Washing clothes is one of the basic necessities of life. And laundry detergents are an integral part of that necessity. The laundry industry is a billion-dollar market. Unfortunately, this billion-dollar industry doesn’t care much about us and it doesn’t want us to know that. Laundry detergents are laden with many harmful chemicals which can potentially harm us in a big way. So, you need to be aware of the detergent that you are using and its contents. Some of the ingredients present in these detergents are not only harmful to us but are also deleterious to our environment.
According to a study conducted in the University Of Washington, there are many leading brands of detergents that contain a number of harmful chemicals. As a consumer, you should be aware of the ingredients and their harmful effects. Some of the harmful chemicals that are widely used in detergents are listed below, along with other hazardous aspects associated with detergents.
Surfactants are a class of chemicals that are used in detergents to dissolve grim and dirt from clothes. One popularly used surfactant is naphtha or petroleum distillate. Naphtha is obtained from synthetic crude oil. Researches have found that naphtha can cause serious damage to the mucous membrane and lungs. It can increase the risk of asthma, inflammation and even cancer.
Phenol is another chemical that is used as a surfactant in detergents. This chemical can get absorbed very easily by the skin. It can travel through out the body and affect the central nervous system. Some people can be very sensitive to this chemical and prolonged exposure can even cause death.
2. Say No To Bleach
The commonly used household bleach is sodium hypochlorite. This chemical is extensively known for its toxic properties. This chemical can react with organic materials to produce chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOC). Chlorinated VOCs are considered to be carcinogenic for humans. Chlorine is another popular bleach. Chlorine is a highly corrosive chemical which can irritate respiratory tract, eyes and skin.
The flowery scent of a detergent that convinces you of the cleanliness of your clothes is a mere psychological trick. The fresh aroma makes you believe that your clothes are clean. But these fragrance-inducing chemicals are another thing that you should be careful of. These fragrances are one of the leading causes behind asthma attacks. Most of these fragrances contain phthalates which have been linked to various conditions like obesity, hormone disruption and obesity.
4. EDTA & Phosphates
Phosphates is used in laundry detergents to make the water soft. It makes the detergents effective even when the water is hard. It helps in breaking down the dirt particles. But, it is incredibly toxic in nature. They can increase algal growth in water bodies and deprive other organisms of oxygen. Hence, this is very bad for our environment. EDTA is another toxic chemical that can damage the DNA of the animals exposed to it. So, both of these chemicals are very bad for our health and our environment.
Commercially available laundry detergents are toxic and harmful to us. So, don’t depend on these detergents for cleaning you clothes. You can create your own detergent at home.
1. One cup of available washing soda
2. 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap
3. Half cup of baking soda
4. One-third of a cup of lime juice
5. Quarter cup of sea salt (coarse)
Take the bar of castile soap and grate it manually or using a food processor. Take the grated soap in a bowl and mix it with all the other ingredients. Break all the lumps with a spatula. Transfer the detergent into an air-tight container. One tablespoon of this detergent is enough for a medium-sized load.
So, toss your chemical-laden detergent out today and try out this wonderful homemade detergent.