I have been reading recently about the additives and contaminants found in laundry detergents. My favorite detergent has been Tide: The clothes come out nice and clean, and they smell great, too. Unfortunately, Tide is one of the detergents that contain a lot of potentially harmful chemicals, it seems. Reading more about this issue, I understand the problem: When chemicals aren’t completely rinsed out of clean laundry, they get into your skin, and can be absorbed through your skin. For example, when you get out of the shower, your pores are open due to the hot water, so drying off with a freshly laundered towel exposes you to whatever chemicals remain in the towel from going through the washer and dryer.
I have been concerned about this and wanted to switch to a green laundry detergent, or one that is a bit more natural. There were two issues: The first is that my husband is an auto mechanic, and he often comes home with grease stains on his clothes. I needed something that was strong enough to take them out! Also, I know it’s a “fake” smell, but I really do like having my laundry smell fresh and clean when it comes out of the dryer. We don’t use fabric softeners because my kids have sensitive skin and in the past, have had reactions to them. So, what to do?
Here are a few natural brands of detergent that I’ve found:
Seventh Generation Natural Powder Laundry Detergent
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure Castille Soap
Martha Stewart Clean Laundry Detergent
Clorox Green Works Laundry Detergent
Sport Wash Residue-Free Detergent
… and various “free and clear” versions of popular brands.
I haven’t gotten to try all of them yet, but I did try the Sport Wash and All Free-and-Clear. So far, I’m happy with the way they’ve gotten dirt and grime out of our clothing! And instead of being put off by a lack of fragrance, it’s actually nice that they just smell clean. Not chemically or floral, just clean.
I asked a friend of mine, who routinely makes her own soaps and detergents, what she does. She actually makes her own out of castille soap, and adds a few drops (and only a few for the whole jar of detergent!) of lavender essential oil for fragrance. She gave me some to try, and I was happy with how well the clothes came out! She said that you can use any essential oil, and that she’s used lemon and peppermint, as well. This has to be done with caution, though, because you aren’t supposed to put laundry that has had oil on it in the dryer. Hang your laundry outside if you try this, or use the dryer with no heat.
So, for now, I’m still experimenting to find the best laundry detergent with the fewest additives, that gets clothes nice and clean. Have you switched to a green laundry detergent? What have you found to be the best? If you haven’t switched, have you thought about it?