#1Thing: Non-Toxic Laundry Products To Keep Your Clothing Fresh

Sustainable Laundry
Photo credit (MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC/Getty Images)
By Lori Melton

Keeping our clothes clean and fresh often seems like a never-ending chore. Many of us do laundry several times a week. Bigger families may even need to wash clothes daily just to keep the mountain under control.

Unfortunately, some laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers contain harsh chemicals and toxins. As we use different products to clean our clothes and help them smell fresh, they can leave a residue that stays in the fabric of towels, sheets, and clothes after we run them through the washer.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces guides to rank healthy cleaning products of all kinds, including those we use in the laundry. Based in Washington, D.C., EWG enlisted help from staff scientists that reportedly “spent 14 months scouring product labels and digging through company websites and technical documents.” Then, EWG staff “reviewed each ingredient against 15 U.S. and international toxicity databases and numerous scientific and medical journals.”

Armed with its findings, the organization created an online database that ranks 2,000 household products on a scale from A to F that accounts for “safety of ingredients and disclosure of contents.” For example, exposure to some toxins in cleaning products can cause eye, lung, and skin irritation. Some chemicals, such as 1,4-dioxane which is found in some detergents, are suspected carcinogens.

No laundry product is risk-free. However, some products have higher ratings and fewer concerns than others. Based on EWG’s laundry products guide, we’re listing three “A” rated laundry products that help protect your health and the environment and keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Grab Green 3-In-1 Laundry Detergent Pods, Fragrance-Free

For laundry pod users, this product earned an “A” in the EWG’s ranking system. Grab Green’s 3-In-1 Laundry Detergent Pods are made in the USA and are certified cruelty-free.

According to packaging, the pods are made from “naturally derived ingredients” with a “non-toxic formula.” EWG lists moderate concerns for respiratory effects, some concerns for vision damage, and low concern for skin irritation, allergies, or damage.

The pods contain a laundry cleaner, stain remover, and brightener all in one product. Just toss a pod into the washing machine to clean clothes. The pouch features a convenient Velcro open and close.

GO Greenshield Organic Laundry Detergent, Free and Clear

As a liquid detergent option, Greenshield Organic’s Laundry Detergent, Free and Clear is USDA Organic Certified and is formulated for sensitive skin. It’s also made without harsh chemicals and is dye-free, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, and works in standard and HE washers. The detergent comes in 100 percent recyclable bottles that are made from sustainable sugar cane.

This sulfate-free detergent also produces little to no suds. The EWG gives this product an “A” rating listing moderate concerns for respiratory effects and some concern for damage to vision.

Overall, the EWG discourages using any fabric softeners. However, Greenshield’s Organic Fabric Softener, Lavender Mint received the only “A” ranking in this product category.

Meliora Cleaning Products, Laundry Powder Unscented

The EWG gives an “A” ranking to Meliora’s Laundry Powder, Unscented. The ingredients pose some concern with damage to vision (sodium carbonate) and some concern with developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects (glycerin). The detergent is free of dyes, preservatives, palm-oil, and synthetic fragrances. It also works with standard and HE washing machines.

Meliora (which is Latin for “better”) founders Kate and Mike are committed to offering products with a high degree of transparency on the label. While pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Engineering, Kate wanted to transform the industry that doesn’t always readily reveal ingredients on the label.

Meliora discloses all product ingredients on their labels. The cleaning and laundry products are MADE SAFE certified, which means they are home and Earth-friendly. The products are Leaping Bunny certified, made in the U.S., and the company is B Corp Certified. Plus, one percent of all sales go to support environmental causes.