The radioactive nuclear waste known as ECOS Laundry Detergent by Earth Friendly Products (A Review)

I’m adding this post as a placeholder for those with sensitive skin who had the misfortune of purchasing ECOS Laundry Detergent or are thinking of trying this brand. I tend to have a reaction to fragrance-based detergents, but after a good experience with Seventh Generation’s scented detergents, I thought I would be in the clear as long as I used a product that was plant based and “natural,” so I gave ECOS a try as well, opting for the Magnolia and Lily version. I was also interested in Ecover Zero (a separate brand) but they’re not as ubiquitous as ECOS, so I wound going for the lather.

Biggest mistake of my life.

No to ECOS Laundry, Toxic, Allergic, Dangerous

Prior to ECOS, I had never used liquid fabric softener before, and this detergent had it mixed in, so I thought, cool, getting two for the price of one. I didn’t worry because it was supposedly coconut rather than synthetic based, and I like coconuts (especially coconut pancakes).

But because I have allergic contact dermatitis, I didn’t make the connection right away that I was developing a severe reaction to ECOS, in fact thinking it was a reaction to petting a dog instead. When it continued I finally realized it was the laundry detergent, promptly ditched the bottle, and re-washed my clothes using a dye/fragrance free alternative.

And yet it still wasn’t enough. I continued to have rashes from my clothes for a period of three weeks, bewildered that even after several washes there still remained ECOS residue that was causing rashes on my skin to no end. I couldn’t understand it, because the last few times I broke out as a result of contact with fragrance-based detergent, the rashes usually went away in a couple of days after a single wash of my contaminated clothes.

This was THREE weeks now with no relief. Not even an oatmeal bath helped. I contacted ECOS to see if they could offer any suggestions on what else I could do to remove the remaining residue left from their detergent off my clothes, and they completely blew me off and my customer support inquiries.

I am now convinced they are a scam company allegedly peddling cancerous products developed from nuclear waste while funding terrorist operations on the side just for funsies. Allegedly. It has been allegedly alleged. Mostly by me. But still, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was all true.

According to one insightful review on Amazon, the following ingredients gave me some clues as to what could have caused such a severe reaction:

Directly from the bottle: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut-based surfactant), Sodium Coco-Sulfate (coconut based surfactant), Cocamidopropylamine Oxide (coconut-based surfactant,) PHENOXYETHANOL (PRESERVATIVE) METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (PRESERVATIVE), Equisetum Hiemale (Horsetail Plant) Extract

The first ingredient is Cocamidopropyl Betaine: EWG Skin deep database concern of 4 out of 10

“About COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE: Cocamidopropyl betaine is a synthetic surfactant; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, reactions that could be due to the ingredient itself or to impurities present in it, such as 3-dimethylaminopropylamine.”

“Other HIGH concerns: Contamination concerns; Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology”

PHENOXYETHANOL (PRESERVATIVE) EWG Skin deep database concern of 4 out of 10

Other HIGH concerns: Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Occupational hazards; Other MODERATE concerns: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive); Other LOW concerns: Data gaps

METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (PRESERVATIVE) EWG Skin deep database concern of 5 out of 10

About METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE: Methylisothiazolinone is a widely-used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.

Other HIGH concerns: Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs); Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Neurotoxicity

[For info see EWG Skin Deep database]

I think in my case there were a combination of additional factors that exacerbated the reaction:

  • I’ve been used to having soft water to wash my clothes, but after moving to a mountainous state I’ve been slowly learning how hard water can adversely impact so many things, including making it more difficult to remove excess residue from laundry detergents unless you soften it somehow.
  • This was also the first time I’ve had to deal with a detergent with a liquid fabric softener component. Apparently the oils are far more difficult to remove completely and require a lot more than just a single wash cycle. When I finally wised up to the possibility that the ECOS residue was STILL embedded in my clothes even after several washes, I took a much more aggressive approach and started doing additional wash cycles using baking soda and vinegar. It took almost 10 cycles of this before my clothes finally became wearable again. If that hadn’t worked I would have had no choice but to declare most of my wardrobe ruined and forced to spend hundreds on new clothes and bed sheets.

