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MamaSuds helps ingredient savvy women who want to create a safe, non-toxic home by using environmentally conscious products.

Truly safe household cleaners for your family.

Label Lesson: SLS and SLES

Posted on October 20 2016

Bubbles. People equate bubbles and lather and foamy suds with cleanliness.

Not true. A harsh detergent is behind all that lather and super suds. 

SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) hide under many names but the jury is still out about this ingredient. Skin Deep has it rated as a low to moderate hazard, it looks harmless. There are even unproven articles that claim that when SLS is mixed in a "chemical cocktail" it becomes a carcinogen (cancer causing properties). This has not been proven or unproven. The problem lies in the theory of "everything is safe in moderation".

That would be great IF this ingredient was found in one, maybe two of the products in YOUR ENTIRE HOME. But it's in everything. Laundry soap, hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, bubble bath, shampoo, body wash.... you get the picture. That is NOT moderation. 

When people message me that they are having skin problems and ask my advice, the first words out of my mouth are, "stop using products with SLS". They irritate your skin. The International Journal of Toxicology recommends that you should use products with concentrations of SLS of 1% or less when used for any length of time. Most cleaning products have levels between 10-30% concentration. Some even higher. 

The ILO (International Labour Organization of Switzerland reports that "The substance is toxic to aquatic organisms. It is strongly advised not to let the chemical enter into the environment. " 

The other problem with SLS/SLES is that depending on how it is manufactured, it may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Which is, if you remember, a possible human carcinogen and is harmful to our environment. That's enough right there for me just to ditch SLS all together.

1,4 dioxane

If bubbles and suds are important to you look for products that use coconut derived products (coconut oil has a high foaming/lather factor and is not expensive. Castor oil is another great sudsing product but is more expensive. 

 

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