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Skincare 101: How your detergent can affect your skin

September 28th, 2021 by

When you’re in need of a little “me-time,”  a good skincare routine can be a perfect go-to. After all, who doesn’t love a nice sheet mask, a few cucumbers, and a moisturizer that makes your skin feel silky smooth? But when it comes to pampering your skin, there’s one

thing that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves: your laundry detergent. 

Did you know laundry detergents leave residue behind on your clothing that can be readily absorbed by your skin? So if you’re wondering why your skin is irritated, dry, or itchy, you may want to check the ingredient list on the back of that detergent bottle. Harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and optical brighteners are often the culprit.   

Your skin is the largest organ in the body. Let’s talk about how to give it the love it deserves.

 

What’s going on with my detergent?  

Like soap, detergents contain surfactants which work to loosen dirt and oil particles so they can be washed away. Some detergents use gentle surfactants – while others can use harsher ones that cause irritation to sensitive skin. Most natural, coconut-derived surfactants will have the word “coco” in the name, like “Sodium coco sulfate.” In terms of what to avoid, keep a watch out for ingredients that end in “eth” such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), ceteareth, or steareth. These are likely to contain 1,4-Dioxane, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin. 

Synthetic fragrances are another common irritant. They’re such a broad category of chemicals, and brands often use proprietary blends that make it difficult to track the exact ingredients. If you think fragrance might be the culprit, try using a scentless detergent, like our ECOS Hypoallergenic Free & Clear Laundry Detergent.

Other common irritants include chlorine bleach, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and optical brighteners – but since there is no federal requirement for laundry detergents to list their ingredients, it can be extra difficult to pin down what’s causing your irritation. If you want more tips on how to spot these ingredients in your products, head to our page on “The Nasties for the full scoop. 

One thing to keep in mind is allergies to the ingredients listed above typically develop slowly over repeated use, so what works one day may not work the next. Once you develop the allergy though, it only takes a small amount to get a reaction. Why not just avoid it altogether? The best thing to do is be proactive, and wash your clothes with a clean, gentle detergent from the get-go. 

(Source: Healthline)

 

It’s time to start thinking of laundry care as skincare 

Your clothing serves many functions, but irritating your skin should never be one of them. That’s why we like to think of laundry care as another category of skincare, especially since chemical residue from your clothing can easily be absorbed by your skin. For example, conventional detergents can cause a condition called “contact dermatitis” –  a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it (Reference: Mayo Clinic). Other symptoms can include dry, cracked skin, bumps and blisters, and sometimes swelling or tenderness.

Healthy skin is an important barrier against infection. And while dermatitis causes no serious harm to your body, it’s often uncomfortable. Not to mention, a common dermatitis symptom like dry skin can cause premature fine lines and wrinkles. (Source: Mayo Clinic).

Perhaps the most serious issue though, is the effect laundry detergent can have on people with eczema, a chronic skin disorder characterized by dry, scaly, itchy skin. Since the 1970s, the incidence of atopic eczema has nearly tripled! (Source: EHS Today) While there’s no clear cause for why eczema has increased, many studies point to environmental changes, and it’s well-documented that irritants and allergens can trigger the immune system, causing an eczema flare-up. Eczema affects 6% of the US alone. So when you really start to break it down, thinking of laundry as skincare feels like a no-brainer. That’s why we recommend taking care of you and your loved one’s skin early and proactively with a hypoallergenic detergent.  

 

How to get laundry that’s a win for your skin 

If you’re already familiar with the symptoms we’ve been describing – don’t fret! There’s lots of things you can do to get your skin back on track. The most obvious one is switching to a dermatologist-tested laundry detergent like our Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent with Enzymes.  Not only is it plant-powered, but it comes with stain-fighting enzymes that are tough on stains but soft on skin. All our laundry detergents use cleaners derived from plant oils for a powerful-yet-gentle clean. 

Our formulas also soften your clothing all on their own, so you can toss out those pesky dryer sheets that are known to cause irritation. And finally, It may seem odd to wash something that’s meant to clean, but washing machines can get a buildup of soap scum and irritating chemicals if not rinsed regularly. Try a hot water cycle with just baking soda and vinegar to rid your washer of any remaining allergens. Then your switch to a cleaner, hypoallergenic laundry soap will be complete. 

