Have you ever walked around your neighbourhood and noticed that fresh smell of someone doing laundry? Bad news: when you breathe in that “clean” familiar scent, you’re actually getting a lung-full of toxic chemicals. Is laundry detergent toxic? Sadly yes, those laundry chemicals you use can impact the air quality in your home, your health (linger on fabric & absorb into your skin too!), and even the outdoor air around your house. If you check the ingredients for most detergents, you’ll notice that most of them aren’t eco-friendly, using plastic (pods PVA) and toxic chemicals with names you might not of even heard of.
Conventional detergents are comprised of a concoction of fragrances, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and potent cancer-causing chemicals. Most detergents have signature fragrances which are designed to impregnate and stay in clothes. The unscented versions add masking chemicals, which simply cover up the fragrance with another chemical. Your utility room may very well be the most toxic room in your home once these chemicals become airborne when washing and drying your clothes. All laundry detergent ingredients can potentially be absorbed through the skin or breathed in through the nose, as well as passed down the drain to damage aquatic life and our waterways. Since government agencies do not regulate harmful chemicals in cleaning products, it is time to open our eyes to toxic blind spots and start making healthier choices. We have the power to remove products with harmful ingredients from our homes, one step at a time. Let's protect our family and make a commitment to only bring in health-promoting products.
Want a natural alternative?
Mixing ½ cup of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda with 4 drops of an essential oil and sprinkling it into the washer during the wash cycle is an effective way to deodorise and freshen up laundry. Baking soda helps neutralise any odours, while the essential oils add a pleasant scent.The good news is you can kiss most stains goodbye with a few drops of lemon oil. Just put a few drops onto your stain and launder as normal. The citric acid in the lemon oil dissolves the stains, leaving your laundry clean and fresh.
Comment if you have tried this toxic free swap or have any other amazing cleaning suggestions with essential oils or want to read more on the history of why we have ended up with toxic products...
Harmful ingredients! Why did they end up in our laundry products?
A brief history of laundry detergent Prior to World War I, people around the world used pure soap to do their laundry. In 1916, driven by the war related shortage of fats and oils, Germany developed the first synthetic detergent to be used for laundry and dishwashing. In the United States, efforts to create detergents for household use by companies like Procter and Gamble started in the early 1930s. Detergents did not start to displace soap in the US until the end of World War II when, like Germany in World War I, the fats and oils used in soap making were in short supply. These fats and oils were more useful for manufacturing explosives for the war effort. Scientists at that time discovered that they could make thousands of petrochemicals (synthetic chemicals derived from petroleum) that could be used to replace natural ingredients. After the war, many factories were converted for civilian use and a petroleum-based chemical, tetra propylene, was used in the creation of laundry detergents. By the 1950s, detergents almost completely replaced soap as the first choice in America for doing laundry. Most detergents available today are loaded with harmful petrochemicals and are undermining our health. Reading labels doesn’t have to be complicated Look for the words “caution”, “warning”, or “danger” on the box or bottle.
What is PVA?
Please read this insightful article on what our laundry pods are made from.