Laundry Detergent

It can be challenging to figure out what’s vegan laundry detergent in Japan, since the ingredient list often just indicates “soap” and the package won’t state if it’s from beef tallow. Sometimes whether or not the product is made of palm oil, or that and a blend of some other kind of vegetable oil(s), is indicated somewhere on the package or on the brand website. From a review of the websites of large Japanese laundry detergent makers, we were not able to identify any laundry detergents without any of the following: beef tallow, palm oil, or post-consumer cooking oil that animal products were undoubtedly cooked in.  

Luckily there are some vegan import brands, as well as some domestic brands that provide information about the materials the laundry detergents are made from. We have noted information about cruelty-free products where we have that information. Many of the laundry detergents listed here are made to use without fabric softener, but we’ve also provided information about a few types of fabric softener.

It is also possible to do laundry with small amounts of liquid Castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s or The Perfect Anchor, both of which are detailed in our Kitchen Soap & Soap section, although stains may require hand scrubbing beforehand. 

For those who do not live in Japan, products sold on Rakuten Ichiba can be shipped to other countries via Rakuten Global Express (English), Rakuten’s official overseas delivery service (click here for Rakuten Global Express in Japanese). They will combine your Rakuten Ichiba (Japanese) order with orders from other shopping websites, including those that do not ship overseas, and send everything to you. They do not send refrigerated or frozen items- if you order them, they will be sent to you unrefrigerated. Sign-up is free. Learn how to use the service here (English). Those in Japan can purchase any product that is carried on Rakuten Ichiba directly, of course without using Rakuten Global Express, which is only for overseas shoppers.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT

You may be able to find Ecostore laundry products in nicer drugstores and supermarkets and at Cosme Kitchen stores. 

・Ecostore is a vegetarian brand from New Zealand with mostly vegan products. The Australian website states “A lot of our products are vegan-friendly, however some of our products do contain goat’s milk, Manuka honey, beeswax or propolis from bees. These ingredients are carefully selected and must meet certain criteria before we use them. They must be sustainably harvested and animal welfare assured.” Check the New Zealand Ecostore website’s (English) individual product pages to see which products are vegan. The products are certified cruelty-free by PETA.

Some vegans may not wish to purchase Ecostore products until they end their use of goats’ milk (in light of the campaign by Animal Liberation Victoria and requests for them to do so – visit the Animal Liberation Victoria website (English) for further information).

The photo was taken at a branch of Tomod’s drugstore in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture in December 2020. From left to right, the laundry products pictured are (English links): Extra Clean Laundry Liquid, Extra Clean Laundry Soaker & Stain Remover, Ultra Sensitive Laundry Liquid, Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid, Eucalyptus Wool & Delicates, and Citrus Fabric Softener. At the time this was written in December 2020, all were all marked vegan on the New Zealand Ecostore website, except for the Extra Clean Laundry Soaker & Stain Remover, which was not listed and appears to possibly be an older item. 

Online purchase links: Cosme Kitchen website, Ecostore Japan websiteRakuten Ichiba

Ecostore laundry products

Ecover products may be found at at retailers including Natural Lawson convenience stores, nicer drugstores, and some Aeon-affiliated grocery stores.

Ecover is an unrelated company from Belgium that is owned by S.C. Johnson & Son. Their products do not contain animal byproducts and they do not perform animal testing per the FAQ section of their English-language website

Online purchase links: Online at retailers including Lohaco, Rakuten Ichiba

Ecover 1 (2)    Ecover 2 (2)    Ecover 3 (2)    Ecover 4 (2)

The photo below of an unusually well-stocked Ecover display was taken in December 2020 at a Tomod’s drugstore in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. Several types of laundry detergent and fabric softener, as well as a stain remover, are present. 

Tomod’s Ecover display Fujisawa Dec 2020

You might be able to find Miyoshi laundry detergent in supermarkets and drugstores.

・Miyoshi is a Japanese soap company that also makes shampoos, conditioners, and other products. The list of their products containing beef tallow is here. It states that for items not on the list whose main ingredient is “soap,” it is plant-derived (上記商品以外で“せっけん”が主原料の商品は植物由来の原料になります) and that their products use palm oil. Per a phone call as of January 2019, the only animal ingredient Miyoshi uses is beef tallow/gyuushi/牛脂.

