As a mom, you’re always thinking about your family and how to take care of them. That includes a LOT of laundry – the average family does 8-10 loads of laundry per week. But is your laundry habit not good for your family? It turns out there can be a big problem with laundry. It depends on the detergent you’re using.
Your skin is your largest body organ and has the ability to absorb harmful chemicals into your system. Because babies and and toddlers have thinner skin, plus smaller body weight, there is a potential for them to absorb even more than adults.
These chemicals have been shown to cause rashes, respiratory health issues, and in some cases cancer. They’ve also been identified as hormone disruptors; definitely not something you want to expose your family to.
So when it comes to choosing the right laundry products here what’s you need to know…
Laundry Detergent Labels
The most important thing you can do when it comes to cleaning your family’s fabrics (clothes, bedding, towels, etc) is to read the ingredients on the label. Unfortunately that’s not always easy. Companies are not always required to list the ingredients on the label. Even California, which passed a Cleaning Products Right To Know Act in 2017, does not require them to list ingredients that they deem to be trade secrets.
While it’s often not on the label you can look online. A number of companies have committed to making all ingredients (down to 0.01%) listed online.
The last thing you want to do is to expose your family to these harmful chemicals. However it’s not always easy to know what to watch out for. Here are just a few of the chemicals you definitely want to avoid when it comes to your family and laundry:
- Ammonium Sulfate – Listed as a serious irritant (for the eyes, skin, and lungs). Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES) is particularly harmful to small children and animals.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLS/SLES). The primary ingredient in most commercial detergents, this is used to create suds. Unfortunately it can cause damage to the eyes, skin, and lungs; it’s used in labs to cause irritation.
- Dioxane (1,4 Dioxane/ Diethylene Dioxide/ Diethylene Ether/ Dioxan) –This laundry additive has been identified as a known carcinogen since 1988. It can also cause skin, eye, and lung inflammation.
- Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (Nonoxynol, NPEs) – As well as warnings of harm to the eyes, skin, and lungs, this particular ingredient states that prolonged exposure to inhaled fumes or mist may be fatal!
- Dichlorobenzene (P-Dichlorobenzene/ Benzene) – Benzene is listed with a carcinogen warning for humans. It can poison the watershed for years as it is highly toxic to aquatic life.
Even the “good stuff” can be bad when it comes to laundry detergent
When you walk through the grocery aisle you tend to see a lot of traditional laundry detergents. Chances are you have one or two brands you believe are “safe” for you and your family. Sure, you’ve done your research. Maybe you’ve even switched to a different brand. But you can’t go just by the pretty packaging.
That’s because even those products that seem to be eco-friendly might still have harmful ingredients in them. Many brands tend do a good job marketing their products. They make it seem like they are eco-friendly and good for your family (this is called “green washing”). Chances are they may not be as good as you think they are.
Remember, anything you put into your washing machine get on your clothes (and from there onto your skin). You need to make sure you choose a laundry product with no harmful chemicals. We’ve got an eco-friendly, non-toxic choice below.
But there’s one more thing you need to know.
What To Know About Laundry Detergent Packaging
When buying laundry products you may not realize the huge environmental impact from all those plastic containers. Sadly they are a huge source of non-recyclable waste. Sure, you may put those laundry jugs into your recycling bin. As a mom you’re teaching your family about the importance of recycling.
But it turns out a lot of recycling facilities cannot properly clean the residue out of the jugs. So even though you put them in your recycling bin, they frequently wind up going to the landfill instead.
Even worse, these common plastics can take hundreds of years to break down. Not only that, as much as 10% of all plastic debris actually winds up in the ocean where it kills seabirds and marine animals.
The good news is there’s a laundry solution that doesn’t including making your laundry machine a toxic washer. You can start by avoiding the toxins found in many laundry products. Instead you want to choose one which is made from plant-based ingredients. That allows you to clean your clothes without harming yourself, your family, or the environment.
Then take things one step further. You can stop contributing to plastic waste when you buy refillable products. When you refilling one container that means you’re choosing an eco-friendly option. Over the course of a year you could avoid sending a significant number of plastic jugs to the landfill. All with one simple choice.