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Do Plastic-Free Laundry Strips Work? 

Plastic-free laundry strips may give you a clean conscience, but how well do they wash your laundry? We tested seven popular brands to find out.
Do Plastic-Free Laundry Strips Work?

My social media feed is awash with ads for plastic-free laundry strips. It’s definitely not because I love laundry—who does? Rather, it's because I’m always looking for ways to use less plastic. And switching to laundry strips, which come in small cardboard sleeves instead of giant plastic jugs, is a simple way to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging.

There are now several companies making plastic-free laundry detergent, so I decided to test them out. Here’s everything you need to know about laundry strips and whether they are the right choice for you—and the environment.

good juju, kind laundry and nature clean laundry strips

What are plastic-free laundry strips?

Plastic-free laundry detergent strips are ultra-concentrated sheets of liquidless laundry detergent that dissolve in hot or cold water. Delivering a pre-portioned amount, each strip promises to wash a full load of laundry. No pouring, no spills.

Because laundry strips are lightweight and mess-free, they are super convenient for travel and take up way less storage space than detergents or pods. Most importantly, laundry strips are plastic-free.

The problem with plastic

My family of four goes through a lot of laundry. We do at least five loads a week: sheets, towels, whites, darks and delicates. That’s 260 loads a year, or roughly 10 plastic jugs.

Sure, we put our plastic jugs in the blue bin—but there’s a good chance they won’t actually be recycled. According to a study commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Canada, only about 22 percent of Canada’s plastic packaging waste makes its way to recycling facilities. Of that, a mere 15 percent gets recycled into new products.


The rest either piles up in landfills or litters the environment. According to Ashley Wallis of Environmental Defence, plastic packaging accounts for 47 percent of Canada’s plastic waste.

Globally, the numbers are even grimmer. Researchers estimate that 8,300 metric tons of virgin plastics were produced as of 2017. Only nine percent had been recycled. Twelve percent had been burned, and a whopping 79 percent had accumulated in landfills or littered the environment.

Even if every bit of discarded plastic was recycled, plastic manufacturing still contributes to climate change.

“Ninety-nine percent of plastic is made from fossil resources like oil and gas,” says Wallis. “It’s estimated that without action by 2050, plastics will account for 10 to 13 percent of our global carbon budget (as per the Paris Agreement).”

Are laundry strips better for the environment? Yes—here's why:

They use natural ingredients

When detergents go down the drain, they make their way into our waterways and drinking water, where they don’t biodegrade—instead lingering and accumulating in the ecosystem. Many are considered highly toxic to aquatic organisms.


If you’d rather clean your clothes with natural ingredients, laundry strips are a good choice. They are made with plant-based, biodegradable ingredients that are gentle on sensitive skin and safe to use with septic systems.

They are plastic-free

Since laundry strips are liquidless, they can be packaged in cardboard or paper—which is more readily recycled than plastic. Plus the packaging itself is made with post-consumer recycled content.

Every packet of laundry strips replaces a plastic jug of detergent. Comparing apples to apples, a 32-strip packet of Nature Clean laundry strips replaces a 1.8-L jug of Nature Clean laundry detergent—which does 30 standard loads.

Wallis points out that plastic pollution can’t be solved by individual action alone—that we need systemic changes, including stronger bans on unnecessary and harmful single-use plastics. But until then, it’s up to individuals—and industry—to pave the way.

“Over time we should absolutely be looking to phase out all unnecessary plastics,” says Wallis. “And when industry demonstrates what’s possible, without plastic, it helps create space for government action.”

They have a smaller carbon footprint


Cutting out plastic means cutting down on carbon emissions. Not only is plastic made of petrochemicals—which come from petroleum—but manufacturing and shipping virgin plastic emits greenhouse gases.

Since laundry strips are much lighter and more compact than liquid detergent, they are also easier to ship—reducing fuel consumption and emissions from transportation.

How do you use laundry strips?

Plastic-free laundry strips work in all types of washing machines, including high efficiency. Simply toss a strip into the drum at the beginning of the cycle. For hand-washing, tear a strip in half, dissolve it in water and add your laundry.

Laundry strips are designed to wash a regular, lightly soiled load. If you’re doing a smaller load, you can use half a strip. For large or heavily-soiled loads, you can use two strips.

Do laundry strips work?

