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Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick – Safe Alternatives To Clean Your Clothes

It may be hard to believe, but your fabric softeners and laundry detergent is making you sick. You may not realize it, but many of the ingredients found in these products have harmful effects on your health. From skin irritation to respiratory issues, the chemicals used in these household products cause a range of symptoms that impact your overall well-being.

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick – Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are one of the main reasons why your laundry detergent is making you sick. While they may make your clothes smell fresh and clean, the synthetic fragrances used in laundry products contain a cocktail of chemicals that are known to be harmful. These include phthalates, which have been linked to hormone disruption, and synthetic musks, which have been found to accumulate in human fat tissue.1

Phthalates Are Endocrine Disruptors

In addition to being used in fragrances, phthalates are a group of chemicals that are commonly used in the production of plastics. They are also found in cosmetics, food packaging, and medical devices.

The main issue with phthalates has to do with their endocrine disrupting ability. This means that they interfere with the body’s endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating hormones and other bodily functions. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt the production of certain hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, in both humans and animals.

In addition to their impact on hormone levels, phthalates have also been linked to a variety of health issues. Studies have suggested that exposure to phthalates increase the risk of developing respiratory problems and reproductive issues.2

To reduce our exposure to phthalates, it is important to be aware of the products that contain them and make conscious choices about what we use. Ideally, opt for phthalate-free products, choose glass or metal containers over plastic ones, and avoid processed foods packaged in plastic.

Phthalates Are Linked To Fat Gain

If you are gaining weight and have no idea why, your laundry detergent might be to blame. Research has shown that exposure to phthalates lead to weight gain and obesity in both children and adults. The reason for this is because phthalates disrupt the body’s ability to properly regulate metabolism.3

Furthermore, phthalates have been found to be particularly harmful during pregnancy. Studies have shown that pregnant women with higher levels of phthalate exposure often give birth to babies with a higher body mass index (BMI) and increased risk of developing obesity later in life.4

Read more about reversing undesirable weight gain.

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick

Other Harmful Ingredients In Laundry Detergent And Fabric Softeners

It’s not just fragrances that are harmful. Laundry detergents and fabric softeners also often contain dyes, preservatives and surfactants, all of which have their own health risks.

Impact Of Laundry Detergent Dyes On Health

Many laundry detergents contain synthetic dyes that are used to give a bright and appealing color to the product. These dyes are made from chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, and naphthalene, which have been linked to various health issues.

One of the most common effects of laundry detergent dyes is skin irritation. These dyes are known to cause allergic reactions, such as redness, rashes, and itching, when they come in contact with the skin. People with sensitive skin are especially vulnerable to these irritations.

The chemicals used in laundry detergent dyes can also cause respiratory issues when inhaled. This can lead to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.5

Do You Even Know What Is In Your Laundry Detergent?

The chemicals used in both laundry detergent and fabric softeners are not always listed on the product label. Under current regulations, manufacturers are not required to disclose all of the ingredients used in their laundry products. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to make informed choices about the products they use.

Fabric Softeners Are Making You Sick

Fabric softeners have been widely used in households for decades, touted as a necessary product to make our clothes feel soft and smell fresh. However, what many people don’t realize is that these seemingly harmless products can actually be making us sick.

Fabric softeners contain a cocktail of chemicals that are designed to cling to our clothes, making them feel soft and static-free. But when we wear these clothes, the chemicals come into contact with our skin and can cause a range of health issues.

One of the most common side effects of fabric softener exposure is skin irritation. The chemicals in fabric softeners strip the natural oils from our skin, causing dryness, itching, and rashes. For those with sensitive skin or eczema, fabric softeners can be particularly harmful.

As with laundry detergents, fabric softeners also contain fragrances that are known to be toxic. These chemicals can cause headaches, dizziness, and respiratory issues, especially for those with asthma or allergies.

In addition, fabric softeners contribute to indoor air pollution. When we use them in our laundry, the chemicals are released into the air and can linger for hours. This leads to poor indoor air quality and exacerbates existing respiratory conditions.6

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick - Safe Alternatives To Clean Your Clothes

Fabric Softeners Contain Endocrine Disruptors

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), fabric softeners contain numerous endocrine disruptors. In addition to phthalates and synthetic musks, fabric softeners also include synthetic dyes and preservatives such as benzyl acetate and benzyl alcohol. These chemicals are known to irritate the skin and respiratory system, especially in those with sensitive skin or allergies.7

The Dangers Of Mold Growth In The Washing Machine

Can your washing machine be making you sick? This seemingly harmless appliance can actually pose a threat to our health if not properly maintained and cleaned. One of the biggest dangers associated with washing machines is mold growth within them. 

