The 6 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents That are Safe for Baby and Toddlers
Laundry is a fact of life, so up to a point, until your child was born, the chances are high that you have been using the regular laundry detergent you grew up with. Sure, you have your reasons why you chose to continue using the same brand. Regardless if it cleans well or it is the best smelling laundry detergent you have ever used, the arrival of a baby changes that.
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As adults, we have a better immune system than infants, toddlers, and young children. But that does not mean we are completely safe. The years of accumulation of toxic chemicals may start to manifest itself in the form of diseases. If adults could potentially be affected, then how much more so for the little ones?
Having said that now is a good time to take a closer look at laundry detergents to determine how safe they are and if they could be used to wash baby clothes and towels.
As you know, some of the most toxic products in the home are the ones used for cleaning. Could the same be true for laundry detergents used for washing your clothes?
There is a good reason to pay attention to its safety. After washing, there is a small amount of residue that is left by laundry detergents. These residues come in contact with the skin, and you wouldn’t want anything toxic to touch yours, let alone your baby’s skin, right?
So, the most important thing to remember when choosing a brand or laundry detergent to use is to read the labels. But this could be frustrating for a few reasons.
- Unless we spend the time to understand the chemicals used, how do we even know which chemicals are safe or one to stay away?
- Some manufacturers do an excellent job of making it almost impossible to check the label by not publishing the label at all.
- Even if a label is provided and lists the ingredients, some companies do not list everything they use, including big brand names.
- Products labeled as being eco-friendly or natural cannot be trusted not to contain potentially hazardous chemicals.
So, how then could we determine if a laundry detergent is safe for the delicate skin of infants and young children?
Chemicals We Want to Avoid
As mentioned, chemical residues are left on clothes after washing. Not only do these residues come in contact with the skin, but it could also be inhaled. At any rate, here are a few chemicals that we want to avoid especially for your child.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and 1,4-dioxane
Each of these chemicals may not pose a significant threat to health, but one by-product of SLS called 1,4-dioxane is particularly troubling. Because it is a by-product, it does not have to be listed on the ingredients label.
EWG scores 1,4-dioxane 8/10, which means it is highly hazardous to health and a possible carcinogen.
Nonylphenol Ethoxylate (NPE)
NPE is an endocrine disruptor, and as such, may cause hormonal problems and worse, could cause cancer.
Commonly used in cleaning products, phosphates could cause skin irritation, diarrhea, and nausea. Although the health concerns may not seem critical, its impact on the environment is a serious concern.
For further reading as well as learning more about the other potentially toxic chemicals:
What About the Best Smelling Laundry Detergent?
It is safe to assume that most people who buy laundry detergents base their decision on fragrance rather than looking at the ingredient label. After all, it is natural for people to want to smell good.
But are fragrances safe?
In terms of marketing products, and companies would need to do that to sustain and grow their business, using fragrances on laundry detergents is one. It is a fact that good smelling laundry detergents sell, not only the packaging. In a sense, the fragrance is a form of advertising.
Besides marketing, there is also a reason why companies add fragrances in laundry detergents. If there is one thing we all do not like, it is to wear clothes that smell bad. Fragrances, in this case, are also used to hide smells that are anything but pleasant to the nose.
The Challenges to Find Safe Laundry Detergents for Baby and Toddlers
So how do we know if the manufacturers are using safe fragrance chemicals rather than ones that could be hazardous to health?
Unfortunately, this is going to be challenging.
For one, companies often do not release the formulation they use. The common excuse given is that it is their trade secret. But with thousands of combinations that they could use, the chemicals used are not disclosed.
In the market, there are scented and unscented laundry detergents. On one hand, you could continue using good smelling laundry detergents, but, on the other hand, unscented ones are not that bad either.
Keep in mind, even if a product has a front label saying that it is unscented or perfume-free, it does not mean they did not use anything to hide the smell of other ingredients.
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How to Find Safe Laundry Detergents
When we started writing this post, we began by looking at the products listed on the online store like the Amazon. But soon enough, we realized that most customers do not understand the dangers of undisclosed chemicals used by the manufacturers.
For that reason, the way we find the best smelling laundry detergent is going to be different than most of our other posts.
Instead of only looking at the net satisfaction ratings from customers, we are also going to make sure that the products are safe.
But we are not capable of determining what is really safe, let alone test the products individually in a laboratory. Therefore, to find out if a laundry detergent is safe or not, we will cross check the products with Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) database for laundry products:
We’ll only go with laundry products that scored an A in EWG’s testing. All the laundry detergents featured below scored an A in EWG test, and they are safe for baby and toddlers as well as adults. If you have sensitive skin, these laundry detergents are recommended for you too.
6 Best Smelling Laundry Detergents That Does Not Use Synthetic Fragrances
Idea for DIY Laundry Detergent for Babies
If you like to DIY your own laundry detergent, here is a quick video showing how you can do it.
List of ingredients
Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing a completely safe laundry detergent, it is impossible. So, the best we could do is to choose the least evil among all others.
From the above list, you can see that there are scented and unscented laundry detergents. One thing that should be noted is that when it comes to the best smelling laundry detergent, you could choose between Better Life, Sun & Earth, and Greenshield. In fact, you may even want to try one of each laundry detergent to see which one suit you better.
As for safety, all the products listed has attained the score of an A in EWG’s tests. But overall, it seems that the safest is Greenshield Organic on the strength of it being USDA Organic certified.
In terms of cleaning power, the safest laundry detergents will not outperform the others that are not on this list. That is because others use chemicals that boost its ability to wash away stains and dirt, but it comes at the expense of long-term health. Anyhow, infant and toddler’s clothes shouldn’t be too dirty anyway, considering most of the time they stay indoor.
Considering that there are children in an average family household, then the need for safer laundry detergents should be of higher priority.
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