Sustainable Laundry

Sustainable Laundry

          There is a movement for sustainable fashion going on today. A flux of companies and brands have launched in the name of sustainability and slow fashion. Even well-known companies that grew their name through fast fashion have rebranded or launched side projects in support of this movement. Chances are you’ve invested in vintage or sustainably produced pieces. You may not even realize it, but your green fashion efforts may be in vain.

            Some of the chemicals used in laundry detergents are intended to stay in the fabric for the freshness and vibrancy of the textile. The fresh scent is my favorite part of laundry but it’s a product of some of those lingering chemicals. The same chemicals are considered to be carcinogenic. The same chemicals stay in the clothes we live, breathe and sweat in.

            It’s not just us who are affected. The chemicals in laundry detergents are dumped into the natural world. Aquatic wildlife is forced to live and breathe in these chemicals causing damage to their gills. The same chemicals that were designed to break up the dirt and oil in your clothes are also breaking through a fish’s protective mucus layer.

            So, is the solution to just stop doing our laundry? As much as I would love to take that off my list of things to do forever, I’m not too inclined to trade laundry in for a new signature stench.

            Swapping your laundry detergent for something biodegradable and organic can be a first step to eliminating toxic chemicals. Some people make homemade detergents using borax and bars of soap, but there are many ways this can ruin your clothes completely. Oil can build up in the fabric or the homemade detergent can react badly to the hardness of your water and leave a residue in the fabric.

            You should avoid certain chemicals in a laundry detergent's ingredient list. Sodium laureth sulfate is an emulsifying agent commonly found in detergents. This ingredient is also often found in herbicides, meaning that as they are released into the natural world it’s killing vegetation. So much for green fashion. A by-product or contaminant of sodium laureth sulfate is the notorious 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is linked to cancer and is confirmed as an animal carcinogen. It’s typically not listed on the ingredients list since it’s often a contaminant or by-product. That is why it is important to avoid sodium laureth sulfate.

             Avoid phosphates, chlorine bleaches, and artificial fragrances. Often artificial fragrances are made using harmful chemicals. When making the switch, you can swap chemical fragrance for a few drops of your choice of essential oils. Just add them to the load along with these detergent alternatives.  

             Tru Earth offers laundry sheets that cut chemicals and offer you more washes for the portion and price. One sheet will clean one full load without parabens, phosphates, and chlorine bleach, and are lab tested to ensure they are free of 1,4-dioxane. You can also use these sheets to hand wash if you don’t have enough for a full machine load. Tru Earth thought of everything for you. Even the packaging for the sheets is plastic free and compostable.

             Dropps is a laundry pod alternative that can be purchased once or subscribed to. Their ingredients list is dominated by naturally derived ingredients. Their website is extremely transparent in their ingredients list and goes as far as to explain every part of what the ingredient does and where it comes from. The brand is fighting against toxic waste and animal testing and like Tru Earth, this brand showcases plastic-free packaging for easy and convenient use.

            Coming in as the most affordable item on this list, Indigo Wild offers a clean ingredient laundry soap. This liquid laundry soap is scented with essential oils and made with five simple and natural ingredients. However, they are not advertised for sensitive skin or as hypoallergenic as the other two brands.

            Washing your clothes shouldn’t have to be done at the cost of your health or the world's health. It shouldn’t be complicated either. You deserve to feel good in and about your clothes. Hopefully, these options can help you do that.

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