Mold easily grows in damp and dark environments, making the inside of a wash machine an ideal breeding ground. This is especially true for front-loading machines, as they tend to have more moisture build-up.

Mold growth in washing machines can lead to various health problems, including respiratory issues, headaches, and allergies. Mycotoxins from mold are also linked with autoimmune conditions, weight gain, and endocrine dysfunction.8

Read more about the toxic effects of mold.

In order to prevent mold growth in your washing machine, it is important to regularly clean and maintain it. This includes wiping down the door seal and detergent dispenser after each use, leaving the door open between washes to allow for air circulation, and running a hot water cycle with vinegar every few months. 

It is also recommended to check for any clogs in the drain hose or filter, as these can trap moisture and contribute to mold growth. Additionally, not overloading the machine also helps prevent mold. Consider using a dehumidifier in the laundry room to reduce overall humidity levels. Interestingly, using fabric softeners contributes to mold growth as well so that’s another reason to avoid them. If you do notice any signs of mold in your wash machine, it is important to address it immediately.9

The Dangers Of Mold Growth In The Washing Machine

Safe Alternatives To Commercial Laundry Detergent And Fabric Softeners

So what can you do to avoid these harmful ingredients in laundry detergent and fabric softeners? One option is to switch to natural and eco-friendly laundry detergents and fabric softeners. These products use plant-based ingredients and essential oils for fragrance, rather than synthetic chemicals. They are also free from dyes and preservatives, making them a safer alternative for both you and the environment.

Another option is to make your own laundry products using simple, natural ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils. Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you control over what goes into your laundry. You can customize scents based on your preferences and even add natural stain-fighting ingredients.

In addition to switching to safer laundry products, there are other steps you can take to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. One option is to use natural fabric softeners, such as dryer balls made from wool or tennis balls. These provide a similar softening effect without the use of chemicals. 

Another alternative is to add white vinegar to your laundry as a natural fabric softener. Vinegar helps to remove any residue from detergent and leaves clothes feeling soft and fresh. You can also consider using natural stain removers, such as lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide, to avoid harsh chemicals on your clothes.

Your Laundry Detergent Is Making You Sick – Safe Alternatives To Clean Your Clothes

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with traditional laundry detergents and fabric softeners. By making small changes in the products you use and opting for more natural alternatives, you can protect both your health and the environment. If your laundry detergent is making you sick, you will know it once you switch to natural products. By choosing safer options, you begin on a path to a healthier you.

Read more about other toxins we are unknowingly being exposed to.


1 Steinemann A. Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions. Air Qual Atmos Health. 2016;9(8):861-866. doi: 10.1007/s11869-016-0442-z. Epub 2016 Oct 20. PMID: 27867426; PMCID: PMC5093181.

2 Wang Y, Qian H. Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health. Healthcare (Basel). 2021 May 18;9(5):603. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9050603. PMID: 34069956; PMCID: PMC8157593.

3 Peng MQ, Karvonen-Gutierrez CA, Herman WH, Mukherjee B, Park SK. Phthalate exposure is associated with more rapid body fat gain in midlife women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Multi-Pollutant Study. Environ Res. 2023 Jan 1;216(Pt 3):114685. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114685. Epub 2022 Oct 28. PMID: 36341787; PMCID: PMC9870605.

4 Oktar S, Sungur S, Okur R, Yilmaz N, Ustun I, Gokce C. The relationship between phthalates and obesity: serum and urine concentrations of phthalates. Minerva Endocrinol. 2017 Mar;42(1):46-52. doi: 10.23736/S0391-1977.16.02295-1. Epub 2015 May 26. PMID: 26006700.

5 Che J, Yang X. A recent (2009-2021) perspective on sustainable color and textile coloration using natural plant resources. Heliyon. 2022 Oct 11;8(10):e10979. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10979. PMID: 36281409; PMCID: PMC9587285.

6 Anderson RC, Anderson JH. Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissions. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2000 May 26;60(2):121-36. doi: 10.1080/009841000156538. PMID: 10872633.

7 Skip the most toxic fabric softeners. (2022, August 16). Environmental Working Group.

8 Tessier, L. (2020, February 10). Endocrine Impacts of Mycotoxins. Naturopathic Doctor News and Review.

9 Bockmühl DP, Schages J, Rehberg L. Laundry and textile hygiene in healthcare and beyond. Microb Cell. 2019 Jul 1;6(7):299-306. doi: 10.15698/mic2019.07.682. PMID: 31294042; PMCID: PMC6600116.

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