Which Ingredients to Avoid in Your Laundry Detergent
When we think about nasty chemicals, we tend to think about personal care products that go directly on your body. But did you know that some cleaning supplies have direct contact with your skin as well?
Laundry detergent is one of those products. Many common chemicals can remain on your clothes even after several rinse cycles. That’s why it’s important to choose products made with natural, biodegradable ingredients—they’ll help you to avoid health concerns such as allergic reactions, skin irritations and asthma, and are also a better choice for environment.
What should I avoid?
Did you know that there is no law in Canada that requires companies to mention ingredients on the back of household cleaning products? That’s why some brands leave off questionable ingredients such as chemicals, dyes, and preservatives, listing only what they feel is necessary.
Still, there are some ingredients you might see that you should steer clear of, so we’ll give you the lowdown. The best way to choose healthy products is to read and understand the ingredient label and choose products manufactured by companies that disclose everything and have nothing to hide. And you’ll want to look for natural ingredients derived from plants and minerals. Here’s a short guide on how to choose cleaning products that will be safe for your body, and for our environment at the same time:
Enzymes are living creatures and are commonly used in products such as laundry detergents and carpet cleaners for stain removal as they eat away at protein-based stains. They can cause serious health issues if they are inhaled, as they are activated by the moisture in our lungs.
Enzymes remain on our clothing and bed linens after washing and can continue to irritate our skin. They are one of the main causes of allergic reactions and skin irritations from laundry detergents.
The Nature Clean® Way: Enzymes are not harmful if they are used in products that don’t come in direct contact with fabrics or our skin. That’s why we only use enzymes in products such as automatic dishwasher tabs, where they are fully contained in a PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) based film, and therefore cannot be inhaled. They are then fully removed by the dishwasher!
Alcohol ethoxylates…what a mouthful. Found in some laundry detergents, surface cleaners and body wash, they are frequently contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. What’s especially concerning is that 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide will never appear on ingredient labels; however, you can identify it (and avoid it) by looking for ethoxylated “eth” ingredients—these are bad! One example is sodium laureth sulfate.
The Nature Clean® Way: At Nature Clean®, we like to keep things simple—that’s why we use poly glucosides instead of other scary chemicals. It’s really just a fancy name for a group of naturally derived ingredients that are created from the fermentation process of mixing sugar (dextrose) with coconut/palm kernel oil. These ingredients are called ‘surfactants’—again, another fancy way of saying they help enhance the formation of foams in laundry and dishwashing detergents.
I’m sure you’ve seen commercials that show blue detergent keeping your white clothes whiter…those products contain chemicals known as optical brighteners. They make laundered clothes appear to be “whiter” but what the commercials don’t mention is that they also remain on your clothes and can cause allergic reactions.
The Nature Clean® Way: We brighten without the nasty brighteners. To keep your whites looking white, we use hydrogen peroxide (oxygenated bleach), which is extremely environmentally safe. Simple, right? Check our laundry products by Nature Clean for safer washing options.
You may want to cover your eyes, or at least plug your nose at this next one. Many products get their scents and colour with the help of synthetic perfumes, fragrances and dyes. These fragrances are made of thousands of chemicals that have not been evaluated for toxicity. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants that can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms.
The Nature Clean® Way: Fancy scents don’t make sense. All Nature Clean® products use natural food flavours, plant-based fragrances, and essential oils. We even offer a completely unscented and colour-free option for each category of products we produce.
Parabens are a common preservative in personal care products; however, they have been proven to disrupt hormone function and can be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive fertility, early puberty in children and early menopause in women.
The Nature Clean® Way: Our products are 100% paraben free—but we still need preservatives to keep away nasty bacteria! The preservatives we use are much kinder and gentler though. To preserve and maintain effectiveness in our shampoo and body wash, we use phenexyethanol and sodium benzoate. In our conditioner, we use ethylhexylglycerin & phenoxyethanol. We know what you’re thinking—these aren’t exactly the words you want to hear in a spelling bee. But, rest assured, they are natural. Check out personal care products by Nature Clean.
Do you check the ingredient label on the products you buy? Let us know! Feel free to share in the comments below.
Here at Nature Clean, we create products with 3 key thoughts in mind: Love your family, Love your health, Love your planet. All Nature Clean products are non-toxic and biodegradable and are created from naturally derived ingredients. We follow strict guidelines from groups in the US and the European Union when choosing our ingredients to ensure that we avoid any possible suspected carcinogens.