Laundry detergents were first introduced in 1914. It wasn’t until the 1930s, however, that it hit the market in the United States.
Fast forward to today and there are numerous brands to choose from. What’s more, is that there are different types of detergents as well.
For example, there are liquid detergents, powder detergents, and pod detergents. Keep in mind, however, that not all of them are made equal. That is, some can be damaging to the environment.
Is laundry detergent toxic? Which ingredients should you stay away from? Find out by reading the rest of this post!
What Are Laundry Detergents Made Of?
Laundry detergents consist of various ingredients, each of which plays an important role in the cleaning process.
Alkalies: Alkalies are soluble salts that are effective at removing stains and dirt from fabric. Some examples include sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), borax, and ammonia.
Surfactants: Surfactants are responsible for most of the cleaning in laundry detergents. Not only do they allow soap to mix into the water, but they also allow cleaning agents to remove dirt from surfaces.
Enzymes: Catalytic enzymes are proteins that are capable of breaking down soil into smaller molecules. That way, they can be washed away with water.
Aside from those, many products also contain fragrances and dyes, the latter of which is often added for aesthetic appeal.
Is Laundry Detergent Toxic?
While laundry detergents aren’t “toxic” per se, there are some chemicals that are potentially harmful. The good news, though, is that there are eco-friendly options. Visit www.kindlaundry.com for one such example!
Anyway, here are some ingredients that you want to avoid.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is a common surfactant that’s added to laundry detergents. While it’s highly effective at removing dirt and stains from clothes, it can also impact our health as well as our planet.
For one thing, it can inflame the eyes, skin, and lungs. In addition to that, SLS can be toxic to aquatic organisms.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Despite that, however, it’s often used as a preservative and antibacterial agent in laundry detergents and other cleaners.
Not only can it affect our health, but it can also damage the environment. For one thing, it’s highly toxic to aquatic life. For example, it can make them sick or affect their ability to reproduce.
Phosphates are often used as chelating agents. In other words, they help remove dissolved minerals such as magnesium or calcium. In doing so, detergents are able to work better.
As it is, however, prolonged exposure can cause a number of problems from osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease. On top of that, it can affect aquatic life by lowering dissolved oxygen levels.
Choosing the Right Laundry Detergent
Hopefully, that answers the question of, “is laundry detergent toxic?”. As you can see, some may contain harmful ingredients. That’s why it’s so important to do your research first before picking out a product!
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