With a three-year-old and a five-year-old, I have some pretty filthy laundry. I’m talking peed-on, ketchup-smeared, muddy puddle-splattered, marker-stained laundry. And all the brands I tested did a great job of cleaning it. (In fact, I’ve now been using laundry strips for two years.)


Unlike some pods or powder detergents, the laundry strips dissolved completely without clumping or leaving a residue. They don’t create suds like traditional detergents, but all those bubbles are just for show—they don’t mean the detergent cleans any better.

I normally use unscented detergent, since I’m sensitive to smells and have kids. But I received some scented samples, so I was curious to try them. When I first opened the packages, I found the smell a bit strong, but that’s because the strips are ultra concentrated. After the laundry is done, the smell is barely there. Even when I used two strips for a big load of towels, they came out smelling fresh and clean—not perfume-y.

Are laundry strips affordable?

Laundry strips range in price from $0.16 per load to $0.66 per load, depending on the brand. Some brands have subscription programs, which provide further cost savings.

Whether laundry strips are more or less expensive than liquid or powder detergent depends on what you currently use. You can spend anywhere from $4.49 for a 2-L jug of No Name detergent ($0.09 per load) to $34.99 for 112 Tide Coldwater CleanPods ($0.31 per load) or $9.49 for a 1-L jug of Tide Original ($0.38 per load).

Laundry strips to try

Here are some brands that are biodegradable, vegan-friendly, safe for septic systems and packaged in recycled paper or cardboard.

Clean People Laundry Sheets, $47 for 96 strips

clean people laundry detergent strips on a blue background with illustrated soap bubbles

Manufactured in Canada and the United States, Clean People Laundry Detergent Sheets work with any kind of washing machine. Use them in top loaders, front loaders and high-efficiency. Scientifically formulated with natural ingredients to be biodegradable and septic-safe, these are a safe choice for a variety of plumbing setups.

They come in three formulations rich with cleaning power. Choose from fresh scent, baby and fragrance-free.

Eco Max Laundry Detergent Strips, $13 for 32 strips

Eco max laundry detergent laundry strips on a blue background with soap bubbles

These plant-based laundry strips use enzymes to break down stains. Made without fragrances, whitening agents or dyes, they are hypoallergenic and biodegradable. They work with any water temperature on colourfast fabrics, with any type of machine. And they don't take up nearly as much space as liquid laundry detergents.

Good Juju, $15 for 36 strips

Good juju laundry strips

Made in Canada, Good Juju makes plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars as well as laundry strips. All of their products are plastic-free. They ship in post-consumer recycled envelopes and boxes with recyclable kraft paper tape. The low-sudsing formula works on most fabric types and in a variety of laundry machine styles.

Shop this carbon negative for a feel-good experience. For every order placed, the company buys carbon offsets and donates a portion of sales to support carbon reduction initiatives.

InsoGreen, $13 for 80 loads

nso Green dissolvable laundry detergent sheets on a blue background with illustrated soap bubbles

InsoGreen laundry strips are super affordable and have more than 4,500 positive ratings on Amazon. Try these if you love using all-natural ingredients. They are dermatologist-tested and free from harsh chemicals and fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. The concentrated formula is effective in hot or cold cycles, in any type of machine.


Kind Laundry, $24 for 60 loads

Kind laundry laundry strips

Kind Laundry is a Toronto-based company. Their laundry strips have only five plant-based ingredients, each carefully chosen to be super effective and gentle on the most sensitive skin. They also make wool dryer balls and stain remover bars.

Nature Clean, $10 for 32 sheets

Nature clean laundry strips

Nature Clean is a Canadian company that makes a wide range of home cleaning and personal care products. Their pre-measured laundry strips are formulated in Canada and made in China. They have been allergy-dermatologist-tested and found to be safe for sensitive skin. You can purchase them online or find them at most grocery stores or pharmacies.

Tru Earth, $11 for 32 strips

Tru Earth Laundry Detergent strips on a blue background with illustrated soap bubbles

Choose from fragrance free, lilac breeze, or fresh linen formulas of Tru Earth laundry cleaning strips. Find them in most grocery stores and online retailers. These laundry strips are vegan, cruelty free, hypoallergenic and paraben-free. They're also free of chemicals like phthalates, phosphates, bleach and dyes.

The low-sudsing Tru Earth Eco Strips formula works in any type of washing machine, including high-efficiency. Reviewers rave about the plastic-free packaging and eco-friendly cleaning power.

While the products in this piece have been independently chosen, this article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

Originally published in 2021; updated in 2023.

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