Who doesn’t love the smell—and soft touch—of just-laundered clothes? Pulling fluffy, fresh laundry out of the dryer is such a cozy, comforting experience. Something you probably don't love so much? The ingredients that are found in many traditional detergents. These products are typically packed with additives that are impossible to pronounce (if the company even discloses them on the label), and many of them can be irritating to sensitive skin and damaging to the environment.
That’s where natural laundry detergents come in. They usually don’t contain phosphates, chlorine, and other artificial additives that could be dangerous to your health and the planet. And although cleaning product manufacturers are not required by law to disclose exactly what's in each bottle, many natural detergent makers are doing just that. “Companies are starting to list some ingredients and watching out for the chemicals they are using,” says Boston-based "Cleaning Coach" Leslie Reichert. “They know that their customers care about the safety of their products, and they don’t want bad publicity from a watchdog group.”
That all sounds great, but do natural laundry detergents actually work? After all, you wouldn't want to switch only to be left with stinky clothes that still have stains on them.
Fear not, says Reichert. Many companies have recently improved their formulas dramatically, which means that you don't have to give up anything: Natural laundry detergents really can remove the nastiest of stains and get the job done. And if you have an extra stubborn spot that won’t come out, Reichert recommends adding oxygen bleach or borax to get great results. “I always start with club soda,” she says. “If it’s a greasy stain, I use rubbing alcohol then a simple bar soap. Red stains can be removed with hydrogen peroxide.”
Here are a few great natural laundry detergents that will tackle the toughest of loads.
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