Their animal testing policy, detailed on the same page, states (from autotranslate):

“Q Do you carry out animal experiments?
(1) We do not carry out animal experiments on all products. At this time, there are no plans to do so in the future.
(2) We do not outsource animal testing of all products to external organizations.
(3) We have not received any reports from group companies that we are conducting animal experiments.
(4) We do not investigate whether the raw material manufacturer is conducting animal experiments on the raw materials used by us. There are no plans to investigate further at this time.”
 
・Miyoshi Additive-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent/ミヨシ 無添加 お肌のための洗濯用 液体せっけん is not on the list of products that contain beef tallow. Refills are available.
 
Online purchase links: Miyoshi website, Rakuten Ichiba  
 
Miyoshi Additive-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin    Miyoshi Additive-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin Refill    Miyoshi Additive-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin Refill Ingredient List        

 

Pax Naturon is a Japanese company that makes items including personal care products and edible fats and oils for food. The company does handle non-vegan ingredient(s) such as dairy. The Pax Naturon website states that they do not conduct animal experiments because their products use only the ingredients that are familiar to us in our daily lives (私たちのくらしに身近でなじみのある成分だけを使用しているため、私たちは、動物実験はおこなっておりません).

Their website states their Pure Powder Soap N is a vegetable soap made from palm and coconut oil. At least from the item listing, it seems that it might not contain animal ingredients. 

・Pax Naturon Pure Powder Soap N/パックスナチュロン純粉せっけんN.

Online purchase links: Pax Naturon website, Rakuten Ichiba

Photo from website.

Saraya is a Japanese company. Their English website states that their Arau laundry detergent, pictured below, is developed with 100% botanical ingredients (vegetable based ingredients) including certified sustainable palm oil (English). It does not use synthetic fragrances but instead uses a lavender scent taken from herbs. Their Japanese product page confirms the product is not made with any animal fats/oils and states that part of the purchase price of Arau products goes to the NGO Save the Children (Japanese). 

The Saraya Arau website does not appear to contain any information about their animal testing policy. 

・Saraya Arau Laundry Soap/Saraya アラウ 洗たく用せっけん.

Online purchase links: Rakuten IchibaSaraya website

Photo from website. 

Saraya Arau Laundry Detergent

The product also comes in a geranium-scented version. The product page for this version  (Japanese) also states it’s made without any animal fats/oils. 

・Saraya Arau Geranium Laundry Soap/Saraya アラウ 洗たく用せっけん ゼラニウム.

Online purchase links: Rakuten IchibaSaraya website

Saraya Arau Geranium Laundry Soap

Again, nothing is known about the Saraya Happy Elephant animal testing policy, or even if one exists. Their website states (from autotranslate): “The “Happy Elephant” series, which contains the natural cleaning ingredient “Soforolipid” produced by fermentation by yeast, uses plant-based cleaning ingredients.” Instead of a synthetic surfactant, it uses “Soforo,” an ingredient producted by fermenting natural yeast with RSPO certified palm oil as well as sugar. Check the company’s English website for more information about this product line.

According to Saraya’s customer service in early 2021, the Happy Elephant line doesn’t use animal ingredients, with the exception of the Softener (柔軟仕上げ剤), a fabric softener which contains chitosan (from crabs). The whole lineup can be viewed here

Photos of the Happy Elephant Laundry Liquid and Laundry Powder from website. 

Online purchase links: Saraya website (laundry liquid), Saraya website (laundry liquid refill), Saraya website (laundry powder)

Happy Elephant Laundry Liquid    Happy Elephant Laundry Powder

You may be able to find Sodasan laundry products at Cosme Kitchen stores.

・Sodasan laundry products from Germany The Lime Color Detergent is registered with the Vegan Society and PETA per the German Sodasan website’s product page. Check the individual product listings on the German Sodasan website to make sure that the product you want to purchase is marked vegan. PETA lists Sodasan as a company that does not test on animals (English). 

Online purchase links: Cosme Kitchen websiteRakuten Ichiba

Photo from the Cosme Kitchen website. 

Sodasan Lime Color Detergent

・Shabondama Sekken, meaning “soap bubble soap,” is a Japanese soap company whose website’s Q&A section states that their products are not animal tested in product development or research safety tests and they do not ask other organizations to do animal testing for them, because they are using ingredients that are proven to be safe on humans.

Some of their products are made by combining animal fats with vegetable fats and oils, and some with are made with vegetable fats and oils but no animal fats. The full list of products they make without animal fats, including bar soap, facial soap, laundry detergent, and toothpaste can be found here. However it isn’t clearly stated that all of the products from the list are vegan, as some may have other ingredients added in. Below are the four laundry products from the list as of December 2020.  It may be possible to find them in regular grocery stores and supermarkets. 

