Are all detergents biodegradable, and do biodegradable detergents include other harmful, non-green ingredients?

I recently went to Whole Foods to buy detergent, but I've found over the past few weeks that almost every detergent is biodegradable even outside of Whole Foods. Is that really the case? If so, is there regulation that I'm not aware of?

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  • Marcia
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Yes, no, and in-between. Any cleaner that you cannot drink contains ingredients that alter drinkable water quality - Don't try it though as I don't know of single cleaner that you can eat or drink right out of the container. - The exceptions are strong black coffee and strong black tea which when used with a soft cotton cloth can often take the film off of eye glasses, other plastics, ceramics, and glass; if your plastics or ceramics have fissures in them, this remedy can leave stains.

    The purpose of a cleaner is to mix it with water to make a solution that will remove more "dirt and grime" than just plain water. But, this is not to say that some are more eco-friendly than others. Take traditional oven cleaner which will toast your lungs and burn your skin. - It is not particularly easy on either the environment nor on you as an element of your ecosystem. Compare your traditional oven cleaner to baking soda, a baking soda paste made with water, or baking soda "spritzed up" with some vinegar. The various baking soda cleaning solutions are easier on you and the environment even though it changes the water's chemistry when you rinse the residuals down the drain.

    On and off in the world of bio-degradable and eco-friendly cleaning products, we have made some serious mistakes. - I am not a chemistry type and I'm sure that the chemistry types, water quality types, and even the better eco types saw the writing on the wall before the marketing blitzes made to shiny magazine print. - In the 1970's or so, we came up with biodegradable, eco-friendly, and environmentally responsible cleaning solutions that were phosphate based. Phosphate helps vegetation grow and it didn't sound too bad; it cleaned well and made things even greener. The problem is that when it landed in bodies of water, and back then there was MUCH less water treatment, it caused the algae to grow. When the algae grew, it ended up killing all of the fish and much of the other aquatic life.

    The lesson from this one it that despite what the front label says, it is a good thing to look at the back label. In general, the fewer chemicals the better. For you, as an element in your own ecosystem, the fewer scents and colors the better. In general, the more dilute you can use your cleaning products, the better; try at the recommended dilution rate and then try a little more diluted. When given an option between two products from the same company and one is labeled "septic tank safe" and the other is not; choose the septic tank safe product. And keep abreast of the various tidbits about various toiletry and cleaning product ingredients that are and/or become suspect.

    Baking soda and vinegar remain the cornerstone of eco-friendly cleaning. Try combining them with different sponge types to do as much of your cleaning as possible. Both of these products come from the "old wives tales" of cleaning. Another is the power of non-sudsy ammonia; often it can be used in place of a number of general purpose cleaners when vinegar just isn't enough. Bleach has had a lot of negative press, some of it deserved, but many consider it better than some of the other anti-bacterial products available on the market. Tea Tree Oil and Citrus Oil are often touted as great, natural, and biodegradable products. I don't know that there has much written about Tea Tree Oil but, certainly Citrus Oil in too high of a concentration is not a good thing; on the home market, most citrus oil products are mixed with anyone of a number of other products. Rubbing alcohol is not the best thing but, again it is better than a number of other products often marketed for specialized cleaning tasks.

    If you are speaking of laundry cleaning supplies - Do you use dryer sheets? On many levels, dryer sheets are not eco-friendly. If you are using dryer sheets to make clothing and linens soft, think about transitioning into other fabrics. If you are using dryer sheets to make clothing smell good, think about using drawer sachettes, closet sachettes, padded hangers stuffed with "smellies", or body scents; think natural products (For women, a cheap, quickie scent is vanilla using 100% vanilla from the kitchen; make drawer/closet sachettes and/or tip some out on a couple of cotton balls). If you are using dryer sheets to prevent static cling, transition to different clothing fabrics and/or invest in different/more under garments/slips; if you sew, think double layers/panels using slip fabric and/or garment lining fabric for a quick and inexpensive fix.

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Are all detergents biodegradable, and do biodegradable detergents include other harmful, non-green ingredients?

    I recently went to Whole Foods to buy detergent, but I've found over the past few weeks that almost every detergent is biodegradable even outside of Whole Foods. Is that really the case? If so, is there regulation that I'm not aware of?

    Source(s): detergents biodegradable biodegradable detergents include harmful green ingredients: https://shortly.im/tWd5W
  • 1 decade ago

    The vast majority of commonly used detergents are readily biodegradable, although the term "readily biodegradable" has a specific meaning with timescales attached, and these need to be understood.

    The Whole Foods products are simply marketed with a "green" image, and a higher price tag. The purpose of Whole Food, don't forget, is to make money. "Green" detergent makers buy their raw materials from the same manufacturers as everyone else.

  • Jean
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    as no major brands in my area like p&g,unilever and others never show indication of biodegradable on pack and some non branded unknow sale biodegradable detergent so who know whats in it even detergnts nowdays cost 3-10 $/kg so people think better go with branded and leave care of enviornment although i think aerial is biodegradable one as its when leave mix with water for a day next day it gonna spoil

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago
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