How Laundry Detergent Can Affect Your Cycle

laundry detergent scoop in laundry detergent
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Who ever would have considered our laundry to be a source of toxins that could harm our hormones, fertility and negatively affect our health. In this post I will teach you How Laundry Detergent Can Affect Your Cycle along with exactly what to do to keep your family safe and improve your hormonal health…

Is laundry detergent toxic?

Studies show that up to 60% of what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream(1,2). Why is this important? Because we’ve been trained to love fresh, clean smells, but the fragrances used in laundry detergent and other household products are being absorbed by our skin.

Most laundry detergent is loaded with “fragrance,”a cover up term for phthalates and a potent hormone disruptor. If a manufacturer uses less than 1% of a given chemical or fragrance in a finished product, they simply don’t have to tell you about it. And this is legal!

They can alter the reproductive development of male infants and are associated with sperm damage in adult men. Children exposed to phthalates in early life can undergo behavioral changes and develop allergies.  They are also linked to are linked to early puberty in girls and other reproductive harms.

They are linked to metabolic syndrome, a syndrome marked by a set of abnormalities of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and waistline that raises the risk of full-blown diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

According to tests done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans have metabolites of multiple phthalates in their urine (3).

Can laundry detergent cause cancer?

Phthalates are linked to breast (4) and other cancers (5).

Almost anything that contains fragrance, from shampoo (personal care products) to air fresheners to laundry detergent. Are you starting to see how laundry detergent can affect your cycle?

But I use Borax for my laundry….

Borax and boric acid are compounds are used to stabilize enzymes in laundry or dishwashing detergents and homemade cleaners. Sodium perborate, a form of oxygen bleach found in some cleaners, releases sodium borate during the bleach process. The European Union considers them toxic to human reproductive systems (6). Men working in boric acid-producing factories have a greater risk of decreased sperm count and libido. Chronic exposure to high doses of borax or boric acid causes testicular atrophy in male mice, rats and dogs (7). Female test subjects show reduced ovulation and fertility at higher doses. Animal studies of high-dose exposures to borax and boric acid have found that they can cross the placenta, affecting fetal skeletal development and birth weight.

Is laundry detergent safe for babies?

Many people realize that baby’s may have delicate skin and opt for a special detergent. I want to make this simple. If you wouldn’t use a detergent on your baby’s clothes, don’t use it at all!

Phthalates (fragrance) has been linked to skin issues, such as contact dermatitis, increased allergies and asthma and even changes in the brains and behaviors of infants and children.

What laundry detergent should I use?

Don’t trust detergents labeled “natural.” Just like beauty products, “greenwashing” is a common practice in household products as well.

Look for detergent with all the ingredients listed on the label and free of common hidden ingredients that are not labeled including, but not limited to:

  • fragrance
  • 1,4-dioxane
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Download the Healthy Living App and start checking all of your household and personal care products. Check out this list of detergents from most to least safe.

Laundry detergent without toxins 

Here are a couple of my favorite options that my family has tried and have worked well for us.

  1. Branch Basics: we like the concentrate with a little non-gmo vinegar as a safer fabric softener, the oxygen boost and dryer balls to shorten dry time and keep toxic dryer sheets out of the mix.
  2. Young Living Thieves with non-gmo vinegar and dryer balls.
  3. Sal Suds (yes, this is meant for cleaning, but is safe and works beautifully on my husbands extra stinky gym clothes!) I again add vinegar and use dryer balls.

laundry detergent scoop in detergent pin graphic


  2. “The Impermeable Facts of Skin Penetration and Absorption.” Personal Care Truth or Scare. N.p., 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  6. ECHA (European Chemicals Agency). 2011. Classification and Labeling Inventory Database.
  7. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2006. Boric Acid/Sodium Borate Salts: HED Chapter of the Tolerance Reassessment Eligibility Decision Document (TRED). PC Codes: 011001 (boric acid), 011102 (sodium tetraborate decahydrate), 011110 (sodium tetraborate pentahydrate), 011112 (sodium tetraborate anhydrous), 011103 (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate), 011107 (disodium octaborate anhydrous), 011104 (sodium metaborate).

Author: Melissa Schollaert

I'm Melissa—Holistic Health Coach & loving mama. My passion is to help others thrive through strategic eating (not dieting), living a toxic free life & creating healthier families.

6 thoughts on “How Laundry Detergent Can Affect Your Cycle”

  1. Excellent article! I may be in my 50’s but I still have the sensitive skin of a baby, lol. Laundry soap is always an issue for me and especially those nasty commercial dryer sheets are even more of an issue (just smelling them makes me ill). It is great to have options and I didn’t know about the borax in the diy detergent being toxic.

    1. Wow, Stacey, you’re so right. It’s something we all need to be careful of and I didn’t know about Borax until I heavily researching laundry.

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