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Optical Brighteners: Laundry’s Biggest Optical Illusion

If you’ve seen an advertisement for a laundry detergent product claiming to have incredible brightening capabilities, keep reading.

It’s no secret that one of the most common battles in the laundry biz is centered on creating a superior cleaning and brightening detergent, but are there any costs?

Glowing Line Drying Laundry Installation by Li-Hsin Wang

Optical brighteners—factually known as synthetic chemicals—are designed to create the illusion that fabrics are cleaner by reducing the natural yellowing that occurs over time. By absorbing ultraviolet light and emitting it as blue visible light, clothes appear brighter and carry the highly desired glow we all seek—unless, you’re in

Unfortunately, these detergent additives remain on both clothing and skin post-wash, leaving behind a not-so-fresh residue. For those of you with sensitive skin, the possibility of irritation and/or an allergic reaction is likely, especially if for a baby.

As for your daily wear, if you’ve ever encountered a stiff, starchy residue when your fabrics dry naturally— voilà! Chances are the “crunch” is the aftermath of these optical brighteners. One should never take for granted the “fluff” provided by his/her dryer: When using optical brighteners, they come quite handy!

We at Dropps can’t forget that optical brighteners are also harmful to the environment, as components of a non-readily biodegradable product. Proven to cause mutations in bacteria, these chemicals are toxic to aquatic life once washed away into our water systems. Dropps leaves out optical brighteners in favor of a gentle, respectful formula that retains fiber strength, softness and brightness.

So listen up consumers: We are urging you to stay informed!

Clean wisely and as always, happy washing!

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1 comment

  • Great to share with friends who doubt my ‘lack of fluff’ is due to the use of natural cleaners. I also ALWAYS ask “What are you going to trade?” Poisoned skin and groundwater? I don’t notice any dingy clothes when dried on the line and “brightened” by the sun…. Now that’s my kind’ of crunchy! ;)



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