5 Hyper-Toxic Chemicals Hiding In Your Laundry Detergent

Everyday, we are absorbing toxic, disease-causing chemicals – sometimes, even from our clothes thanks to toxic laundry detergent! Did you know that, as you are reading this, there’s a good chance residual chemicals from you laundry detergent are on your body, being absorbed through your skin? Read on to learn why that harmless-lookinging jug of laundry detergent may not be so harmless after all. I’ll also reveal the 5 major chemicals lurking in most common laundry soaps (and what you can do about it).

When I first began my detox journey, I was hyper-vigilant about all of the things I was putting into my body. I ate a healthy diet, performed a Hair Mineral Analysis regularly to check for heavy metals and mineral imbalances so I could take the right supplements, I knew every ingredient in every supplement I was taking, the works!

But still, all of this was not enough. Turns out, I was overlooking one very key thing – the toxins surrounding me in my home. The nasty chemicals and artificial fragrances and toxins that were in many of the household items I used, but wasn’t directly putting into my body, were hindering my detox. Exposure is exposure, after all!

So I began sniffing out and eliminating all of the hidden toxins in my home. The more I worked on detoxing my environment, the more I learned about all of the toxic dangers lurking there.

It was a big project and I took it one area  at the time – starting with the laundry room.

I began by putting all of my laundry cleaning products under the microscope. I checked all of the ingredients, investigated their harmful side effects, looked into the dangers of those artificial fragrances they add to make you think what you are using is clean and fresh and COULDN’T POSSIBLY be hazardous to your health…

But I am here to tell you it is!

It took a lot of work, but I have now removed all of the toxins from my laundry room – including the artificial fragrances – and discovered by top pick for a toxic-free laundry detergent that works!

I’ll explain more in a moment, but before I do, I have a few questions I want to ask you…

  1. Do you wear clothing?
  2. Do you sleep in a bed that has sheets?
  3. After a shower, do you use a towel?
    … have you ever used any kind of towel?!

Hopefully, you answered “YES” to all of the above.

I ask you these questions just to illustrate the need to wash your laundry in a substance that won’t dump all kinds of chemicals and toxins onto your clothes… and then, onto your skin where they will be absorbed into your body!

Are you using toxic laundry detergent?

Lurking in plain site, common household detergents (especially those brightly colored store-bought jugs) are filled with chemicals that seep into your bloodstream* every second of the day.

Your clothes are soaked in these “stay fresh” detergents, so you’re basically draping yourself in cloak of hazardous materials.

While the European Union has banned more than 1,400 harmful chemicals from personal care and cleaning products, the US restricts less than 50.

I have put together a list of the 5 most toxic chemicals in most common laundry detergents. I want you to beware of them so you can protect the health of yourself and your family!

As a result of my own personal experiences with toxic laundry detergent (and how much better I felt after switching to a safe, non-toxic brand), I am now on a lifelong quest to research and educate the world on these potentially harmful chemicals.

Scientific Research** is linking many of these chemicals to hormone imbalance, endocrine disruption, respiratory dysfunction and even cancer.

Ever wonder why little children and the elderly have such sensitive skin and react to many store-bought conventional products? It’s because babies have not yet built a strong immune system and the elderly have a depressed immune system because of a lifetime of toxic exposure.

Your body changes as you get older. With it, your immune system and and ability to detoxify will fluctuate.

This means, your tolerance for toxicity also changes.

While the European Union has banned more than 1,400 harmful chemicals from personal care and cleaning products, the US restricts less than 50.

Here’s a list of the most common hazardous ingredients found in laundry products and other household cleaners.

You deserve to know what exactly is in the products being put on (and, potentially into) your body.

The next time you run out of detergent pods or your sudsy blue goo, please check and protect yourself from the following…

5 Harmful Chemicals Found in Common Laundry Detergents

#1 Dichlorobenzene (Benzene)

This extremely carcinogenic solvent is used to manufacture dryer sheets, fabric softeners*, and paint thinners. It is also widely used in mainstream “Breezy” room fresheners.

