Nobody can deny how utterly scrumptious a laundry smells when you walk past and your favourite fragrance wafts up your nose. I actually connect laundry smells to different memories – of friends I had in the past, of university rooms, of loved ones who I have held close. It came as a shock to read that the laundry is one of the most carcinogenic places in a house!
In 2008, scientists reported on the toxic chemicals in laundry detergents and other laundry products and it wasn’t good news. A single fragrance can contain multiple toxic chemicals that have been linked to asthma, dermatitis and even cancer.
Researchers from the University of Washington studied top-selling laundry and air-freshening products and found that they emitted dozens of different chemicals. All of them gave off at least one identified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws in America. What’s worse is that because of current labelling laws, none of these chemicals were listed on the label.
Among the products tested were a dryer sheet, a fabric softener, and a laundry detergent, as well as spray and plug-in air fresheners. Results showed nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the six products, and none were 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.
A later 2011 study by the same researchers found that air vented from machines using top-selling scented liquid laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets contained hazardous chemicals, including two classified as carcinogens.
For the study, researchers ran a load of laundry once with no products, once with a leading brand of scented liquid laundry detergent, and once with both the detergent and a dryer sheet. They captured the exhaust from the dryer vent with a canister.
An analysis of the captured air showed more than 25 VOCs, including seven hazardous air pollutants. The two carcinogens were acetaldehyde and benzene.
“These products can affect not only personal health,” said Steinemann, “but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies.”
You can Google for more information on the toxic chemicals in laundry products. Look for Fragrance (this is where multiple chemicals are used to make the desired smell), surfactants, stabilizers, bleach, 1,4-dioxane, brighteners, phosphates & EDTA. It’s scary stuff. Check to see if these are included in the laundry products you use too.
Thankfully, there are alternatives!
- You can make your own laundry detergent. Wellness Mama has a great recipe, and you can find others online as well. You can add your favourite doTERRA essential oil for Fragrance
- You can buy doTERRA’s On Guard laundry detergent, which I absolutely love! Read about it here.
- Then you can skip the fabric softener completely and use woollen dryer balls or, if you’re going to dry outside, half-cup of vinegar added in the rinse cycle will produce the same results without the toxic chemicals.
- Please do dump the dryer sheets! They a toxic shitstorm, if you’ll excuse my French! Dryer alls will also reduce static cling. I love my dryer balls, hence the title of this blog! (I literally did curse when I realised my favourite scents were so harmful and BALLS literally were my solution!) Again, I got mine from doTERRA and I add geranium essential oil every few times I use my dryer. Geranium is such a beautiful scent for laundry. It’s sweet, but not sickly, and it’s really calming. Great for your bed sheets! You can make your own using ( see DIYnatural) or if you don’t use a dryer you can even make a spray with 1 cup white vinegar to 3 cups of water and 30 drops of essential oils to spray on the washing when it is on the line ready to dry in the sun.
If you’d like to go chemical free in your laundry TODAY, and would like to have a look at the doTERRA products available and different essential oils you can use for scent, click here to be redirected to my webstore. Any questions, give me a shout!
Much Love x x x
University of Washington, “Toxic Chemicals Found in Common Scented Laundry Products, Air Fresheners,” Science Daily, July 24, 2008, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134438.htm.
Anne C. Steinemann, Lisa G. Gallagher, Amy L. Davis, Ian C. MacGregor, “Chemical emissions from residential dryer vents during use of fragranced laundry products,” Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 2011; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-011-0156-1.