How Dirty's Your Detergent
Simplest way to reduce the number of toxins in your home? Change your laundry detergent. It's my #1 piece of advice to people when they don't know where to start. It will make a BIGGER IMPACT than probably any other switch you can make.
Laundry Detergent. It's not a glamorous subject. It's not even a super fun subject. And I certainly don't like to DO laundry. In fact, I hate doing laundry so much that I made my kids start doing their own in 5th grade -- as soon as they could reach into the washing machine (top loader) WITH a step stool!! So it's strange just how much time I spend talking about laundry detergent these days!!
Laundry detergent is probably one of those products that you purchase on auto-pilot. You may even use the one you use simply because it's what your mom used. You have much bigger things to think about. So when you walk down the aisle at the market you simply pick up the detergent you've always used, with barely a glance at the bottle.
If you actually took the time to READ the bottle, you'd probably be a bit mystified by what you see. And by what you don't see.
You may notice that a LARGE portion of the back of the packaging is taken up with warnings and cautions. Eye irritations, skin irritations, first aid treatments, poison control phone numbers. What ingredients are in these products that cause all of these concerns??
Well, you'll never know by looking at the package itself!! That's right! Laundry detergents -- and most home care products -- are not required to list the ingredients. So it's up to you -- the consumer -- to look into what these products are made of!! Just what you have time to do, right? To sit down at your computer and google 1) the product to find ingredients it contains and 2) to look up the individual ingredients to see just how hazardous they are.
What sort of hazards may be caused by these ingredients? According to the EWG, many of the most popular brands of detergents contain ingredients with that cause some(which is higher than the "low" rating" to moderate concern for cancer, digestive system effects, respiratory effects, skin irritation, asthma, allergies, skin allergies, skin damage, damage to vision, may have negative effect on developmental/endocrine/reproductive systems, and much more. And this does not even take into account the damage being done to the environment by these products.
And please, don't be fooled by those GREENWASHERS out there, trying to trick you into believing their products are safe. Brands like Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers also contain ingredients linked to the exact same concerns.
But doesn't the laundry detergent wash out?? NO!! It's not made to wash out. It's made to stay in there! Some laundry detergents even BRAG about how they leave your laundry smelling "clean laundry fresh" for ten days! That fragrance is made to stay in there and keep you feeling good about your toxin-laden clothing. Another example, optical brightness. They make your whites look whiter. How do they do this? By lurking in your clothes and tricking your eyes into seeing something as more white than it actually is.
So what should you do???
I started off this article by stating that changing your detergent to a non-toxic version can make a bigger impact than any other product. Why do I think this?? Because EVERYONE in your home uses the same detergent. Even if they use different detergents for some things, like smelly gym clothes, the family detergent is used on other items such as towels and sheets. And you are wearing those toxin-laded clothes ALL DAY!! Your body's largest organ -- your skin -- is constantly covered with toxins from your laundry detergent. You wake up and shower and dry yourself with towels filled with toxins. You put on clothes (fresh toxins), you go to work or school and come home and change -- fresh toxins. You get into your PJs -- more toxins. You climb into bed and onto your sheets which are covered in toxins, too.
By changing to a non-toxic laundry detergent you are reducing the number of toxins, and the body burden, of every single family member. It's a simple switch, so why not give it a try!!!
P.S. Have you downloaded by handy dandy "Don't Be Greenwashed" Guide? This guide will alert you to what hazardous chemicals are being used by companies who want you to believe they are manufacturing safe and clean products. Download it now and be a Savvy Shopper!