Dangerous Chemicals To Avoid In Baby Laundry Detergents

Chemical detergents can be a highly concentrated, harmful substance. A small amount of detergent ingested or in contact with a child’s mouth or eyes can cause major breathing and stomach difficulties, eye discomfort, or in serious cases, may lead to a coma or death.

Prolonged use of strong chemical detergents can cause skin cancer in adult/kids. 

As parents, we try to keep our children as safe and healthy as we can. Especially when they are infants, as their skin is delicate. 

Therefore we turn to baby laundry detergents as a milder and safer laundry detergent. But not every baby laundry detergent is free from harmful chemicals.

So what chemicals do we look out for?

Dangerous chemicals in baby laundry detergents we should try to avoid include: 

  • SLS/ SLES 
  • Phosphates
  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • Parfum
  • Dyes
  • Parabens
  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLS/ SLES).

Sodium laureth sulfate is a surfactant derived from ethoxylated lauryl alcohol. It is a cleansing agent and the most common chemical added in laundry detergents, dish liquids, hand washes, shampoos and even baby cleansing products. Scientific studies have proven that it can cause skin inflammation, eye irritation, and lung infection, internal organ damage (organ toxicity) and cancer. SLS/SLES is also harmful to the environment.

  1. Phosphates

Phosphates enhance the cleaning power of detergents. However, it can cause health problems and is a major environmental hazard. Phosphate residue on dish surfaces may cause nausea, diarrhea and skin irritations. Whereas phosphates used in laundry get into water sources, such as lakes or rivers, leading to algae growth and poor water quality.

  1. Chlorine Bleach

Bleach is irritating and corrosive to the skin, lungs, and eyes. It is a dangerous substance that has been known to burn human tissue internally or externally.  Exposure to chlorine dries out the skin and causes irritation and itchiness. It is common to get rashes when exposed to chlorine for long periods of time, especially if you hand wash clothing using detergents containing chlorine bleach.

  1. Ammonium Sulfate

This laundry additive is so toxic it can cause various severe side effects, leading it to be considered as an oral, skin, and respiratory toxin. High exposure may cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and drowsiness. * Prolonged eye contact may cause a brownish discoloration of the eyes.

  1. Parfum

Petroleum-based artificial fragrances containing benzene (one of the toxic chemicals in scented laundry detergents) are connected to skin and eye irritation, stinging nostrils, the triggering of asthma attacks and allergies, and difficulty concentrating. It is alarming as these side effects point towards neurological damage.

  1. Dyes

Dyes in clothing are harmful & have been shown to contain carcinogens, as numerous chemicals are used in their production. Textile dyes can also cause allergies such as contact dermatitis and respiratory diseases, allergic reaction in eyes, skin irritation, and irritation to the mucous membrane and the upper respiratory tract.

  1. Parabens

Parabens are chemicals that are often used as preservatives to give products a longer shelf life. Possible allergic reactions include itching, bumps and blisters, dry, scaly skin, swelling, tenderness, burning or skin irritation.


  1. Healthy Child Healthy World (2013). Skip the Products Made with SLES (and SLS, Too!). Available online: http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/skip-products-made-with-sles-and-sls-too/ December 8, 2016



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