Well folks, we hope these tips round out your skincare routine and help your skin be its smoothest, softest self. And if you have any questions about the care we put into our plant-powered formulas, head to our Clean Chemistry page for more in-depth research, or feel free to reach out to us here

Why Access to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products is a Human Right

March 30th, 2021 by

Clean air, clean water, access to proper nutrition, a safe and healthy home—these are fundamental human rights. At ECOS, we’re passionate about creating a world where these rights are guaranteed for everyone, no matter their race or socioeconomic status.  

We’d like to add another important right to this list of human rights—access to non-toxic cleaning products. 

 

We know that what you bring into your home really matters, because the chemicals you use in your home, from stainless steel polish to laundry detergent, can profoundly affect your health and your family’s health. Unfortunately, many people only have access to conventional cleaning products that can contain dangerous chemical ingredients.

Chemical exposure begins as early as conception, with evidence showing that chemical exposures can affect even unborn children. As we continue to grow, our exposure to toxins in the world around us increases. From endocrine-disrupting chemicals to carcinogenic toxins, these exposures are dangerous for our health, especially for children and expectant mothers.  

Everyone should be able to find non-toxic, sustainable cleaning products at an affordable price.  

 

Low-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities are more likely face environmental and health injustices. One of these injustices is unequal access to non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and affordable cleaning products. The fact is, low-income and BIPOC communities are disproportionately exposed to environmental chemicals inside and outside the home. The toxic burden in underserved communities is causing adverse health effects for many people, especially children.

Our mission at ECOS is “to protect the health and wellness of people, pets and the planet by creating the most authentic, sustainable and affordable cleaning products for all.” We’re committed to bringing our safer, affordable cleaners to low-income and BIPOC communities, so people from all backgrounds can choose products that support their health and the health of the environment.

Clean. Without Carcinogens: with the American Cancer Society

March 30th, 2021 by

Did you know that by 2030 there will be more than 22 million cancer survivors in the U.S.? 

Fortunately, cancer rates are going down overall, and the number of survivors is increasing due to advances in treatment and early detection. But what if we could take steps to help avoid getting cancer in the first place? And how can we support our friends and family members who are facing a cancer diagnosis? 

To support cancer research and fund services for people undergoing cancer treatment, we created the “Taking Charge Starts With a Simple Drop” campaign benefitting the American Cancer Society (ACS). 

ECOS is a longtime supporter of ACS and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks, and we wanted to help shoppers take charge in the fight against breast cancer when they purchase ECOS products. 

From September 1 through October 31 each year, ECOS contributes $1 to ACS breast cancer programs and research (up to $100,000) for every 100-ounce or larger bottle of ECOS laundry detergent sold. 

 

We’ve all been affected by cancer in women in one way or another, whether it’s a mother, sister, or friend. At ECOS, we want to do everything we can to help improve women’s health and well-being; after all, protecting the health of people and the planet has been our mission for over 50 years. Our “Take Charge” campaign not only helps fund cancer programs, it also helps educate people about the importance of using non-toxic cleaning products in their home.

Many people don’t realize that conventional cleaning products can contain dangerous ingredients. That’s why we created our Nasties List so you can see which chemical ingredients to avoid, especially those that are linked to cancer.

Many people also don’t realize that there’s no federal requirement to disclose ingredients in cleaning products. Fortunately, California recently enacted a law requiring that companies selling cleaning products in the state must disclose their ingredients (link to ecos.com URL), and we were proud to be part of the coalition of businesses, NGOs and lawmakers that helped pass the bill. But we still need a strong federal law that requires disclosure on all cleaning products sold in the U.S., because you have a right to know what’s in the products you bring into your home, to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

Detox Your Home: 5 common toxins found in dish soaps

March 25th, 2021 by

Washing the dishes. It’s something you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about, but it’s a chore performed daily in almost every home. It starts with a squeeze of dish soap, a few swishes of the sponge, followed by a water rinse. But that conventional dish soap you’ve been using? It doesn’t all wash off. In fact, it leaves toxic chemical residues behind on your dishes and glasses that pose significant health hazards over the long-term.

Failing Grades for Conventional Dish Soaps 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluated 326 dish soaps and assigned each one a hazard rating ranging from A to F, A being the safest, F being the most toxic. About 65% got a D or an F, including many of the big conventional dish soap brands you might be familiar with. Unfortunately, there are no national requirements to list ingredients on cleaning product labels. Cleaning product manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they want in their formulations, including those that are known to cause harm. If ingredients ARE listed, they can often be vague and misleading. So, how do you identify harmful, toxic chemicals if you don’t have a team of staff scientists to help? Read on for a primer.

