Why you should stop using detergents IMMEDIATELY
The world is changing: fast. With the impact and awareness of global warming and what we’re all collectively doing to the planet, it seems many of us are becoming consciously aware of the way they’re living.
Is it sustainable, both financially and environmentally?
What sort of effects or impacts are we making, both negative and positive?
And what effects are our choices making on the lives, health and wellbeing of ourselves and our children?
As a professional product tester and TV presenter for Guide To Better Shopping, I get to try and test products on a daily basis. My job is to find out how they work, learn more about their value promise and how they can potentially make people’s lives better.
More recently I was tasked with testing the certified natural home cleaning products from Living Green and learning more about the impacts of chemicals used in cleaning products not just on the environment, but even more concerning, the impacts on our health.
According to publication ‘The Earth Island Journal‘
“Regular laundry detergents are bad for the environment — most of us know this by now. Detergents don’t completely biodegrade and they contaminate our water supplies, rivers and oceans with toxic heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic. Studies have shown that phosphates, a common ingredient in detergents, builds up in waterways and lead to eutrophication — big algal blooms that can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen.”
I also learnt on the site that as we use harsh chemical based detergents to wash clothes, they often damage the integrity of the fibres, releasing tonnes of micro-plastics into our waterways. Ever noticed your clothes fading or falling to pieces? Perhaps it was the micro-plastics holding the colour and the fabric in place.
FYI: I’m as shocked as you are right now.
The other increasingly disturbing fact is the impact of detergents on our health.
According to Healthline:
“Fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and other chemicals in laundry detergent can cause rashes in both children and adults.
Laundry detergents can trigger a condition called contact dermatitis, which presents as a red, itchy rash that may be widespread or confined to specific areas like the armpits and groin.
Allergies or sensitivities to laundry detergent can develop the first time you’re exposed or after repeated exposures. Most people can prevent laundry detergent rashes by using fragrance- and dye-free detergents.“
In my own health and wellness journey, I’ve seen and experienced this myself. Like many children I struggled with eczema and dermatitis on my face, my hands, the inside of my elbows and behind my knees. My mother, a cooking and sewing teacher, also struggled with contact dermatitis for a number of years. Co-incidence? Genetics? Or could it come down to the chemicals in our home?
Shockingly in my research, I also unearthed this data:
“Compared to other developed countries, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of serious skin infections, particularly among children. Over the past decade, the number of children admitted to hospital for treatment of serious skin infections has doubled.” – BPAC BZ
How do detergents affect our skin?
I read numerous articles on this topic, so decided I needed to share this in layman’s terms. The reality is, when you start going down the ‘natural and organic’ rabbit hole, it’s shocking what you uncover, especially when you reflect on the way you’ve been living and the potential damage you’ve been doing to your own body.
Detergents are often made of harsh or toxic chemicals and may also include artificial fragrances which can also contribute to skin irritation. Detergents are often cheaper than natural and organic products as they can be mass produced at a lower price. Detergents also commonly use ingredients know as SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphates) or SLE’s, SLC’s….the list goes on. These chemicals are designed to get that soapy, bubbly result with your cleaning products, leaving your clothes, your dishes, your bench tops, your dishes, cutlery and glassware squeaky clean.
For most people they also get the same results with their shampoo or their body washes…….HOWEVER……..
Squeaky clean skin means you’ve also removed the all important oils from your skin that support your skins health. Your skin being your largest and most porous organ needs all the help and support it can get!
It’s important to also note at this time in the article that 64% of what you place on your skin is absorbed into your body and usually ends up being processed by the liver.
If you start to look critically around your home, where are you likely to come into contact with detergents? Think of that squeaky clean glass you’re drinking from, or that squeaky clean toilet sit that you sit on. What about the clothing you spend most of your day in which directly touches your skin OR the sheets and pillow cases you sleep on? If you’ve ever noticed that sheets or clothing end up feeling ‘waxy’ over time, that can also be a result of both a build up of your skin oils and dead skin cells as well as the harsh chemicals trapped in the fibres! Are you starting to understand just how much our skin and our liver fights for us every day?
Your liver is designed to process your food and what you drink. In my opinion, (and as I age, I’m getting tougher on this) our livers and our bodies are not designed to process numbers and I’m convinced that this is one of the factors contributing to the increase in health issues.
Time to give your liver, your skin, your wellness and our planet a break.
What is the eco friendly natural alternative to detergents?
As I researched this topic, I learnt more about surfactants. Again, in Layman’s terms, a surfactant is designed to lower the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate even the finest microfibres in fabric, naturally loosening dirt and grime allowing it to rinse away.
If you’ve ever used a bath bomb in a bath and noticed how soft and luxurious it felt on your skin, then you’re experiencing the effects of a surfactant – usually Sodium Bicarbonate in a bath bomb. What you will have also noticed is that you still left the bath feeling clean, without the squeaky, skin drying effects of a detergent.
However, it is important to note that not all surfactants are the same. Some can still in fact have a detrimental impact on fish life as an example, when released out into our waterways. So how can you tell the difference?
Use products that are certified natural and detergent free
Working with products like the Living Green range, I learnt that their surfactants are plant based and derived from corn. That’s something my body understands. I also learnt that their products are not tested on animals, are vegan friendly, are hypo allergenic and some are even fragrance free. Most importantly for me, they’re manufactured here in NZ and oversee every stage of the production process to ensure their products are manufactured to the highest standards.
They’re also specifically designed for people like me and my mum who are prone to skin sensitivities or have allergies to chemicals. They also use bio-active natural ingredients such as Eucalyptus or Lemon, both known for their antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. That’s also ticks my box. I also love having the peace of mind that they’re one of the only companies in NZ who have accreditation with the United States Natural Products Association as well as holding the prestigious international Eco Warranty.
Check out this Livestream broadcast to learn more about the products.
So in conclusion, what do I want the world to know and WHY?
Squeaky clean is simply a marketing phrase coined by some of the biggest cleaning product manufacturers in the market many decades ago, and look at how our world and our health has changed.
Is now your time to consider looking more deeply into your health and wellbeing? Perhaps your skin, your liver, your wellness and our planet may just love you for it.