It is readily absorbed into the body through both the lungs and the skin. It is known to cause respiratory distress and sudden heart attacks in otherwise healthy people. Benzene compounds transform into DDT compounds when exposed to chlorine compounds, such as those found in tap water, and laundry bleaching agents.

These issues have been known throughout the chemical industry for approximately 60 years, so none of the toxicity is accidental. It is exactly how these agents “work” — by poisoning the mucous membranes to cripple a victim’s sense of smell. The “freshness” of most dryer sheets comes from a chemically-crippled immune system.

Chronic inhalation exposure in humans results in negative effects on the liver, skin, and central nervous system (CNS). It’s linked to anemia and blood cancers such as leukemia, as well as being a known endocrine disruptor.

  • Where to Look: Dryer sheets, Fabric Softeners, Scent Boosters
  • Purpose: Boost lingering performance of fragrance as well as reduce static.
  • What to Do: Throw a ball of aluminum foil in your dryer to reduce static and use essential oils to add a pleasant, safe scent to your laundry.

#2: Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NP’s, NPE’s, Nonoxynols)

Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) are the most widely used members of the larger alkylphenol and alkylphenol ethoxylate family of non-ionic surfactants. They are produced in large volumes, that lead to widespread release to human contact and aquatic environments.

NP is persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. NP’s main use is in the manufacture of NPEs. NPEs are used in a wide variety of industrial applications and consumer products.

NP has also been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine and is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in studied fish.

However, NPEs are still widely used in large quantities in conventional laundry detergents* and have some additional uses that lead to releases to water.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates can enter the body by inhalation of air containing clothes dryer exhaust, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal (skin) contact with products containing nonylphenol ethoxylate.

Many are carcinogens or endocrine/hormone disruptors, capable of causing allergic reactions, skin rashes, and asthma or other respiratory issues.

  • Where to Look: Detergents, Softeners, Dryer Sheets, Scent Boosters, Clothing, Textiles, etc..
  • Purpose: Serve as an emulsifier for stain removal, carrier of fragrances, paint production, and agrochemical dispersion.
  • What to Do: Use products that have searchable and identifiable plant-based ingredients.

#3: UV/Optical Brighteners

Optical brightening agents (OBAs) are chemicals that are added to detergents, softeners, dryer sheets, scent boosters and more*! They’re in everything from new clothing and inks to bedding and paints.

They use the process of fluorescence to trick your eyes into believing your clothes are whiter and brighter than they actually are.

To ensure your garments enhance and retain this whiter than white appearance, many laundry detergents contain optical brighteners, too.

Many optical brighteners cause allergic reactions and/or rashes when in contact with skin. Some are documented carcinogens and hormone disrupters and certainly harmful to aquatic life.

Here’s how they work…

This image shows the visible spectrum on the right, and the ultraviolet region on the left. Optical brighteners work by absorbing these UV rays and reabsorbing them in the region of the spectrum that is visible to the human eye.

It’s easy to detect the presence of optical brighteners under a black ultraviolet light. Fabrics and detergents that contain more OBAs will appear brighter than those with less.

Listen… this store-bought laundry detergent contains optical brightening agents. Notice how it appears to glow under UV light…

Although these white shirts look great under daylight, when placed in a light booth under UV light, you can see that the white pieces all contain different amounts of optical brighteners.

  • Where to Look: Detergents, Softeners, Products with Scent Booster Beads, Plastics, Paints, Textiles
  • Purpose: Gives the appearance of brightness by absorbing ultraviolet light and re-emitting fluorescence.
  • What to Do: Use brighteners or boosters with sodium percarbonate (an oxygen bleach) or hydrogen peroxide.

#4: 1, 4 Dioxane (Diethylene Dioxide/ Diethylene Ether/ Dioxane)

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS/SELS) is an industrial degreaser (surfactant) that is found in a wide variety of cleaning products. It is the most widely manufactured non-ionic surfactant produced.

