Sometimes I can’t stand the smell of clean clothes

The other day, one of my daughter’s friends dropped off a bag of my daughter’s clothes at our house. For some reason, my daughter just can’t seem to come home with all of her clothes when she has a sleepover, or often lets her friends borrow clothes when they are at our house.


Like most times, I opened the bag, immediately caught a whiff, and stuck them right in the laundry. Were they still dirty? Did they have some awful smell on them? Am I a freak about germs?


Nope, it’s none of the above. I ended up washing the clothes even though some nice family already washed them for us – the reason is that I can no longer handle the smell of traditional chemical laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Once you get away from them, you will find that the smell is quite overpowering and you can’t go back.


Traditional laundry detergent, bleach, and fabric softeners are no good – for your family and the environment. As we strive to have clean, ultra-white, fresh-smelling clothes, we have inadvertently invited a whole host of toxic chemicals into our homes. We absorb these chemicals through our skin. In addition, those harsh chemicals are washed down the sink, entering the waste stream and contaminating our ground water.  

Fortunately today, there are hundreds of eco-friendly products for getting your laundry fresh and clean. You can find them online and even in grocery stores and Target. Be sure to read the ingredient list and steer clear from the chemicals listed below and remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean eco-friendly.


Here are some things to keep in mind when buying detergents & other laundry products:


  • Do not use detergents or stain removers with phosphates (which are linked to lung cancer and damage our water systems
  • Also steer clear of alkylphenol exthoxylates (APE's), linear alkylate sulforate (LAS) – both are known toxicants.
  • Do not use bleach with chlorine or sodium perborates.  Chlorine gets into the waste stream and contaminates ground water.  Use non-chlorine alternatives made from hydrogen peroxide or oxygen.
  • Do not use detergents with petroleum-based, chemical fragrances. Fragrances and harsh solvents like ammonia contained in some typical detergents and fabric softeners can trigger your allergies and asthma, and cause skin irritation.
  • Stay away from conventional fabric softeners.  These are a skin irritant and also build up on clothing, making it look dull. They also lower the absorption of your towels and can leave a residue on your skin when you dry off. Yuck!


If you make the switch to eco-friendly laundry products, you will be surprised that your clothes can get clean without chemicals, don’t develop instant static cling without dryer sheets and are still soft without fabric softener. Really, we can have clean, fresh-smelling clothes without chemicals. And once you see how easy it is, you won’t want to go back either.


Learn more about Allison

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