With all the choices on the market, choosing the best products can be a real headache. Review articles really help cut through the noise. The brands Ecos and Kirkland Laundry Detergent are no different. These products pull substantial percentages of the market, but is this justified? Kirkland is more cost effective, while Ecos is more environmentally friendly. Both are great detergents.
Kirkland Ultra Clean Laundry Detergent
Kirkland Laundry detergent is Costco’s in house brand. This means that it requires a membership at the store to buy unless you buy it from an online retail company like Amazon.
However, it is substantially cheaper than most laundry detergents while keeping up in stain fighting power. Their hypoallergenic formula is one of the best on the market for tough stains. This makes it incredibly popular, and rightfully so, but it does have some ingredients that are not the best for the environment.
Who Makes Kirkland Ultra Clean Laundry Detergent?
Kirkland is a Costco brand, but its’ unclear who produces the detergent. For over a decade, it has been assumed that the Kirkland laundry detergent is produces by Henkel, a German company responsible for producing other comparable detergents. This rumor appears to have been started by the Salt Lake Tribune in 2008. However, this remains unconfirmed by both Costco and Henkel. After this long, it is unlikely that either company will confirm the connection.
Kirkland is a very bog-standard detergent in the ingredient department. Water and sulfates make up the vast majority of its’ known ingredients list. What troubles many consumers is that a comprehensive ingredient list has never been released by Costco. Of the ingredients we do know, many of them are not environmentally friendly.
The detergent contains several sulfates, which are toxic to aquatic wildlife and contribute to poisonous algae blooms. These algae blooms are responsible for the injury and death of hundreds of people and pets each year in addition to a massive negative impact on wildlife.
• Alcohol Ethoxylates (C12-15)
• Aziridine, Homopolymer, Ethoxylated
• Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate
• Sodium Laureth Sulfate
• Alkylbenzenesulfonic Acid (C10-13), Triethanolamine Salt
• Linear Alkylbenzyl Sulfonates (C10-16)
• Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate
• Sodium Methacrylate/Styrene Copolymer
• Benzene, Mono-C10-13-Alkyl Derivs.
• Amylase, Alpha-
• Sodium Citrate
• Sodium Cocoate
• Propylene Glycol
• Calcium Chloride
• Ethanol And Alcohol Denatured
• Anionic Surfactants
• Nonionic Surfactants
Ecos Laundry Detergent
Ecos occupies a similar niche by claiming to have a hypoallergenic, sensitive skin friendly formulas for their products. However, they have the added claim on environmentally friendly products. Ecos laundry detergent sacrifices some of its’ cleaning power to remove sulfates from its formula, but the enzyme-based detergent will be able to manage most stains.
Many consumers found that it needed to be used in higher quantities per load than the bottle suggested and found the clothing to have a rough texture once dry unless fabric softener was used.
However, considering the care with which the detergent is made, and the stellar reputation of the company in environmentalists’ circles, using more products seems a small price to pay. Overall, Ecos does the job, but could be more cost effective by concentrating their formula.
Who makes Ecos Laundry Detergent?
Ecos laundry detergents are made by the Ecos company, a company dedicated to creating environmentally friendly household cleaners. Ecos was founded in the U.S.A. in 1953 by Greek immigrant Van Vlahakis. The company has focused on sustainable practices since the beginning, having won several awards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency at large as well at the state of California.
The company became carbon neutral in 2013. This is particularly impressive because it was well before most other companies were thinking about doing so. By and large, their cleaners work as advertised, and their laundry detergents are their most popular products.
Ecos Laundry Detergent is very transparent with its ingredients. It contains no sulfates or other environmentally toxic chemicals. Its’ bubbling comes from a coconut extract instead. Its main cleaning agents are enzymes which break down the molecules of stains, and then the agitation of the washing machine removes them from the fabric.
Enzyme cleaners are not as effective as sulfate-based ones, but they will work on all but the toughest stains. In addition to being sulfate free, Eco laundry detergent is stilbene free, which means it contains no color brightening agents. Stilbenes are not biodegradable, and the EPA classifies them as an aquatic toxic ingredient.
• Sodium Coco-Sulfate
• Cocamidopropylamine Oxide
• Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Which One is Better for Allergies and Asthma?
Both detergents are very suitable for allergies and asthma. All but the most sensitive skin will be happy with either Kirkland or Ecos laundry detergent. Before purchasing Ecos, make sure you have selected a fragrance-free detergent, as some of their detergents do contain scents that may trigger asthma in some individuals. To my knowledge, all Kirkland products are fragrance and dye free.
Which One is Better for Children and Infants?
Small children and infants are notorious for having extremely sensitive skin. Their bodies are also much smaller, meaning that it takes less of an ingredient to irritate them than it does an adult. Overall, while some children may tolerate Kirkland, I would choose Ecos as the better option. The simpler and gentler detergents are usually better for kids – even though they do not carry the same stain busting power.
What are Sulfates?
Sulfates are a salt-based chemical used in many household cleaners. It is a remarkably effective, natural detergent which is safe for humans.
However, sulfates are not removed from wastewater by treatment, and tend to build up in local ecosystems. Large amounts of sulfates lead to algae blooms, which can be deadly for fish and other wildlife. For this reason, many environmental organizations classify sulfates as aquatically toxic chemicals.
What are Stilbenes?
Stilbenes are small plastic fibers which increase shine and reflect color in fabric. Laundry detergents sometimes use them as color brighteners – keeping your clothes from looking faded for a longer period.
However, because these are essentially very small plastics, they are not biodegradable. It is currently unknown how harmful to the environment these plastics are to humans, but most agencies agree that they are harmful to fish.
When choosing between Ecos and Kirkland laundry detergent, a common question emerges. Do you as a consumer choose the more effective products or the safer product? This may well depend on your needs. A person who must remove oil stains from clothing multiple times a week, such as a mechanic, may need the extra cleaning power.
However, if your typical day involves mostly sedentary work with little sweat and grime, the environmentally friendly cleaner will be powerful enough to clean your clothes. Some people choose to keep one of each on hand, so that they can use the powerful cleaner, when necessary, without using it all the time.
Other common concerns, such as allergies, asthma, and safety for infants might also make Ecos’ environmentally friendly cleaner more attractive. However, all but the most sensitive adults will find the Kirkland Hypoallergenic formula suitable for their needs.