Spoiler Alert: SLS is in over 67% of store-bought laundry products including the “eco-brands”*!

It’s even in most toothpastes. It is widely known for being a skin irritant.

When SLS breaks down, it releases a dangerous chemical, 1,4-dioxane. It is a powerful solvent for Stain/Soil Emulsifying, Blending Perfumes, and Stabilizing other chemicals..

The National Institutes of Health have warned that 1,4-dioxane is “reasonably expected to be a human carcinogen”, because it has been repeatedly shown to cause cancers in animal studies. It is also known for causing kidney, liver, and nervous system damage.

Preliminary research is showing that it accumulates in the body over time. It likewise accumulates in the environment, in a manner similar to the infamous DDT pesticide.

  • Where to Look: Detergents, Softeners, Stain Removers, Toothpastes, Cosmetics
  • Purpose: Irritation of skin, eyes, or lungs;. endocrine & hormone disruptor; known carcinogen
  • What to Do: Use products that have searchable and identifiable plant-based ingredients.

#5: Unspecified Fragrance (PARFUM)

The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on a product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various chemicals and ingredients, added to provide a pleasant scent, or (more often) to mask a bad one, says Tina Sigurdson, General Counsel at the Environmental Working Group (EWG)**.

It’s one of the only ingredients that doesn’t have to be fully disclosed on the label, meaning there’s a “fragrance loophole” in our products that allows companies* to simply use the generic term “fragrance” rather than being transparent and telling the consumer what’s really in the product.

Did you know the average fragrance product contains 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label?

And that these unlisted ingredients often include carcinogens, allergens, respiratory irritants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals and environmental pollutants?

While there’s an argument that not disclosing “fragrance mixtures” protects a company’s trade secrets, this is often at the detriment of the consumer’s health, as we can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside the product.

And unfortunately, once you start looking for it, you’ll quickly realize this toxic mix of ingredients known as “fragrance” is added to nearly every product on the market.

From laundry detergent to dish soap, shampoo to all-purpose cleaning spray, candles, deodorant and even tampons (why those need to be scented is beyond me!), all contain this hazardous ingredient.

  • Where to Look: Virtually all household and personal care products
  • Why Avoid: Due to a loophole in US law, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients within fragrance blends. Many are documented carcinogens or hormone/endocrine disruptors.
  • What to Do: Use products that disclose fragrance ingredients or use essential oils. Or, choose unscented products and add your own essential oils.

But where do you start? What detergents are actually safe for you and your family?

Why I Love MyGreenFills (and a free laundry soap offer for YOU!)

MyGreenFills is on a mission to change the industry by offering refillable laundry jugs made with plant based, non-toxic ingredients that work better than the store-bought blue goo. It’s just one of the many reasons I love their products!

Check out my video below, to hear more about why I love My Green Fills (and you will, too!)

Now here’s the best part… as a special offer to readers of Myers Detox, MyGreenFills is offering you 50 loads of laundry soap FOR FREE.

Detox your laundry room


Non-toxic, eco-friendly laundry products that show up to my door, on my schedule, at a fraction of the cost of other “eco” brands and get my clothes cleaner? SOLD!

Do the right thing for your family and environment and join MyGreenFills today for FREE.

Click Here for References+

1.The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Skin Exposures & Effects.” National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Health Effects Laboratory Division (HELD). Page last reviewed: July 2, 2013. Page last updated: April 30, 2012. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin/default.html

2.Cleveland Clinic. “Is Laundry Detergent Causing Your Child’s Skin Rash? How to know and what to do.” Health Essentials, Children’s Health Team. December 31, 2014https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/is-laundry-detergent-causing-your-childs-skin-rash/

3.Maslow, Ryan. “Scented laundryproducts release carcinogens, study finds.” CBS News. Aug. 26, 2011. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/scented-laundry-products-release-carcinogens-study-finds/ 

4.Hickman, Matt. “Tide Detergent Found To Contain High Levels Of 1,4-Dioxane, Carcinogenic Contaminant.” Huffington Post04/26/2012 11:22 am ETUpdated Apr 26, 2012.
5.Kounang, Nadia. “Dangerous chemicals hiding in everyday products.” CNN. Updated July 1, 2016.

