Saturday, April 11, 2009

SLS and SLES: Are they lurking in your hand soap and shampoo?

SLS -- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and SLES - Sodium Laureth Sulphate are common ingredients found in shampoos, toothpaste, hand soaps, cleansers, dish soaps, laundry detergents and degreasers.

They are cheap surfacants and foaming agents that are added to products that we expect to foam, such as hand soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and dish detergents. They break down grease and oils while they denature protein. In concentrations as low as .5% about 1/60th of the concentration of most shampoos and hand soaps, irritation and denaturing of protein can occur.

Possible detrimental health effects include:
  1. Skin and Eye irritant
  2. Hormone Imbalance due to synthetic estrogens that form from use of SLS and SLES.
  3. Eye irritations and eye deformities in Children from skin contact with SLS and SLES
  4. Protein denaturing -- we use it in DNA extractions in the lab because it breaks the cell structure of proteins.
  5. Potential to cause cancer due to dioxin formation and its ability to break down proteins.

Avoiding SLS containing products can help promote better health for you and your family. But its in everything including toothpaste, shampoo, handsoap, dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, car wash soap. What can I use instead?

Joybilee Farm goat's milk soaps and natural shampoo bars are free of SLS and SLES. I offered a recipe for toothpaste that avoided SLS and SLES on this blog.

Today I'll tell you how to make your own

SLS free and SLES free laundry soap.

Using the ends of natural soap bars or full bars of natural soap (not detergent bars) Place 4 to 6 cup of grated soap into a sauce pan. Add twice the water quantity to the quantity of soap. (ie. for 4 cups of soap add 8 cups of water) Cook over medium heat stirring until soap is dissolved.

Allow to cool. Soap will be of gel consistency. If it dries out add more water and allow to sit overnight.

This is a concentrated cleaner. To use add 1/4 cup to hot water in your washing machine.

Add 1/4 cup washing soda or 1/4 cup borax. Dissolve washing soda and borax completely before adding your clothes.

Wash clothes in warm or hot water and rinse in cold water for effective cleaning power. If you have very hard water add both borax and washing soda to each load.

I've used this formula for 27 years to wash my clothes and have never had problems with soap scum even in hard water.


  1. I really enjoyed the article posted regarding harmful ingredients in personal care products. It was very informative, and I believe you are absolutely correct about the negative impact that these chemicals can have on our bodies. I have discovered several amazing reports to validate your position, and I think you would find the information fascinating. I would love to discuss this further with you. Please email me at your earliest convenience at One report in particular is very serious in nature and was documented on CNN. I’ll send you a link.

  2. Hi, Taylor
    Thanks for your comments on my post. Feel free to post the link here so that people can make informed choices about the products that they support and use.