Skin irritations and rashes are considered to be an unfortunate but common side effect of using a new laundry detergent. However, a study by the University of Washington has found that many of the top-selling laundry products are packed full of toxic compounds. Anne Steinemann, one of the professors who worked on the study, said she was amazed by the scale of toxicity found in laundry detergent. 
‘I was surprised by both the number and the potential toxicity of the chemicals that were found,’ Steinemann said. ‘Nearly 100 volatile organic compounds were emitted from these six products, and none were listed on any product label. Plus, five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level.’ 
These worrying findings have led many people to search for a more natural solution to cleaner clothes. Of the many solutions that have been identified, the number one natural solution appears to be white vinegar. This natural product has a range of cleaning benefits in comparison with store bought detergents with absolutely no danger of toxicity.
The Benefits of White Vinegar for Laundry
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- The acidity of white vinegar makes it an ideal solution for sweat and deodorant stains, even on a cold wash. Add white vinegar directly to the stain before washing.
- White vinegar has the same softening effect as any chemical fabric softener. Not only will your clothes come out of the washing machine soft and smooth, but they will also cause no damage to yourself or the environment. Add just 1/2 a cup to a regular sized load.
- A Japanese study proved that mixing white vinegar and salt isn’t only a delicious addition to fish and chips, but also has strong antibacterial qualities. Any bacterial residue found on your clothes will be killed during a salt and vinegar washing cycle. Use 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt. 
- Skin irritations caused by detergents often occur as a result of residue that is left on your clothes. Using white vinegar leaves no residue at all. For those of you who still use detergent, adding just half a cup of white vinegar will remove all residue from your clean clothes.
- One of the biggest reasons that people use detergents is they fear that natural alternatives won’t fight off odors. White vinegar fights off bad smells, even those socks that have sat in your gym bag for awhile!
- For stains with the potential to ruin your clothes, e.g. red wine, coffee, grease, etc., simply mixing half a cup of white vinegar and hot water will remove almost any stain. Leave the article of clothing in the solution overnight and then wash them as usual afterward.
- Pet hairs and general fuzz are often a nightmare to shift from clothes. The residue that standard detergents leave is what keeps them stuck to us. White vinegar (using a standard 1/2 cup for regular-sized load) will leave you with no such issue.
- Changing from detergent to white vinegar will also save you from the most painful part of any clothes washing situation; static shocks!
- For delicates and hand wash only clothes, add six tablespoons of white vinegar to cold water and allow the item to soak for an hour. After an hour a simple scrub will leave you with clean clothes.
- The constant cleaning of clothes in your washing machine will eventually lead to a buildup of limescale. Too often we treat this issue with even stronger chemicals, which inevitably end up on our clothes. Next time you need to descale your machine just use 1 cup of white vinegar, it possesses the right level of acidity to remove limescale without harmful toxins.
Doing laundry is by no means the most exciting part of anyone’s weekly schedule. Getting the whole ordeal over and done as quickly as possible is most people’s priority. However, it is this lack of attention towards this necessary chore that manufacturers rely on to push their cheap-to-make, toxic products. So next time you go to throw your clothes in the machine, try white vinegar. It might be the healthiest decision you’ve ever made.
- Hickey, Hannah. “Scented Laundry Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals Through Dryer Vents | UW Today”. University of Washington. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 June 2017. http://www.washington.edu/news/2011/08/24/scented-laundry-products-emit-hazardous-chemicals-through-dryer-vents/
- Entani, E. et al. “Antibacterial Action Of Vinegar Against Food-Borne Pathogenic Bacteria Including Escherichia Coli O157:H7.”. NCBI. N.p., 1998. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753
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