Shabondama Sekken Pure Vegetable ‘Sunol’/シャボン玉 純植物性スノール From autotranslate: “It is a laundry soap that uses 100% vegetable oil as a raw material and makes the best use of the characteristic “good foaming” of vegetable oil.
It is soft and soft, so no fabric softener is required.” The sole ingredient is listed as “pure soap.” 

The package states that it contains palm oil.

Online purchase links: Rakuten Ichiba, Shabondama Sekken website

Photo from website.

shabondama sunol laundry soap

Although it isn’t linked from the list for some reason, there’s a green package of Sunol (1kg) that also states it is made from 100% plant-based materials (原料に植物性油脂を100%使用しており). It seems likely to contain palm oil as well

Shabondama Sekken Pure Vegetable ‘Sunol’ Additive-Free Laundry Soap/シャボン玉 純植物性スノール 1kg.

Online purchase links: Rakuten Ichiba, Shabondama Sekken website

Photo from website.

Shabondama Sunol Pure Soap Green Package

The liquid ‘Sunol’ series of products also uses palm-based oils and fats. 

Shabondama Sekken ‘Sunol’ Liquid Washing Soap/シャボン玉スノール液体タイプ
洗濯せっけん.
  Cleans well with even cold water. The product is additive-free and made from vegetable fats which are kettle-cooked for a week or more until they become liquid. Synthetic surfactants, fluorescent whitening agents, fragrance, and coloring agents are not used. Fabric softener is unnecessary when using this product. Website states it can be used for “babies and the elderly.” Good for fully automatic washing machines and drum type washing machines. The sole ingredient is listed as “pure soap.” Refills are available.

Online purchase links: Shabondama Sekken website, Rakuten Ichiba 

Photos from website.

sunol liquid     sunol liquid refill

There is also a laundry soap product in the Sunol series that’s specifically intended for babies. The product listing mentions avocado oil but doesn’t state if palm oil is included, however, since palm oil is other ‘Sunol’ products, it seems likely it’s in this one as well. Refills are available.

Shabondama Sekken ‘Sunol’ Baby Laundry Soap/シャボン玉 スノールベビー 赤ちゃん用洗濯石鹸. The sole ingredient is listed as “pure soap.”

Online purchase links: Shabondama Sekken, Rakuten Ichiba 

Photos from website. 

Shabondama snol baby laundry soap    Shabondama snol baby laundry soap refill

The  EM, effective microorganisms, laundry soap on the list is a “maybe.” The product page states it contains lactic acid bacteria. It isn’t clear if these are obtained from dairy or how they are propagated, for example on what kind of medium. However, they don’t appear on the ingredient list, which just states “pure soap.”

Shabondama Sekken EM Liquid Laundry Soap/シャボン玉石けん EM液体洗濯石けん.

Photos from website.

Shabondama Soap EM Liquid Laundry Soap    Shabondama soap EM Liquid Laundry Soap refill

You may find Sonett laundry products at Cosme Kitchen stores. 

・Sonett is a German brand. The EU version of the Sonett website (English) states: “The Vegan Society Label certifies:
No animal ingredients are contained
Sonett does not carry out any animal experiments nor does the company give respective orders to do so
All of our Sonett products carry the Vegan Society Label, with the exception of Sonett Wool Care, Sonett Gall Soap – bar and liquid – as well as Sonett Floor Mopping Fluid, which contain animal ingredients.”

Online purchase links: Cosme Kitchen website, Rakuten IchibaSonett Japan website

Photo from website.

sonett

Utamaro is a line of soaps and cleaning products from a Japanese company. This bar form of laundry soap, intended for hand scrubbing of tough stains, is a “maybe.” It is made of pure soap and a fluorescent whitening agent. Their website states they use recycled vegetable oil to make the soap (純石けん分(98%、脂肪酸ナトリウム)、蛍光増白剤 ウタマロ石けんは植物性のリサイクル油を使用しております). It also states that the oil comes from the food service industry, etc. Assuming that they use only recycled vegetable oil, it would appear possible that no animal ingredients are deliberately added, however, it could be possible it includes some amounts of animal products as a result of those products having been cooked in the vegetable oil. 

There does not appear to be any information about a cruelty-free policy on the Utamaro website. 

Utamaro Soap/ウタマロ石けん.

Photo from website.

utamaro soap

Now let’s look at a few items that are not vegan. Neither of the powdered laundry detergents from Miyoshi are free of animal products.

