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Toxic-Free Washing with That Red House Soapberries!

Posted on December 18 2017

One of my most favourite smells in the world is clean washing.  There is nothing like getting into bed with the lovely scent of laundry detergent, or putting on a jumper that smells clean and fresh.

Well, that’s all about to stop.  Why, you ask?  Unfortunately, our fresh and beautiful-smelling laundry detergent has many implications to the health of our bodies and the health of the environment. 

Did you know that laundry detergent contains many chemicals including phenols, optical brighteners, bleach, surfactants and fragrance?  This list makes my head dizzy just thinking about it. Environmentally, our waterways are being destroyed by these harsh and damaging chemicals we are putting down the drain, to ‘clean’ our clothes and linen, not to mention the environmentally irresponsible packaging.  

Let’s focus a little more about these chemicals that are in our mainstream laundry detergents.

  • Phenols are very easily absorbed into the skin. Phenols have been linked to serious health conditions and even death.  Manufacturers of commercial laundry detergents use optical brighteners to trick the eye to make clothes look whiter. Optical brighteners are extremely toxic to fish and can cause mutations in bacteria. They can also trigger strong allergic reactions in humans when exposed to sunlight. 
  • Bleach (or sodium hypochlorite), is common is most households and is the leading cause of poisoning in the home. It is a strong irritant to the eyes, nose and throat and can cause severe reactions when it comes in contact with the skin.
  • A surfactant is a substance which binds to oily particles and carries them away with water during washing. Natural surfactants are generally safe for people and the water supply, but chemical surfactants are not. Commercial laundry detergents are loaded with synthetic surfactants.
  • Artificial fragrances in laundry detergents are a strong irritant. The chemicals in fragrance can cause itchy, watery eyes, stinging nostrils, and can also trigger asthma attacks and aggravate allergies. For more information on these chemicals please refer to our No list.

So with this in mind, I decided to give up on having beautifully scented sheets. Completely.  Okay, not quite, I do have one little trick up my sleeve. For the past month I have been using That Red House Soapberries as a substitute for laundry detergent – and even though Soapberries are not scented like commercial laundry, they leave my clothes and linen feeling fresher than ever.

The first load of washing I did was my ‘lovely’ synthetic work tops (you will notice I grumble about these tops a lot!).  The arm pits of these tops can get a little smelly, so I was curious to see if the Soapberries could wash out the smell as “good” as commercial laundry detergent.  The interesting thing, is that Soapberries don’t scent your laundry, so when I pulled my work tops out of the machine, I couldn’t smell anything.  My tops (including the pits) smelt clean - I certainly could not smell any BO.

This leaves me wondering if commercial laundry detergent actually cleans our clothes, or does the excessive fragrance just mask the smell?  Interesting thought to ponder. 

Anyways back to my stinky tops…..My laundry feels deliciously clean, and I’m even okay with my clothes not smelling like anything.  The Soapberries have cleaned my clothes, leaving no soapy residue and all dirt and grime has been removed.

Last weekend I washed towels using my Soapberries.  I was really feeling the pull of having clean fresh smelling towels, thinking to myself I am not sure I can survive the removal of laundry detergent from my life completely!   I decided to add a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil to the load, to give them that extra clean smell.  Worked a charm!  My towels smelt lovely and fresh yet weren’t saturated in the toxic chemicals contained in most laundry detergents.

So what are Soapberries? Soapberries are the fruit of the ‘Sapindus Mukorossi’ tree, which grows predominantly across the Himalaya region of the world. The dried shell is full of a substance called Saponin.  Saponin is nature’s soap and when added to water, it acts as a highly effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal soap. 

Soapberries have been used for thousands of years, and because of their many different applications, are still being used today.   Soapberries are extremely hypoallergenic, and are perfect for sensitive skin.  The soapberries by That Red House are certified organic, and all processes from growing, harvesting, and packing are strictly audited according to the outlines set out by Ecocert and USDA.   Also, no chemical sprays of any kind are used in the growing or harvesting process, and they are not treated upon entry into Australia.

I highly recommend Soapberries. Not only are they organic, natural and toxic-free, they are also budget friendly.  Let’s stop wrapping ourselves in a toxic blanket of chemicals on a daily basis, and take the challenge of removing chemical laden laundry detergent from our lives.  Who is with me?

More secret tips in the next blog ;-)



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