Three bottles of laundry detergent. Two bottles are red with x's on them, the middle bottle in green with a check mark.

Why I Tackle Bloody Sheets Without Conventional Laundry Detergents

I cannot count the number of times I have woken up to bloody sheets. The first few times it happened, I have to admit that I was a little perturbed about the thought of rolling around in blood and pus all night while I slept. Now, a few years into this thing, it does not even phase me and I instead look forward to making the bed with a fresh set of sheets. My experience living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa has led me down my own path of reducing the toxins in my home and thus prompted me to rethink everyday household products I use.

Growing up, I never thought twice about conventional laundry detergents and the ways their ingredients may be harmful to my skin. Since I often have open wounds, I wanted to be sure that the products I use to clean my sheets had ingredients that are less toxic and better for my health. This sparked the research bug in me and I found a basic list of ingredients to avoid when buying convention laundry products.

What conventional laundry detergents hide

Some of the most important ingredients that I watch out for are dyes, parabens, phosphates, and pthalates. Many of the more well-known laundry detergents contain chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Even more, many detergents do not have all of their ingredients listed so you may not be aware of some of the more harmful ingredients. Many of these harmful ingredients can cause skin irritation, allergies, or have effects on the nervous and respiratory system. As someone who already has a chronic illness, continuing to use conventional laundry detergents is a risk I am no longer willing to take. Here are a few ingredients to stay away from in your laundry detergent...

  1. Sodium Laurel Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES): These are super common chemical surfactants used to help detergents foam and remove soil in household items. Unfortunately, they are also known to be toxic for both the body and the environment. SLS/SLES can cause inflammation of the skin, eyes, and lungs.
  2. Dioxane: Dioxane is a known carcinogen and inhaling this can be extremely damaging to your body. This also causes irritation to various parts of the body and can even affect the nervous system.
  3. Bluing Agents and Optical Brighteners: Do you ever wonder why some laundry detergents come in such pretty colors? It is because they are filled with dyes and brighteners to make your items appear whiter or cleaner. It is best to stay away from these ingredients because they do not actually clean your clothes and they can lead to increased skin irritation. Dyes have also been found to be carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

Additional points of consideration

If you are paying attention to the green living movement, you have probably seen many questions surrounding the use of fragrance in products. When you see products that have fragrance listed as an ingredient, this often really means that there is a combination of ingredients used to create a specific scent and the manufacturer is not required to list each individually on the label. This can be problematic because some ingredients used in fragrance are known as endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, and can cause skin irritation. If you can, fragrance is likely an ingredient that is best to avoid.

There are honestly many other ingredients that are questionable and used in conventional laundry detergents that you will find. With a quick search, there is a wealth of information to be found on safer for you laundry products that are created by companies that also care about our environment. I currently use ECOS laundry detergent, but many options exist to meet a variety of needs.

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