I’ve known for quite a while that conventional laundry products had harmful chemicals and fragrances in them. When I started researching for my latest book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home, I was expecting to find more of the same information that I was already familiar with. What I found was worse than I was expecting. The most disturbing revelation? All the ingredients in laundry products are in constant contact with our skin. We can’t get away from it – it’s on our bodies, in our bedding, and in the air in our homes.
I’ve come up with a simple and effective SAFE laundry routine that works – I love clean smelling laundry too! Keep reading for the 4 simple swaps I’ve made to clean up our laundry.
I’ve been working for YEARS to formulate safe AND effective laundry products that you can use in your home without any concerns over safety. Your main concern with laundry should be getting those clothes folded and put away, not if the ingredients contain harmful ingredients.
Come see the Laundry Products in Clean Mama Home!
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR :
- Conventional detergents that say ‘free and clear’ or ‘scent-free’ probably aren’t. They use chemical fragrances to cover up the scent. Don’t be fooled!
- Bleach (Sodium Hydrochloride) – one of the most toxic chemicals in homes, highly irritant to the skin, tissue and the respiratory system. When combined with other chemicals, it is also a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.
- Fragrance or Parfum/Perfume– anything that says this is harmful and most likely synthetic. Companies aren’t obligated to say what is in their ‘fragrance’ and they aren’t obligated to test them for safety OR disclose what they include.
- Optical brighteners – just another phrase used to cover up a chemical that’s in detergent to make your clothes appear brighter and cleaner.
- These ingredients are in your conventional laundry products and they are toxic, endocrine disruptors, and/or carcinogenic – Phosphates, 1,4-Dioxane, NPEs – this is a petrochemical also listed as Nonylphenol Ethoxylate, Sulfates – ALS, SLS, SLES
SWAP #1: Look for a laundry soap that is made with naturally derived, plant-based ingredients and if it’s scented, make sure that it uses pure essential oils for the scent.
I worked with my favorite laundry company, Molly’s Suds to bring you a truly safe and natural laundry powder that really WORKS. If you have tried ’natural’ laundry powder and have been disappointed or felt like it didn’t truly clean, my Laundry Super Powder will change your mind! Formulated with enzymes to remove dirt, grime, and odors, Clean Mama Home Laundry Super Powder really is a SUPER powder. Tested to remove the worst odors (stinky workout clothes) and tough stains (grass and dirt stains on white baseball pants without pre-treating), this super powder doesn’t disappoint. Formulated with Clean Mama’s Signature Lemon + Clove, your laundry is going to get a whole new vibe.
Ultra-concentrated, made from just seven earth-derived ingredients and formulated for the most sensitive skin and strong enough for the toughest stinky cloths and stubborn stains. Clean Mama Home Laundry Super Powder is safe for your most delicate clothes and your family.
- 60 loads – extremely concentrated
- Standard Washing Machine: add 1 scoop to the water and then add laundry
- HE Washing Machine: add 1 scoop directly to the drum and then add laundry
INGREDIENTS: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Enzymes, Maris Sal, Maltodextrin, Natural Fragrance (free of solvents, dyes, made with essential oils and essences of plants)
SWAP #2: Look for a safe and natural laundry whitener. Want to brighten up your whites? A scoop or two of Oxygen Whitener will do the trick!
Oxygen Whitener – Also known as a bleach alternative, use this in place of bleach and non-chlorine bleach, this powder can clean laundry, be mixed up in a paste for grout, sprinkled in toilets, and can be added to a carpet cleaner to brighten up dingy carpets. Here’s a post that details all the uses for Oxygen Whitener.
Clean Mama’s Oxygen Whitener uses sodium percarbonate and other earth derived ingredients to aid in breaking down the hard water minerals to bring back your whites! It is color safe but it is recommended that you test a small spot on your colored laundry to ensure fabric compatibility.
- Add 1 scoop to every load of whites.
- Add 2 scoops for an especially dingy or dirty load.
- For stains, wet fabric with water, sprinkle or make a paste and rub directly into stains. Rinse and launder as usual.
INGREDIENTS: sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, citric acid, and pure lemon essential oil
SWAP #3: I love wool dryer balls. They last forever – at least 1000 loads – and can be custom-scented with your favorite essential oil(s) for a subtle scent.
Stop using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets – these might make your laundry soft and static-free but at what cost? I’ll take a little pant leg stick for the alternative every day of the week. Fabric softeners have the same issues as laundry detergent but the dryer sheets are even worse. A study in Science Daily shows that there are twenty-five VOCs in dryer sheets – including two known carcinogens. Carcinogens cause cancer – stay away from conventional dryer sheets. Consider this: the exhaust from a dryer vent with a dryer sheet is even harmful to the environment as a pollutant. That exposure is very minimal compared to what is on your clothing, are you ready to look for an alternative?
One of the worst offenders in the laundry room are fabric softener sheets. How this little piece of material can be full of so many toxins is anyone’s guess. I use wool dryer balls with essential oil on them in the dryer and white vinegar in the place of fabric softener in the washing machine.
QUICK TIPS :
- Too much static with natural products? Put a safety pin in your wool dryer balls and it will cut the ‘charge’ eliminating static. Don’t over-dry your laundry. When laundry is over-dried it tends to incur static.
- Put a drying rack in your laundry room for items that need to be line-dried. I have a teeny tiny laundry room and I have a wall mount laundry rack that folds up on the wall. It’s cute and functional.
Swap #4: Use White Vinegar as a Fabric Softener
Most conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not only toxic but they also coat the fibers making clothes and towels harder to clean because they build up with the fabric softener. If you love your fabric softener and dryer sheets and love that scent that’s associated with clean laundry, you probably don’t want to make the switch to something natural if it’s unscented. I’m right there with you – I want my laundry to smell clean and fresh.
- white vinegar – this is such a cost-effective way to safely and effectively soften your laundry – I buy a 2 gallon jug for under $3 at my grocery store or Costco.
- container to store vinegar – I use a 16 ounce glass bottle with a pump to easily dispense it into the dispenser
Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or one of those fabric softener balls. I add vinegar to every load of laundry. Not only does the smell completely dissipate but it also keeps your washing machine fresh. I love this for sheets and towels – it will make your towels unexpectedly soft and fluffy.
Come see the Laundry Products in Clean Mama Home!
It’s Laundry Week!
- Follow me on Instagram @cleanmama for a #laundryeverydaychallenge – I’m encouraging you to TRY doing a load of laundry every day for a week.
- Here’s the challenge: do one load of laundry every day for a week from washer to folded and put away. Post your load of laundry on Instagram with the hashtag #laundryeverydaychallenge and tag me so I can share! Even if you think this sounds crazy, accept the challenge and see what happens in your home – it will surprise you!