Laundry is something we do every week of our lives. If you have a family, this can sometimes add up to a few times a day. With the frequency of our laundry cycles, is there a better alternative to the products we buy in the grocery stores? Studies have found that dryer vents give off more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) while drying your clothes after washing. These come from laundry detergents, softeners, and dryer sheets. This is not good for the environment considering most dryer vents attach to the outside of your home. However, this is even worse for anyone who has a dryer vent that blows inside the home or is backed up accidentally. So that “nice” smell you take in when your dryer is making your clothes warm and toasty, is actually very bad for you!
This is another product where labelling can be misleading. Some detergents are using scent names such as “fresh” or “breezy air” to subconsciously trick you into thinking what you’re smelling is clean and safe. They also compound names of ingredients on their labels making it appear that there is much less in your detergent than there really is. A single ingredient listed on the back packaging could be a combination of many chemicals, and it is simply the name of them combined.
So what are the pesky chemicals they’ve packed into your detergents, softeners, and dryer sheets? Here’s a brief list to give you some examples:
- Chlorine: A type of bleach that will cause irritations to your eyes, upper respiratory tract and lungs.
- Ethyl Acetate: Typically found in softeners, this ingredient is a neurotoxin.
- Quaternium-15: Found in your detergent, this ingredient gives off formaldehyde which can cause cancer and skin irritation.
- Optical brighteners: These can cause developmental issues and reproductive problems in both men and women.
- Artificial fragrances: Found in all laundry products, can irritate skin, eyes and cause cancer.
- Benzaldehyde: Used in fragrances and bleach, can cause mouth, throat, eye and skin issues.
- Ethylenediaminetetracetic acid: (Yes thats a word) causes reproductive and developmental problems.
- 2-Butoxyethanol: Found in dry cleaners solutions and stain removers, can cause birth defects, reproductive issues, developmental effects, and can lead to cancer.
- Perchlorethylene: Another one found in dry cleaner solutions and can cause liver and kidney damage as well as cancer.
- Nonylphenolethoxelate: This ingredient can damage hormone health.
For these reasons I have been trying different methods of washing my clothing. I have found that the best natural alternatives are usually the brands that have a strong baking soda base in their product. Baking soda is the ultimate natural cleaner and odor killer. These baking soda products come in powder form and are easy to use and store. They generally have a very long shelf life pending the rest of the ingredients aren’t easily perishable. I have really grown to love a few brands in particular but since having my baby, I have leaned towards “Nellie’s Laundry Soda” due to it’s low fragrance profile. It cleans our clothing better than any drugstore brand ever has and leaves them smelling fresh even without the use of fragrances. If I want a little kick of scent, I add an essential oil like Lavender or Vanilla to the wool dryer balls I use as an alternative to dryer sheets. Best of both worlds! I have been able to find this brand in almost every natural health store I’ve been in. I’ve even stumbled across it on sale at Winners locations (my well kept secret that I’m sharing with you). They are an all natural, non-toxic, and cruelty free company with eye catching 1950’s-esque labeling! Can’t get much better than that!
Their products range for different uses. There is a regular laundry soda, baby laundry soda, and an oxygen brightener for keeping your whites white. They also have Dryer balls that replace dryer sheets and significantly reduce dryer time (which saves you on monthly bills). If you want a dose of scent, you can also purchase one of their scent sticks to use with the dryer balls! They really have an answer for everything and after using all of their products I can definitely say they’re an outstanding alternative to regular laundry detergent, and much safer too!
For more on Nellie’s All Natural or to purchase your own you can go to www.nelliesallnatural.com.