Dangerous Detergents: The 6 Toxic Chemicals Present in Common Cleaning Agents

Ever wonder how powerful your chemical infused detergents are that they are able to clean grease and oil stains off of your shirt? These chemically treated clothes come in contact with your skin and make you susceptible to a number of allergic reactions.

What does the research say?

Even the floral scent off of your freshly washed shirt is not good for the environment or your health.
A research conducted by University of Washington indicated that around 100 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are released into the environment by these cleaning agents. And to top it all off, none of these ingredients are listed on the product itself.
Moreover, the study indicated that 5 out of 6 products emitted carcinogenic elements that are not safe for human exposure. It also identified the release of 2 carcinogenic elements (acetaldehyde and benzene), when scented detergents were used, along with other VOCs.
Tons of detergents and fabric softeners are poured down the drain without considering the amount of toxin emitted. Let’s take a closer look at what might be hiding in your laundry detergent.

Toxic elements in detergent


The sweet smell emitting from the detergent is the main culprit in spreading toxins.
Various chemicals are used to make your clothes smell fresh with synthetic fragrance. Manufacturers are not required to list the chemical used in creation of the fragrance, because of the trade protection.

SurfactantsToxic Detergents

For the crispy clean effect, cleaning agents like quaternium-15, diethanolamine, nonlphenol ethoxylate or NPE, petroleum distillates, linear alkyl benzene sulfonates or LAS are added.
These chemicals are known to have an adverse impact on your health. They cause fluctuations in hormone levels, allergic reaction, irritation in eyes, respiratory problems and much more. Moreover, when these chemicals go down the drain, they threaten the aquatic life and contaminate water levels.


Chemicals that are added to increase the shelf-life of the product are extremely strong in nature. Research has linked stabilizer like ethylene oxide and polyalkylene oxide with lung damage and dermatitis.


Bleach can be purchased separately or combined in your detergent formula. The strong pungent smell that emits from the bleach is known to cause respiratory problems, irritation in eyes and skin, and lung damage. Moving on, when bleach is mixed with waste water, more toxins are released in the environment.


The white gleaming effect that the manufacturers advertise on the TV is attained with help of naphthotriazolystilbenes, diaminostilbene disulfonate,benzoxazolyl, and more. Clothes appear bright, because the chemical residue in the washed clothes absorbs UV light from the surrounding.
Since these chemicals remain in contact with your skin, development and reproductive abnormalities may occur in a human body.

Phosphates and EDTA

To make detergents hard-water friendly phosphate is added. It prevents dust and grime from settling in the clothes and pollutes the water levels by algae formation and damaging the ecosystem.

How about an organic alternative?

Advance processes that keep the environmental side-effects in mind have been introduced in the market. Eco-Green cleaning strips away dirt and dust and maintains the colors and aesthetic of the fabric.
At NY Organic Dry Cleaners, we’re committed to offering our customers with a green and clean washing experience. Our organic dry-cleaning services ensure safety of environment and your health. Avail our pick and drop services or drop off our clothes at our Rego Park, NYC location. We’re at your service 24hrs a day!