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ECOS vs. Seventh Generation: What’s the Difference?

If you’re on the lookout for eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, ECOS and Seventh Generation are two of the top options.

But which brand is better? What’s the difference?

In this comparison of ECOS vs. Seventh Generation, you’ll learn how they differ in product offerings, ingredients, performance, price, and more.

If you’re not sure which brand to buy, keep reading.



Product Offerings

ECOS and Seventh Generation pride themselves on making safer and more eco-friendly cleaning products for your home. And they both offer a range of products.

Let’s take a look at the specific products that each company offers.

Note: Both brands are available on Amazon and Walmart.com, where you can shop their full product lineups.

ECOS Products

ECOS Laundry: ECOS laundry detergents, “liquid-less” detergent sheets, and detergent packs are all-natural and come in various scents like lavender, lavender vanilla, lemongrass, and magnolia & lily. They also offer a fragrance-free option called Free & Clear.

ECOS laundry detergent
ECOS laundry detergent

ECOS Dishwashing: Dish soaps, dishwasher detergent, and rinse aid products made by ECOS are eco-friendly and come in scents like almond, lavender, pear, and apricot, to name just a few.

ECOS Hand Soap: ECOS hand soaps are hypoallergenic and come in four scents, including a fragrance-free option.

ECOS Cleaners and Disinfectants: Cleaners include all-purpose sprays, cream cleansers, disinfectants, furniture polish and cleaner, shower, toilet and window cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, stain and odor removers, a fruit and veggies wash, and ice melt. Multiple scents are available, including fragrance-free.

ECOS Baby Care: ECOS makes several gentle, infant-safe products for the home, including laundry detergent, a toy cleaner, a stain and odor remover, and a dish/bottle soap. All these are available unscented.

ECOS Pet Care: ECOS offers kitty litter deodorizer, pet shampoo, a between baths grooming spray, and a pet stain and odor removal spray.

ECOS Tree-Free Paper: ECOS now makes sustainable toilet paper and paper towels from 100% organic bamboo fiber and repurposed sugarcane waste.

Seventh Generation Products

Seventh Generation Laundry: Seventh Generation’s all-natural detergents can fight up to 60 different kinds of stains. These detergents can be purchased as liquids, packs, or powder. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are also available in several scents, all derived from essential oils. Fragrance-free options are also available.

Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation laundry detergent

Seventh Generation Dishwashing: Seventh Generation’s non-toxic dishwashing liquids, detergents, detergent boosters, rinse aids, and gels are gentle on dishes. They come in various scents, including citrus, summer orchard, lemongrass and clementine, lime and ginger, and more.

Seventh Generation Dish Soap Packaging
Seventh Generation Dish Soap

Seventh Generation Disinfectants: You can purchase Seventh Generation disinfectant sprays or wipes. They offer multi-purpose disinfectants as well as a specific option for bathrooms. Various scents are available, including lemongrass citrus, lavender vanilla and thyme, and fragrance-free.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray

Seventh Generation Cleaners: Seventh Generation offers an all-purpose cleaner formulated for various surfaces and specialty cleaners for wood, glass, granite, and stone. ECOS doesn’t provide these kinds of specialty cleaners and instead only offers a multi-purpose cleaner. Each Seventh Generation cleaner comes in several different fragrances, or you can choose a fragrance-free option.

Seventh Generation All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation Hand Wash: Hand washes come in liquid or powder form and are plant-based, dye-free, and gentle on sensitive skin. Seventh Generation offers these soaps in four scents: lavender flower & mint, mandarin orange & grapefruit, Purely Clean™, or fragrance-free. This last option is completely hypoallergenic, making it a safe choice for allergen-sensitive households.

Seventh Generation Baby Care: Seventh Generation’s baby care line includes diapers, gentle detergents, baby wipes, and training pants. All are infant-safe and available in a fragrance-free format and several scents.

Seventh Generation Period Care: Menstrual products such as tampons and pads are biodegradable, hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, and fragrance-free, making them both eco-safe and body-friendly.

Seventh Generation Body Wash and Deodorant: Seventh Generation’s all-natural bath products and deodorant sticks come in several biodegradable, water-friendly™ formulas––such as the purifying charcoal body wash––and are great for your skin and the environment. You can choose from scents like Mountain Morning, Fresh Citrus, and Powder Fresh, or you can opt for fragrance-free. It’s also worth noting that their deodorants are aluminum-free, as many people are sensitive to this ingredient and can’t use topical products that contain it.

Seventh Generation Paper Products and Trash Bags: All of Seventh Generation’s paper products are biodegradable and made from recycled materials. Bath tissue, paper towels, facial tissues, and napkins are available in either unbleached (brown) or bleached (white) formats.


While both ECOS and Seventh Generation offer a range of different cleaning and household products, Seventh Generation has more overall variety. It provides more paper products, deodorant, and menstrual care products in addition to its many cleaning supplies.

ECOS focuses on laundry detergents, dish soaps, and a few other specialty products.

Pet care is the one product line ECOS offers, but Seventh Generation does not.

Performance

Both ECOS and Seventh Generation products are popular with environmentally-focused consumers looking for green cleaners that can get the job done.

