Sorry, we couldn't think of a more clever name for this page. There are an infinite number of chemical ingredients that can be added to soaps and detergents. Many of them are nothing more than cheap, useless fillers. Some are exceptionally harsh on fabrics. Some have a questionable safety record, others are downright dangerous. Here, you'll find a partial list of things we can't, don't, and won't use, EVER in our laundry washing products.
Sodium Sulfate: This is nothing more than a cheap filler. It is added, sometimes in rather large proportions to beef up the scoop size needed. It costs less than a dollar per pound, but you're paying MUCH more than that when it's in your detergent!
Sodium Laurel Sulfate: (and it's kissing cousins SLES, ALS, SPS, SCS, SMS,...) it's synthesis involves dangerous chemicals and byproducts, it is a known enviromental toxin, it is often contaminated with dioxins, and they often masquerade under the rather ambiguous and misleading ingredient listing: "coconut based surfactants" or "biodegradable surfactants".
EDTA: (and it's salts) often listed as "natural chelating agent" it's proper name is Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. It's purpose is to dissolve limescale and sequester calcium ions. It is not readily biodegradable in alkaline soil (found in areas with hard water...precisely the regions that "require" this additive), and what does degrade can cycle into a persistent organic pollutant. There are other ingredients that soften the water with fewer risks.
Citric Acid: another chelating agent, added by well-meaning but ignorant formulators. Most detergents contain sodium carbonate (aka washing soda or soda ash). It increases pH of the wash water, sequesters heavy metal ions in hard water, increases the effectiveness of the soap/detergent/surfactants, and allows for better stain removal from the clothing. Unfortunately, in water, sodium carbonate and citric acid react quickly to form nothing more than sodium citrate (a salt), carbon dioxide, and water. Unless the sodium carbonate is present in much greater proportion than the citric acid, (which would make the detergent exceptionally and unecessarily harsh) it's just being eaten up, and you've just spent a lot of money for something that costs about $1 per pound and does nothing for your laundry that other ingredients can't do better without the waste.
Sodium Bicarbonate: aka Baking Soda. yep, you guessed it, another cheap filler! (about fifty cents a pound!) Sure, it raises the pH a little, and helps with odor control and stain removal, but not nearly as well as sodium carbonate and sodium silicate. Soda Bicarb is also suspect as a laundry detergent ingredient because it is highly insoluble and therefore highly abrasive and damaging to fibers and especially to diaper covers. The very small amount found in diaper pail deodorizing powders is acceptable.
Synthetic Fragrance: aka perfume, fragrance, parfum,"natural fragrance" etc...No matter what anyone tells you,there's nothing natural about laundry detergent that smells like Marshmallow Fluff! Fragrances are synthetic chemical compounds that just happen to smell nice. They are solvent based petroleum byproducts that release voc's and can contain pthalates, methylene chloride, mutagenics, neurotoxins, and endocrine disrupters. Furthermore, folks rave about how great their laundry smells when they've used detergent containing fragrance. If your laundry carries a scent, the detergent didn't rinse off very well did it? (www.true2ewe currently stocks our only FO scented products.)