Know Your Clean

Smarter dishwashing starts with recognizing the harmful toxic ingredients that can be left behind on your dishes and/or ingested or absorbed by your skin. Here’s what to avoid:

  •     DEAs, MEAs, TEAs – (a.k.a. Ethanolamines) – These known carcinogens are still commonly found in household products like dish soap, laundry detergent, and all-purpose cleaners. Some, such as cocamide DEA, are used as foaming agents; others are used as surfactants and emulsifiers to make it easier for soap to mix with water. 1,4-dioxane – A known carcinogen and neurotoxin, it can cause skin, eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, drowsiness, headaches and vertigo, even in small amounts. Look for ingredients with “eth” like “laureth” and “ethoxy,” as well as “polyethylene glycol” or “PEG” ingredients.
  •     Dyes – Often added for their aesthetic appeal on your counter, dyes in dish soap can contain irritating compounds such as benzidine, a known carcinogen. They have also been linked to many mood disorders, like hyperactivity. Commonly found in goods sold in America, many dyes are actually banned in other countries because of health concerns. Most dyes are listed by their color name, such as “FD&C Blue” or “Yellow-5.” 
  •     Formaldehyde (and formaldehyde donors such as DMDM hydantoin (DMDMH)) – Used as a preservative, it’s a very toxic respiratory irritant and known carcinogen that can be absorbed by the skin. Tricky to spot, but some of the most common chemical names to watch for are bronopol, diazolidinyl urea, disteardimonium hectoride, imidazolidinyl urea, methylene glycol, nitromethylidynetrimethanol, and quaternium-15. 
  •     Phthalates – These known endocrine disruptors are linked to developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems. (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfmTypically found in synthetic fragrances, they interfere with hormones, which are essential to almost every biological process and enable the body to function.

Dish Washing 101

Here are some smart, simple ways to clean your dirty dishes safely that are also kinder to people and the planet.

  • Look for products that are certified Safer Choice by the U.S. EPA. It’s a great way to find dish soaps and other cleaning products that use the safest ingredients in their class, meet high standards for performance, and avoid potentially toxic ingredients.
  • Seek out dish soaps that are dye-free. Dyes aren’t necessary for a product to work well.
  • Clean your sink or dish tub daily! Multiple studies have found that kitchen sinks are some of the dirtiest places in your home, harboring more germs – like E.coli – than your toilet!
  • Spend less time at the sink and save water by pre-soaking your dishes. Scrape off any leftover food first, then soak dishes in a sink or a dish tub with just enough warm, soapy water to cover. Follow with a quick scrub and rinse to make washing up quicker while avoiding excess water consumption.
  • Sanitize your sponge and scrub brushes. A five-minute soak in white vinegar for brushes and one to two minutes in the microwave for sponges will do the trick (make sure they’re very wet first!). Replace regularly. Or better yet, use natural fiber dishrags that can be laundered. Rotate with a clean rag daily to avoid bacteria build-up.

The Safer Way To Do Dishes

Looking for a safer, greener alternative to conventional dish soap? ECOS® Dishmate® dish soaps and high-performance ECOS® Wave® Dishwasher Gel are Safer Choice certified. Made without DEAs, MEAs, TEAs, 1,4 dioxane, dyes, formaldehyde, or phthalates, they safely tackle grease and grime, are gentle on skin, and are greywater safe.

ECOS is so committed to using safer ingredients that we made a list of 500 known toxins – a.k.a. “the Nasties” – that we promise never to use in our products. Check out the list here: https://www.ecos.com/all/our-never-list-the-nasties. We hope it helps guide you to products that are better for you, your home and our planet.

Increasing Flow on the Upper Rio Grande

March 21st, 2021 by

Program: Upper Rio Grande Winter Flow Restoration 

Location: Conejos River & Upper Rio Grande, Colorado

Goals:

  •     Environmental Flow & Restoration 
  •     Wildlife & Habitat Protection 

Hosting some of Colorado’s best scenery and fishing opportunities, the 93-mile long Conejos River is a tributary of the Rio Grande, the fifth longest river in North America. Here in the eastern San Juan Mountains of south-central Colorado, the Conejos River Valley and Upper Rio Grande support farming, ranching, and rural communities. The area is also a hidden gem for hikers, whitewater rafters, and anglers searching for trout, which are plentiful here, due to the cold, oxygen-rich water that produces a profusion of insects.

During the winter months, river flows on the Conejos and sections of the upper Rio Grande are historically low, so reservoirs were built to store water upstream for agricultural and community use. Depleting the supply of water on the river at this critical time adversely affects the ability of trout and other aquatic species to survive the winter to reproduce in the spring.   

