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The Worst Ingredients in Laundry Detergent

In the meantime, there are some relatively painless steps you can take to decrease your exposure and shrink your ecological footprint (some of the tips below were incorporated from Planet Green’s How to Go Green Laundry page):

  • Become a label reader. Look especially for “Does not contain…” because manufacturers are not yet required by law to list what is in the product. However, green companies will proudly display what is NOT in the product if they want to sell their product to environmentally conscious people like you.Look for “phosphate free,” “no bleach,” “SLE free” and “NPE free.” Look for “biodegradable” detergents since those often do not contain the harmful ingredients listed above. Look for plant- and animal-based ingredients, instead of petroleum-based.
  • Buy concentrated detergents. These have reduced packaging and a smaller carbon footprint (requiring less space and fuel for shipping).
  • Become a Soap Nut! Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorrosi). People have been using these natural soap-releasing berries for thousands of years, and they’ve recently caught on in the U.S.
  • Wear it more than once. Too often, we just toss our clothing into the hamper after wearing it, out of habit, without regard to whether or not it’s really dirty. Washing less often also extends the life of your clothes.
  • Wash and rinse in cold water. You will save a bundle on electricity (one estimate is $100 per year) just by doing this, because 90 percent of the energy required for washing lies in heating the water.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry. It’s more energy efficient.
  • Hang it out to dry. Put up a clothesline! Become part of the Right to Dry movement.
  • Try making your own detergent. Here’s one formula costing pennies per load.
  • Ditch the dry cleaning. Traditional dry cleaning is a very un-green and toxic process using harsh, carcinogenic chemicals, such as perchloroethylene (aka “perc”), which has been linked with a variety of cancers and other problems. Many “dry clean only” products can be safely hand washed. For those that can’t, try to find a greener dry cleaner in your area.

If you’re interested in the Enzyme Formula we produced, you can read more about it here!

Clean Clothes, Happier Planet
4 DIY Non-Toxic Laundry Tips
Ecological Laundry Stain Treatments

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Health, Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.


+ add your own
12:50PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Thanks for the info.

6:10PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Thanx, for taking such chances and exposing these toxins. I appreciate your article.

5:24AM PDT on May 23, 2012

One ingredient not mentioned here may also be causing your father to have his rash...
methylisothiazolinone (several names for, check wikipedia) My wife and several others I know have developed alergic reactions (alergies) to this ingredient. AND it is in almost everything.
Laundry soap, dish soap, bar soap, cosmetics, baby wipes, toilet paper, et. al. It is used as a preservative but one web site I was on compared it to of all things... "Agent Orange" (not sure if this is true). But, anytime my wife uses anything with this indredient (methylisothiazolinone) she gets a rash. And it usually takes a couple of days for it to go away. Unfortunately, it is in 7th generation products as well.

8:52AM PDT on May 22, 2012

Scary. My father has rashes from laundry detergent so we have been very careful from what we buy. I have copied the recipe for making your own laundry detergent a few weeks back and will be trying it. My other recipe says to use Bonners soap, which I will. I also have 7th generation on my shelf. I'll have to see if it has any of these chemicals in it.

7:46AM PDT on May 22, 2012

It's great that people are becoming more aware about what is in their household cleaning products, this is something I have known for a while so I use an eco-friendly organic laundry liquid from Faith In Nature that is as good as any of the other detergents,Natural laundry detergent by Faith In Nature

4:24AM PDT on May 21, 2012

Thanks for the heads up about these awful ingredients.

Most states have now banned or severely curtailed phosphates in soaps.

4:39AM PDT on May 18, 2012

thanks for sharing

5:12PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Thanks for the info..

11:48AM PDT on May 17, 2012

I am wondering why governmental and health agencies allow toxic products to be manufactured and distributed.

7:58AM PDT on May 17, 2012

I have eliminated commercial toothpaste and deodorant (found great recipes for natural substitues that work), and now after reading this, the laundry soap and dish soap are next to kick to the curb. There are great homemade recipes that work for these as well. GOODBYE TIDE, GOODBYE GAIN, GOODBYE SURF, GOOD BYE SUNLIGHT.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Thanks for sharing.

My wife and I just had some fun with #1 this morning - cussed out about everyone in the world we cou…

My best friend's sister makes $100 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for 7 months …

I would love to see Vegan and Vegetarian cooking shows! Good job Mama T:))

tks for the info


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