For the longest time, laundry was one of those categories that I didn’t really think had much connection to the world of health and wellness. Still, I’d sometimes interchange our conventional detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets with those marketed as “natural” laundry products thinking that was “good enough.”
It wasn’t until both our dogs started to develop rashes and skin irritations that we learned that even those “natural” laundry products are nearly as problematic as conventional products. At the advice of our vet, we were advised to stop using dryer sheets and fabric softener, and switch to a truly natural detergent for anything that our dogs might have contact with (blankets, dogs bed covers, etc.).
Why We Should We Use Natural Laundry Products
But the reality was, we knew we needed to make this change, not only for our dogs’ health, but for our own as well. We discovered that the conventional laundry products we were using — even those supposed “natural” versions on the store shelves — were filled with serious health hazards. This survey conducted by the University of Washington uncovers the many toxic chemicals found in common scented household products, including carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants that are considered unsafe at any level of exposure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many of the chemicals found have been linked to a host of other serious health hazards, including respiratory, dermatological, and neurological issues (there are even reports of children having seizures after exposure to dryer sheets…wow). A subsequent study from the same researchers reports that hazardous and carcinogenic air was emitted from dryer vents from machines using top-selling scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets, posing a threat to personal, public, and environmental health.
I knew it was finally time to be more responsible and look for truly natural laundry products to use in our household. The problem was, where would I find products that were truly all-natural, but still leave my laundry feeling soft and smelling fresh?
My Favorite Natural Laundry Products
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Enter: Molly’s Suds. We started using their Laundry Powder several months ago, and have found it to be a very effective detergent, all while leaving our laundry with a lovely peppermint scent. With only five ingredients (sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, unrefined sea salt, and organic peppermint oil), this powder detergent is about as pure as it gets (you can also purchase it without the peppermint by special request).
For extra softness, I also love their All Sport Laundry Wash. This liquid detergent is marketed especially for synthetic and delicate fabrics, but it can be used on all types of laundry. It leaves a subtle vanilla and orange scent, and even Jeremy has remarked how much likes the end result. The ingredient list is also impressive: a proprietary blend that includes coconut oil, pure vanilla extract, fatty acids, plant-based minerals and enzymes, and organic sweet orange essential oil.
If you’re wondering if these natural laundry products actually work well as conventional detergents, the answer is yes, they do! Both the powder and liquid options are safe to use in HE washing machines, and they are also vegan certified.
But what about replacing that fabric softener and those dryer sheets? I’ve fallen in love with using these wool dryer balls from Smart Sheep in the place of dryer sheets (Molly’s Suds also carries wool dryer balls, but I personally went with Smart Sheep because it’s half the price for essentially the same product). Wool dryer balls help to leave laundry soft, fluffy, prevent tangling of larger items, minimize static, and reduce dryer time. Most importantly, they don’t leave the residue that dryer sheets and fabric softener do, making them a safe, non-toxic alternative. I just add a few drops of my favorite essential oils to them every 2 or 3 dryer cycles so that our laundry comes out with a delicious scent. In order to reduce static further, you’ll also want to follow the standard protocol for using wool dryer balls (use distilled white vinegar in the place of fabric softener, and add a clean sock with a few safety pins attached which can be left in the dryer with the wool balls for every cycle; it sounds crazy, but it’s actually really easy, and it works like a charm). I use six wool dryer balls per load (that’s the recommended amount for a large load), and it should be at least two years (or 1000 loads) before I have to replace them (which will save us a lot of money in the long run, considering how much we spent on dryer sheets and fabric softener on a regular basis). They also help remove residual pet hair from clean laundry, which is a plus if you have shedders, like we do.
Both the laundry soaps and dryer balls have become a favorite among families with babies, kids, and/or other family members who have sensitive skin, or those simply want to reduce the toxic burden they encounter on a daily basis.
Other products offered by Molly’s Suds include Cloth Diaper Laundry Powder, Oxygen Whitener, and Dog Shampoo (which has become a favorite for our pups’ sensitive skin…just pour into a clean spray bottle for ease of use!).
What natural laundry products do you enjoy using?