Let's Talk Laundry: The Case for Non-Toxic Alternatives


Ever stopped to think about the impact your laundry detergent might be having on your health? It's easy to overlook, but traditional detergents packed with chemicals can be quite harsh on our skin, and our health. 

Picture this: every time you put on clothes fresh out of the wash, your skin (and our body's biggest organ) gets up close and personal with whatever's left behind by your detergent. And guess what? Some of those chemicals can sneak right through your skin and into your body. 

Let's dive into why it's so important to give our skin some love with natural, non-toxic alternatives.


Chemical Absorption

Our skin serves as a protective barrier, but it's not impermeable. When we wear clothes washed with traditional laundry detergents, our skin comes into direct contact with residual chemicals embedded in the fabric. Over time, these chemicals can seep through the skin's layers and into our bloodstream, potentially causing irritation, allergic reactions, and even disrupting hormonal balance.

Research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology highlights the role of laundry detergents in triggering skin conditions such as eczema and contact dermatitis. Fragrances and dyes commonly found in traditional detergents are known culprits, exacerbating existing skin sensitivities and leading to discomfort and inflammation. While this is important for all of us, it's especially important to consider when washing clothes for babies or young children whose developing bodies are more susceptible to the dangers of toxic chemicals. 

And here’s the thing, it’s not just a one time thing - what makes it more concerning is the cumulative effect of repeated exposure. Each time we wear clothes laundered with conventional detergents, we introduce a fresh dose of chemicals to our skin. Over time, these chemicals can build up in our system, contributing to our body’s toxic load and increasing the risk of skin issues and other health concerns.

According to a study conducted by the University of Washington, fragranced laundry products emitted hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens, into the air. Prolonged exposure to these airborne toxins can contribute to indoor air pollution which we know can exasperate or lead to certain respiratory conditions. 


Laundry Detergent and 1,4-Dioxane

One of the most troubling ingredients in traditional laundry detergents is 1,4 Dioxane.

1,4-Dioxane is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It is a byproduct of the ethoxylation process used to manufacture certain ingredients, so it is not required to be listed on the ingredients list. Even trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane in water sources can pose significant health risks, making its presence in laundry detergent a cause for concern.

1,4-Dioxane usually comes from a process called ethoxylation. So, if you're scanning ingredient lists, keep an eye out for stuff that sounds like it's been ethoxylated. That's fancy talk for ingredients that have been through the ethoxylation process.

You'll often spot them with names that include "eth" or "oxynol," like Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG).

Recently, places like New York have placed a legal limit on the amount of 1,4 dioxane that can be present in products like laundry detergent, after many common laundry brands were found to have high amounts of the chemical. But if you ask us, the amount of 1,4 dioxane that is appropriate in consumer products is none at all.


Environmental Impact

It's not just about us! All those chemicals from traditional detergents end up going down the drain and wreaking havoc on the environment. As these chemicals wash down the drain, they accumulate in waterways, where they can harm aquatic life and disrupt fragile ecosystems. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) identifies synthetic surfactants and preservatives commonly found in laundry detergents as environmental pollutants, contributing to water pollution and ecosystem degradation.

Not only that, but most laundry products come in chunky single use plastic containers and many don't offer refills. You know how we feel about that!


Bottom Line

Your skin deserves better than a chemical cocktail every time you do the laundry. By switching to natural, non-toxic alternatives, you're not only doing your skin a favor but also helping out the environment. So let's make the switch together and give our health the TLC it deserves! 🌿


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