But which brand performs better?

To find out, I analyzed reports from dozens of independent tests. Let’s look at what some experts and professional reviewers had to say.

As you’ll see in the following summary of results, Seventh Generation is a top performer in almost all independent tests. ECOS doesn’t perform as well in terms of cleaning power, and it’s often excluded from tests altogether.

The New York Times named Seventh Generation dish soap the best overall, putting it ahead of big-name brands like Dawn and Palmolive. Reviewers concluded that this soap did a great job balancing cleaning power with safety, price, and social responsibility. ECOS was not ranked.

In a review of the best laundry detergents, The New York Times highlighted that Seventh Generation Free & Clear did a better job removing most stains than other plant-based detergents they tested but struggled to clean sebum (oils produced naturally by our bodies).

According to NBC, ECOS hand soaps, ice melt, and all-purpose cleaning spray meet the Safer Choice Standard and are among the 15 best eco-friendly cleaning products they tested. The cleaners balance effectiveness with certified eco-safe ingredients. Reviewers specifically called out the brand’s hypoallergenic hand soap. They loved the lemongrass, lavender, orange blossom, and Free & Clear fragrance options.

NBC also included Seventh Generation’s dishwasher detergent gel on the same list as one of the best eco-friendly cleaners they tested.

Wired tested several eco-friendly cleaners and listed Seventh Generation’s all-purpose cleaner as one of their favorites. They noted that the fragrance, dye, and paraben-free cleaner was odorless, colorless, and made it almost feel like you’re cleaning with water. They singled this cleaner out as the best choice for those sensitive to even a slight fragrance.

Seventh Generation also received glowing reviews from Good Housekeeping, who named both the brand’s all-purpose cleaning spray and their Free & Clear Dish Liquid one of the “11 Best Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products For All Around Your House.”

Good Housekeeping praised the multi-surface disinfecting cleaner for its ability to remove grease and grime from cooktops, counters, and other spots, including non-porous hard surfaces. A bonus was the cleaner’s disinfectant power, which comes from a naturally derived oil safe to use on food contact areas without rinsing. They also loved that the product’s packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

The same publication praised Seventh Generation’s dish liquid for its long-lasting suds, plant-based ingredients, and sustainable packaging. This soap lasted longer than competitors and was able to wash more dishes, making it a wallet-friendly option as well as an eco-friendly one.

In its article titled “The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents,” Reviewed.com praised Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear Laundry Detergent (giving it second place). They had far less favorable opinions on the ECOS version of the same product (ranked number 15).

Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear laundry detergent earned accolades for its above-average stain-fighting power, eco-friendly packaging, and 97% plant-based formula. This focus on environmental sustainability was noteworthy enough to land the detergent on Reviewed.com’s Best Green Practices list. They also gave the detergent high marks for its branding, a product of Seventh Generation’s sustainability-focused corporate culture.

Reviewed.com gave ECOS Free & Clear detergent a low rating and placed the product on their list of detergents to avoid. Despite this detergent’s popularity among Amazon reviewers, Reviewed.com stated that it was the weakest stain removal option out of all the detergents they tested.

The Spruce awarded Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear Dish Soap the top spot on their list of The 8 Best Dish Soaps, citing it as proof that “green can clean.” They loved the soap’s plant-based formula and eco-friendly packaging, and they found it more than able to cut through grease and other food residues.

In that same article, The Spruce named ECOS Dishmate Dish Soap Free & Clear the Best Natural Dish Soap. They praised its fragrance-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic ingredients, saying the coconut-based surfactants cut through grease and grime.

Ingredients

Seventh Generation and ECOS both place transparency high on their list of company values. They are both open about the ingredients that go into each of their respective products.

Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation places itself at the forefront of a movement for industry-wide ingredient transparency. They believe that you have the #RightToKnow about everything that goes into the products you buy.

Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Ingredients
Seventh Generation laundry detergent ingredients

At the head of this philosophy is an emphasis on corporate responsibility, especially toward the earth’s shared resources. In fact, the brand name comes from an Iroquois philosophy, which states, “in our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

Seventh Generation lists all of its ingredients and includes detailed information about the specific purpose each ingredient serves.

Their ingredient list is published in a helpful ingredient glossary with a summary of the ingredient’s environmental impact.

Also, each product page on SeventhGeneration.com includes a link to the ingredients on SmartLabel.org.

While the ingredients vary by product, all laundry and dish products are made up of 95% (or higher) bio-based ingredients.

ECOS

With an impressive history of cutting-edge research in the plant-based products field, ECOS places clean chemistry and climate-positive values at the core of its philosophy.

ECOS laundry detergent ingredients
ECOS laundry detergent ingredients

The company invests a significant amount of its resources in laboratory research. They list over 500 harmful ingredients (the nasties list) that they promise never to use in any of their products. Their published ingredient list has been organized into helpful categories. You can quickly learn about their core ingredients and all other components in their formulas.

Like Seventh Generation, ECOS products are made of primarily plant-based ingredients derived from coconuts, potatoes, beets, and other plants. None of its products contain dyes, brighteners, ammonia, chlorine bleach, phthalates, parabens, or phosphates.

