January 19, 2023
Have you ever thought about what goes into your laundry detergent? Maybe it’s about time you did! Your clothes, sheets, and towels are in direct contact with your skin – and so are the products you use to wash them!
Here are 8 laundry detergent ingredients you should eliminate from your home, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Many of the ingredients on this list are part of the surfactant family. These substances are known to make your products foamy and to reduce the surface tension of water to effectively remove dirt.
Thankfully, not all surfactants are harmful, but nonylphenol ethoxylate is the first to avoid. When used in a detergent, it contaminates wastewater and significantly harms marine life1. Far from ideal for human health, nonylphenol ethoxylate could also be linked to reproductive system problems2.
Also from the surfactant family, sodium lauryl sulfate3 and sodium laureth sulfate4 have some nasty flaws. In addition to frequently causing irritation, these two chemical ingredients are very harmful to marine life and can be contaminated with potentially carcinogenic impurities.
Phosphate is a mineral substance that is often listed as a laundry detergent ingredient. However, according to Environmental Working Group (EWG), when used frequently in household products, it can cause skin and eye irritation in addition to contributing to water pollution5.
Have you ever wondered why typical detergents are blue? While the dye added to the detergent doesn’t have a true cleaning effect, it can cause skin irritation. The blue tint contains optical brighteners that only make your clothes appear whiter.
That’s why dye-free laundry detergents are clear! Made from naturally sourced ingredients, these gentle detergents and softeners are the perfect example.
Like dyes, optical brighteners have no cleaning power. Instead, they act as fluorescent whitening agents that are designed to brighten colors or mask the yellowing of plastic or clothing fibers6.
So why is it best to avoid them? Because many optical brighteners contain a lot of chemical substances, including benzene, which is a totally unacceptable substance according to EWG. Benzene represents an elevated risk in cancer and reproductive system-related problems7
Considered to be a possible carcinogen under California’s Proposition 658, 1,4-dioxane is the most common contaminant9, and perhaps the most difficult to detect because it is not intentionally added to a cleaning product.
Therefore, this contaminant is frequently found in products as a residual (leftover from the manufacturing process) in the following blowing agents and emulsifiers:
Classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer10, this contaminant acts as a preservative and disinfectant in many products that are used daily. Despite being used in low concentrations, this carcinogenic contaminant can still prove harmful to the skin.
To detect formaldehyde, search for the following ingredients on the labels of your cleaning products.
If your skin is itchy when you get out of the pool, you should avoid chorine bleach in your laundry detergent at all costs. Not only will it irritate your skin, but it can also cause irreparable damage to marine life11.
Have you eliminated each of these laundry detergent ingredients, but your sensitive skin is still acting up? This could be happening because with every wash in your aromatic laundry detergent, comes a mixture of fragrances that can cause asthma and allergic reactions.
Fortunately, our collection includes odorless options and even products made for fragile baby skin. Both are available in the standard format and as eco-refills that offer up to four times more product with 80% less plastic!
With this list of laundry detergent ingredients to avoid, you should be able to wash your clothes – and your worries away!
you continue to suffer from itchiness, it could be because you have eczema! Learn more about our tips for appeasing this common skin condition right here.
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Written by Team ATTITUDE