Using Safe, Healthy Laundry Detergent

How to Choose Laundry Detergent

Laundry is a chore many of us deal with on a regular basis. All those loads of dirty laundry can be expensive, especially if you aren’t using the best detergent for your needs. There are many eco-friendly options that use natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals, and don't irritate your skin as much as other brands. In this article we're covering different tips on how to choose laundry detergent.

Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent

If you have sensitive skin or want to avoid harsh cleaning chemicals in general, opting for an eco-friendly laundry detergent is recommended. Many popular brands include ingredients that can be toxic.

Common toxic ingredients to look for and avoid in laundry detergent products include:

  • Bleach.
  • Fragrances.
  • Phosphates.
  • Dioxane.
  • Dyes.
  • Benzene.

These ingredients can have harmful affects on your skin, have known to be carcinogenic, and are bad for the environment.

The best way to avoid them is to use eco-friendly (or "green") laundry detergents. These products contain natural, organic ingredients, and are safe for both humans and the environment. When shopping for them, look for specific labels showing they are environmentally friendly. Ecolabels are regulated, so these products can be trusted.

The following brands provide popular eco-friendly laundry detergents:

Liquids, Powders, or Pods?

Different types of detergents have their advantages and disadvantages. Liquid laundry soap is particularly helpful on greasy, oily stains and you can use it to pre-treat spots.

The most common problem that comes with using a liquid detergent is that you can easily use too much per load because the measurement lines of the bottle caps are often difficult to read.

Powder detergents are good at dealing with ground-in dirt and mud stains and offer the lowest cost per load. You will need to make a paste if you want to pre-treat stains.

If you only use cold water for washing, you may find that a powdered detergent does not dissolve as well. It also has to be stored in a completely dry area to prevent caking.

Pre-dosed laundry pods offer extra convenience. You simply insert the required number of pods based on the size of your load. The problem of overdosing is eliminated due to the pre-measured doses. The problem is that they are expensive and they can poison children or pets because they look like candy.

Whatever detergent you decide to buy, you need to make sure it can be used in all water temperatures, and in standard or high-efficiency (HE) washing machines.

If it works well with various water temperatures you can conserve energy, water, and money. Ultimately, your choice of laundry soap will depend on your specific needs.

Price Ranges

The active ingredients used in a detergent determine the price. Surfactants lift soil out of the fabric and suspend it in the water and enzymes remove stains. Heavy-duty detergents, such as Tide and Persil, are more expensive.

Mid-level detergents may include some enzymes but less than the heavy-duty ones. They still work well on lightly soiled items if used correctly in optimum water temperatures. Discount products rely heavily on surfactants but they are not good at removing stains or body soil.

When you calculate the cost of detergent per load, you need to divide the price by the number of loads specified on the packaging. Don’t look at the weight of the package or the size of the box or bottle.

If you follow laundry detergent brands on social media or visit brand websites, you may be able to get a laundry soap coupon or a free offer that saves you money.

Buying in Bulk

Buying bulk laundry detergent is a good idea if you have the storage space. Laundry detergents have long expiration dates and store well. You don’t have to worry about using up the detergent before it goes past the expiration date.

Purchase bulk laundry detergent and you’ll save money, too. Most stores offer savings when buying in bulk. You’ll have to shop for it less often which means you’ll save time and money on gas. Reducing plastic waste also means you’ll be helping the environment.

Know How Much to Use

Don’t ever just tip the amount of detergent you think you need into the washer. Using too little detergent could mean your clothes aren’t properly cleaned. Using too much could mean wasting your money and finding residue on your clothes.

It’s important to use the right amount for each wash. You need to consider the size of your load, how dirty the clothes are and your type of water.

When you use a liquid detergent, you measure dosage by using the cap. The cap will indicate how much to use for different sized loads. When you use a powder, you will usually measure it out with a scoop where measuring lines indicate how much to use. Detergent dosage is based on the size of a drum of a conventional washing machine.

The more heavily soiled the clothes, the stronger the detergent you may need to use. If you have a bigger washing machine, you may need to increase the dosage. If you live in a hard water area, you may also need to use more detergent.

If you have a high-efficiency washing machine that uses less water and you overload the machine, there may not be enough water to effectively dissolve the detergent.

How to Make it go Further

One of the best ways to save money is to assess your normal laundry needs. You probably don’t need a heavy duty detergent if your laundry isn’t heavily soiled. If you do need a heavy duty detergent at times to clean more heavily soiled items, it may help to purchase two products for use on different types of laundry.

As detergents have evolved, they have become more concentrated. Washers have also evolved and the latest ones use much less water. Using more evolved detergents can mean that you use less and they clean more.

Seventh generation laundry detergent powder offers this benefit. It is also free of optical brighteners, phosphates, and chlorine bleach, using enzymes and oxygen-based bleach to clean. No synthetic fragrance or dye is used and all the ingredients are biodegradable and derived from plants.

A Final Word

Knowing how to choose laundry detergent consists of more than just looking at the price. You need to consider what’s right for your type of water, the washing machine you’re using, and the state of your laundry.

Think about purchasing in bulk, especially if you have to use laundry soap for commercial purposes. It can save you money and it stores well for a long time. Finally, remember how important it is to use the correct dosage to achieve the best results.

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