It’s true that water rinses out a large portion of laundry detergent, but if you take your clothes and put them in the washing machine with no new detergent, you will be amazed at the amount of soap suds that arise. Generally speaking, manufacturers of laundry detergents recommend using far more soap than in necessary. I only use one quarter to one half the recommended detergent amount, and I still can get suds in my machine when putting a theoretically clean load of laundry back in the machine. Residue is designed to stay in our clothing to give them the "fresh" scent that manufacturers tell us we want to smell in our clean laundry.
I never really thought about what was actually in my laundry detergent until I got sick with late disseminated Lyme disease which caused multiple chemical sensitivities. I understood that some laundry detergents were far more harsh than others. Tide causes contact dermitis issues for my dad. I used All Free & Clear for my family because it was what most dermatologists recommended for those with sensitive skin. We avoided “baby” formulations or brands like Dreft which contained fragrances that are likely to cause skin irritation and which aren’t actually better for babies. They’re just marketing gimmicks to sell more expensive detergents. But the fact that all of these mainstream detergents and their competitors contain chemicals made from petroleum products was novel information to me. I began to ask why would I want to put that in my clothes that went on my body.
However, once I realized how sick pesticides, cleaning chemicals and other synthetic products were making me, I began switching my family to natural products in an effort to maintain a modicum of health. When we switched to Seventh Generation Free & Clear, my ears no longer clogged up so terribly. Previous to the laundry detergent switch, I had to take pseudoephedrine 24 hours a day or I couldn’t stand up straight because the fluid in my ears made me so dizzy. Yet when I switched laundry detergents to a natural formula rather than a petrochemical one, I solved the “allergy” problems I had dealt with for the past 10 years that no doctor had found a solution for. I no longer had problems with my ears being full of fluid.
I now strongly dislike all synthetic detergents. They are petrochemical based, and none of them are really all that safe despite what their manufacturers tell us. Their components are highly toxic to my super sensitive nose which acts as my first line of defense against such things. I have a hard time being around people who use heavily scented laundry detergents in areas without good ventilation; even All Free & Clear or other free and clear petrochemical detergents aren’t the best for me to be around for extensive amounts of time though it is still my preference for those who insist on using mainstream petrochemical detergents.
When you wash your clothes, start thinking about what is in your laundry detergent. Begin looking at the list of ingredients. Read the warnings. If you are feeling ambitious, look online for the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for your detergent. See what warnings are attached to it. What can the chemicals in it possibly do to your body and to your loved one's bodies? Medical science has proven time and again that we absorb a lot through our skin which is why there are nicotine, pain, and birth control patches. Do you really want all of those toxic laundry chemicals going into your body all day every day?
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC