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My Favorite Natural Laundry Detergent

Macasoul  Macasoul   My Favorite Natural Laundry Detergent

My Favorite Natural Laundry Detergent

There is nothing better than fresh laundry. Having clean clothes that smell great is important. Do you know what else is important, though? Your health. Unfortunately, commercial laundry detergent is full of chemicals and toxins. They can cause irritation of your skin, eyes, respiratory tract, and lungs. They may trigger allergic reactions and asthma. By increasing chronic inflammation, they may increase the risk of chronic symptoms and chronic health problems. Many ingredients are also carcinogenic and may increase your risk of cancer.


Choosing natural laundry detergent alternatives is important. It can be complicated though. You want something that works and is affordable. Some natural laundry detergents simply don’t do the job. And many of the ones that work even better than commercial laundry detergent options are very expensive. I have a recommendation to protect your health and your budget.


In this article, you will learn about all the chemicals in commercial laundry detergent. I will discuss the toxic bucket theory of health. You will learn about the importance of natural laundry detergent. I will debunk some myths about natural laundry detergent. I will compare some popular laundry detergents. Finally, I will share my favorite natural laundry detergent we use at home regularly.

Chemicals in Commercial Laundry Detergent


We all like clean clothes. Unfortunately, commercial laundry detergent is full of harmful chemicals. Your clothes may get clean but they may also be contaminated with harmful chemicals and toxins that can disrupt your health. Let’s look at the most common chemicals hiding in commercial laundry detergent:


  • Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate/sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLS/SLES): These chemicals are the main ingredients of most commercial laundry detergents, dish liquid soap, shampoo, and liquid hand wash. SLS and SLES are foaming agents that help to remove grease and soil. They were originally created to remove grease from garage floors and now used in your laundry detergent and other household cleaning products. Yet, these chemicals can be incredibly irritating. According to a 2006 study published in Contact Dermatitis, SLS may cause skin irritation (1). It may also irritate your eyes and lungs. It may also increase chronic inflammation and consequent health issues from long-term exposure.
  • Phosphates: Phosphates are another chemical found in laundry detergent that can be seriously problematic for your health. According to a 2014 research article published in Integrative Medicine (Encinitas), phosphate may increase the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and even all-cause mortality (2). It’s so problematic that it has been banned from being dumped or used in natural waterways in the Great Lakes Region to protect native marine animals from mineral poisoning and die-off (3).
  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is another toxic chemical in commercial laundry detergent and dish detergent. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), it is a class B1 probable cancer-causing substance (carcinogen) that may increase your risk of cancer (4, 5).
  • Chlorine bleach: You may not be surprised to hear that chlorine bleach can be an irritant to your skin and health. According to a 2016 study published in Respiratory Medicine, using household cleaning products with chlorine bleach may increase the risk of non-allergic asthma (6).
  • Ammonium sulfate: Ammonium sulfate is a toxic laundry additive. According to Global Safety Management, it may cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, and indoor use is not recommended (7). According to the EPA it may be a carcinogen (8).
  • Dioxane (1,4 Dioxane/Diethylene Dioxide/Diethylene Ether/Dioxane): Dioxane is a known carcinogen that can cause lung, respiratory, skin, and eye irritation and inflammation. According to a 2012 health advisory by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (US), it may also increase the risk of liver, kidney, nervous system, eye, skin, and other organ damage (9).
  • Optical brighteners and UV brighteners: Optician brighteners are often used in laundry detergents to treat stains. However, instead of removing stains, they simply hide them from visible light.  According to a 2019 study published in Materials (Basel), they may cause acute toxicity (10).  They may cause lung, eye, and skin irritation.
  • Ammonium quaternary sanitizers (quats/synthesized cationic surfactants): This is a cleaning additive also known as ‘quat’. They may cause eye, skin, and lung issues. According to a 2014 study published in Reproductive Toxicology, it may even increase the risk of infertility (11).
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (Nonxynol, NPEs): NPEs can be incredibly toxic to your health. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, NPEs may cause toxicity, chronic toxic inflammation, skin and eye issues, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenesis (12).
  • Fragrance and perfume: Manufacturers put fragrances into commercial laundry detergents to make them smell clean and nice. However, these fragrances are generally made from toxic chemicals that can irritate your body and cause health issues. According to a 2008 study published by the University of Washington, these fragrances may be toxic and potentially carcinogenic (13).
  • Dyes: Though commercial laundry detergents have dyes in them, they don’t have any cleaning power to them. They only offer color, yet, they may cause allergies, skin issues, and may be endocrine disruptors. According to the University of Maryland Medical System, dyes may cause contact dermatitis (14).
  • Benzyl acetate: According to the International Peer Reviewed Chemical Safety Information (INCHEM), benzyl acetate may cause skin reactions, redness in the eye, respiratory or lung issues, and digestive problems (15). It may also damage your kidneys and affect the nervous system.
  • Dichlorobenzene (P-dichlorobenzene or benzene): Benzene is another chemical in commercial laundry detergent that may harm your health. According to the Global Safety Management, it may cause eye irritation and may be a potential carcinogen (16).
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