Recently, a dangerous social media trend has surfaced called the “Tide Pod Challenge,” and it has everyone in an uproar. Most people are commenting about the stupidity of teens filming themselves eating Tide Pod laundry capsules while I am wondering why people aren’t seeing a connection between the ingredients and how harmful they are for you regardless if you consume them or absorb them through your skin.
Not only do these laundry detergent pods contain ethanol and hydrogen peroxide, but also, carcinogens. According to studies, 1/3 of all scented detergents contain at least 1 chemical flagged by the EPA as potentially causing cancer. The internet is on a manhunt because the participants of these challenges are dealing with uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea while missing the bigger picture. Every time they wash and put an article of clothing on, they are being exposed to those chemicals and they cause far larger issues.
Laundry product manufacturers are not required to list all of the ingredients on the packaging, making it very confusing and misleading when looking for a safe product. Here are a few of the top toxic culprits when it comes to laundry detergent ingredients.
Fragrance – this is a trade secret protected by the FDA. We as American citizens have no right to know exactly what this term is when it’s included in a product. The problem is that “fragrance” can refer to thousands of different ingredients and most of the time lead to skin irritation. Eczema, psoriasis, allergies, headaches, asthma, and rosacea are all common problems that have been linked to fragrance.
Stablizers – these chemicals help elongate the shelf life of laundry detergents. When looking at ingredients in your laundry detergent, stabilizers are labeled as: polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide, which are linked with eye and lung irritation, and even dermatitis.
Surfactants – these are the cleaning agents that are used in well known laundry detergents, hand and dish soaps, and toothpastes. Surfactants are used in these products to help them clean better. If you want to check your ingredients, you can see surfactants labeled as quaternium-15 (known to release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen), diethanolamine (linked with skin and eye irritation and possibly liver problems), nonlphenol ethoxylate or NPE (toxic to nerves, irritating to skin, potential hormone disruptor, toxic to aquatic life), linear alkyl benzene sulfonates or LAS (irritating to skin and eyes and toxic to aquatic life; benzene on its own is a carcinogen), and petroleum distillates (linked to cancer and lung damage).
Brighteners – you’ll find these in “brightening” detergents. Brighteners are actually chemicals that remain on clothes after washing to absorb UV light and help clothes “appear” brighter. The chemical names for brighteners include naphthotriazolystilbenes (linked with developmental and reproductive effects), benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbene disulfonate, and more. Since these remain on the clothes, they are likely to come into contact with skin, causing these issues.
It’s important to care about what laundry detergent you’re using is because it does have long lasting effects on your body. Take the time to look into your laundry detergent’s ingredients and I bet you’ll find at least one ingredient that is questionable. Even the ones that label themselves as “green” can be masking some toxic things in their product. Other than that, I have also found that switching to safer has been a lot harder than I thought because of performance issues. After many years of trying different products, my family has found a brand that has clean ingredients and preforms spectacularly.
I saw that one of my friends tried and raved about a brand called Molly Suds so I decided to try from Amazon. The price difference held me back a few times but when I finally ordered, I realized why it was more expensive. High performing ingredients means less amount of product that you use. This laundry detergent requires on scoop in each load and the bag lasts me a month or so! Ya’ll… I wash A LOT of laundry so this just butters my biscuit! Derrek is normally the hardest to impress when I bright in a new product, ESPECIALLY when it has to do with his laundry SO if he likes it, that means a lot, in my opinion. If I ever need help lifting tough stains or wanting to make my white brighter, I add in white vinegar and let them soak a little bit.
After I wash my clothes, we always dry them… I do love hanging them outside to dry during the warmer months but during the winter we use the dryer constantly. To help cut back dryer time and our exposure to VOCs produced by dryer sheets, we invested in wool dryer balls. I buy mine from Norwex and I’ve had the same ones for about five years. The dryer balls lift and separate your clothes to reduce drying time and static. When we want a particular smell… say, when washing and drying our bedding, I add a few drops of Lavender and Cedarwood oil to my dryer balls. Five years of trying different detergents and such and we FINALLY found our winning combo. It’s so exciting to share it with ya’ll and I hope that you decide to let me know how you like these products after you’ve tried them (ESPECIALLY if you deal with any skin irritations that clear up after use).