Laundry Tips #1: Regular vs Eco-friendly Detergents
Have you ever wondered why your laundry detergent container warns you to avoid contact with your skin? Paradoxically, this same detergent is used to wash clothing, which is in constant contact with your skin all day. Therefore, it is not only important to choose fabrics wisely, but also your detergent.
What is in your regular laundry detergent?
Your regular detergent includes a list of chemicals, which disrupt the natural processes of your body, and irritate your skin. They can even cause headaches, nausea, and contact dermatitis. If you are someone who is especially prone to acne, your skin may not do well with heavy fragrances within the detergent.
Many laundry detergents contain surfactants. (Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.) (Ref.1) They can dry out your skin, and strip away natural oils, which the skin needs for protection against bacteria.
These same detergents also include xenoestrogens, triggering estrogen-like reactions in the body. (Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. They can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds) This can cause a variety of side effects, such as decreased fertility in males, and increased breast cancer risk in females.
How to mitigate exposure to chemicals in your detergents?
Choose Eco-friendly detergents
For issues like these, a green detergent is the best solution. The best eco-friendly detergents are made without petroleum-based chemicals. They are biodegradable, and contain no dyes, or artificial fragrances. Choose those that are fragrance and color free, made from plant-based ingredients, such as soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, or coconut oil. Some detergents available in Poland / Lithuania:
Wash less. Not only does over-washing expose your clothing to detergents more, also, it is wasteful of precious resources, and can be costly in a number of other ways. There are tons of detergent involved, utilities costs (water and electricity), time, and energy. Before tossing your clothes into the laundry basket, consider if they are truly soiled or not. Items like underwear and undershirts will certainly need more washing, but jeans or sweaters can survive several wears before washing. Just hang your clothes on the rack, and let them dry breathe. Choose clothes made of natural fabrics, as they resist stains, odors, wrinkles, and moisture.
Use less detergent
Washing machines and dishwashers are made to use far less water now than older models, therefore, needing less soap. Detergents have also become more concentrated, so a little goes a long way. According to “Reviewed”, using too much detergent can make your clothes even dirtier.
This happens because the base components of detergent work in specific concentrations. When those concentrations are too high, bad laundry mishaps can occur. Moreover, using too much detergent can damage your washer. Detergent that doesn't get washed away dries up as residue inside your machine.
While fabrics are becoming increasingly important, and the wide-spread information sources around fashion and the environment are advocating natural fabrics and sustainable fashion, there is much more that also needs to be considered. One of those, is based around the chemicals we use when cleaning our new found ecological clothing items, along with the resources that are also harmful to our environment.
The evidence of people moving to more sustainable fashion is huge, and there are more and more brands that are working towards more ethical practices, however, we still need to also bring about change in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, and by beginning to use cleaner and more sustainable detergents and cleaners, we can also bring a healthy and eco-friendly change here too.
Remember, fashion is not only what you wear, and being a sustainable fashion ambassador is not only about wearing organic fabrics, but also about bringing change to the entire industry, and detergents are a huge part of that change.