The Ecologist

 
laundry
More articles about
Related Articles

Five of the best... eco-friendly detergents

Valentina Jovanovski

8th July, 2011

From phosphates to petrochemicals, doing the laundry can be a dirty business. Valentina Jovanovski rounds up five natural alternatives that will leave your clothes smelling literally of roses

Last month, Australia’s Sunday Morning Herald led with the story that the last two Australian detergent manufacturers to use phosphates had agreed to phase them out after a nation-wide campaign. The latest development in the fight to clean up the detergent industry, the Austrailian success has led to calls from the EU for a ban on phosphates in domestic laundry and cleaning products to come into effect by 2013.  Commonly found in supermarket and big brand cleaning products, phosphates, when released into water, can harm aquatic life and lead to poor water quality. And the phosphate problem isn’t the only one. Many detergents are made from petrochemicals and although the law requires biodegradable ingredients, it only applies to 60 per cent of the total formula. Encouragingly, consumers have responded to environmental concerns and the market in eco-friendly detergents is growing, with increasingly effective products putting concerns about cleanliness to bed. So which ones should you be investing in?  Detergents that are phosphate-free, not animal tested, biodegradable and packaged in recyclable containers should be at the top of your list. Efficacy at 30°C is also worth looking for as these detergents need less energy. Here are five that tick all of the boxes.

Ecover non-biological laundry liquid, £4.57
Ecover’s products are completely biodegradable and don’t contain optical brighteners, which can be bad for your skin. The detergent’s formula has been improved and contains a new ingredient made from rapeseed oil, which has resulted in improved washing power thanks to its non-foaming properties. Best for colours and darks; whites can turn grey if not washed with scalding water. Overall though, this is one of the better products on the market.
Ecover can be found at supermarkets nationwide. www.ecoverdirect.com

Ecoleaf laundry liquid, £5.29
Manufactured from plant extracts and 100 per cent biodegradable, the Ecoleaf brand is produced by Suma, a green wholesaler. Sold in recyclable containers, the non-biological laundry liquid is made in the UK and comes with certification from the Vegan Society and BUAV.
Ecoleaf is available from the Ethical Superstore and Suma. www.suma.coop

Bio D washing powder, £3.68
This non-biological, concentrated powder can be used for hand washing or automatic and twin tub machines. The powder comes in 1 or 2kg recyclable bags or 12.5kg recyclable boxes. It’s made from renewable raw materials wherever possible and doesn’t test on animals or include animal by-products. Bio D also has certification from the Vegan Society, Naturewatch Trust, BUAV and World Wildlife Foundation. None of the company’s products contain phosphates, chlorine bleaches, petroleum-derived additives or synthetic perfumes, chemicals common in conventional detergents.
Bio D is available from Goodness Direct and Big Green Smile. www.biodegradable.biz

Alma Win organic liquid detergent concentrate, £6.90
Organic and vegan, this detergent can be used at 30°C for whites and colours. The main downside is the lack of a fresh scent: although synthetic fragrances are unnecessary, many eco-friendly products include essences to give the washed clothes a clean smell. If you can’t live without fragranced laundry, Alma Win has recently introduced an organic lemon scent, which can be added to your wash with the detergent. Alma Win products do not contain phosphates, petrochemicals or synthetic ingredients.
Alma Win is available from So Organic and Real Foods. www.pravera.co.uk

Home Scents Violet’s Magic Laundry Powder, £15.98
The price is a little steep but you certainly get your money’s worth in cleaning power, as each 1kg tub lasts for 40 washes. Gorgeously lavender scented, the powder is chemical free and based on gentle natural minerals and organic essential oils. Formulated with young children in mind, it works equally well on adult clothing and does a good job at 30 degrees.
Violet’s Magic Laundry Powder is available from Goodness Direct and The Natural Store. www.homescents.co.uk

Add to StumbleUpon
  READ MORE...
GREEN LIVING
Clean and green: Green Tips eco marigolds
Like it or not, washing up has to be done daily so give it a green-over with Green Tips eco-friendly cleaning gloves
GREEN LIVING
Laundry: how to make it green
From chemical-based washing powders to electricity-hungry dryers, doing the laundry is worse for the planet than you might think. Here’s how to clean it up
GREEN LIVING
Out of the frying pan: cooking without toxic Teflon
Non-stick pan coatings made from PTFE, otherwise known as Teflon, release carcinogens, pollutants and even a World War One nerve gas when heated. So what’s the alternative?
GREEN LIVING
Ethical insect catchers: do they really work?
Instead of dispatching creepie crawlies with bug spray; how about letting them live by using a humane insect grabber to get rid of them? We took the Snapy and the Ethical Spider Catcher for a spin
GREEN LIVING
Top 10…cheap ways to green your home
Greening your home doesn’t have to bust the budget. Sella Oneko rounds up 10 inexpensive ways to make your home a more eco-friendly place

 

Previous Articles...

ECOLOGIST COOKIES

Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...

 

FOLLOW
THE ECOLOGIST