What are SLS and SLES?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are both surfactants, and are added to products to increase the foaming action when used. This is because of the idea that more foam or bubbles equals a better product performance. SLS and SLES lower the surface tension of the water and act as a dispersion agent. SLS and SLES are known for being skin irritants – not good for sensitive skin! They can both be found in a wide range of household products, from toothpaste to shampoo. Studies have linked SLS to eye irritation and poor eye development in children. Even at very low levels it can be absorbed through the skin and cause issues with eye health.
Friction is Good
Fabrics need to rub against each other in your washing machine to effectively lift dirt and odours. It’s this friction, combined with a surfactant, that helps penetrate dirt and stains. Too many bubbles can actually prevent that from happening! This is also why it’s important to not overload your washing machine – when you cram too many items into the washing machine, they’re not able to move around and rub against one another, resulting in a less effective clean.
Using an HE certified laundry detergent is good for your machine - using one that's free of skin irritants and fillers is good for you, too.
Want to know more about why powder is better than liquid detergent? Click here!