Ummmm…laundry detergent sheets?
This isn’t new but it’s new to me. Like most people, I’ve traditionally bought my laundry detergent in the holy trinity: liquid, powder, and pods.
So, I tried out a few laundry detergent sheet brands to find out. I was shocked. There are tons of new, boutique brands online that all seem to be rising in popularity.
Note – some also go by the term ‘liquidless laundry detergent‘ online. This seems silly since powder and pods are also technically liquidless…
What exactly are these laundry detergent sheets? How do they work? What are my favorite brands? How is it going to change my laundry routine?
What Are Laundry Detergent Sheets Made Of?
Laundry detergent sheets, or liquidless laundry detergent, are very similar to dryer sheets. They are essentially strips or sheets – usually made of a biodegradable resin – with the necessary cleaning ingredients suspended in that resin.
These cleaning ingredients can range in variety, from biodegradable, eco-friendly, or just plain chemical. Like liquid detergents, there is a surprising amount of variety in this product niche for you to choose what works best for you – all while eliminating the waste and mess of liquid laundry detergent.
Eliminating waste and mess is a primary selling point for laundry detergent sheets. And, it makes sense. They’re easy to transport, drip-free, and recycle easily.
Many of these products are sold in recyclable or compostable packaging. Companies also aim to make dosage easier, as measuring liquid laundry detergent has never been fun. Products will direct you to use one full sheet or half-sheet per load and will make other suggestions based on load size and even stains.
How Do Laundry Detergent Sheets Work?
Once you add a laundry detergent sheet to your wash cycle, the sheet will dissolve in liquid and release the cleaning ingredients.
Interestingly, customers have realized that these sheets can also be used to spot-treat clothing. Since they dissolve quickly in water, you can use a whole sheet or cut it down to size, place it over a stain, and let sit. Handwashing is also possible with these sheets where the sheet acts as a defacto ‘stain scrubber’ of sorts.
Benefits of Using Laundry Detergent Sheets
The initial draw to these products is their environmentally conscious use. Most liquidless laundry detergent companies seek to cut down or completely eliminate waste (the latter results in “zero waste” products). In the same vein, most packaging is compostable, recyclable or biodegradable. The sheets themselves may be cruelty-free, made in the US and hypoallergenic, depending on what you’re looking for.
While the above benefits might not seem like a big deal, take a minute to stop and think about just how much plastic you use whenever you do your laundry. An average laundry detergent lasts for 50 loads of laundry if measured correctly – or at all. And once those 50 loads are up, you’re left with a plastic container; one that won’t break down when it goes to the landfill and is likely still coated in the liquid detergent, which can be harmful to the environment as it soaks in.
Roughly 1 billion plastic laundry detergent containers go to landfills each year, and only 30% end up getting recycled.
Non-concentrated liquid detergents are also 60-90% water, so you’re paying to add water…to your water. By cutting out the water, liquidless laundry detergent cuts down on cost – cost of shipping, packaging and waste.
Additionally, laundry detergent sheets are likely healthier for you. We’ll dive deeper into this subject further on, but for beginners, sheets cut out many of the ingredients needed to make liquid laundry detergent “work.”
Also, as a side note, I found them incredibly easy to transport. Why carry a gallon of liquid detergent when you can toss two laundry detergent sheets in your pocket?
Are Laundry Detergent Sheets Safe For Your Washer?
Perhaps you’ve heard that dryer sheets are harmful for your dryer, so alarm bells are going off right now. And that’s true – dryer sheets can cut down on your dryer’s efficiency and, in some cases, clog vents enough to cause dangerous circumstances.
But unlike dryer sheets, liquidless laundry sheets dissolve as soon as they hit the water. So when you set up your wash cycle and close the lid, the sheets are no more. There’s literally nothing to get stuck in the machine and, additionally, there are fewer harmful chemicals that will be circling around in there as well.
Are Laundry Detergent Sheets Safe For Your Septic?
It’s not just delicate skin you need to worry about when it comes to laundry – septic systems can be surprisingly finicky and react badly to some products.
Chances are, you flush your toilet, do your laundry and run your garbage disposal without thinking twice about what the consequences may be. But the waste you put down your pipes ends up in one central location if you have a septic tank. And when it comes time to pump or check on the health of the septic tank, you may be surprised how poor the condition can be.
Septic tanks work by holding wastewater long enough that solid waste is eventually broken down by naturally occurring bacteria. Some solids are definitely to be expected, but did you know that what you pour into your pipes can kill off the bacteria and slow the breakdown process?
When this happens, your tank can fill up quickly with solids. Most of the ingredients in liquid laundry detergent are guaranteed to kill off these necessary bacteria, so with each load of laundry, you’re actually harming your septic tank.
Luckily, laundry detergent sheets are a safe alternative. While putting anything that isn’t truly waste into a septic tank isn’t a great idea, most laundry detergent sheets are biodegradable. Because the goal of the companies who manufacture these products is to cut down on carbon footprint and harmful chemicals, things like bleach and phosphates aren’t included in the ingredients.
Therefore, when these sheets dissolve in your laundry and travel out into the septic tank, they’re having a significantly lower impact on impairing the bacteria in the tank. They also cut out about 90% of the liquid you’d be flushing into your system as well, and that’s always a good thing as you won’t be overloading it.