6.Meeker JD, Ferguson KK. “Relationship between urinary phthalate and bisphenol A concentrations and serum thyroid measures in U.S. adults and adolescents from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008.” Environ Health Perspect.2011 Oct;119(10):1396-402. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1103582. Epub 2011 Jul 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21749963 

 7.Roy JR, Chakraborty S, Chakraborty TR. “Estrogen-like endocrine disrupting chemicals affecting puberty in humans – a review.” Med Sci Monit.2009 Jun;15(6):RA137-45.
8.Jennings, Chris,Rhonda Ellis, and Joe Ritter “Linking Empirical Estimates of Body Burden of Environmental Chemicals and Wellness using NHANES Data.” Environ IntEnviron Int. 2012 Feb; 39(1): 56–65.
9.Liu L, Wang H, Tian M, Zhang J, Panuwet P, D’Souza PE, Barr DB, Huang Q, Xia Y, Shen H. “Phthalate metabolites related to infertile biomarkers and infertility in Chinese men.” Environ Pollut.2017 Dec;231(Pt 1):291-300. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.08.018. Epub 2017 Sep 25.
10.Yang W, Tan W, Zheng J, Zhang B, Li H, Li X. “Mono-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (MEHP) promotes the proliferation of cervical cancer via GPER mediated activation of  AKT.” Eur J Pharmacol.2018 Apr 5;824:11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.01.040. Epub 2018 Jan 31.
11.Castro-Correia C, Correia-Sá L, Norberto S, Delerue-Matos C, Domingues V, Costa-Santos C, Fontoura M, Calhau C. “Phthalates and type 1 diabetes: is there any link?” Environ Sci Pollut Res Int.2018 Jun;25(18):17915-17919. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-1997-z. Epub 2018 Apr 21.
12.Milošević N, Milić N, Živanović Bosić D, Bajkin I, Perčić I, Abenavoli L, Medić Stojanoska M. “Potential influence of the phthalates on normal liver function and cardiometabolic risk in males.” Environ Monit Assess.2017 Dec 13;190(1):17. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6398-0.
13.Jessie P. Buckley, MPH, Rachel T. Palmieri, MSPH, Jeanine M. Matuszewski, PhD, Amy H. Herring, ScD, Donna D. Baird, PhD, Katherine E. Hartmann, MD, PhD, and Jane A. Hoppin, ScD. “Consumer product exposures associated with urinary phthalate levels in pregnant women.” J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2012 Sep; 22(5): 468–475.
14.Minatoya M, Araki A, Miyashita C, Ait Bamai Y, Itoh S, Yamamoto J, Onoda Y, Ogasawara K, Matsumura T, Kishi R. “Association between prenatal bisphenol A and phthalate exposures and fetal metabolic related biomarkers: The Hokkaido study on Environment and Children’s Health.” Environ Res.2018 Feb;161:505-511. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.11.052.
15.Eisenbraun, Karen. “Dangers of Sodium Laurel Sulfate.” www.Livestrong.com. Oct. 3, 2017. 

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Wendy Myers, FDN-P, is a detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist, NES Bioenergetic Practitioner, and founder of Myersdetox.com. She is the #1 bestselling author of Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue . Additionally, Wendy is the host of The Heavy Metals Summit, the Myers Detox Podcast, and the Supercharged Podcast. Passionate about the importance of detox to live a long and healthy life, she created the revolutionary Myers Detox Protocol , and Mitochondria Detox kit after working with thousands of clients, as well as a range of supplements to help you detox from everyday living and maintain a healthy lifestyle!