Q & A - What Are Non Toxic Laundry Detergents?

Toxic laundry detergents contain a variety of chemicals that are allergens, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. These toxic chemicals perform different functions.

  1. Surfactants are the active cleaning agents in detergents. They are usually derived from petrochemicals. Many are endocrine disruptors.

  2. Builders enhance the action of surfactants. Some builders kill cells and damages DNA.

  3. Antimicrobial agents disinfect or sanitize your laundry. They include quaternary ammonium chlorides (releases formaldehyde), triclocarbon and triclosan (endocrine disruptors).

  4. Optical brighteners (blue and white fluorescent dyes) give the illusion that your clothes are cleaner. They leave a residue on your clothes that reflect light and make clothes look brighter, with more vivid colors. Some classes of optical brighteners have developmental and reproductive effects.

  5. Preservatives prevent detergent spoilage during storage. Generally, preservatives are only required in laundry liquids. Preservatives like glutaraldehyde and EDTA are linked to asthma and allergies), formaldehyde or formalin is a known carcinogen and BHT is a probable carcinogen.

  6. Fragrances are added to cover up the smell of detergent chemicals and make your clothes smell good. Some of the chemicals in detergent become airborne when washing, drying and wearing your clothes. And detergents with fragrance release the most chemicals into the air, an average of 17 different ones. The most common chemicals emitted included terpenes like d-limonene, lilial, α-pinene, which are allergens and react with air pollutants to create formaldehyde.

Non Toxic laundry detergent uses safer surfactants, preservatives and builders. Generally, unscented powders are the safest because no preservatives are needed. Non Toxic laundry detergents are also easy to make.

For less toxic store bought detergents checkout the following:

Attitude Nature Laundry Detergent

AspenClean Laundry