・Miyoshi Breeze 2.16 kg/ミヨシ そよ風2.16kg is not vegan because it’s made with beef tallow, per the Miyoshi website Q&A.

20190414_184336 (2)

Miyoshi Powdered Laundry Detergent 3 kg/ミヨシのせっけん3kg previously appeared on the list of products made with beef tallow, however it is not on the new list of products made with beef tallow in the Miyoshi website Q&A. The back of the package states it’s made out of recycled oil collected from households after use, though, so it appears possible that it could contain lard if it were used for home cooking. Although the oil is refined when making the product, it could be possible it also includes some amounts of other animal products as a result of those products having been cooked in the oil. 

Miyoshi Powdered Laundry Detergent 3kg

There are also a few laundry bar soaps from Miyoshi that are not vegan.

・Miyoshi New Pure Soap/ミヨシ New純せっけん for collar, cuffs and spots is not vegan because it’s made with beef tallow, per the Miyoshi website Q&A.

Miyoshi New Pure Soap

・Miyoshi Marcel soap (3p, 5p)/ミヨシ マルセルせっけん(3p、5p)for stains is not vegan because it’s made with beef tallow, per the Miyoshi website Q&A.

Miyoshi Marcel Soap

ONLINE

There are additional brands available via online shopping. iHerb (bilingual) may be a good place to search for vegan laundry detergents. 

・Bondi Wash Laundry Wash and Delicate Wash are imported from Australia. Delicate Wash is meant for delicate items. 

Per the Australian Bondi Wash website FAQ’s (English), Bondi Wash products are vegan except for the Purifying Night Balm and the Lip Balm which contain beeswax.

In addition, they do not test on animals (English) (with the exception of their dog range, which was tested on dogs with sensitive skin) and they don’t import their products into China.

Online purchase links: Mutenkaya (meaning Additive-Free Shop) website for Laundry Wash, Rakuten Ichiba for Delicate Wash

Photos from website.

Bondi Wash Laundry Wash    Bondi Wash Delicate Wash

Ethique Flash! Laundry Bar & Stain Stick (English) is suitable for washing clothing by hand, but is not suitable for washing machines. Can also be used on dishes or hands. Ethique products are vegan and cruelty-free. Information about this is available at the Ethique website’s sustainability page (English).

Online purchase links: Ethicame, Rakuten Ichiba 

Photo from the Ethicame website. 

Ethique Flash Laundry Bar & Stain Stick

Natural Boho (bilingual) is a small online business located in the Japanese Alps. English is spoken. They have vegan laundry detergent powder and soap options. Inquire with the owner for their vegan product list. Check their Instagram (English).

Online purchase link: Natural Boho website (some English provided)

FABRIC SOFTENER

You may be able to find Ecostore laundry products in nicer drugstores and supermarkets and at Cosme Kitchen stores. 

Ecostore makes fabric softener- check the Ecostore listing in the Laundry Detergent section above.

Online purchase links: Cosme Kitchen website, Ecostore Japan websiteRakuten Ichiba

Photos from website. 

Ecostore Citrus Fabric Softener    Ecostore Ultra Sensitive Fabric Softener

Ecover products may be found at at retailers including Natural Lawson convenience stores, nicer drugstores, and some Aeon-affiliated grocery stores.

Ecover makes fabric softener- check the Ecover listing in the Laundry Detergent section above.

Online purchase links: Online at retailers including Lohaco, Rakuten Ichiba

Photos from website. 

Ecover Sensitive Fabric Softener Apple Blossom & Almond    Ecover Sensitive Fabric Softener Gardenia & Vanilla

Fullery Botanical No. 0, Snow Rose & Clove (limited edition for winter 2020), Fullery Botanical No. 1, Rose & Apple and Fullery Botanical No. 2, Herb & Geranium are free of animal ingredients (動物由来成分 not used) per the Fullery Botanical website. They can be purchased through the Fullery Botanical website. No information appears to be provided about the company’s animal testing policy. 

Online purchase link: Fullery Botanical website

Photos from website.

Fullery Botanical No 0    Fullery Botanical No. 1    Fullery Botanical No. 2

Now let’s look at a fabric softener that is not vegan. 

According to Saraya’s customer service in early 2021, the Happy Elephant line doesn’t use animal ingredients, with the exception of the Softener (柔軟仕上げ剤), a fabric softener which contains chitosan (from crabs). 

Happy Elephant Softener

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