ECOS provides support to a partnership between Trout Unlimited, agencies, farmers and water managers to help flexibly manage, store and deliver water during the critical winter period, helping increase flow and recharging groundwater on the Conejos and Upper Rio Grande. The project encourages voluntary changes to water usage for the benefit of the environment using creative methods like leasing water, exchanging water at critical times, and shifting the timing of water delivery – enabling partners to keep flows higher on the river as often as they can, improving the fishery habitat while protecting agriculture, communities, and tourism in the region.

We’re happy to report the 2016-2017 pilot implementation of this project resulted in the best winter flows on the Conejos and Upper Rio Grande in recorded history. 

This success has helped the project expand, making a huge difference in the way water is managed in the area, and demonstrating that when we work together, everyone wins – including the trout!  

Habitat Restoration on the Lower San Pedro River

March 21st, 2021 by

Program: Lower San Pedro Pastureland Conversion 

Location: Lower San Pedro River Wildlife Area, Arizona

Goals:

  •     Groundwater Conservation & Management 
  •     Wildlife & Habitat Protection 

The San Pedro River is the last major undammed river in the American Southwest. Called one of “America’s Last Great Places” by Life Magazine, it runs for 140 miles through the Sonoran Desert from northern Mexico to southern Arizona, where it meets the Gila River, a tributary of the Colorado. This area is home to a variety of unique wildlife including the jaguar, coatimundi, and ringtailed cat, as well as more than 300 species of birds, including the endangered Western yellow-billed cuckoo. 

In fact, the San Pedro River hosts more than 2/3 of the avian diversity in the U.S. along its banks, making it a critically important wildlife area. 

In the last few decades, rapid development and population increases in Southern Arizona have significantly increased groundwater pumping along the river, decreasing the river’s flows by as much as 40% since 1940. Large portions of the San Pedro are now going dry, negatively impacting thousands of acres of riparian forests and wildlife along the river.  

ECOS provides support to the Arizona Land and Water Trust (ALWT) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department to help restore and improve the natural hydrology and habitat along a seven-mile long stretch of the river known as the Lower San Pedro River Wildlife Area (LSPRWA). This partnership is helping convert over 100 acres of agricultural fields historically planted with corn and wheat and watered from wells to native grass pasturelands. Native grasses are adapted to the soil and their deep roots allow them to store water gathered mostly from rainfall, eliminating the need for water to be pumped from the river. The ALWT estimates at least 710 acre-feet of water will be saved in the first six years of the phased crop conversion, with as much as 610 acre-feet per year thereafter. The grasses will help capture surface water, help restore the water table, and improve overall water quality while providing protective habitat areas for wildlife, including the hundreds of nesting and migratory birds on the San Pedro’s fly path. 

We’re honored to support the work of restoring and protecting the LSPRWA, ensuring it will continue to sustain the broad array of bird and wildlife that attracts visitors from across the country.

Protecting Coho Salmon on French Creek

March 21st, 2021 by

Program: Scott River Water Trust (SRWT): French Creek Flow Enhancement

Location: French Creek, Scott River watershed, California

Goals:
· Flow Restoration & Stewardship
· Wildlife Habitat Protection

Located in the mountains of Northern California’s Russian Wilderness, French Creek is an important tributary to the Scott River, which links to the Klamath River, eventually flowing into to the Pacific Ocean. As part of the 58-mile long Scott River watershed, French Creek provides water for timber harvesting, ranching, field irrigation, and is an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including some threatened and endangered species. It is one of the most important producers of Coho Salmon in the entire Klamath basin, which spans Northern California and Southern Oregon, yielding almost 50% of California’s wild Coho population. It is also a vital rearing ground for Chinook salmon and Steelhead Trout

Dry climate conditions and increased water use have contributed to historic declines in precipitation, snowpack and stream flows on French Creek and in the surrounding Scotts River watershed. The area has been identified under the EPA’s Clean Water Act as having impaired water quality because of elevated temperatures and sediment levels, especially in the late summer. These conditions pose a significant threat to salmonid populations like the Coho who rely on strong flows of cool, clear water to spawn and for the healthy growth of hatchlings.

As one of many efforts to protect and maintain a healthy water supply in the watershed, the community-supported Scott River Water Trust (SRWT) was formed in 2009.

