Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do laundry and not have to worry about how the detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets were affecting the environment? Well there alternatives to what’s currently sold in local retail stores. You just have to be willing to spend some time, do some research, and wait for the products you order to come to your door.
It has been said that the laundry room is the one of the most toxic rooms in your entire home. This statement is based upon the fact that commercial laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets have high levels of toxic chemicals in them. These chemicals have been known to cause serious health issues including cancer and liver damage. Is it any wonder that people are looking for safe, eco-friendly alternatives to doing their laundry?
There are many products on the local supermarket’s shelves that claim to be “environmentally safe.” But one has to wonder if they live up to their claim, or if they’re just jumping on the latest hot marketing bandwagon.
Products claim to be “non-toxic.” Some claim to be either “biodegradable” or “organic.” Unlike the labels on food products, laundry products are not regulated. A manufacturer does not have to prove their claim; they don’t even have to list the ingredients that are in the products they sell.
When searching for eco-friendly laundry products, try to look for products that have a list of the ingredients, as well as words indicating what’s NOT in the cleaner, i.e., “chlorine-free” or “no phosphates.”
Here are some ways to have a more eco-friendly laundry room:
• One of the easiest ways to make your laundry more “green” is to switch from liquid detergent to a powder. Since liquid detergents already contain large quantities of water, it costs extra for packaging. If you must buy a liquid, choose one that is concentrated.
• Another way to lessen laundry’s impact on the environment is by allowing it to air dry on a clothes line rather than using your dryer. Sunlight, which is free, is a natural bleaching agent; it also disinfects the clothes. If you must use a dryer, switch to a gas dryer. They are cheaper and have less impact on the environment.
• Don’t use dryer sheets because many of them contain the same chemicals found in liquid fabric softeners. Besides being hazardous to your health, aren’t biodegradable. To help reduce static cling, dry natural fibers and synthetic fibers separately.
Here are some phases to familiarize yourself with when looking at the products on the shelf.
• Stay away from any product that has “Danger,” “Warning,” or “Caution” on the label. Those with “Danger” or “Poison” are the most hazardous. Next avoid those that bear a “Warning.” Products that merely have a “Caution” are least hazardous, but still should be used only when there are no other alternatives.
• Look for products with specific claims, not generic ones. “No phosphates” or “plant-based” tells you more about a product than saying it is “biodegradable.” Choose those products that list their ingredients, and choose those that are made with plant-based instead of petroleum-based ingredients.
While these tips are not exhaustive, they are a few steps that you can take to lessen the environmental impact. They will help lessen the chemicals in your home, and possibly save you money at the same time.