ECOS takes a dedicated approach to climate change. Its detail-oriented strategy ensures each step of its production and sales process aligns with its clearly defined climate goals. The primary goals are carbon neutrality, net-zero waste, and water neutrality.

EWG Ratings

The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, is an internationally recognized environmental activist organization that thoroughly reviews, rates, and publishes information about consumer products.

Their award-winning research is used by agencies and organizations across the private and public sectors. They are considered one of the best and most objective sources of information on consumer product safety and sustainability.

The EWG has awarded A ratings to several ECOS and Seventh Generation products, placing them among the best of the best for sustainability, information transparency, and health safety.

Both brands are also Safer Choice Certified, a designation that the EPA awards to products with the safest ingredients in their class.

Price

ECOS and Seventh Generation products are more expensive than most brands because plant-based formulas (and research and development behind them) are costly to produce.  

There’s not much of a price difference between the two brands. Some Seventh Generation products are more expensive than ECOS, and vice versa. But overall, the costs are similar.

When comparing prices between cleaning products, make sure you look at the cost per fluid ounce (or cost per load with laundry detergents) rather than the overall price per bottle.

Concentrated detergents will generally cost more per ounce than other products, but you don’t need to use as much to get the same (or better) results.

This price chart will give you a good idea of what to expect when it comes to each brand’s pricing:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs about ECOS and Seventh Generation

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about ECOS and Seventh Generation.

What do plant-powered and plant-based mean?

Plant-powered usually means the main active ingredient in a product is plant-based. A common example of this would be using thyme oil as a disinfectant rather than chlorine bleach or other lab-made chemicals.

On the other hand, plant-based products are mostly or entirely plant-derived, meaning that both the active AND inactive ingredients are derived directly from plant sources. That said, “plant-based” is not a highly regulated term, meaning that companies can label things as being plant-based even if their formulas aren’t zero-chemical.

What surfaces can I use ECOS and Seventh Generation all-purpose cleaners on?

You can use these products to clean most non-porous hard surfaces, including sealed wood, laminate, sealed or unsealed granite, plastic-based surfaces, glass, stainless steel, and porcelain.

Always check the product label and usage suggestions if you’re unsure about using the cleaner on a specific surface in your home.

What surfaces can I use ECOS and Seventh Generation disinfectants on?

You can use Seventh Generation and ECOS disinfectants on hard, non-porous surfaces. Do not use them on fabrics or other soft materials.

Can you use ECOS and Seventh Generation laundry detergents in high-efficiency washing machines?

Both brands label their detergents as safe for use in high-efficiency washing machines.

Are ECOS and Seventh Generation products cruelty-free?

Yes, both brands have a policy of zero animal testing and are certified by Leaping Bunny, a non-profit organization made up of eight national animal protection groups. Leaping Bunny’s goal is to make shopping for animal-friendly products more accessible and more trustworthy.

Are ECOS and Seventh Generation products vegan?

All ECOS products are vegan. Seventh Generation products don’t contain animal ingredients or byproducts, but they’re not vegan certified.

Is ECOS and Seventh Generation packaging biodegradable?

Currently, 50% of Seventh Generation’s packaging is biodegradable, but they vow to change that to 100% by 2025. All ECOS packaging is recyclable, but it’s not biodegradable.

Where can I buy ECOS and Seventh Generation products?

Both brands are widely available and can be purchased online via Amazon, Walmart.com, and several other retailers. Brick and mortar stores such as Target, Walmart, and major grocery chains like Safeway or Giant may also carry them. Check your local locations.

Who owns ECOS and Seventh Generation?

ECOS is a family-owned company founded by Van Vlahakis, a respected Greek chemist. Kelly Vlahakis, the founder’s daughter, now leads the business. Seventh Generation is owned by Unilever, a Dutch corporation based in London.

Bottom Line: Is ECOS or Seventh Generation the Better Choice?

Now that you know the important facts about Seventh Generation and ECOS, it’s time to decide which brand is the better option.

Before I provide my recommendation, let’s review the takeaways:

  • Both brands have fairly extensive product lines, but Seventh Generation comes out ahead thanks to its array of non-cleaning products such as menstrual pads and body wash. However, ECOS is the only one that offers a pet care line.
  • Seventh Generation receives more positive ratings for its cleaning performance, whereas ECOS gets praised mainly for the safety and sustainability of its ingredients (rather than their effectiveness).
  • Both companies have a similar set of core values. These include transparency, environmental sustainability, and plant-based formulas that are safe to use and free of harsh chemicals.
  • You can expect to pay a bit more for ECOS or Seventh Generation than you would for products made by companies without a green focus. Both brands are still affordable and comparable in overall price.

Bottom line — ECOS and Seventh Generation are similar brands with shared values. Both are dedicated to providing safe and sustainable products without harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.

If you’re still undecided, go with Seventh Generation. It gets higher performance ratings, offers a broader range of products, and its laundry and dish products are made up of 95% (or higher) bio-based ingredients.

Seventh Generation and ECOS are both available on Amazon and Walmart.com, where you can check current prices and read dozens of reviews.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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