As the first active water trust in California, SRWT operates with the support and cooperation of businesses like ECOS, local farmers, ranchers, and agencies. The trust develops and negotiates voluntary long-term and permanent water leases from agricultural producers during the low stream flow periods in late summer. This frees up water to be used to increase flows in priority fish habitats like French Creek, helping maintain a healthy environment and reducing stress on juvenile Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead populations when they need it the most.

ECOS is honored to champion the work of organizations like SRWT that are helping to keep the water in rivers and streams like California’s French Creek clean and healthy, ensuring resilient wild fish populations, supporting family farms, and providing beautiful scenic enjoyment for generations to come.

Detox Your Home: 5 common toxins found in dish soaps

March 16th, 2021 by

Washing the dishes. It’s something you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about, but it’s a chore performed daily in almost every home. It starts with a squeeze of dish soap, a few swishes of the sponge, followed by a water rinse. But that conventional dish soap you’ve been using? It doesn’t all wash off. In fact, it leaves toxic chemical residues behind on your dishes and glasses that pose significant health hazards over the long-term.

Failing Grades for Conventional Dish Soaps 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluated 326 dish soaps and assigned each one a hazard rating ranging from A to F, A being the safest, F being the most toxic. About 65% got a D or an F, including many of the big conventional dish soap brands you might be familiar with. Unfortunately, there are no national requirements to list ingredients on cleaning product labels. Cleaning product manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they want in their formulations, including those that are known to cause harm. If ingredients ARE listed, they can often be vague and misleading. So, how do you identify harmful, toxic chemicals if you don’t have a team of staff scientists to help? Read on for a primer.

Know Your Clean

Smarter dishwashing starts with recognizing the harmful toxic ingredients that can be left behind on your dishes and/or ingested or absorbed by your skin. Here’s what to avoid:

  •     DEAs, MEAs, TEAs – (a.k.a. Ethanolamines) – These known carcinogens are still commonly found in household products like dish soap, laundry detergent, and all-purpose cleaners. Some, such as cocamide DEA, are used as foaming agents; others are used as surfactants and emulsifiers to make it easier for soap to mix with water. 1,4-dioxane – A known carcinogen and neurotoxin, it can cause skin, eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, drowsiness, headaches and vertigo, even in small amounts. Look for ingredients with “eth” like “laureth” and “ethoxy,” as well as “polyethylene glycol” or “PEG” ingredients.
  •     Dyes – Often added for their aesthetic appeal on your counter, dyes in dish soap can contain irritating compounds such as benzidine, a known carcinogen. They have also been linked to many mood disorders, like hyperactivity. Commonly found in goods sold in America, many dyes are actually banned in other countries because of health concerns. Most dyes are listed by their color name, such as “FD&C Blue” or “Yellow-5.” 
  •     Formaldehyde (and formaldehyde donors such as DMDM hydantoin (DMDMH)) – Used as a preservative, it’s a very toxic respiratory irritant and known carcinogen that can be absorbed by the skin. Tricky to spot, but some of the most common chemical names to watch for are bronopol, diazolidinyl urea, disteardimonium hectoride, imidazolidinyl urea, methylene glycol, nitromethylidynetrimethanol, and quaternium-15. 
  •     Phthalates – These known endocrine disruptors are linked to developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems. (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfmTypically found in synthetic fragrances, they interfere with hormones, which are essential to almost every biological process and enable the body to function.

Dish Washing 101

Here are some smart, simple ways to clean your dirty dishes safely that are also kinder to people and the planet.

  • Look for products that are certified Safer Choice by the U.S. EPA. It’s a great way to find dish soaps and other cleaning products that use the safest ingredients in their class, meet high standards for performance, and avoid potentially toxic ingredients.
  • Seek out dish soaps that are dye-free. Dyes aren’t necessary for a product to work well.
  • Clean your sink or dish tub daily! Multiple studies have found that kitchen sinks are some of the dirtiest places in your home, harboring more germs – like E.coli – than your toilet!
  • Spend less time at the sink and save water by pre-soaking your dishes. Scrape off any leftover food first, then soak dishes in a sink or a dish tub with just enough warm, soapy water to cover. Follow with a quick scrub and rinse to make washing up quicker while avoiding excess water consumption.
  • Sanitize your sponge and scrub brushes. A five-minute soak in white vinegar for brushes and one to two minutes in the microwave for sponges will do the trick (make sure they’re very wet first!). Replace regularly. Or better yet, use natural fiber dishrags that can be laundered. Rotate with a clean rag daily to avoid bacteria build-up.

The Safer Way To Do Dishes

Looking for a safer, greener alternative to conventional dish soap? ECOS® Dishmate® dish soaps and high-performance ECOS® Wave® Dishwasher Gel are Safer Choice certified. Made without DEAs, MEAs, TEAs, 1,4 dioxane, dyes, formaldehyde, or phthalates, they safely tackle grease and grime, are gentle on skin, and are greywater safe.

ECOS is so committed to using safer ingredients that we made a list of 500 known toxins – a.k.a. “the Nasties” – that we promise never to use in our products. Check out the list here: https://www.ecos.com/all/our-never-list-the-nasties. We hope it helps guide you to products that are better for you, your home and our planet.

Detox Your Home: Why your skin needs a hypoallergenic laundry detergent

March 16th, 2021 by

Is your laundry detergent making you itch?

We wear our largest organ ­– about 20 feet of it – on the outside of our body. Our skin. It has the important job of being the first line of defense from germs and toxic substances ­– like the skin-irritating chemical residues of conventional laundry detergents. If your skin reacts by getting itchy and irritated, it’s time to take a closer look at your detergent’s ingredients.

It’s Not Just Soap

Traditional laundry detergent is one of the most common skin irritants, and that’s because you’re getting a lot more than just soap when you wash your fabrics with them. Synthetic dyes, preservatives and other harmful chemical irritants are also on the ingredient lists. When these chemicals come into everyday contact with your skin –the clothes you wear, the sheets you sleep on, and the towels you dry with ­­– they are absorbed, accumulate over time, and can trigger allergic skin reactions, also known as dermatitis or eczema. In fact, the incidence of eczema is on the rise, up 2- to 3-fold in industrialized nations, impacting approximately 15% to 20% of children and 1% to 3% of adults.

Know Your Clean

Know what to avoid when it comes to protecting your skin from harmful chemicals in your laundry detergent. Unbelievably, there’s no national requirement to list ingredients on laundry detergent labels. It’s up to consumers to find safer, greener, non-irritating alternatives ­– especially if you have existing skin sensitivities or health concerns. Stay away from these common ingredients found in conventional detergents:

  • 1,4-dioxane – A known carcinogen and neurotoxin, it can cause skin, eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, drowsiness, headaches and vertigo, even in small amounts. Look for ingredients with “eth” like “laureth” and “ethoxy,” as well as “polyethylene glycol” or “PEG” ingredients.
  • Optical Brighteners – Chemical residues that stick to fabric, making them appear brighter. Designed not to wash out, they remain on fabrics, irritating sensitive skin. Also a non-biodegradable, environmental pollutant. Easy to spot if your detergent is iridescent or has fluorescence to it.
  • Formaldehyde (and formaldehyde donors such as DMDM hydantoin (DMDMH)) – Used as a preservative, it’s a very toxic respiratory irritant and known carcinogen. Can remain on clothing and be absorbed by the skin. Tricky to spot, but some of the most common chemical names to watch for are bronopol, diazolidinyl urea, disteardimonium hectoride, imidazolidinyl urea, methylene glycol, nitromethylidynetrimethanol, and quaternium-15.
  • Dyes – Lots of laundry detergents include irritating dyes, even some products marketed for babies. Most dyes are listed by their color name, such as “FD&C Blue” or “Yellow-5.”

Save Your Skin

If you’re afflicted with sensitive skin or eczema or just want safer, greener alternatives to help protect your overall health, here are some simple steps you can take:

  • Look for laundry detergents that are certified Safer Choice by the U.S. EPA. It’s a great way to find detergents and other cleaning products that use the safest ingredients in their class, meet high standards for performance, and avoid potentially toxic ingredients.
  • Find laundry detergents that are dye-free and include claims like “hypoallergenic,” “for sensitive skin,” “free and clear,” “formaldehyde-free” and “ph-balanced” claims on the label. These are usually milder on the skin.
  • Always wash new clothing, sheets and towels before using. Many fabrics are treated with chemicals, dyes and fabric finishes that can irritate skin. Give laundry an extra rinse to make sure no residue is left behind.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water each day to help keep skin hydrated and flush out toxins. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9998-eczema/prevention
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing dry skin. Use a hypoallergenic cream or lotion to help keep skin moisturized, especially after you bathe or shower. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9998-eczema/prevention

A Safer Way To Do Laundry

Looking for a safer, greener alternative to conventional laundry detergents? Try plant-powered ECOS® Free & Clear Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent. Designed for all fabrics, it lifts stains, brightens whites and guards colors without harsh chemicals or irritants, leaving skin happy and healthy, head to toe.

Want more tips on detoxing your home? Join us on Instagram.