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Why should I use a low tox laundry detergent?

It’s the end of a long day, and as you slide into bed on your freshly laundered sheets, you think of bliss! But is it? Could it feel better and be better for you?

The answer depends on the product you used to wash your sheets. By now, most of us have heard of the low tox movement, the push away from conventional products with chemical (toxic) ingredients that are not very good for our health. There is a good reason it is gaining momentum.

Conventional laundry detergents, stain removers and soaks are products that often contain an alarming number of ingredients that can cause us harm. Given we all use these products often on a daily basis (well, with my kids I do!) we need to give thought to the cumulated effect of these ingredients over time.

Which ingredients should I avoid?
  • Synthetic fragrances (often listed as fragrance or parfum) are usually a mix of chemicals. They are designed to stick to the clothes to mask other smells; therefore, your skin and nose (lungs) are exposed constantly throughout the day.
  • Harsh surfactants, including Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), an irritant that can strip the skin of its natural oils causing dry skin, irritation and allergic reactions. Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES) is an irritant that can irritate your eyes, skin, mouth and lungs.
  • Non-biodegradable ingredients that are harmful to our planet, oceans and waterways as most never break down. They include Phosphates (can cause algae blooms), Sodium Tridecyl Benzene Sulfonate (irritates skin and eyes, endocrine disrupter), and optical brighterners (skin irritants and pollute our waterways).
How do I know if my laundry detergent is irritating me?

Laundry detergents leave a residue on the items we wash. This residue can be absorbed into our skin and breathed into our lungs. If you or a family member have itchy skin, eye irritation, or skin irritation (i.e. eczema or rashes) after wearing clean clothes or sleeping on clean bedclothes, it could be your laundry detergent.

What can I use instead?

 There is a growing range of more natural and healthier alternatives to choose from. Brands that make conscious choices to use ingredients that are safer for us and for the environment.

One of our favourite brands is Abode, an Australian-made range created and formulated by Naturopath and Building Biologist Nicole Bijlsma who is a crusader for chemical-free living. Abode products are effective, hard-working and very affordable. Shop our range here.

Image credit: Photo by Douglas Monterrosa on Unsplash