If you are looking to reduce toxins in your home, your laundry detergent is a great, effective and really easy place to start. Most popular detergents are potentially very harmful. EWG (the Environmental Working Group) analyzes the ingredients and provides scores for many cleaners on the marketplace (I check everything on here before purchasing). Gain laundry detergent, All laundry detergent, Tide laundry detergent, and Dreft (!!) all receive a failing grade and rank very highly for developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Here’s the good news: this is super easy to fix. Just buy new detergent! The downside is the safe brands can be pricier and aren’t available at all stores. We use Ecover ZERO Laundry Liquid Concentrate, and I usually buy it online (vitacost.com often has the best price). We have an HE front-loading washer, and it seems to work great for our family. I balance the more expensive laundry detergent by making many of my own non-toxic household cleaners for mere pennies.
If you are in the market for a new detergent, here are many options that all receive grade A from EWG (Whole Foods carries a lot of these, and I think Publix has Martha Stewart and Seventh Generation).
1. Ecover ZERO Liquid Laundry Concentrate 2. Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear 3. Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, HE Elite Care, Free & Clear 4. Martha Stewart Clean Laundry Detergent 5. Planet 2x Ultra Laundry Detergent, For HE 6. Planet Ultra Laundry Detergent, Hypoallergenic 7. Plant Ulta Powered Laundry Detergent 8. The Honest Company 4-in-1 Laundry Pods, Free & Clear 9. Seventh Generation Natural Powder Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear 10. Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Packs, Free & Clear 11. Seventh Generation Natural Powder Laundry Detergent, Real Citrus & Wild Lavender
Even the green brands (Seventh Generation, Honest, etc), have certain products that do not rank well on EWG. My advice is to check each individual product on EWG (which is totally free to use) and go from there. Sounds tedious, but once you find your go-to products, you won’t have to look again! To me the extra effort is worth it for our health. (Or just stayed tuned here because I’ll be posting about all of the non-toxic products we use! :))
Lastly, I’ve looked into homemade laundry detergent, as many tout this as a very safe and cost-effective method. I’d love to do this, but every recipe I have found that works in an HE front-loading washer includes Borax, which EWG also grades as an F (contrary to popular thought). I have also read about soap nuts, but I need to look into it more (I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews). If you have another method or idea, I’d love to hear!