I strongly recommend anyone with sensitive skin (and even those who don’t) avoid Earth Friendly Products like the dark plague, even their “free and clear” version. Their complete and utter disinterest in customer satisfaction and lack of customer support/assistance to those who have an adverse reaction to using their products is unacceptable and disgraceful.

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30 Responses to The radioactive nuclear waste known as ECOS Laundry Detergent by Earth Friendly Products (A Review)

  1. Dottie February 12, 2016 at 7:45 PM #

    I am having the same reactions, I was fine with ECOS until this new batch came with softner… What are you using now? I frequently use vinegar as a softner but I think I am going to have wash mine and hubby so clothes several times now. Most all of my hives are showing up at seam line of clothes.

    • Frank Swift February 12, 2016 at 8:05 PM #

      I’ve tried vinegar and baking sodas over several wash cycles, but in my case I finally gave up and got rid of some of my most affected clothes to start fresh and get instant relief. I think because the fabric softener in ECOS is oil based, that made it almost impossible to get rid of the residue. I’m using All Free and Clear Dryer Sheets now for the dryer cycles, and Seventh Generation fragrance free laundry detergent for washes (interestingly enough I don’t react to their scented versions, so I’ll be switching back to that over time.) I still use vinegar every now and then as well.

      Lesson for me was to never again use any oil-based products for laundry. Always use something that can be rinsed off easy, that way if I ever react again, it won’t take more than a rinse cycle or two to get rid of the offending residue.

  2. Susan May 3, 2016 at 1:54 AM #

    2 months ago I bought that same laundry detergent, and have been very sick for over a month with a severe burning rash all over my body.  Part of my rash turned into Impetigo, which for me is a serious infection due to the fact I don’t have a spleen.  I am just finishing up my second round of antibiotics !!!  I had to stop working.  I have spent over $1000 in doctors and specialist and medical supplies, not to mention over $5000 in lost income !  Right away I suspected I was going to be sensitive with everything due to my severe rash, so I better wash everything in baking soda and vinegar until it cleared up.  My rash started getting better after over 5 weeks of near sleepless nights, so thought I would start using 1/2 of this detergent again and half baking soda, and I started breaking out again !!!!!  Today, I have read 100’s of people with the same burning itching stinging spreading rash for weeks before any relief.  I am so appalled at this company for the way they have COMPLETELY treated so many of us with aloofness when we tell them our experience !!  I have documented almost daily pictures of the progression of my rash and my sores.  If enough of us are in agreement, this sounds like a class action lawsuit !!  Companies should NEVER get away with purposely harming our health by ignoring our pleas and complaints and putting so many of us through this debilitating skin reaction !!!  I will gladly give out my email address, if anyone out there wants to try and form a class action lawsuit !!!

    • Frank Swift May 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM #

      That sounds horrible, I hope you are finally recovering now. I’m sure if enough people complain action will be taken, whether its a change in the ingredients or a lawsuit.

    • Tina August 29, 2016 at 6:29 PM #

      I too, falling for the marketing as “ecologically friendly and socially responsible” erupted in the same dermatological manifestations after washing just one blouse in this toxic “Ecos” sludge and daring to wear it.

      Did somebody say LAWYER!!! Sounds like your next step. I will be refraining from using this toxic cleaner for clothes cleaning- I found a great new use for it though: Cleaning the TOILETS!

  3. Dor May 13, 2016 at 5:27 AM #

    Oh my freaking gosh. I developed eczema because of this. I can’t believe I went to numerous doctor visits, which have at first concluded it (my eczema) was ringworm. I felt so alone for so many months. What the hell!

    • Frank Swift May 13, 2016 at 12:37 PM #

      I hope you ditched it and slowly recovering now!

  4. Florence August 3, 2016 at 3:42 PM #

    I have had the same problem and even after I stopped using it, the rash comes back to haunt me. I have to continuously apply cream when I feel a little itch coming on the discoloured spots where the rashes had popped up. Is there any solution to being free of this rash???