Using liquidless laundry detergent instead of liquid laundry detergent can not only make your life easier but keep your system healthier and happier in the long run.
Are Laundry Detergent Sheets Safe For You?
Because of their naturally health-and-environmentally conscious creation, most laundry detergent sheets contains less toxic ingredients than your everyday liquid laundry detergent.
In fact, the liquid laundry detergent sitting in your laundry room now probably contains some of the following:
- Phosphates – linked to cardiovascular disease
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – a main ingredient that causes inflammation of eyes, skin, lungs and organs; also toxic to the environment
- Chlorine Bleach/Bleach – an irritant to skin and lungs
- Ammonia Sulfate – noted to be a Category 3 toxin to skin and lungs
- Formaldehyde – a preservative that the CDC warns can increase your risk of cancer
- Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizer/Quat – a corrosive chemical that causes eye, skin and lung damage
…just to name a few. We haven’t even mentioned the fragrances, which really only exist to make things seem cleaner.
When it comes down to it, it’s no surprise that liquid laundry detergents are often irritants to the skin, at the very least. Families with infants, young children, or particularly sensitive members often struggle with skin irritation.
So how do liquidless laundry detergents differ? By getting rid of the water component of laundry detergent, the manufacturers don’t need to include preservatives – most of which are irritants. This cuts down a lot on harmful ingredients.
Instead, many laundry detergent sheets use polyvinyl alcohol, a plant-based polymer used in eye drops, and coconut-based surfactants (the ingredient that stirs up dirt on a surface so you can remove it more easily).
Many laundry detergent sheets stick to their mission of safety and either cut out fragrances altogether or use all-natural fragrances. The latter is less of an irritant on the skin and senses.
Overall, you’re exposing your body to fewer irritants, damaging chemicals, and preservatives. But, do your own research. Within the space, there are a wide variety of brands to choose from – some good and some not so good…
What Are the Cons?
While liquidless laundry detergent has definitely taken off in the last few years as a product niche (even being featured on shows like Shark Tank), they’re still pretty hard to find in retail stores. Most customers buy the product through sites like Amazon or directly from the companies, once a bit of research is done.
Luckily, stores like Target and Whole Foods may be getting laundry detergent sheets on the shelves soon – so you can include them in your monthly shopping trip.
Another downside is that families who regularly run large loads of laundry will go through laundry detergent sheets much quicker than with other detergent forms. It’s common sense that larger loads mean more cleaning material needed, as the sheets promise to keep clothes as clean as they would be with liquid detergent. But even liquid detergent needs to be adjusted to fit load size.
And while it’s been noted that the ingredients in laundry sheets are much safer than those found in liquid detergents, they are still chemicals. Therefore, it’s important to keep these products out of the reach of small children and pets, as ingesting them will definitely cause problems.
One last concern is that some liquidless laundry detergent products may be greenwashing consumers; claiming to be “more” eco-friendly when they’re still using plastic in their packaging or harmful ingredients. Just not as many as they could. It’s important to read the packaging and make sure you understand what the product is promising and what it actually delivers before purchasing.
Best Laundry Detergent Sheets on Amazon
On average, Americans run about 35 billion loads of laundry a year. Isn’t it time to clean up our act a little when it comes to cleaning our clothes? If liquidless laundry detergent, or laundry detergent sheets, have caught your attention, check out our list of the best liquidless laundry detergents available on Amazon.
While they may be slightly more expensive than your average liquid laundry detergent, keep in mind the added benefits and lower waste.
Sheets Laundry Club
As seen on Shark Tank! Sheets Laundry Club claims to be “the one that started it all.” The convenient, quick-dissolving, eco-friendly laundry detergent sheet with all the power of your normal detergent with none of the plastic and mess. Never worry about pouring and measuring again. The perfect wash every time is as easy as grab, toss, wash.
Made with zero-waste packaging and safer ingredients, our laundry detergent sheets is more eco-friendly than most conventional detergents out there. All laundry detergent sheets are made with a mostly plant-derived formula. Which creates a much gentler and safer alternative to synthetic, chemical-based detergents.
Ultra-concentrated, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and super easy to use, the laundry detergent strips pack a ton of cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of detergent. No measuring, no mess, dissolves in both hot and cold water. The smart formulation effectively seeks out and dislodges dirt molecules and stains, keeping them in suspension until they are rinsed.
This brand was started because of a bad experience with weak eco-friendly laundry liquid? Their new ultra-concentrate detergent sheets offer extra strong cleaning power without harsh chemicals. Odors and stains vanish thanks to just 4 natural ingredients – so you can finally get the best for both your clothes and your skin.
Interested in More Laundry Product Reviews?
We’re experts in laundry care! Browse the articles below for more laundry product recommendations from laundry professionals!
The 5 Best Boutique Laundry Detergents You’ve Never Heard Of!
Wait!? What are Laundry Detergent Sheets and How Do I Get Some?
Our Favorite Laundry Softeners from Upcoming Laundry Brands
Our Favorite Laundry Softeners – That Actually Work – from New Laundry Brands
Our Favorite Bleach and Laundry Whiteners + Whitening Tips for Your Laundry
Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets? Keep Your Laundry Soft Without Ruining Your Dryer!