How To Choose A Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

You buy laundry detergents to help you remove the dirt in your clothes and give them a fresh scent.

You want your family to enjoy the benefits of clean, warm and classy wear.

Everybody wants the best for themselves and their families, and you, my friend shouldn’t settle for a detergent that does less.

While there are lots of laundry detergents that don’t clean your clothes properly, others are much worse as they subject your clothes to abrasive detergents that wear the fabrics out making them tear before their time.

These harmful chemicals in detergents do not only spoil your clothes, but also affect your health and that of your family.

You can’t be wasting money on laundry products that make you spend a whole lot of your hard-earned money in hospital bills.

Most Americans trust the government, through the right bodies, to regulate the kind of ingredients that manufacturers put in their laundry products.

While the government should test all these laundry ingredients for safety, a lot needs to be done because of over the 62,000 ingredients used in making laundry products, only 300 have been tested for safety.

Besides, there is a huge loophole as manufacturers are not required by law to show the full list of ingredients used in making the detergent on product labels.

That, might seem to be a small thing, but it isn’t, because manufacturers can use harmful ingredients but won’t mention it on their list of ingredients on the product label.

It therefore rests on you to ensure the products you buy are safe to your fabrics, environment, and family.

And when you’re clueless, it can be hard getting your hands on the non-toxic detergents that still do a good job at cleaning your clothes.

Harmful ingredient to check on product labels

The easiest way to know the level of toxicity of a laundry detergent is to check if it contains harmful chemicals.

Most manufacturers list the ingredients on the product label so that is the best place to start.

Here are ingredients to avoid;

  1. Fragrances- The worst thing about the fragrance industry is that it is self-regulated. Therefore, anything can pass to the consumers— even the most toxic of all the ingredients. And the word can be used to mask a cocktail of dangerous chemicals that may even disrupt your hormones. Fragrances remain in your clothes after washing them, and they get in contact with your skin, pass though the pores and enter your blood stream. Fragrances can do a lot of harm in your body. Mostly made from petroleum and tar, fragrances are carcinogens, respiratory and skin irritants, and hormone disruptors. If you’ve been having frequent cases of respiratory problems, then maybe you should check your laundry product label for the fragrances used. As a safety rule, avoid all products that have ‘fragrance’ as part of the ingredients. But that isn’t enough, look deeper into the marketing gimmicks they use these days to woo safety conscious buyers. Don’t trust it when they label a product with funny promises like “natural scent”, “fragrance-free”, or “natural fragrance”. All these do not guarantee your safety because nobody knows how the manufacturers reached the conclusion that the ‘fragrance is natural’. In few words, there’s only one way to deal with fragrances— avoid them!
  1. Phthalates- Don’t even look at this on the product label, most manufacturers do no mention it for the obvious reasons. Phthalates are known hormonal disruptors. According to Centers for Disease Control, phthalates are present in most Americans’ blood with women having the highest quantities. Though phthalates are not mentioned in most product labels, they are often included in fragrances. You must therefore avoid fragrances at all cost. 
  1. Phosphates and EDTA- If you have ever used hard water to do laundry, you’ll understand how bad it gets to get the detergent to lather up. Phosphates and EDTA are used to make washing with hard water bearable, but again, they are harmful to the environment. You must therefore look for phosphates-free detergent to keep your environment safe.
  1. Quaternium-15- If you spot a product with this ingredient, avoid it like the plague. This product is common in laundry detergents but has been proved to cause skin rashes, affect the respiratory system, and trigger asthma. Don’t buy any detergent that has quarternium-15.
  1. Formaldehyde- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of the United States have classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen. However, the product is still present in most laundry detergents. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause skin irritations, cancer, and organ toxicity.
  1. Petroleum distillates- Petroleum distillates help in moving dried-in grease stains. That makes them important ingredients in making detergents, however, they have been linked to cancer and lung diseases.

Other ingredients to avoid in laundry detergents

  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE)
  • Brighteners
  • Bleach
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Look for natural laundry products

The laundry detergent industry is one that is focused more on profits than on environmental safety.

All the chemical ingredients listed above are very harmful, but what’s worse is that you might look at the product label and you won’t spot them because manufacturers can opt not to list them.

Therefore, you will still get a harmful product even after studying the product label.

The surest way to avoid them is to go for natural cleaners especially when cleaning your bedding.

Though there is a confusing hype about natural cleaning products and the many ‘natural products’ that don’t work, you can still get the right one.

Look for detergents that are made from plant-based ingredients— not petroleum based surfactants.

Natural products will keep your home safe and your fabrics happier.

With natural laundry detergents, you won’t have to worry about respiratory problems, pet health, skin irritations, and more severe ailments.

In conclusion, you have to take the right steps to keep yourself and your family safe from the toxicity of most laundry detergents.

The government is trying, but there are still loopholes that laundry detergent manufacturers exploit to get away with the manufacture of toxic products.

You must therefore think deeply about the safety of every laundry detergent you buy.