    • Frank Swift August 6, 2016 at 4:42 PM #

      [Responded to comment via email] :-)

  5. Jen September 14, 2016 at 1:58 PM #

    Me and my partner are also having issues with not this scent, but the lavender scent. His mom bought it buying into the “eco-friendly” stuff, and for the past several weeks my partner has had a rash all over his arms, torso, and legs. I just recently have begun itching too. I’m hot-washing our clothes and bought a different detergent to try.

    • Frank Swift September 14, 2016 at 3:05 PM #

      Feel better soon! Just to nip it in the bud I sometimes add white vinegar to my rinse cycle even after a few months, as I think that helps clean out the washing machine from remnants of the old detergent. I also wiped down the drying machine with the same.

  6. M October 14, 2016 at 11:15 AM #

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I bought ECOS about a month ago because it was on sale. For the past two weeks, I’ve had a horrible rash and sleepless nights. I’m pregnant, so I assumed my symptoms were pregnancy related. Then last night I slept in the guest room where we haven’t changed the sheets since before we got the ECOS. I felt so much better and started to wonder if it could be the laundry detergent. I’m not opposed to buying all new clothes and sheets to get rid of this miserableness. But if I want to try to save my old clothes, any tips for doing that? Just a billion washes with vinegar and baking soda?

    • Frank Swift October 14, 2016 at 2:13 PM #

      I think continual rinse cycles with white vinegar is the best. They actually have white vinegar designed for washing that is more potent. See if you can find those online or in the stores, as it might do better. The killer was the fact that this was also a liquid fabric softener, so it leaves an oil residue that is hard to get rid of. When I reacted to other detergents, only one normal wash was needed because they didn’t leave an oil residue. Lesson learned for me, NEVER USE A LIQUID FABRIC SOFTENER.

  7. Michelle October 23, 2016 at 3:22 PM #

    I am SOOOOOO UPSET reading this! I purchased on sale a few weeks ago and thought it would be safe for my whole family, as we have been using such great eco friendly detergents before with no problem. I am a holistic doctor and my daughter showed up with hives one day, my friend who is a pediatrician actually said, check detergent. We stopped immediately. I have tried wash after wash to get this stuff out of our clothes and sheets. It is AWFUL!!!!! I guess I will try the vinegar today and baking soda. I cannot replace everything it is too expensive so I have to find a fix. Sadly it is so into all of her pjs she woke up with body wide hives again. She just got over the last set of hives, it took a full week to almost disappear. She is really uncomfortable. This company should take responsibility! I would be temped to approach them legally, this is irresponsible. Please if anyone has any ideas beyond the vinegar and baking soda or info email me @

    • Rick January 23, 2017 at 1:53 AM #

      I am sorry for your suffering and can certainly relate. I have tried everything to get this out of my clothing and nothing seems to get rid of it. So I have thrown in the towel so to speak and started replacing my clothing starting with my underwear. If anyone finds something that washes this offending substance out please let us know.

    • Frank Swift January 24, 2017 at 1:15 PM #

      That sucks, I hope you find relief soon! Some of the tips here have been really helpful, so if you haven’t tried it already maybe one tip will help you too.

  8. Tracy November 29, 2016 at 7:21 PM #

    Thank you for writing the post, I’d had it for few months, and didn’t realized all my HIVES was possibly cause by the laundry detergent.

    I was having difficult time sleeping due to all the red dots on my skin, itchy and etc. I’d kept washing my clothing and bed sheets, thought it might be some other reason or too dusty. None of the over the counter cream, med and doctor med works. It was a nightmare!!!

    But after reading this article, i think i found the reason. Really appreciate it!!

    • Frank Swift November 29, 2016 at 10:07 PM #

      You’re welcome! Hope you find relief soon!

  9. Kori November 30, 2016 at 11:30 PM #

    I am having the same reaction and I have never been allergic to anything in my life. Wtf is this all natural not so much. So upsetting!!! Also a note I have had the regular ecos and was fine as soon as I tried the magnolia it was all over

  10. Tracy December 8, 2016 at 5:25 PM #

    I am still recovering form the skin allergic and HIVES after 2.5 weeks. I will suggest people who is having the same issue like me (unable to recover from the skin allergic with sleepless nights due to the itchiness), the doctor told me that the detergent might still be on the mattress and the duvet (because those two items are hard to clean).

