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May 27, 2018  |  Login

Better Laundering

Subtitle Toss in some eco-friendly detergent to clean up your current laundry routine.

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Ever wonder where the water from a load of laundry goes or even what’s in it?  If not, it might be something you’d like to consider in the future. A lot of the detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners contain synthetic fragrances and chemical whiteners that can threaten the health of your family as well as the environment.

These unnatural substances do not readily biodegrade when released from your home and, as a result, can build up in lakes and streams, disrupting and even poisoning ecosystems, and can eventually find their way into drinking water supplies. According to the EPA, increased exposure to these substances can cause skin and respiratory reactions, or more severe issues like cancer, poisoning and neurological and reproductive problems.

But not to worry, you can make your laundry both family-safe and eco-friendly with just a few easy modifications to your current laundry routine! Try plant based detergents, made from corn, palm kernel, or coconut oil and non-chlorine bleach, made from sodium percarbonate. Check the label on the container the next time you purchase laundry detergent and steer clear of: phosphates, chlorine, and surfactants.  Look for products that boast specific qualities like “no phosphates” or “plant-based,” rather than those that use vague terms like “green” or “eco-friendly.”

Many eco-friendly detergents can be found at the same price as conventional detergents. Or, replace the store-bought detergents with natural, homemade concoctions.  For example, bleach can be replaced with lemon juice or white vinegar for removing stains.  A small change can make a load of a difference.


Take Action / Next Steps

-Read ecomii's special report on avoiding toxins in cleaning products 

-Become knowledgeable on the key components of laundry detergents.

-Find a local recycling center to dispose of conventional detergents appropriately.

-Research different green detergent manufactures here.

-Check out recipes for homemade detergents .


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Did You Know?

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1.Green, M.D., Alan. Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care.  Jossey-Bass. 2007. San Francisco.

2.Nation Geographic.  Green Guide.  “Laundry Supplies”. Available from: . [7/15/08]

3.Design for the Environment.  “Partnership for a Safer Community.” Available from: . [7/15/08]

4.The United States Environmental protection Agency. Region 9: Water Program. Dioxins in San Francisco Bay: Questions and Answers. Available from: . [7/15/08]

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