I've been making and using my own laundry products for years, and I thought it was high time I shared my easy nontoxic laundry routine with you!
Why Go Natural in Your Laundry Room?
First and foremost, it's important to know WHY to have a nontoxic laundry routine. So, let's learn! Laundry products are some of the most toxic products in our homes – both for humans and for the environment. They are loaded with artificial fragrances, detergents that harm freshwater eco-systems, sulfates, phosphates, preservatives like formaldehyde, and more! Take a look at this list below.
Specifically – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLS/ SLES). Sulfates are harsh detergents that are also toxic to aquatic life. The water we use in our homes eventually makes its way to sewage processing facilities, where it is cleaned. But on its way to the facilities, it comes in contact with the environment and can harm wildlife and pollute our water.
Phosphates help balance the detergents' pH and chelate minerals found in hard water like lime and magnesium. They make laundry detergents more effective, BUT they are very harmful to humans and wildlife. Studies have shown that human exposure to phosphates is linked to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even death!
In the 1970’s, the US government recognized the problem with phosphorous pollution. It was found that residues from fertilizers and cleaners were causing excessive growth of algae in fresh water lakes and streams. This nutritional enrichment is referred to as eutrophication. Phosphates have the ability to enter back into the environment unchanged through sewage from both detergents and human waste and could cause oxygen depletion in waterways. When growth of aquatic plants is over stimulated they seasonally die and rot, using up the oxygen dissolved in the water. Fish die of oxygen deficiency and are for a time replaced by scavengers. (source)
You'll find formaldehyde in SO many cleaning, laundry, bath, body, and beauty products. Yes, that same preservative they use to embalm dead bodies! It’s everywhere because it’s cheap to make and effective. However, it is quite toxic for us. Exposures to it, even in small amounts, can lead to cancer, yes, cancer, and that’s according to the CDC. The EPA has labeled it a Class B1 probable carcinogen and can cause acute toxicity when exposed to the skin.
- 1, 4 Dioxane/Dioxane – carcinogen, causes skin, eye and lung inflammation
- Optical Brighteners/ UV Brighteners – eye, skin and lung irritant and extremely toxic to aquatic life
- Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers (Quats/ Synthesized Cationic Surfactants) – eye, skin, and lung irritation and prolonged exposure can even cause death
- Artificial Fragrances – contain phthalates and formaldehyde and cause endocrine disruption and irritate the respiratory system
- Dyes – endocrine disruption, skin irritant
- Dichlorobenzene (P-Dichlorobenzene/ Benzene) – carcinogen and fatal for aquatic life
My Nontoxic Laundry Routine
I have recipes for each of these products here on the blog – click on the link to see them! I buy my ingredients in bulk from Amazon, making it easy to make them again.
In the Washer
- Nontoxic Liquid Laundry Detergent or Powered Laundry Detergent (I prefer to use my liquid one, but the powdered one is cheaper)
- Natural Laundry Softener and Booster Powder – or use distilled white vinegar in the laundry softener compartment of your machine.
In the Dryer
- Wool Dryer Balls – to reduce static and soften clothes.
- DIY Dryer Sheets – these soften clothes, reduce static, and add fragrance.
Also check out my post on the best essential oils to use in your nontoxic laundry routine here!
Would You Rather Buy than Make?
You can still have a nontoxic laundry routine without making all of your own products, and I totally understand if you'd rather not! Here are the ones I recommend:
Nontoxic Laundry Detergents to Buy
- Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder
- Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder
- Ecover Zero
- Honest Co., Free and Clear
- BioKleen Laundry Powder
- Young Living Thieves Laundry Soap
Other Nontoxic Laundry Products to Buy
- Wool Dryer Balls
- Seventh Generation Dryer Sheets (Morning Meadow Scent)
- Love Home and Planet Natural Dryer Sheets (Lavender)
- Better Life Natural Stain and Odor Remover
- Charlie's Soap Natural Laundry Pre-Spray
- Natural laundry softener – Distilled white vinegar
- ATTITUDE Natural Laundry Softener
- Love Home and Planet Natural Laundry Softener
- Natural laundry booster – Borax or Super Washing Soda (add a few tbsp. in the washer drum)