Always eager to look at parenting from an environmentally friendly angle, we’re going to be taking a look together at some of the products that we use every day that can be SHIFTED to with things that are much better for us and the planet!
As parents we are guardians of our children’s wellbeing and we just want the very best for them. We are always doing what we believe is best and healthiest for our family.
However, not many people are aware that some of the things we do on a daily basis can actually be harmful and have long-term effects on our children’s health. Did you know, for example, that conventional laundry soaps can be extremely toxic?
Many contain chemicals such as SLS, phenols, petroleum distillates, optical brighteners, bleach, synthetic fragrance, anionic surfactants, among many others! These ingredients are highly hazardous and linked to many issues with the kidney, liver, lungs and respiratory system. Some of these ingredients are skin irritants, carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, toxic to the brain and nervous system, just to name a few.
What many people fail to realise is that your laundry soap plays a huge role in your overall health. Your clothing has direct contact with your skin, all day long, so what you wash them in matters! The same goes for our children’s delicate skin.
As guardians for our children’s health we need to make the best decisions we can for them until they are old enough to make their own. This can seem daunting and overwhelming at times, and we may have an instinct to bury our heads in the sand or look away from difficult issues, such as this. But you don’t have to go through this alone.
There are many safer alternatives on the market from a whole host of companies, and as always I encourage you to do your own research and trust your gut feelings on what you feel is best for you are your family.
One healthier option you could invest in is the soap nut.
Soap nuts, or soap berries, come from a tree called ‘Sapindus Mukorossi’ and whilst they are referred to as soap nuts, they don’t actually contain any soap.
The plant is a part of the lychee family and it boasts some pretty incredible environmental properties. The part of the tree that is the ‘soap nut’ are actually berries and they can be harvested from September to February, which is an extremely long and sustainable supply.
It takes 9 years for the soap nut tree to begin yielding fruit after germination but once it starts producing, it can be harvested for 90 years, and with 6 months per year of harvest time, well that’s a lot of soap nuts.
Let’s together look at the pros and cons of these extraordinary berries.
- They are completely chemical free, organic and biodegradable. You can pop them in your compost bin when you are done with them and they leave no wasteful debris or packaging behind. This is great for the environment as there is no plastic involved, like there typically is in so many laundry detergents and their packaging. By collectively switching to soap berries we would literally be saving thousands of kilograms of plastic use every year!
- They are incredibly simple to use. You just pop them in a small fabric bag, throw them in with your load of washing, and they wash your clothes as the berries contain saponin which is a surfactant that can be used like soap.
- They only work in hot water. So if you are being environmentally friendly and keeping your bills down by washing at lower temperatures these soap nuts unfortunately won’t work, unless you start washing at higher temperatures.
- Some people don’t like the look of the berries because they are so different to conventional laundry detergent powders or liquids. But this is surely a small price to pay, for a toxic-free lifestyle and knowing the health of your family is top priority.
If not, you can always SHIFT to available products, just make sure you read up on their ingredients, before purchasing. A great option available here would be the Eco Egg.
This innovative vegan-friendly laundry solution that replaces laundry detergent and fabric conditioner. Easy to use, this contains no harmful chemicals and is suitable for sensitive skin and our planet!
Camilla Gammelgaard-Baker is Parenting Coach and Psychodynamic Counsellor working with clients all over the world. With a background in psychology and with 20+ years experience of working with families, she is known for her work with Mothers to overcome self-doubt and burn-out. She currently lives a very eco-friendly life in Denmark with her husband, son, cat and dog.