What Laundry Detergents Are Toxic?

Every homeowner always looks forward to having fresh, clean laundry in their wardrobe.

Yes, it may be a hustle to conduct the cleaning process. But nothing beats the smell of fresh laundry.

Needless to say, you have to use the right laundry detergent that can deliver your expected outcomes. Also, it would be best if you used a safe laundry detergent.

At present, there are so many laundry detergent types that have unique compositions. However, there are two major types of detergents; toxic and non-toxic.

Toxic laundry detergents often have chemical constituents that can be harmful to human health.

On the flip side, non-toxic laundry detergents contain a natural composition. This helps to offer safety to both humans and the environment.

Thus, it essential to always check the ingredients of a laundry detergent before you purchase. Otherwise, you would pose a danger to your health.

A list of the toxic detergents

But how do you know that a laundry detergent brand is toxic?

Chlorine laundry detergents

Most homeowners love buying laundry detergents that contain chlorine bleach. Chlorine is well known for brightening and whitening bed sheets and clothes.

So, it is a popular option. Homeowners can remove the toughest stains on white clothes with chlorine laundry detergent.

But everyone has to know the adverse effects of laundry detergents that contain chlorine. This chemical chlorine is very harsh and can lead to skin and eye irritation.

Also, there are quite a number of people who are allergic to chlorine. So, be careful before buying a laundry detergent with chlorine. Not to mention, chlorine can cause death when accidentally ingested.

Optical Brighteners

Unfortunately, more than 75% of laundry detergents contain optical brighteners. Well, optical brighteners are good at making your clothes look cleaner and brighter.

But what most people don’t know is that when you use optical brighteners, a layer of chemical brightener forms on top of the garment. Then, when you wear the cloth, you come in contact with the artificial brightener.

If you have sensitive skin, you might notice a skin irritation immediately. However, at times, you would experience more severe issues like breathing problems.

Not to mention, optical brighteners are one of the most common environmental pollutants.

Synthetic and Petroleum-Based Surfactants

Laundry detergents that contain Synthetic and Petroleum-Based Surfactants are the most harmful. These chemicals are not only toxic to aquatic life but also human life.

Health experts report that Synthetic and Petroleum-Based Surfactants are a possible cause of eye damage and blindness. Besides, they can lead to severe irritation on your skin.

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)

Another chemical that makes a laundry detergent toxic is the Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).

Note that you won’t get rid of all detergent particles on the fabric when you wash and rinse your sheets and clothes.

So, when you get to wear your garment, your skin will come in contact with the detergent residue.

If your laundry detergent contains Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), this substance will get passed to your bloodstream and cause serious issues.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are often linked with hormonal imbalance and the formation of carcinogens.

Unfortunately, the majority of states have not passed a restriction against using this chemical as a laundry detergent ingredient.


Laundry detergents that contain phosphates are also toxic. Aside from being an environmental pollutant, phosphates can lead to severe illnesses like cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, they can be harsh to human skin and eyes.

The laundry detergent scent

Different laundry detergent brands incorporate distinctive scents. But it is crucial to comprehend the composition of the smell or the source of the scent.

Most laundry detergents contain fragrances made with harmful chemicals that could be dangerous for you.

Please don’t get tricked by a friendly smelling detergent such that you overlook the safety aspect of it. You’d get surprised at the number of laundry detergents that contain harmful scents.

One way to know that a laundry detergent scent is dangerous is if it has large percentages of phthalates.

Well, not all detergent manufactures indicate the percentage of phthalates present in the laundry detergent.

So, to be safe, you would instead go for a natural detergent. Another thing to check is the intensity of the laundry detergent fragrance.

Occasionally, the scent of a laundry detergent can be overpowering and choking. This should serve as a red flag already. Such strong smells could lead to problems in your respiratory tract and skin.

Typically, laundry detergents with strong scents have a substantial quantity of phthalates. Phthalates are often associated with hormonal imbalance.

Once this substance is on the fabric, it is taken to the bloodstream. Here, it tampers with your hormonal composition, especially if you are a lady. The best thing would be to avoid scented laundry detergents.

Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers (Quats)

Avoid purchasing Laundry detergents that contain Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers.

In fact, if you are expectant or have someone who is expecting in your household, do not use laundry detergents with the chemical.

Otherwise, you put both the mother’s and child’s life at risk. Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers are often linked to miscarriages and hormonal imbalance.

So, washing your household items or clothes with this detergent is not safe. Additionally, laundry detergents that contain Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers are not ecofriendly and pose a danger to aquatic life.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) /Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES)

Another chemical you should always look out for is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Not many people are aware of the dangers of this chemical.

But laundry detergents that contain this chemical can cause skin and eye irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. Moreover, laundry detergents that contain this chemical are not ecofriendly.

In summary

Today, most laundry detergents are toxic hence pose a danger to your health.

There are so many toxic laundry detergents. This is because there are minimal restrictions on the right ingredients to use when manufacturing laundry detergents.

Some of the toxic laundry detergents contain ammonium quaternary sanitizers, artificial colors, preservatives, synthetic and petroleum-Based surfactants, Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs), and an overpowering fragrance.

Before you purchase any laundry detergent, it would be best to check for traces of these chemicals. Alternatively, opt for a safer option, preferably a natural laundry detergent.

This way, you avoid the common health problems caused by laundry detergents. In turn, you keep your family safe and healthy.