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What's Really in your Laundry Detergent.

A full laundry basket sitting by a washing machine.

Most people I know have a love/hate relationship with laundry.  They love the “smell” of clean clothes, the “softness” of newly washed blankets and the warmth of towels “fresh” from the dryer.  What they don’t particularly love is the folding and putting away of the laundry! 

But before you gather and sort your next load, you need to know exactly what is creating the “smell”, “softness”, and “freshness”.  Hopefully, this information will compel you to make better choices that will be beneficial not only for your clothes and the environment, but for your health and the health of your loved ones. 

Most laundry detergents on store shelves contain up to 25 individual toxins, as well as microplastics.  We’re going to discuss some of the major categories of toxins and why you should reconsider using them. 

A woman smelling clean clothes.


If you have seen television commercials for laundry detergent, you have noticed the clips of someone pulling a pile of laundry from the dryer, inhaling deeply, and then offering a broad smile.  Maybe you have done that as well, but not all fragrances are created equal.  The fragrances that are added to your store-bought laundry detergents most likely contain phthalates. 

Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, meaning they disrupt several of the hormonal systems in the body.  Evidence has linked several phthalates to many health issues, including breast cancer. 

Laundry pods.


Many people like the convenience of laundry pods.  In addition to the convenience factor, however, manufacturers use dye to make them more visually dynamic and appealing, as well as giving them the illusion that each “color” is a formula designed for a different purpose.  It’s all marketing! 

The synthetic dyes the manufacturers use, also referred to as “optical brighteners”, are not readily biodegradable and can remain on your clothes.  In fact, they would glow under a special UV or black light! 

Because they are not biodegradable, these dyes can end up in rivers and lakes, making them dangerous for vulnerable ecosystems.  In addition, they can strip natural oils from the skin, causing allergic reactions and itchy skin conditions such as contact dermatitis. 

Toxic waste drums.


When you look at the ingredient label of your laundry detergent, you might see words like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate.  These chemicals are in a category called “surfactants”.  The term surfactant means surface active agents.  The molecules in surfactants reduce surface tension in liquids, making the different chemicals within the formula easier to mix. 

There are several dangers to using any products that contain these chemicals.  Surfactants do not completely dissolve during the laundry process and can remain on clothes.  They enter the skin on contact and can cause irritation, even eczema.  Additionally, they are damaging to your eyes, mouth and lungs.  They have also been shown to clog pores and cause acne. 


This is a tricky one.  Dioxane is a chemical that is produced as a byproduct of the manufacturing process.  Because of this, the FDA and EPA do not require manufacturers to list the chemical on ingredient lists.  Once dioxane is present, it can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. 

Those who have inhaled high levels of the chemical (which has a sweet odor) have experienced vertigo, drowsiness, and headaches.  Long term exposure on the skin can lead to liver and kidney damage. 


NPE stands for Nonylphenol Ethoxylates.  These chemicals are used as emulsifiers and solubilizers in both laundry and dish detergents.  Nonylphenol is considered toxic, because it is a xenobiotic (foreign to the body) compound.  It has been found to interfere with hormonal systems and is classified as an endocrine disrupter. 

Chlorine Bleach 

Many people swear by chlorine bleach for whitening laundry, as well as other household (namely disinfecting) duties.  Chlorine bleach, when mixed with other substances, can be volatile!  It is also very harsh on fabric, as well as the skin, because it remains on the fabric. 

Bleach also gets deposited into groundwater after laundry, making it damaging to the environment.  And exposure to chlorine bleach has been shown to cause or exacerbate respiratory issues such as allergies and asthma. 

A woman pondering.

So, with all that information, how do we take care of our clothes?  There is a way to keep clothes clean and bright, while ensuring that we are taking care of our health and the environment. 

Our brand-new Citrus Laundry Solution is our answer to clean laundry without toxins.  We use a gentle and effective formula consisting of natural washing soda and baking soda.  These ingredients dissolve dirt without the use of SLS or other harsh chemicals.   

Epsom salt is used to eliminate odors, while coarse sea salt is used to remove stains, brighten clothes, and reduce yellowing in whites.  We use Tangerine Essential Oil for a subtly sweet aroma that contains no phthalates or toxins.


The formula is biodegradable, so it is safe for you, your family and the environment – and your clothes will last longer, saving you money!  Our solution is also vegan and gluten free, for those individuals who desire that in their cleaning and laundry products.  As always, our products are made in small batches in the U.S.A. using natural resources. 

We invite you to give our Citrus Laundry Solution a try when it becomes available on April 19th.  You can also try our Spring-Cleaning Bundle, with our Laundry Solution, Cleaning Solution, and natural Room Purifying Spray.  We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 

Happy family wearing clean clothes.

Laundry is inevitable.  Getting sick from using toxic laundry detergent doesn’t have to be.  Natural, safe, effective home care essentials the way God would have intended – that's Yahwehs Naturals. 

Yahwehs Naturals wood plaque logo.

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