3 Reasons I Stopped Using Liquid Laundry Detergent (and What I Use Instead)

A big part of biohacking is optimizing your environment — changing easy little day-to-day things that, over time, lead to significant improvement in your life. Things like blacking out your room at night or occasionally skipping breakfast may not seem like a big deal on their own, but if you make them a part of your regular routine, that daily 5-10% improvement in your life will begin to pay huge dividends in your daily performance. 

One of those simple changes is the way you wash your clothes. You spend about 80 hours a year doing laundry, and the chemicals in your laundry detergent stick to your clothes, meaning you’re exposed to them around the clock. 

If your detergent contains crappy chemicals (which most detergents do), that’s at least 80 hours a year that you’re in contact with compounds that actively hurt your performance. It’s worth the 30 seconds it takes you to make a switch to something better. 

Here are three reasons to stop using liquid laundry detergent, as well as what you can use instead to keep your clothes clean. 

 

1. Avoid Chemicals that Make You Weak 

 

Most mainstream laundry detergents contain chemicals that suck. The worst (and most common) offenders are hormone-disrupting synthetic fragrances[*], or estrogen-mimicking phthalates that disrupt your testosterone levels (that’s bad for you too, ladies)[*], and potential carcinogens like dioxanes that increase your risk of cancer[*]. 

I don’t want this stuff on my skin, especially when there are perfectly good alternatives that don’t expose me to anything harmful. 

 

2. Don’t Pay for Water

Those big bottles of laundry detergent that you lug home are about 90% water. The companies want you to feel like you’re getting a good deal, so they dilute concentrated detergent to make their products heavier. It feels like you’re getting a lot for your money. 

In reality, you’re paying extra unnecessarily, because those bottles are heavy, which means they cost a ton to ship. You end up paying more money for less product. 

 

3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Heavy bottles aren’t just more expensive — they’re also bad for the environment. All that weight takes a lot of fuel to move, which means the average bottle of laundry detergent produces a significant (and unnecessary) carbon footprint. There’s also the plastic, which takes about 400 years to break down and will likely end up in the ocean.

The Wall Street Journal found that an average year’s worth of laundry detergent has the same footprint as driving 500 miles in a gas-powered car[*]. And it costs you more money, and it’s filled with chemicals that make you weak. 

 

How to Do Laundry Better

Here are a few simple ways to do laundry better, both for your performance and for the environment.

  1. Switch to a natural detergent. I use Tru Earth because it’s biodegradable, reduces my laundry footprint by 94%, smells good without artificial fragrances, and actually cleans my clothes. Plus it costs less than mainstream detergent. Use code BIOHACK at checkout for a discount on your first order. 
  2. Wash on cold. About 90% of the energy your washing machine uses goes to heating the water. Washing your clothes on cold is also easier on your clothing, so switch that dial to cold. 
  3. Don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softeners. They’re full of fragrances and other crappy chemicals, just like most detergent. Pick up some wool dryer balls instead. They soften your clothes and help them dry evenly, without any chemicals. They’re reusable too.

Changing the way you do laundry is one of those small hacks that improve your environment. There’s no need to expose yourself to performance-sapping chemicals 80 hours a year. Pick up some dryer balls, default to cold when you wash your clothes, and use a quality laundry detergent without chemicals that make you weak. You’ll feel better in the long run. 

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Dave Asprey

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