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4 common pre-wash stain remover chemicals to avoid

For particularly nasty stains, sometimes a regular detergent just can’t cut it. That’s why most of us have those ‘extra helper’ products around, or have used them in the past – stain removing soakers, soaps and scrubbers promising to wave a magic wand and disappear dirt in an instant.

But what price are we paying for these results and could those ‘miracle ingredients’ be doing more harm than good?


We’ve uncovered 4 of the most common chemicals contained in pre-washes that you really should know about, and good reasons to avoid them (note: since manufacturers aren’t required to list any of their ingredients by law, it can become a case of looking out for those which state what’s “not” in their products.)

1. SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate)
This is the foaming agent that makes your shampoo bubble up – and laundry stain removers too. It’s in countless other personal care products from mouthwashes to toothpaste. So it’s harmless, right? Hardly. Although the legend of it being a carcinogen is largely debunked, SLS is still a proven skin irritant, which can strip the skin of its protective oils and moisture and could be a concern given its long-term, accumulative exposure to the skin via clothing and bedding. Bubbles may give the illusion of clean, but in fact they’re not necessary to emulsify and remove stains – which is why we don’t include SLS in Bosisto’s Pre-Wash Stain Remover.

2. Bleach
Chlorine bleach can be harsh on the fibres of clothes, contributing to deterioration and colour-fade. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against the use of bleach in the laundry due to the fact it deteriorates clothing fibres and creates more lint, which may then ignite inside your dryer. House fires are a high price to pay for whiter whites! Bosisto’s Pre-Wash Stain Remover cleans and removes dirt and stains without bleach, simply using the grime-busting natural power of eucalyptus oil (and we think you’ll agree, the results are just as amazing).

3. Synthetic fragrances
Laundry giants would have us believe we are cocooning ourselves in crisp mountain air or the scent of wildflowers each time we wear our freshly washed clothes. But in reality, we’re wrapping ourselves in a toxic blanket. A single fragrance can contain a cocktail of hundreds of harmful chemicals, some of which are not much better than those found in cigarette smoke. Pregnant women, children, asthmatics and those prone to allergies, eczema and dermatitis should be especially careful to avoid fragranced products.
Yet their use in the laundry abounds, because it sells. The human olfactory sense (our sense of smell) is a very powerful one - we associate certain scents with pleasant experiences, leading to us associating these feelings with using a certain product, leading to sales at the register. But we don’t have to give up pleasant smells in the laundry for our health’s sake – just choose more wisely. Bosisto’s Pre-Wash Stain Remover contains natural 100% Bosisto’s Eucalyptus essential oil which imparts the fresh, long-lasting scent of the Australian bush with no harmful chemicals.

4. Phosphates
Phosphorus is an essential biological element and in very small amounts is even useful for plants (it’s a common ingredient in fertilisers). The problem comes when phosphates from laundry run-off make their way into waterways, as it encourages the growth of algae and bacteria (known as ‘blue-green algae’) and also harms aquatic life. This is such an environmental concern that a total ban of phosphates in laundry products is currently underway in Australia, similar to many countries overseas (Italy for example, has banned phosphates since the 1980’s). Yet many popular stain removers still contain them, so choose a brand that is phosphate-free such as Bosisto’s Pre-wash Stain Remover.

Click here for your free downloadable handy hints and tips using natural essential oils around the home. 

Bosisto’s Pre-Wash is available at independent supermarkets, selected pharmacies and online.


Sources & References:
Sydney Morning Herald
Environmental Protection Agency US
Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database
"1,4-Dioxane," US Food and Drug Association, CFSAN/Office of Cosmetics and Colors, July 3, 2007
Ozone and Limonene in Indoor Air, Wainman et al, Environ Health Perspect. Dec 2000; 108(12): 1139–1145.
United States Department of Agriculture, Organic Certification Program
The Australian Cancer Council
Lightning Products – euca.com.au
Indoor Air Quality: Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOC’s, Carol Potera, Environ Health Perspect. Jan 2011; 119(1):A16.
Positive health.com, naturalnews.com
Lanfax Laboratories