House & Home

Dropps is our favorite eco-friendly laundry detergent

This Earth Week, ditch plastic laundry detergent bottles for good.
By Jae Thomas  on 
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Dropps laundry detergent pod boxes and a hand soap bottle on a wood table
Dropps is one of the easiest eco-friendly swaps you can make. Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable
Dropps laundry detergent (opens in a new tab)
The Bottom Line
With a simple subscription, solid price point, and great-quality soap, Dropps has been my go-to detergent for over four years.
Mashable Score 4.8
Sustainability 4
Wow Factor 5
Performance 5
Bang for the Buck 5
The Good
  • Completely plastic-free packaging
  • Comes in multiple scents (including unscented)
  • Has a sensitive skin option
  • Subscription is reliable
  • Affordable price point
The Bad
  • The complete biodegradability of PVOH pods is uncertain

I find it hard to advocate for eco-friendly cleaning products. Usually, natural ingredients like vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda don't cut through grime or clean well enough to maintain a permanent spot in my cleaning rotation. I've tried nearly every multi-purpose spray, dish soap, and laundry detergent on the eco-friendly market in an effort to cut down on unnecessary chemicals in my home. Still, not all cleaning products are created equally.

One of the only exceptions is Dropps laundry detergent(opens in a new tab).

Why we like Dropps laundry detergent

I've been using Dropps laundry detergent for nearly five years, and it's one of the best eco-friendly options on the market. Where other sustainable laundry detergents fall short of cleaning power, Dropps delivers. I've used Dropps to wash countless grease stains out of T-shirts, and it even got red curry out of a white washable rug on one occasion.

The pods come in multiple scents (including lavender eucalyptus, orange blossom, and an unscented option) and leave laundry feeling and smelling clean. There's also a sensitive skin option for folks who need gentler ingredients. I've used the stain and odor and sensitive skin formulas and both offered effective cleaning.

Two dropps detergent boxes
Dropps boxes come attatched together during shipment, then can be separated thanks to the perforated cardboard. Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable

In terms of ingredients, Dropps is pretty solid and puts sustainability first when sourcing ingredients. Where many traditional detergents contain trace amounts of probable carcinogens(opens in a new tab), Dropps sticks to products approved by the EPA's Cleangredients database(opens in a new tab). The only question mark about Dropps has to do with the PVOH pods the soap is held in. There are mixed opinions(opens in a new tab) on whether PVOH is actually fully biodegradable. We took this into account when assigning a sustainability score.

A big plus of Dropps on the sustainability front is the packaging and the shipping. Most packages from traditional retailers contain plastic bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and plastic tape that can't be recycled or composted, and just end up in a landfill. Dropps ships all of its products in cardboard boxes made by suppliers that are certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. The packaging also includes paper tape and fully recyclable shipping labels. If you're a big home composter, you can even compost the cardboard box your laundry soap comes in. Dropps also offers tons of shipping initiatives to help balance carbon emissions — read more on that below.

I notoriously hate subscriptions and anything on auto-ship, but Dropps is one of the few companies I haven't had a problem with. They regularly send reminder emails before your next shipment is set to be processed (just make sure the emails aren't going to your junk folder). The shipping takes a bit longer than has become normalized (thanks, Amazon), but the sustainability efforts behind the brand make the wait worth it. If you don't want to subscribe, you can also do one-time purchases, but they cost a bit more than the subscriptions.

close up of laundry detergent pods
You'll never have to measure laundry soap again. Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable

I've also had nothing but positive interactions with Dropps customer service. They respond quickly and are invested in keeping customers happy. When I moved states last year, I forgot to change the address on my Dropps subscription. I reached out and they were able to quickly change my address and divert the shipment before it got delivered to my old address.

Swap or not?

The best way to reduce your waste and live a more sustainable lifestyle is to swap products you use every day for their more sustainable counterparts. We think Dropps is a simple, easy swap to reduce plastic waste from traditional laundry detergent and to wash your clothes with cleaner, gentler ingredients. If you're not ready to go all in on the plastic-free lifestyle, start by swapping your normal laundry detergent for a box of Dropps. Opt for their hand soap tablets or laundry boosters too, if you want to make even more eco-friendly swaps.

How we tested

I've used Dropps laundry detergent in my home for nearly five years, and have seen the evolution of their product packaging and the consistency of the product quality over the years. I've tried nearly every detergent option, including the sensitive skin option and multiple different scents. I've compared this laundry detergent to other similar eco-friendly laundry detergents, and Dropps got more food stains out with every wash. It works just as well as non-eco-friendly detergents, but it has better ingredients, completely recyclable/compostable packaging, a simple subscription, and excellent customer service.

A few other factors I took into consideration when coming up with the sustainability score were:

  • Materials/ingredients: Dropps formulates its products using the EPA's Cleangredients database, which only allows ingredients that meet strict health and environmental standards. The sustainability of PVOH laundry pods is currently up for debate, but we still feel good about supporting Dropps considering all the other good things the company has going for it.

  • Packaging: Dropps laundry pods are shipped in a cardboard box, sealed with paper tape, and use "recycling compatible adhesive (RCA) to ensure the tape remains recyclable after use." The shipping labels on each box also use RCA, and Dropps states on its website that the release liners that hold shipping labels are also recyclable. You won't find any plastic air pouches or non-recyclable packing peanuts in any of Dropps' shipments.

  • Shipping: Dropps is partnered with Clearloop, a clean energy carbon offset group to offer carbon-neutral shipping. The company purchases carbon offsets supporting "renewable energy and methane capture projects" to balance the carbon emissions it racks up due to shipping. Dropps does not offer expedited shipping, only uses USPS ground networks, and has a centrally-located warehouse in Chicago that allows more efficient nationwide shipping. You might have to wait a little longer for your Dropps box to arrive in comparison to a bottle of detergent from Amazon, but it's worth it.

  • Other company sustainability initiatives: Dropps is a certified B Corporation, won the 2017 EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year award, doesn't test on animals, is dedicated to reducing emissions during manufacturing, and more.

Jae Thomas is the Deputy Shopping Editor for Mashable. They specialize in all things outdoor gear, kitchen goods, pet products, and fitness gadgets. Before Jae came to Mashable, they received a B.A. in Journalism and English Literature from New York University and wrote for publications like Bon Appétit, Epicurious, The Daily Beast, Apartment Therapy, and Marie Claire.

When they're not testing products or writing about online shopping, you'll find Jae whipping up an elaborate meal, hiking, camping, or hanging out with their dog, Miso. Reach out to them on Twitter at @jaetaurina(opens in a new tab) or by email at [email protected]

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