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Honest Detergent Contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, After Calling it “Toxic”

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Written by Maia, President
You’ve probably heard by now that Honest Company detergent was recently found, by two independent lab tests, to contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent that Jessica Alba has called “toxic.”
I have three quick things to say about this:Honest Laundry Detergent


1) In our review, I listed Honest’s detergent as “possibly sneaky” since we couldn’t confirm what exactly they use as a surfactant–now we know! I am glad that we didn’t list it as Good Stuff in our Safe Laundry Detergent Guide.


2) That said, I am not actually that worried about SLS, so for those of you who love Honest detergent, I wouldn’t say you necessarily need to switch brands. (It’s sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES, that’s the really Bad Stuff, in my opinion, mostly because it is usually contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane).


3) Despite SLS being a low-concern ingredient, this scandal certainly brings to light how complicated the supply chains are for huge companies like Honest, who private labels their detergent from Earth Friendly Products, which in turn gets its materials from a chemical supplier called Trichromatic West.


Especially on the heels of the Ava Anderson scandal, is upsetting to learn–again–that what’s on the label may not reflect what’s in a product (even though I believe that Jessica Alba was unaware of the SLS in her detergent, as she states.)
This is why my favorite products are always from small-batch companies. For what it’s worth, the detergent I use is Tandi’s Naturals, and I love it (apparently so do many of you, because it’s among our stores best-selling products). This also makes me appreciate companies like Beautycounter, who test their products AFTER production for purity.

Stay sane,






9 responses to “Honest Detergent Contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, After Calling it “Toxic””

  1. Our son has a lot of allergies; we are looking for a good/safe laundry soap for our HE washer. We have used Shaklee’s laundry for some time but a friend just warned me of their filler ingredient. Do you have a recommendation?

  2. What do you think of Honest Co. face and body lotion ultra calming (dreamy lavender scent)? I could not find it rated on the Skin Deep app and have been using it on mu babies! Thanks!!

  3. Skip all the laundry detergents made by sneaky companies. Check out Molly’s Suds: http://mollyssuds.com/ Fantastic stuff made with earth and plant derived ingredients. A teaspoonful or two does an entire load of laundry. You can buy it directly from Molly’s website, but Amazon and Thrive Market carries the products too.

  4. Maia,
    Does the SLS controversy make you worried about other Honest products? We were considering giving our son the infant formula, but after reading about the detergent and sunscreen scandals, my husband is very wary that Honest is not so honest.


    1. Yes, Beth, it does concern me. Their formula very well may be entirely pure, and I do think the whole “scandal” about the laundry detergent has been overblown. Still, clearly Honest is a huge company that gets their products from a variety of different manufacturers, who in turn get THEIR ingredients from a variety of vendors. So even with the best intentions, it may be hard for Honest to stay on top of every single ingredient in every single product they sell. I don’t believe they are intentionally dishonest, though.

      1. Thanks for the response, Maia. I appreciate your honesty and your site!


  5. Is organic munchkin a safe company to order formula from?

    1. Yes, I feel comfortable with Organic Munchkin: http://goo.gl/sV4QcN

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