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7 dirty secrets the laundry industry doesn't want you to know

For an industry which prides itself on clean, the laundry aisle holds some pretty big dirty secrets.  For example, did you know that in 2011 researchers discovered that clothes washed in some of the top-name scented laundry detergents and then put through the dryer, emitted hazardous – even carcinogenic – chemicals, such as acetaldehyde and benzene?

That’s just one of the amazing secrets we’ve discovered… and there’s more.   If you’re keen to minimise your family’s exposure to chemicals in the laundry (but still get great wash results), here are a few facts and truths you really need to know.
 

1. Your laundry powder may still have fillers, even if it’s a concentrate.

Fillers are cheap, granular ‘bulking’ agents which manufacturers use to make it appear like you’re getting more laundry powder. They have no effect on the product’s cleaning ability therefore you’re basically paying for nothing.  
 
But that’s not the worst thing.  Fillers don’t dissolve in your wash, leaving tiny, skin-irritating particles in your clothes next to your skin and potentially exacerbating allergies and asthma.  They also build up inside washing machines, causing corrosion and damage over time.  We tested Bosisto’s Laundry Powder against both the big name brands and eco-brands to test for solubility (ie. the presence of fillers).  We think you’ll agree… the results are pretty clear!  
LP Test - Bosistos vs. Big Brands small
Solubility test: Bosisto's vs. the big name brands

LP Test - Bosistos vs. Eco Brands small
Bosisto's vs. other 'eco' brands
 
Want to check our results for yourself?  Click here for how to do your own test at home.
 
 

2. Your laundry products could be causing your unexplained itches and rashes

Sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) is the ingredient that makes your shampoo, toothpaste and, yes, your laundry detergent “bubble” and foam.   But do bubbles equal clean?  Nope, and furthermore SLS has been proven a skin irritant, which can strip the skin of its moisturising protective barrier.  
 
 Zeolites, another space-age sounding ingredient, are also designed to enhance the lathering effect of laundry detergents but also come with the not-so-nice side effect of skin irritation.  If sensitive skin is an issue for you, or if you just choose not to have unnecessary chemicals close to your skin, choose Bosisto’s laundry products – which have recently been independently laboratory tested and proven gentle on sensitive skin.
 
 

3. Your lovely frangipani fragrance may contain the same chemicals as cigarettes

The human sense of smell is powerful.  Consumers love a product that transports their senses elsewhere or evokes certain emotions.  Companies that produce consumer products know this, and use it to their advantage in emotive packaging images and advertising designed to make those cash registers ring.  But what’s the real cost of those sweet smells?
 
It’s estimated 95% of all synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals; some of these, such as benzaldehyde, are the same ones found in cigarette smoke.  Don’t sound so appealing now, do they?  

Manufacturers specifically make them to last and not break down easily, meaning they stay trapped in the fibres of fabrics and close to our skin, for hours and hours every day.  How much makes its way into our bloodstream is uncertain, but we do know that the skin is a permeable organ and transdermal absorption is a well-documented phenomenon (nicotine and birth control patches are two common examples)   Avoiding synthetic fragrances is probably a good idea in any case for pregnant women, young children, asthmatics, and those prone to allergies, eczema or dermatitis.
 
The good news? You don’t need synthetic chemicals when the real thing is better.  Most companies won’t use pure essential oils to fragrance their products because synthetics are much cheaper, but 100% pure eucalyptus oil is what you’ll find in Bosisto’s laundry products, and it will leave a fresh, long-lasting natural bushland scent throughout your whole wash.  No chemicals needed.
 

4. Your laundry products could be fading and destroying your clothes.

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 because it damages fibres so much it produces lots of lint, which is a fire-risk in clothes dryers.   Choose a non-bleach formula such as Bosisto’s laundry products, which clean, freshen and brighten using the natural powers of eucalyptus oil.
iStock 000008214922XSmall
 

5. Your laundry products could be harming the environment (and your garden).

Phosphates in Australian laundry products are now largely being phased out by manufacturers, due to a growing awareness of their dire environmental effects – which include promoting the growth of blue-green algae and bacteria in our waterways and harming aquatic life.  However, some laundry products do still contain them, so always look for low or phosphate free products, such as Bosisto’s laundry range, where possible.
 
High salinity and alkalinity can also be an issue, particularly if you use grey water on your garden.  High sodium levels and a high pH can be toxic to plants and soils – a too-high pH may also damage fabric fibres over time.
 
Bosisto’s Laundry range is low in sodium and pH balanced so it is garden-safe and suitable for use in septic systems.
 

6. Your laundry products are bluffing you with pseudo-science.

The expensive adverts featuring men in white coats would lead you to believe otherwise, but you just don’t need wonder this and wonder that to get a really good clean.  
 
The agitation of your washing machine actually does a great deal of the work in getting your clothes clean, and natural ingredients can do the rest of the heavy lifting.  Eucalyptus oil, for example is a natural surfactant, which means it helps emulsify (‘break down’) oil and grease - exactly what some of those synthetic ingredients claim to do.  Not to mention its natural freshening and deodorising powers – better than any artificial fragrance and much healthier in the long run.

 

7. Your laundry products are very likely to have been tested on animals

If you love animals and try to choose cruelty-free where possible this last one may shock you.  According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other organisations such as Animals Australia, many of the top-selling laundry brands in Australia still endorse animal testing.  These include Cold Power, Fab, Napisan, Omo, Spree and Sard.
 
Bosisto’s is cruelty-free and our laundry products never have been, and never will be, tested on animals.  

Find Bosisto’s Laundry products at supermarkets, or buy online today.
 
Sources & References:
Environmental Protection Agency US
Mercola.com 
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
WashWise.org.au
Choice.com.au
Washwise.org.au
Scienceiq.com
The safety of synthetic zeolites used in detergents. Fruijtier-Pölloth et al,  Arch Toxicol, 2009, Jan;83(1):23-35