Warner Service gave you the Dirty Truth About Your Laundry Products, and we unveiled the facts about what is really considered green laundry. Now, it’s time to dive into a few common household laundry products that do way more harm than good for the environment, your energy bill, and your family’s health:
- Bleach: Did you know that “the largest number of hospital occurrences in 1993 were from exposure to cleaning products,” such as bleach and detergents? This startling statistic comes from Educating Wellness, an organization that specializes in natural health and wellness. Chlorine bleach is a strong, corrosive material that can irritate your family’s eyes, skin, and respiratory tracts by merely inhaling the gas. The dangers get even worse when you mix it with other cleaners, like laundry detergent and softeners.
If you choose to use bleach, we suggest the following tips:
- Putting the container of bleach in a safe, cool place away from children.
- Handle the chemical with gloves and protective eyewear, whether using for cleaning or for laundry.
- Clean up any spills immediately. That longer it lingers, the more likely that side effects will occur.
If you would rather ditch laundry products for good, Warner Service recommends swapping it for an organic mixture of apple cider vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and borax for your loads of clothes.
2. Detergent: Researchers from the University of Washington studied top-selling laundry products, and every single one contained at least one chemical that was flagged as “toxic” or “hazardous” under federal law. What’s worse is that those chemicals weren’t listed on the label.
“Five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic ‘hazardous air pollutants,’ which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level,” said study author Anne Steinemann. This includes artificial fragrances, cleaning agents (also known as surfactants), formula stabilizers, bleach, brighteners, phosphates, and ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA).
If you want to stop using detergent and other harsh chemicals, try a few of our natural alternatives:
- Make your own detergent with washing soda, borax, and unscented bar soap.
- Buy the safest laundry necessities from the Environmental Working Group, which offers a comprehensive laundry guide where you can find products that scored the lowest hazard rating.
- Naturally remove stains by pre-treating with a combination of washing soda, baking soda, and water.
- Try real brightening with a little baking soda, which will naturally brighten colors, without the clingy chemicals that irritate your family’s skin.
- Try a dryer ball instead of static-cling sheets. DIYnatural and Petalstopicots.com have instructions on how to make your own. Another tip, if you miss the fragrance of dryer sheets, add your favorite essential oil to a damp rag and throw it in with the load.
- Frequently clean out your washer, which helps get rid of any soap scum, bacteria, and other unwanted contaminants that have collected in your machine over time. Simply add white vinegar into a hot water cycle and run.
3. Hot water: According to Home Water Works, a project of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “Washing laundry is a significant use of water in the average home, accounting for 15 to 40 percent of the overall water consumption inside the typical household of four persons.”
Considering the average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year, that’s about 12,000 gallons of water annually. That’s no good for the environment, so consider these few tips:
- Swap the old machine for a high-efficiency one
- Invest in Warner Service’s new product, the Laundry Pro, which uses only cold water and natural oxidizers.
- Do only full loads at night to save energy.
If you want to get the cleanest, most natural wash every time, it’s best to scrub down your laundry machine once in awhile. For all the details on what to use and when, download Warner Service’s Laundry Machine Cleaning Checklist: