Question, when was the last time you really thought about the laundry detergent you were using? For something that we use so often, many of us overlook important factors regarding the formula, like its effectiveness, its impact on the environment, and its impact on our health.
If you’ve been using the same commercial detergent for ages, maybe it’s time to make a switch. Nowadays, there are better alternatives out there, as opposed to the most commonly available formulas that are filled with all kinds of harsh chemicals. If you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s time for you to make the switch, allow us to help.
How Often Should I Change Detergent?
First off, let’s answer one of the most commonly asked questions: how often should you change your detergent? Well, if you’re happy with your detergent, and its formula doesn’t have any big red flags when it comes to its ingredients, then there’s no need to switch at all. Switching laundry detergents isn’t like switching flea medications, where after a while, your clothes get immune to the effects of one formula, and even require a new one, in order to jumpstart the cleaning process.
Still, maybe a change in formula is more necessary than you’ve realized. Here are some questions to ask yourself about the detergent that you’re currently using:
- Is my laundry detergent irritating my skin, or someone in my family’s?
- Is my laundry detergent getting my clothes clean?
- Is my laundry detergent affecting how my clothes feel after they’ve been washed?
- Is my laundry detergent causing an allergic reaction?
- Does my laundry detergent contain known toxins, like formaldehyde, parabens, or phthalates?
- Does my formaldehyde contain ingredients that are bad for the environment, like phosphates or chemical surfactants?
All of these questions are things that you should really consider, because if you’re using more popularly used commercial detergents, there’s a good chance that you’re going to answer yes to more than one of these questions.
How Do You Test the Effectiveness of the Laundry Detergent?
First off, let’s talk about effectiveness. How do you know if your laundry is really cleaning your clothes? Here are some things to pay attention to:
- Cleanliness: Of course, you need to take a look at your clothes after they come out of the wash to see whether or not the detergent was actually effective. There really isn’t any detergent that can get rid of all stains, as stains often require special treatment outside of the washing process. But, if clothes are still coming out looking dirty, then obviously, your detergent isn’t doing its job.
- Feel: Yes, feel your clothes once they’re dry to see whether or not the detergent you’re using leaves behind residue. Of course, if you’re using too much detergent, then your clothes will always feel tacky, chalky, or sticky. But if you’re using the proper amount, then your clothes should not feel like their texture is affected by the detergent you’re using.
- Impact on Garments: Check the garments once they’re out of the wash to make sure that they haven’t been damaged in any way. Make sure that the detergent you’re using isn’t changing their texture, or simply causing any other kind of damage.
- Versatility: There are various detergents out there for different needs – like ones for whites, and ones for delicates. But, your general detergent should be able to handle the majority of your washing needs, ranging from bedding to jeans, and t-shirts, work clothes, fitness clothes, etc.
- Color Fade: If a detergent is too harsh, it may be stripping the colors off of your clothing. Make sure that you’re not using a detergent that’s causing colors to fade rapidly from your favorite clothes.
Does Quality of Laundry Detergent Matter?
Question: What defines quality when we think of a laundry detergent? In general, it comes down to the ingredients. You can find out the full list of ingredients on a company’s website, or by contacting them, as companies are not required to publish every single ingredient on their label. They are, however, required by law to be honest about what they put into their products.
Basically, you want to avoid detergents that are loaded with ingredients that are considered “cheap” or with “filler” ingredients. In other words, ingredients that don’t actually benefit the product, but just fill out the formula, along with ingredients that are heavily synthetic, acting as cheaper alternatives to better-quality, safer, or more effective, yet more expensive ingredients. Primarily due to the fact that those detergents can cause allergic reactions and also can compromise it's efficiency.
Is Natural Laundry Detergent Better?
Ultimately, we always recommend going with a laundry detergent formula that has as many natural ingredients as possible. We all know by now that the majority of commercial detergents are loaded with synthetic chemicals that are known to be toxic to the human body. Clean, plant-based ingredients are more easily broken down by the body, and far less likely to be carcinogenic, or disruptive to the endocrine system.
Should I Switch to an Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent?
We also urge you to consider going with an EPA-approved laundry detergent, meaning that it was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to contain zero ingredients known to be harmful to the environment. With each load of laundry that we do, we’re releasing that product back into our soil and water sources, which is why it’s important to be more discerning when it comes to which ingredients we’re using to wash our clothes.