Creating a non-toxic home and a healthy laundry room environment is a really important goal if you are wanting to make big changes in your health and wellness.
Sometimes though, making healthier, greener, and non-toxic choices can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the idea.
Have no fear, I have just the solution!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll help you find information, products, and DIY options for every product in your laundry room so you can reduce and eliminate products that can be harmful to your health one step at a time.
So let’s jump right in!
A Dirty Laundry Room?
It might seem a little strange that your laundry room may need some cleaning up, right? After all, this is the place where to take things to be cleaned.
The problem is that the products we use every day to clean our clothes actually contain some pretty nasty chemicals and other pollutants.
We’re told through advertising that laundry products will get our clothes whiter, remove stains, or help with static cling, but what we aren’t told is the full ingredient list!
In fact, a University of Washington study found that, of the products they tested, all “gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels”.
Being exposed to the chemicals in laundry products may not have a big impact if it were once or twice, but these chemicals do not get rinsed out in the washer, they are made to stay on your clothes to keep them smelling fresh and clean.
And because of this, we are being constantly exposed.
Issues linked to repeated exposure include:
- Asthma and other breathing difficulties
- Hormonal problems
- Organ damage
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything to do with products like that!
How To Avoid Toxic Substances In Your Laundry Products
The first thing to do is lookup EWG.org.
This website is a fantastic resource that can help you choose safer products.
Next, I’ll give you a quick rundown of 4 products that not only get a great score but that I have also personally tested and liked!
Top 4 Laundry Soap Choices
Biokleen laundry liquid
This company actually has quite a few products that I like.
The laundry soap worked well for my family and wasn’t the cheapest cost-wise, but not the most expensive either. An added bonus- it was locally available.
Seventh Generation Laundry Powder (Free & Clear)
Not all of Seventh Generation laundry products get a great rating so if you are interested in this brand or this product be sure to look for this specific product.
I felt like Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry powder did a good job of getting our clothes clean and it seemed to last a little while, but I’m not a huge fan of powdered laundry soap so I didn’t love it. I would buy it again, but not before some of the others listed.
Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder
The ingredients in Molly’s Suds rate very well. This soap gets a good score from EWG, seemed to clean well, and lasted quite a while because you only use a small amount in each load.
I would buy it again but probably not first, only because it was not readily available at my local stores.
Ok, soap nuts may seem kind of weird. I thought so too when I first tried them.
I had a hard time believing that these funky little soap nuts (aka-soap berries) would wash my clothes. They did though!
It was a fun experiment and I totally loved it, but I’m undecided if I would buy them again.
First, they weren’t readily available at my local stores. Second, I don’t know how it happened but the darn things got all over my laundry room. (I am thinking my kids may have had something to do with that…).
Anyway, I may try them again sometime in the future because they really were quite economical, fairly easy to use, and worked well (and my kids are older so hopefully they wouldn’t find them as interesting!)
Tips For Success
Even though reading labels isn’t going to tell you every ingredient, it is still a good starting place. If you look at your current brand, or one at the store, and find any of the following ingredients, consider choosing a different product.
Here are ingredients to avoid:
- Artificial fragrance
- Optical brighteners ( may be listed as OB-1, OB, ER, or KSN)
- Petroleum distillates
- Quaternium 15
- Ethyl acetate
All of these ingredients are given the worst rating by EWG and are linked to serious health issues.
Speaking of EWG, be sure to check out their website if you are unsure of a brand. You can look up brands, find the ingredients, and any concerns associated with those ingredients.
Another tip for success- you could always DIY it! It takes a little time, but if you make your own then you know exactly what’s in it. All you need are a few ingredients, a container, a cheese grater, and a little elbow grease!
DIY Laundry Soap Recipe
1 bar of Castille soap (Dr. Bronners is a popular one)
1 cup of washing soda
Grate the soap with the cheese grater, mix in washing soda (be sure to mix well!), and voila! you have laundry soap!
Use 1 Tbsp for regular loads, and 2-3 for the really dirty ones.
Some recipes show borax too, but I do not add that because it really doesn’t get a good score on EWG and I didn’t notice any difference in the cleanliness of our clothes when I left it out.
*If you’re looking for something to help brighten and whiten you could always try a super simple DIY bleach alternative. It works great and isn’t full of nasty chemicals!
1. Is homemade laundry soap safe for all washing machines?
You should definitely check with the company but from everything I have read, it is thought to be generally safe. Please review your manual or get in contact with the company though to be sure.
2. Is there a DIY recipe for liquid laundry soap?
I truly think this is my new favorite!
3. Why are there chemicals in our laundry products that are not listed on the label?
From what I’ve read it all comes down to weak regulations. In 1976 the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed but there are many issues associated with this legislation, it has been called “toothless” and “inadequate”. Not to mention, there were 60,000 substances that were “grandfathered” in and do not require safety testing.
In 2016, President Obama signed legislation that was supposed to change the way that the government regulated chemicals. What it did was require all new chemicals to be approved by the EPA before being introduced to the market. From what I’ve read, this legislation also allowed the EPA to consider chemicals already on the market but it is thought that this could take years, if not decades for changes to be made.
4. I have heard that laundry soap doesn’t really clean clothes and you should actually use detergent. Is that true?
I have heard that too. I honestly can’t say if that is correct or not. From my personal experience, I have used homemade laundry soap and then used detergent and didn’t notice the washer water being disgustingly dirty because clothes weren’t actually getting clean as some have said. Personally, I go back and forth. If I have time I make my own, if I don’t I buy it.
If you are wondering if it would really work for you or not, you could always make a small batch, use it, and then wash with detergent and see if the water in your machine is extra dirty, then you’ll know. I do think some of that could depend on the quality of your water, your machine, and just how dirty your clothes actually get.
Please share if you try this experiment, I would be really interested to hear your experience and the outcome!
Making your laundry room a little cleaner, greener, and healthier is an important step in having a healthy life. We spend most of our time wearing clothes and snuggled into our blankets so choosing a laundry soap that is not full of nasty chemicals is essential.
Changing a whole house full of cleaning supplies and other products may seem overwhelming, but stick with me because we will go step by step, and soon enough you will have the least toxic house in the neighborhood!
Take your first step this week by looking into laundry soap. Next, we’ll tackle more products found in the laundry room.
Up next, bleach alternative!