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Label Readers Guide

Follow these steps to avoid greenwashing and make sure you're getting what you think you're paying for when it comes to natural laundry and cleaning products.

1. BE A DETERGENT DETECTIVE

When you see a detergent on an ingredient label, that's a red flag that the product contains or was made with petroleum. Whenever you see words like...

  • SULFATES - Like Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Coco Sulfate, or Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • ETHOXYLATES - Like Laureth-6, Laureth-7, Lauryl Ethoxylate, Alcohol Ethoxylate
  • GLUCOSIDES - Like Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Alkyl Glucoside
  • BETAINES - Cocoamidopropyl Betaine
  • OXIDES - Lauramine Oxide, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide

...think "Petroleum!" and consider making another choice, like natural soap!

2. KNOW THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS

Every detergent above—even the plant-based or plant-derived ones—is made with one or more of these petroleum-derived petrochemicals:

METHANOL, ETHYLENE, TOLUENE, PROPYLENE, PROPANOL

3. SWAP FOR SOAP

Unlike detergents, soap is truly clean and works just as well without the environmental tradeoffs.
You can spot a soap-based product by watching for:

  • coconut oil and olive oil
  • sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide (used to make solid soap)
  • potassium chloride and potassium hydroxide (used to make liquid soap).

Be on the hunt for symbols that reflect your values—but be wary of ones that only tell part of the story like Bio-Based and Bio-Preferred. Brands can qualify for these "certifications" by having some but not all of their ingredients in line with what’s promised.