The last few years has experienced tremendous growth in the manufacture and sale of eco-friendly or green detergents. As people continue to remove unnecessary chemicals from their home, detergents have come under fire. Let’s take a look at the differences between green and traditional detergents.
Traditional Laundry Detergents.
Laundry detergents, in today’s use, are a fairly new invention. They first came into use during World War I as a result of raw material shortages for traditional soap-making. By the end of the World War II, detergents were a more affordable and adopted alternative. While the detergents were borne out of necessity, it was decades before anyone thought to look at the effects of using all those harsh chemicals for cleaning. Let’s take a look now:
Traditional Laundry Detergents’ Chemicals.
Laundry detergents have developed over the years to include an increasing range of dangerous chemicals. Those dangers are both to the consumer as well as the environment in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Read more about VOCs here. The chemicals are not limited to the materials used to remove dirt or stains; but also include a deceptively dangerous category called fragrances. That fresh smell is not what it seems. It’s actually a synthetic chemical compound that mimics a fresh scent. While doses of the chemicals are not typically harmful on their own, they still accumulate in our bodies along with things such as home air fresheners, and home cleaning products.
These chemicals can build elevated concentrations in your homes if not properly vented to the outside.
The detergent “pods” contain an even higher level of risks due to their higher concentrations and deceptive nature to children. Consumer Reports made the decision to drop their endorsement for them as a recommended product due to the list of dangers. Consumer Reports cites the following:
“In 2013, U.S. poison control centers logged 10,877 calls about children under age 6 who ingested, inhaled, or got detergent from the packets on their skin; in 2014, they counted 11,714 such calls.”
The trend for 2015 is a further increase in those numbers.
Brighteners and whiteners are another risk factor for traditional detergents. Brighteners are designed to remain chemically bonded to the fabric which means you continue to have the chemicals rub against your skin. Whiteners are typically chlorine-based which is known to have countless adverse health effects.
Traditional Laundry Detergents Packaging:
The industry has made some progress in recent years to establish smaller packaging which can be recycled in many cases. The challenge is that while becoming smaller, those products have also become more concentrated and toxic in nature.
Green Laundry Detergents.
The industry has been growing for many years. Let’s get into the details on why:
Chemicals Have Been Taken Away From Green Detergents.
Truly green detergents are free of artificial fragrances and harsh chemicals. Check the label for the best way to see how good a product is. The best companies have nothing to hide and put everything right on the label. As a result, the consumer ends up with a healthier product for their home and their family. Green detergents don’t include chemicals that bind to your fabrics, artificial fragrances, or release toxins in the water and air supply.
Product Packaging for Green Detergents.
Green detergents are packaged in concentrated doses similar to what the chemical companies produce; however, those concentrations are not toxic. They are also packaged in highly recyclable (and in many cases biodegradable) packaging. Many of the newer green detergents come in packaging you can toss right into your compost pile.
The choice on which products to use is up to you; but regardless of what you do, be sure to read your labels. It’s the best way to stay informed on what you are using.
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