Last year, when I researched Citra-Solv (they make household cleaners, dish soaps, and laundry detergents), I was assured that their products do not contain sodium laureth sulfate (also known as SLES–check our glossary for some compelling reasons to avoid products containing this foaming agent.). I also was told that their Valencia orange detergents and soaps were scented with orange oil.
My exchange with Cindy of Citra-Solv in January 2011:
Me: Can you please clarify if your essential oils are steam-distilled? And, do any of your products contain SLS or SLES? Thanks!
Cindy: We do have other products that contain SLS. I don’t know about the steam distilled essential oils. The Valencia orange fragrance for the laundry is cold press 5 fold orange oil.
Me: Thank you, Cindy. And to be clear, the laundry soap (which I got today–thanks!) does NOT have SLS or SLES? Thanks again.
Unfortunately, Cindy was either dishonest or (more likely) uninformed. Per a reader’s request, I recently reached out again to the company and received a detailed list of all of the ingredients (their labels use misleading terms like “plant derived surfactant.”). This time, I learned that some of their products do contain SLES, including the laundry detergent that I was recommending!
I’ve updated our laundry detergent page to reflect this discovery, which leaves us with even fewer clean options when it comes to washing clothes.
While I don’t want to overstate the dangers of using detergent that contains SLES (I’m not going to throw away my unused bottle of Citra-Suds), it is frustrating to realize that not only are labels misleading, but you also can’t necessarily trust the information provided by company representatives themselves!
I am sorry that I didn’t have the information right the first time, and I am grateful for my vigilant readers.