As a new mom, I’ve rethought a lot about how I keep up my home. Not only am I pressed for time (who has time to fold underwear?!), I’m more aware of the chemicals and additives I’m exposing my little one to. And boy, do I have a lot of extra chores to consider!
My laundry loads have gone through the roof. How can someone so little make such a big mess! The multiple trips to the washer and dryer have given me lots of time to think about what I’m using on the clothes that my baby wears.
How to Change Your Laundry Routine
Let’s start at the beginning: the detergents. It seems so innocuous, and integral to everyone’s laundry routine. Unfortunately, most conventional detergents are filled with noxious chemicals. For example, nonylphenol ethoxylate, or NPE, is a popular surfactant that is used. Unfortunately, it’s also an endocrine disruptor and estrogen mimic.
And those pesky pureed baby food spots on my little one’s clothes? Well, I’d rather have those stuck on his shirt than expose him to the phosphates that are designed to remove minerals and food bits that happen to cause harmful algal blooms in waterways downstream. After all, our planet earth is the future of our children!
Are you surprised that you didn’t know about all of those harmful chemicals? You shouldn’t be. Most detergents don’t list ingredients in that sort of detail; in fact, they’re not required by law to disclose their ingredients to consumers even when asked. Instead, the companies use euphemistic descriptions like “brightener” or “whitener” to sell the appeal of freshly laundered clothing without being transparent about the additives that are necessary to get those promised qualities. Here are some of my favorite chemical free detergents for babies:
WholesomeMommy has a great guide on making your own in 5 minutes or less. You use ingredients like Dr. Bronner’s, borax, and baking soda. All of these are tried and true safe home ingredients.
Here are another 4 Natural detergents are are great:
1. Zum Clean Aromatherapy in a wonderful Eucalyptus-Citrus scent
2. Method in the fragrance Fresh Air. What’s great about Method is that you can often find it at your local target
3. Emma by Eco-Me
4. Dwelling Happiness
Here’s what you can do to help avoid exposing your loved ones: choose those that are free and clear of dyes and perfumes. Don’t worry – I’ll go through how to to safely add those wonderful fresh laundry scents back in without the chemicals at the end of the article.
Use Wool Dryer Balls Instead of Dryer Sheets or Plastic Ones
Another thing you’re probably used to using now more than ever are dryer sheets. That’s a big no-no!
You don’t want to get the dye free, perfume free detergent just to use commercial dryer sheets that are suspected to contain respiratory disruptors. They also leave residue on baby clothes, which is especially bad for little ones’ sensitive skin. We’ve even heard about babies who end up having eczema.
You don’t have to give up the softness and fragrance that have made dryer sheets such a household mainstay, though. Felted Wool Dryer Balls are a great alternative. The best wool dryer balls from Vita have been my favorite, and come at an affordable price for 4 XL balls plus a cute carrying bag.