Are you a fan of liquid detergents in the laundry? Whether you use liquids because your mum always did or you prefer their solubility, economy or performance, you might be surprised to learn that liquid formulas can have just as many toxic ingredients as powders.
When you consider that the average family does around 400 loads of laundry per year, it’s important to know what’s actually in each capful of that liquid and its true impact on our skin, our health and the environment.
We’ve uncovered 5 of the most common laundry liquid chemicals you should avoid, and the good reasons why (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.) Here they are.
1. SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate)
This is the foaming agent that makes your shampoo bubble up – and your laundry detergent 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. It’s also not necessary to good wash results – which is why we don’t include it in Bosisto’s Allergen Laundry Liquid.
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 Allergen Laundry Liquid cleans and brightens powerfully without bleach, instead using the grime-busting power of natural eucalyptus oil.
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 Allergen Laundry Liquid contains natural 100% Bosisto’s Eucalyptus essential oil to impart the fresh, long-lasting scent of the Australian bush with no harmful chemicals.
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 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 is currently underway in Australia, similar to many countries overseas (Italy for example, has banned phosphates since the 1980’s). Yet many popular detergent brands still contain phosphates, so look for a brand that is phosphate-free such as Bosisto’s Allergen Laundry Liquid.
5. High alkalinity
Many laundry detergents are highly alkaline (that is, have a high pH - often over 10) in order to dissolve grease, oils and food stains from clothes. However, most gardens prefer a pH between 6 and 9 and alkaline grey water can seriously harm your plants and soil.
Closer to the hip pocket, a high pH can also damage fabrics, affecting clothing fibres and colour-fastness. Fortunately, Bosisto’s Laundry Liquid doesn’t need to be highly alkaline to achieve great wash results - it’s already got an inbuilt natural oil, grease and dirt solvent: 100% pure Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil. Bosisto’s Allergen Laundry Liquid is super-gentle on even the most delicate fabrics, and may help extend the life of everyday garments.
Bosisto’s Allergen Laundry Liquid is available at Coles, Woolworths, independent supermarkets, selected pharmacies and online.
Sources & References:
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