    He suggested to wash theclothing and bed sheets and all other items several times, clean or change the duvet and the mattress or purchase a mattress protector (protector from allergy, dust mite and bed bugs).

    I’d tried putting on the mattress protector last night (before making final decision of changing the mattress), was still having a little trouble falling asleep but was able to sleep all the way through the night without itchiness first time ever since the HIVES.

    He also suggested to reduce heat build round the allergic areas, use very very mild or even none for body wash and do no use very hot water for body wash.

    I see little improvements after following the instructions, just experience sharing hope it will help others and everyone will recover soon.

  11. Issac Camarena December 22, 2016 at 10:23 PM #

    I’m pretty sure that I am suffering from the same allergic reaction as others mentioned above. I recently purchased Ecos brand detergent with a lavender scent and woke up one morning with a rash on the back of my neck. The rash itches and burns at times, not to mention it looks pretty nasty. I took The detergent back to the store and exchanged it for another brand, then washed all my clothes and sheets again. Hopefully this helps and it clears up soon.

  12. Rick January 19, 2017 at 9:04 PM #

    My experience started last fall with a rash at the collar line progressing to cover almost my entire torso inside of two weeks. At first I thought it was just a case of poison ivy/oak. As it turned out it did not go away in the usual three week period. No it only got worse turning into a burning stinging torment preventing sound sleep for weeks on end. When I took a shower it brought me to tears. I tried everything, oatmeal baths, steroid creams, herbal treatments. I went to a dermatologist and had a skin biopsy and was told I have contact dermatitis, I was not impressed with the diagnosis and was prescribed a cream that gives limited relief.
    I changed laundry detergent from ECOS to another not knowing this new detergent may contain the same offending chemical (Methylisothiazolinone) which I was unaware of until reading on this site.But the rash is still lurking and not until today 10 weeks after first symptoms do I have some hope that I may have identified this curse.

    Thank you!

    I found this site interesting

    • Frank Swift January 20, 2017 at 1:28 PM #

      Thanks for sharing Rick, hope you feel better soon!

  13. Kori February 2, 2017 at 10:46 PM #

    We should all do a class lawsuit

  14. Juliet February 15, 2017 at 12:09 PM #

    I’ve had terrible HIVES all over my whole body for about 5 days now and I thought it was weather related until I read this post and the review! I recently purchased this ECOS detergent with the liquid softener and now I am sure that the hives are from this. So frustrating. I finally took some Allegra and that helped a little. Off to the store to get something else for laundry. Thank you for the Vinegar idea too.

    • Frank Swift February 15, 2017 at 1:46 PM #

      You’re welcome, hope you find relief soon!

  15. Kimberly Grace March 2, 2017 at 12:28 AM #

    Hello! I just did a search for reactions to this laundry detergent because I’m having trouble breathing around clothes that are just washed. I have been using this awhile now and not realizing that it could be a factor in many symptoms I’m having. I recently moved from a house that had mold so I have blamed everything on mold. I had to wash and rewash my clothes to remediate them and so I’ve been washing like 40 plus loads in this stuff and now having major reactions to it. I’m thankful to find this and find out that it is likely the detergent although I’m not happy to hear that others are having such a hard time. Wow. Just trying to process. I have multiple chemical sensitivities. I’m wondering if anyone can recommend a safe detergent?

    Wishing peace and love on you all~ Kim

    • Frank Swift March 2, 2017 at 11:35 AM #

      I’m having good luck with Seventh Generation laundry detergent, even the scented version. Seems to clean well and no reactions. I’d recommend their scent free version though just to be perfectly safe, but I think there’s less of a risk here because the detergent is easily washed off due to no liquid fabric softener included. Good luck!

  16. Sue April 2, 2017 at 6:48 PM #

    How long did it take you to finally be rid of the rash?

    • Frank Swift April 3, 2017 at 11:25 AM #

      It took a month or so, followed by paranoia that every itch I had was due to ECOS residue. 😬

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