, etc.) have the same functionality as detergents. Both are connecting water molecules with oily molecules.

The biggest difference between the two is detergents are made from petrochemicals (un-natural source) on the other hand, soaps are made from plant materials (natural source).

What are the downsides of green detergents?

  • Some products are only marketed as “green detergents” however, when you take a good look into the ingredients you find out they are actually not eco-friendly

  • Some green products don’t clean as well as others and show weaker results. So, make sure to read costumers reviews before you make a purchase.

  • Green detergents are still regarded as a special product or premium product, as a result, in many cases they will be pricier

What are Conventional detergents?

They make conventional detergents out of petrochemicals that comes from earth-mining.


You should know, mining has a destructive effect on the environment, it releases dangerous gases into the air, it hurts biodiversity and it pollutes water sources.

Read more about the impact of mining

What are the environmental impacts of Conventional detergents?

Conventional detergents end up in rivers and harm the eco-system

High phosphate concentration in a body of water creates a state where algae thrive and all the other creatures die.

Likewise, they also harm fishes

Just like detergents remove the oil or grease from a dirty shirt –  It removes a thin layer from the fish’s skin that supposes to protect it from bacteria and parasites.

Ruining soil structure

Some of the salts that conventional detergents contain affect soil structure. making it less fertile in some cases, and in other cases killing the healthy bacteria that naturally grows in the soil and helps to keep its structure.

Conventional detergents come from mining 

Detergents are Derived from irresponsible-mining, not a cause worthy of your contribution.

The plastic containers

Conventional detergents usually come in huge plastic containers that are not always recyclable.

Read more about the effect of detergent on the environment

Why are detergents Bad For Your Family Health?

Green Detergents vs Conventional Detergents

Because they contain carcinogen substances

1,4-Dioxane is a substance that can be found in many laundry supplies. Take a look at what the FDA has to say about it.

Because they are bad to breath

The emissions coming out of the machine before and after washing contain substances that are bad to breathe and consequently are bad for your family’s health.

Read what CBS news had to say about breathing the emissions from detergents.

Example of a green detergent

Green Detergents vs Conventional Detergents

This green detergent by Method is a great example of an eco friendly product.

First of all, the package is small (only 10″ tall), it’s recyclable and it’s made from recycled plastic.

Second, it’s 95% bio-based which is great compared with other green detergents.

But most importantly it has great buyers reviews which means it cleans very well and people loved it.

Full list of recommended eco friendly laundry detergents

More about Green detergents

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