Many laundry products contain harmful toxins such as benzyl acetate, which is linked to pancreatic cancer, benzyl alcohol, which irritates the respiratory tract, chloroform which is a neurotoxin and a carcinogen, and then there’s the dreaded fake fragrances and phthalates which disrupt hormones. Um no thanks! We’re supposed to be cleaning our clothes not making them worse!
I can’t stand the smell of the cleaning isle at the supermarket, even before I started this low tox journey it would give me an instant headache, and now I know it’s all the fake fragrances that cause it. How did we get so convinced that we needed harsh chemicals to clean everything? We absolutely don’t need these weird bright blue liquids and toxic bleaches to have a clean home.
There’s also the effect on the environment after cleaners get washed down the drain. Sea life gets exposed to these toxins and not only do they feel the harmful effects but we then eat the sea life and the cycle continues, it’s little wonder we have so many health issues with all the toxins were exposed to on a daily basis.
Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement admitting that they found no correlation between antibacterial washes and cleanliness and that washing with soap and water was just as effective. They also stated that triclosan and triclocarban (the active ingredient(s) in most antibacterial washes) showed some evidence of causing hormone disruption and muscle weakness. The FDA has banned these toxins, as well as 17 others, in hand soaps giving companies 12 months to phase them out, however triclosan is also used in things like toothpaste which hasn’t been banned. Isn’t that crazy? You can’t use them on your hands but you can put them in your mouth!
Luckily for us there are some awesome companies doing the right thing and using natural non-toxic ingredients that wash just as well, and in many cases better, than their toxin filled alternative. Here are 4 products I highly recommend.
- Soapberries $16.50-$39 – I’ve written a review about these already, I’m such a huge fan of them. They’re all natural, actually work and can be put in the compost after they’re all used up, what’s not to like? One other thing I would mention is they aren’t great in a cold wash as they don’t foam up without warm water, so if you only wash in cold water these probably aren’t the best option for you.
- Resparkle laundry powder $13 – you already know I’m a big fan of Resparkle as I’ve written a review of their cleaning products before. Once again Pearl has nailed it, not only does this all natural certified organic powder leave clothes free of tough stains and odours, it also cleans your washing machine. Resparkle washing powders are highly concentrated so you don’t need to use much, they come with a wooden spoon instead of a plastic measuring cup, which I love. So if you don’t want to use soapberries I’d definitely recommend using this powder instead.
- Resparkle Baby Laundry and Soaker $14.50 – I’ve recently made the switch to cloth pads and prior to washing they require a long soak (approx. 12 hours) so this is what I use to soak them in. It’s formulated especially for young skin that is particularly sensitive to harsh chemicals, so totally perfect for what I use it for! This has such a mild smell and is really great on stains. A little hack you can do is use a teaspoon of this mixed with water in a spray bottle as a spray stain remover, so no need to replace the Preen when it runs out. I’m sure you could use any Resparkle laundry powder this way but I’ve only tried it with this one and it worked a treat. I’ve also used my DIY carpet cleaner to remove deodorant stains from a white dress and it worked really well too.
- Wooly Mates Dryer Balls $34.85 – ditch those toxin filled dryer sheets and use these dryer balls instead. They’re triple felted 100% pure wool designed to help reduce tumble drying time, soften clothing and bedding and reduce static and wrinkles. Some items of clothing may not need to be ironed after being tossed in the dryer with these balls, yay no ironing! Another super handy trick is to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to lightly scent your clothes. These will last for years too and once its time to replace them you can put them in your compost bin, super cool!
Notice I didn’t recommend a fabric softener? That’s because you absolutely don’t need to use one! My thoughts on why fabric softener was invented is some clever marketer who wanted to sell more products had a ‘great’ idea one day and totally duped us into thinking it’s required. My recommendation is to save your money and don’t even bother.
So there you have it, my guide to a toxin free laundry If there are any products you love feel free to share them below.