Description: Most laundry detergents are made using petroleum as a base and contain phosphates, which are used in detergents to soften water. Phosphates can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds that can lead to the suffocation of aquatic plants and animals. Optical brighteners are also often found in conventional laundry detergent. They are fluorescent chemicals that convert ultra-violet light to blue-white light, and make whites appear whiter. They don’t easily biodegrade and are toxic to aquatic life. The production and use of chlorine bleach creates dangerous toxins such as dioxin. Once introduced into the environment, these chemicals accumulate in both people and animals. Studies have shown a direct link between dioxin exposure and cancer, birth defects, and developmental and reproductive disorders.

There are excellent products available for stains and odors in your laundry that effectively attack proteins left behind from stains and odors, including mildew. Look for stain removers containing natural living enzyme cultures and botanical extracts. These include more strains of cultures, for more effective performance, than most commercial brands.

What to look for: Laundry powder made from vegetable-based, renewable resources. Phosphate free, color free, fragrance free or naturally scented with pure essential oils. Naturally-derived biodegradable surfactants. Grapefruit seed extract. You can easily make your own!

Uses: Laundry, hand washing, and stain removal.

Where to find: Natural Food Stores and Online resources.

Avoid: Glycol ether, butyl, chlorine, petroleum solvents, phosphate, MEA, EDTA, alcohol, nonyl phenol, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, artificial fragrance, colors or preservatives.