Just like skincare and beauty, using natural and organic cleaning products is just as important. We often forget that the chemicals used in mainstream household cleaning products can affect our health. We would never deliberately consume chemicals or apply them to our skin, so we shouldn't be using them on our clothes or dishes! That's why I always recommend using natural and organic cleaning products that are safe and toxin free.
Why should you avoid mainstream laundry detergents?
There are five commonly found chemicals found in mainstream laundry detergents that we may want to avoid.
1. Fragrance: To produce fragrances in laundry detergents, multiple chemicals are required. This is a commonly used technique to produce the scent of 'clean clothes'. Often these chemicals are not required to be listed because of trade protection and may include nasties like phthalates1
2. Bleach: This is often included in mainstream laundry detergents to whiten clothing. Bleach can irritate skin, lungs, eyes and worsen respiratory issues.1
3. Cleaning Agents: Sometimes harsh surfactants may be included in some cleaning products. Chemicals found in surfactants have been linked to skin irritation and other issues1
4. Stabilisers: Stabilisers are included in popular laundry detergents to increase the shelf life of the product. Some stabilisers however, have been linked to eye and lung irritation as well as dermatitis.1
5. Brighteners: Chemicals used to brighten often remain on your clothes to absorb UV light and appear whiter. These chemicals are likely to come into contact with the skin and have been linked to health issues and sensitive skin conditions.1
What is the most natural laundry detergent alternative?
To clean, brighten and whiten your clothes, you don't need to be using toxic, harmful chemicals. Here on Nourished Life we stock Certified Organic Soapberries (Soap Nuts) which are actually made from fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree. Found across the Himalaya region, these dried shell fruits are full of Saponin. Saponin, when added to water, forms a soapy consistency that is a natural detergent alternative. Similarly to a lychee, these fruit are picked and dried in the sun, before the seed is removed. They are grown without the use of chemical sprays and are not treated once they arrive in Australia. The sales of these Organic Soapberries also donate a portion of their profit to Grow Nepal, which is a charity working to improve the living standards of Nepalese communities. Amazing!
What are the benefits of using Soapberries?
They're great for sensitive skin!
Soapberries are the most gentle and hypoallergenic way you can clean your clothes. They don't contain any artificial fragrances and don't leave residue on fabric that can irritate skin.2 Because of this, you can even save water and skip the rinse cycle! They are ideal for anyone with very sensitive skin, making them perfect for babies and children.
They whiten your clothes and remove stains!
Soapberries are completely free from chemical brighteners that make your whites appear whiter. As Soapberries do not contain optical brighteners, they will not give the same chemically white appearance. To mimic this effect naturally, add some washing soda or lemon juice to your load. Soapberries will remove everyday dirt and grime, however you can use the berries to create a potent stain removing liquid. All you need to do is boil them!
They are completely safe to use!
Soapberries are highly concentrated, contain both antibacterial and antifungal properties and are completely natural! As this is the case, Soapberries are biodegradable and safe for compost, septic and grey water.
They are long lasting and multi functional!
Soapberries are fantastic because you can use them in your kitchen and bathroom too! Simply boil the berries to create a liquid. Strain this liquid and put into a spray bottle for use around the home! You can even add eucalyptus or tea tree oil for more potency. Soapberries also last significantly longer than mainstream laundry detergents. Whereas mainstream detergents can last only last between 15 to 80 washes depending on size, a That Red House Organic Soapberries 250g bag ($16.50) can last up to 90 washes. A That Red House Organic Soapberries 500g bag ($25) can last 180 washes and a That Red House Organic Soapberries 1kg bag ($39) can last 365 washes. That's one wash every day for a year!
How do you use Soapberries?
To use, place five shells into the wash bag provided, and put it in with your next load of laundry. The same set of shells can be used for up to five loads of washing. For household use, boil the shells for fifteen minutes and use the liquid to clean.
(sources: 1annmariegianni.com, 2That Red House)