Some of the detergents we use in our washing machines and dishwashers make a very big difference in the amount of harmful ingredients released and high nitrogen loads in the groundwater.

Generally speaking, look for products that are made from 100 % plant-based ingredients, and avoid Optical Brighteners, Phosphates, Chlorine Bleach, Artificial Fragrances, 1,4-Dioxane, and antibacterial chemicals.

Also, avoid powdered laundry detergent: while powdered detergent is less expensive than liquid, it doesn’t usually dissolve completely and small particles of undissolved detergent often remain in suspension in the water.

There are many eco-friendly products that have been certified by the EPA under their SAFER CHOICE program.  This label is displayed on approved products. These products don’t need to be fancy or expensive either.  For example, a very good and economical product can be found in Costco’s KIRKLAND house brand detergent that meets these standards.

The EPA also has a terrific search tool for recommended products on their website.