A Comprehensive Guide to Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

Are you worried about the harsh effects toxic cleaning agents have on your health and the environment? Your fears are valid. 

The U.S. produces over 30,000 tons of cleaning material waste per year. Many waste chemicals are proven to have harmful effects on our communities and the water, air, and soil quality surrounding it. 

One of the biggest toxic cleaning culprits is lurking right next to your skin. It's time to switch out your bottles and pods full of toxins and opt for non-toxic laundry detergent instead. Read on to find out why! 

What Makes a Laundry Detergent Non-Toxic?

What exactly is non-toxic laundry detergent? Many big-name corporations like to throw around marketing buzzwords to convince consumers their product is environmentally friendly. This is part of "greenwashing" a product.

Some common label claims you may see on green products include:

  • All-natural
  • Bio-based
  • Organic
  • Chemical-free
  • Recyclable content
  • Biodegradable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Hypoallergic

These labels aren't misleading on their own. Many legitimate products can back up these statements.

However, sketchy corporations will slap these labels on to mark up prices and trick consumers. Additionally, labels like "natural" are not regulated by the FDA or USDA.

Companies can also use technically true labels to present a false front. For example, a non-toxic product is all-natural, but an all-natural product can still be toxic.

Botulinum proteins are all-natural and used in the cosmetic and health industries. Yet these are also some of the most toxic substances ever discovered on earth. 

To really find a non-toxic product, you have to dive deep into its ingredient list. This means knowing the laundry list of sneaky chemicals corporations still want you to buy.

Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent vs. Regular Detergent Ingredients

True non-toxic products generally have straightforward, easy-to-understand ingredient lists. For example, Dinobi only has four ingredients: 

This is why shady companies try to hide or dress up the chemicals on their bottle labels. Make sure you look up all the names listed to see if these common toxic additives are hiding in a product.

Bleach and Chlorine Bleach

It goes without saying that bleach is a highly toxic chemical agent. Adding bleach to laundry can be harsh on sensitive skin and lungs. Its manufacture and use are also terrible for the environment.

Formaldehyde and Quaternium-15

Formaldehyde is known for its distinctive harsh smell and for preserving the deceased. So why does it pop up in laundry detergents?

This toxic substance has antibacterial properties, and liquid detergents also use it as a preservative. Quat-15 is another cleaning additive known as a "formaldehyde releaser." Both are rated high in toxicity.

Phosphates

Phosphates help laundry detergents soften hard water effects. Unfortunately, they are toxic to humans and extremely harmful to aquatic life.

Phthalates and Artificial Fragrances

Phthalates are extra-sneaky artificial scent boosters. They may or not be included on a label, since fragrances and flavors are considered trade secrets. If you see a label that simply lists "fragrance," it's a safe bet it contains phthalates.

Sulfates

Sulfates are great emulsifiers, which means they can combine two otherwise unmixable substances together. They also produce the foamy lather people associate with being clean. There are many types of sulfates:

  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate
  • Sodium Coco-Sulfate

Sulfates are petroleum or plant-based. Sulfates are relatively safe in a small (1% or less) concentration.

Companies don't always disclose the sulfate concentration in their detergents, however. Some products are as high as 30%-50%.

Oil-based sulfates are harsh on your skin and hair if their concentration is too high. They are also toxic to aquatic life. So it's best to skip the chemical-based sulfates for safety's sake.

Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals are also petroleum-based additives. These substances are commonly found in laundry detergents despite being carcinogenic. Clorox and Purex have both tried to sneak petrochemicals into their "green" products in the past.

Artificial Dyes

Despite not actually aiding in the cleaning process, many companies add artificial dyes to their detergents for the sheer eyeball appeal. These dyes build up on your clothes, causing irritation. They also pollute the air, water, and soil during their manufacture and use.

Optical Brighteners

Optical brighteners are similar to dyes, in that they don't actually help clean your clothes. Instead, they deposit chemicals that make your laundry appear brighter and more vibrant. They're also highly toxic to humans and the environment.

