Using 100% organic environmentally-friendly laundry detergent is one of the most important steps you can take toward creating a green life and reducing your carbon footprint on mother earth. With the wide array of detergent products available on the market, it’s very easy to feel confused. Unfortunately, the 21st century has complicated a very simple and necessary task.
Below is a list of some of the toxic ingredients in commercial detergent, as written by Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article, Look What's Lurking on Your Freshly-Washed Clothes.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Chemical foaming agent known as a surfactant. Studies have linked use of this chemical to a variety of health issues from skin irritation to organ toxicity to even cancer.
Dioxane (1,4-dioxane): The majority of top laundry detergent brands contain this synthetic petrochemical known as a carcinogen. This is a by-product contaminant of the manufacturing process and is not required to be listed on product labels.
Linear Alky Benzene Sulfonates (LAS): Synthetic petrochemicals that biodegrade slowly making them an environmental hazard. Benzene may cause cancer in humans and animals.
Nonylphenol Ethoxylate (NPE): Petrochemical surfactant banned in the EU and Canada. May cause liver and kidney damage. Biodegradable, but biodegrades into more toxic substances.
Petroleum distillates (aka napthas): Derived from synthetic crude oil, linked to cancer, lung and mucous membrane damage.
Phenols: Can cause toxicity throughout the entire body.
Optical brighteners: Can be toxic to fish and cause allergic reactions in humans.
Artificial fragrances: Linked to various toxic effects on fish and mammals, and can cause allergies, skin and eye irritation to humans.
Phosphates—Used to prevent dirt from settling back into clothes after being washed. Can stimulate growth of marine plants that trigger unbalanced ecosystems.
Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA): Group of compounds used as an alternative to phosphates. Found to cause reproductive and developmental effects in lab animals and does not readily biodegrade.
Sodium Hypochlorite (household bleach): Chemical precursor to chlorine, which is extremely toxic. Skin contact can produce caustic irritation or burns. Mixing with other cleaning products can create hazardous and sometimes carcinogenic fumes.
In addition to the above mentioned toxic contaminants, the latest popular detergent product on the store shelf is two very lethal products that can cause serious health problems for your family and is very harmful to the delicate eco-system. The following article on sustainablebaby.com discusses this at length in. The article contains extensive data as to why these poisonous products need to be avoided. http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/febreze.html
All of these toxic contaminants seep into the groundwater, causing terrible pollution to the soil and the water. They go out into the air and pollute the delicate ecosystems and wildlife.
Artificial fragrance alone contains over 5,000 toxic petrochemicals which are derived from coal tar, which is derived from petroleum. These toxic fumes cause even more awful damage to those delicate ecosystems and wildlife.
We tend to forget that we share this beautiful, blue, green, living planet with the beautiful, graceful creatures that grace our skies every day—including sea gulls, eagles, turtledoves, hummingbirds, butterflies, and little finches. These beautiful creatures deserve the right to breathe clean, healthy air as much as we do. Please remember that the overpowering fumes from the toxic products you use cause pollution.
The best way to ensure that your laundry is green, safe, and non-toxic and that your carbon footprint is small is to buy your products from an organic health food store.
To save money and your health, you can also make your own detergent. My husband and I have been using the following non-toxic method for more than 15 years, and we are very happy with the positive and efficient results.
This is the recipe I use every week to do my non-toxic, green laundry.
For a large load of laundry, mix:
~ 1 cup baking soda
~ 1 cup white distilled vinegar
Begin a hot water load of laundry. As hot water fills the washing machine, pour the baking soda. Make sure you empty the bowl of all baking soda residues, and then pour the vinegar. The reason for this is when you pour the vinegar in the bowl while there is some baking soda residue, the two ingredients fizz when mixed together, and you don’t want the bowl to overflow before you pour the ingredients into the washing machine.
This mixture is great because it’s affordable, easy to use, non-toxic, earth-friendly and completely free of toxic petrochemicals and irritants. My husband and I use this efficient method every time we do laundry and we always have very positive results.
When you add together the number of times people do toxic laundry every week in every city across North America, the numbers are staggering and the air pollution that’s being caused from this is a horrible environmental nightmare.
It’s the 21st century, and it’s high time to vote green with our wallets and contribute to those companies that genuinely care about the environment, the humans, and the animals.