End Your Toxic Relationships.
The truth about dry cleaning & laundry.
We have become more conscious about the food we eat, the health and beauty products we use, and our overall responsibility toward our planet’s wellbeing. However, often overlooked is one of the most close-to-home tasks, the simple (and in most cases, exceedingly toxic) process of caring for our clothes and home linens. A slew of chemicals are used in the process, both standard laundry and dry cleaning; at The Eco Laundry Company, we make it our mission to avoid virtually impossible-to-pronounce toxins, and keep your laundry as healthy as it is clean, while also looking out for the planet.
In the dry cleaning industry, nearly 90% of operations use a very dangerous chemical, Perchloroethylene or “Perc,” a solvent so dangerous, in fact, that the EPA has deemed it “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” This man-made chemical, which is also used in automotive cleaners, paint removers, industrial-strength solvents, and shoe polish, has no place in our clothes, on our skin, or in our homes.
In addition to contact with garments and dry-cleaned fabrics, humans are exposed to Perc via air, water, and food. According to the NY State Department of Health, the average in-air level of Perc should not exceed 30 mcg/m3. Alarmingly, because of its prevalent use in New York City, the average exposure is 106 mcg/m3 With just minimal exposure, that “dry cleaning smell” comes with its own set of side effects: from skin, lung and eye irritation, to behavioral and mood changes, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Prolonged exposure may be linked to liver and kidney damage, neurological impairment, various cancers, as well as a significant increase in spontaneous abortions of pregnant women exposed to elevated levels during, or even up to 3 months prior to pregnancy. Not only does Perc affect our health directly, its chemical footprint extends to contaminating groundwater and the air, with appalling pollutive effects on the environment.
When it comes to your standard laundry, don’t get caught up in the dizzying (literally) charm of “Spring Clean” or “Mountain Fresh” artificially fragranced detergents and softeners; the leading brands (we’re looking at you, Tide) contain harmful chemicals which lead to negative health effects, ranging from irritation to carcinogenicity. One of the most toxic being 1,4-Dioxane, a petrochemical solvent also found in paints and varnishes; exposure can lead to a long list of alarming reactions, including drowsiness, vertigo, headaches, anorexia, irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, as well as potential liver and kidney damage. 1,4-Dioxane is classified by the EPA as a probable carcinogen, and though the FDA encourages manufacturers to remove 1,4-Dioxane, it is not required by federal law. Ironically, this contaminant is used to reduce the irritative aspects of harsh chemicals, so beware of what comes along with that misleading “Free and Gentle” label. Also of concern are optical brighteners, synthetic chemical additives that transform light waves to enhance blue light, making your whites and colors appear brighter (we’re all for standing out at the party, but if your clothes are glowing on an 👽 level under the blacklight, you know what to blame). These chemicals, along with a suite of other synthetic and toxic ingredients, such as SLS, ammonias, nonylphenol ethoxylate, phenols, and phosphates, remain in the clothes long after the wash cycle, penetrating your skin and causing adverse health effects, both short and long-term, and, just like the chemicals used in dry cleaning, decompose poorly, and go on to pollute our waterways, soil, and wildlife habitats.
Enough scary talk, enough ugly chemicals. Let’s do better, we have to.
We can all agree that this information is disturbing and unacceptable; laundry is the last thing you should worry about, and you can rest assured that, in our hands, you’re making the safest choice. For dry cleaning, The Eco Laundry Company uses the GreenEarth® process, one that completely forgoes the use of Perc or any highly-toxic chemical, instead using a silicone by-product of sand that is safe for people and the environment, making it the healthier and exponentially better alternative to traditional, poisonous dry cleaning. GreenEarth® not only avoids nasty chemicals, but cleans garments better than standard dry cleaning, without harsh treatment to fine fabrics, maintaining colors and original textures. It is recognized as safe for air, soil and water, not classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC) by the EPA, and doesn’t contribute to smog formation.
The plant-based detergents we use for wash-and-fold services are 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan, keeping you, your family (and pets!), as well as our planet, healthy and safe. For those that prefer a “just cleaned” fragrance, we’ve elevated that experience by offering a naturally-scented option, in this case, entirely non-toxic, biodegradable, and allergen-free.
We’re proud to be in this non-toxic relationship, where conscious decisions, wellness, and the environment are as important as fresh laundry! Let’s make the “dry cleaning smell,” and the lingering cloud of fake fragrances like “Botanical Rain” 🙄, a thing of the past. We look forward to seeing you soon.
The Eco Laundry Company