How to Find Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

Now that you know the horrors slinking around your laundry bottle or pod, how do you find non-toxic laundry detergent? The CFA (Consumer Federation of America) offers these tips to tell fake green from authentic green:

  • Determine if there are hidden trade-offs
  • Look for evidence and proof of claims
  • Beware of "puffy" claims with no explanation
  • Investigate certification claims
  • Be aware of irrelevant information
  • Watch out for lies and disinformation

Luckily, Dinobi has simplified the search for you. Their laundry detergents are all-natural and non-toxic, making them gentle enough for baby skin and the environment. You also won't find any sneaky toxic additives with Dinobi products.

Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Factors

There are several factors that make the best non-toxic laundry detergent the superior choice. These include being:

  • Plant-based
  • Organic
  • Natural
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable

Some products can realistically claim to be one thing or another. But with laundry detergents like this one, you don't have to make any sacrifices, trade-offs, or compromises on quality or values.

Plant-Based

A plant-based laundry detergent skips the toxic oil-based surfactants. Plant-based surfactants include coconut and palm, which have been used in skincare and food for thousands of years.

Plant-based laundry detergent vs regular detergent has many benefits. You can use less product, and it works well even in cold water. Plant-based surfactants also produce the foamy lather many people want for that clean feeling.

The best plant-based laundry detergent is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, while still breaking down grime. You won't have to trade off on allergies, irritation, and skin conditions like eczema for clean, fresh laundry.

Natural

Natural is a term many people eye askance because it's so misused. Products with all-natural ingredients have legitimate benefits, however.

A non-toxic, natural detergent is generally better for human bodies and the environment. This comes from the fact that most additives in other detergents are inherently toxic from their chemical makeup. Some are even non-biodegradable or take several years to break down.

If you want to pass on toxicity and waste, natural laundry detergent is the way to go. Just make sure you aren't choosing a natural product that's also toxic. The best natural laundry detergent won't hide behind false promises and misdirection.

Organic

The term organic is similar to natural, except it has important conditions to meet first. The USDA requires organic products to be free of artificial pesticides or fertilizers. And at least 95% of the product must meet this requirement.

Organic laundry detergents come from plants that are grown without harmful chemicals, so you know they're as non-toxic and eco-friendly as possible. They also won't leave any artificial residue in your washing machine, extending its lifespan.

Eco-Friendly

Eco-friendly laundry detergent can be trickier to evaluate. It takes many process steps to create a commercial product. This is where corporations hide most of their greenwashing.

For example, a company may claim a bottle is 100% recyclable while conveniently forgetting to tell customers about all the waste and pollution used to produce it.

The best eco-friendly laundry detergent is transparent about its process and environmental impact. It can be difficult for any company to be 100% eco-friendly due to supply chains, but legitimately green companies seek to minimize their footprint as much as possible.

Sustainable

Sustainable laundry detergent is similar to eco-friendly. Many people prefer this term instead, as it's more realistic and makes misdirection more difficult.

A sustainable product means the ingredients are renewable, unlike oil and petroleum-based additives. Most plant-based products fall under this label as long as they use sustainable farming methods.

This moniker has also expanded to include sustainable working conditions. If you're all about minimizing human harm as well as environmental harm, look for products that are socially sustainable. These companies don't take advantage of the working class and even give back to their local communities.

Are You Ready For Clean, Fresh Laundry and a Brighter Future?

Toxic chemicals are everywhere. Many of them stealthily slip into our cleaning agents, knowing that we want to keep our living spaces bright, fresh, and safe from pathogens.

Non-toxic laundry detergent is a great way to reduce this harmful chemical load, while doing better for the environment. It's also great for people who don't want their skin, hair, and lungs to be affected by harmful additives.

You can find affordable non-toxic alternatives right at your mouse-clicking fingertips! Check out Dinobi's best-selling lavender laundry detergent for a great example.

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